Co-Parenting: He Did What?!

Updated: Jan 18

What a weekend!

A potential hurricane. A new projected President Elect. A ceiling shattered for women in America. Plus news that broke my heart from Hillsong NYC.

Honestly, nothing we wouldn’t expect from 2020. My emotions have fluctuated from inspired, to worried, to saddened and back to hopeful. Can I tell you that I’ve had “Highlands” on replay for three days now… even as I write this!

In the middle of all of that I actually chatted with a couple of friends about a topic that I’m excited to touch once more on my blog: Co-Parenting.

Let me begin by saying that co-parenting is not an ideal situation. I believe that a single household with dad, mom and kids is the most precious treasure one should strive to preserve. Not having to worry about schedules and whether something they need was left at mom’s or dad’s now seems like a luxury that my kids will never have.

Nevertheless, co-parenting is a reality. It is as real for me as it is for thousands of parents in our communities. Ignoring that it is a relevant subject today is just missing the chance to give parents the tools needed to give a whole generation of children the most stability, love and emotional support as possible.

It Looks Different for Each of Us

As I shared with one of my girlfriends on the topic, we talked about how different our parenting plans are and yet each one works perfectly for us.

There is no cookie-cutter for this ya’ll! What works for me may not work for you because my ex-partner is different than yours and my children have different needs than yours.

Nevertheless, there are some things that remain true for all of us… and by some things I actually mean one:

Co-parenting is not about you, it’s about your children.

An Unanticipated Gift

The other day I got a text from my kid’s dad saying that he had custom-made some decorative frames for the kids room… at my house!

It was late at night when he wanted to deliver them and I kindly asked that he come in the morning. That night I lay thinking about his request. I actually didn’t think much of it at first but then a stream of questions invaded my mind: what kind of frames? Do they match the kids decor? Wouldn’t it have been nice for him to ASK if he could custom-make decoration for the kid’s room at MY house?

The next day he dropped off some things along with these two beautiful rectangular frames with a special message from him for each one of my kids.

Could I have made a big deal about this? Yes.

Could I have slipped in “but next time make sure you ask me first” while closing the door? Probably.

Was I entitled to? You could say so. I mean, you don’t see me redecorating the kids room at his house.

Here’s the things though, how would doing that positively affect my children in any way? It would just have started an argument at the door being witnessed by little eyes and little ears. This being the very thing that I wanted to stop them from witnessing almost two years ago when we parted ways.

Arguing at this point would make this about me and him. Do you see that? The kids don’t care if it matches the decor. They were interested in saying hi to dad and running back to their video game. I point this out to encourage you to pick your battles wisely and when you do, make sure it’s not about you but about something that directly affects your kids.

Anyway, I instead thanked him and complimented the art. I took the frames into the room and lay them on the bed. Milan, who’s in kindergarten and already starting to read, proceeded in sounding out each word until he got through the entire message.

At the end of the day, I thought the gift was extremely thoughtful. Now when the kids are in their room at my house, they can look up and read a special message from their dad reminding them that they are loved and that he is there for them always.

This thought leads me to my next point:

It’s Time To Break A Stigma

I grew up in a home with mom and dad together. My dad is one of 8 and my mom is one of 11. During my childhood years, none of my aunts or uncles had been separated from their spouses on either side. Even my grandparents on both sides were celebrating 50 years married and beyond.

All I knew about divorce was that when it happens, it’s usually the dad that cheated on the mom, the dad leaves the house and forgets he has kids which then leads to the mom suing him for child support. Doesn’t that sound like the common narrative?

Let me break that stigma… it’s. not. always. like. that!

The other day I had a scheduling issue with the dad that resulted in me missing a zoom meeting I was expected to be in. A couple of days later I was chatting with a friend that asked me about the meeting I missed.

Once I briefly explained to her the scheduling conflict we had (which was greatly his fault), her response was “isn’t it funny how dad’s are usually the ones that are late or don’t show up?”

I paused. She didn’t mean harm… it was actually a very supportive comment on my behalf. But I didn’t agree.

“Well, this doesn’t happen often,” I answered. “It just happened to happen that day.”

Ladies and gents, I’ve heard tons of stories. Moms are many times equally as difficult as dads. Maybe we’re generally on time to pick up our kids but then make poor decisions on how we speak to our kids about their dad.

In instances we make decisions out of our own hurt in order to hurt their dad. The down side of that is that who we are really hurting is our children!

So here is my call to action: let’s work on being better co-parents each day. Not blaming or tearing the other parent down but instead lifting them up in front of our kids. Even if the other parent is wrong or unreliable. Let’s be bridge-builders, not hole-diggers.

The holidays are around the corner and with it the opportunity to either have beautiful memories or broken hearts. In an effort to be an encouragement, I have invited a couple of my friends to do some IG Live sessions on the topic of co-parenting through the holidays.

Stay tuned for the promos, make sure to tune in live and share with a friend that may benefit! If you have any questions you’d like us to answer, feel free to email me or DM me on IG.

Create a life that both you and your children love!