Self Doubt & Co-Parenting
Does co-parenting ever become easy? Truthfully never, it’s constantly evolving and it will eventually ease into whatever you’ve made it to be. Being a parent is difficult but the honor is substantial and co-parenting is a challenge, however the reward is unequivocally extraordinary. When co-parenting know that good parents do the right thing even when it's inconvenient or makes no difference to them, everything is done in the best interest of the child.
Co-parenting in the beginning is rough, uncharted territories are frightful. This is the moment to build your foundation, set your boundaries, where the parameters for co-parenting are implemented and along with that comes its challenges. This trial and error period is when you decipher your level of comfort and what needs to be adjusted. Yes, I said your comfort, let me elaborate, you deserve respect, how you’ll be spoken to, the kids will not be thrown in the middle and the two adults will behave as such. Sometimes you will feel as if you’re stuck between a rock and hard place, take a step back and learn to evaluate each action for what it is, don’t allow your emotions dictate your actions. What is being said and done must always be for betterment of the children, how will they benefit with decisions that you two are coming to an agreement on.
It’s hard finding “you” after a divorce/separation let alone now as a single parent, but know that it takes effort to center yourself and acceptance of your past to move forward to the present. The more effort you put into being around people who respect you and treat you as such, the less you want to be around people who have no respect for you and refuse to treat you with courtesy. Once you’ve accepted yourself, your flaws, quirks, and everything in between you will no longer accept anything less than what you deserve.
Sometimes people revert to the old ways out of comfort, for a lack of a better word, they think they can 'pass' as the old normal, but, if you've been doing the work, the old ways doesn't fit anymore.
You must push through everything that is happening around you, the negativity and self doubt, it becomes easier after time. When you question yourself, recall how far you’ve come, how your children are happier with two parents happily separated, then two unhappily married. Never be sorry for something you are doing to better your life and your kids, you are protecting your children from what was and what could have been.
Everything you do for your children has to come from your core, you must listen to your inner voice, hope and pray that your co-parenting partner is on the same page as you and you’re able to communicate with one another without animosity. When dealing with your ex place aside your emotions, if you don’t, even the purest intentions be will misconstrued because of their actions from the past. Remember co-parenting is a new relationship that must be formed free of anger, it’s a clean slate. You’re teaching yourself new ways to speak to your ex and viewing things differently. Here are some key points to help you navigate your new co-parenting relationship.
Listen to your ex when they are speaking, hear what they are asking for and try to understand where they are coming from. I am not talking about someone who is emotionally abusive or narcissistic I am describing a well rounded individual whom you two are better apart then together. Let your co-parenting partner know exactly what it is you want and are trying to accomplish, they can’t read your mind. Be consistent, with your words, your actions and follow through. Have realistic expectations, just because you want something done right now doesn't mean it will happen, set everyone up for success not failure. Remember you get what you reinforce, it might not be what you necessarily want so be careful with your actions. Your co-parent is your “ex”, you know their limits, recall that so you don't push them over the edge, have respect for the other party, you are responsible for only your behavior. Use language that will positively strengthen and validate whatever you're discussing and or decision making. Don’t feel guilty for discouraging inappropriate behavior with a “no”, no is a complete sentence. Let's call this what it is, training, training yourself and your ex to step up as co-parents is a process that will take time, patience and willingness to learn from one another, this will be the very essence of your co-parenting relationship.