Okay so this post is really about explaining things to people who think when you are divorced and you have children that you can get along. Let me start by saying that you can… IF both parties are willing. What some people want you to do or can’t accept is that if one parent is rude and disrespectful how you can co-parent in an acrimonious situation?
I read this beautiful story circulating on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and like many of you, I was in awe. Such a beautiful woman and beautiful child. They obviously liked each other.
I thought…how wonderful. How perfect. How grown-up and mature. Let me recap in case you missed it. This woman was giving praise to her ex’s girlfriend. That is amazing! We should all give praise where praise is due. However, I think what the statement does is generalize. The assumption that it is the woman’s fault “Why do all these moms act so spiteful and jealous towards the other women? NO ONE said it was easy trying to be a mother to a kid you didn’t have.” or “Ladies, grow up and focus on being a good mom. Love more hate less!”
Umm, that’s over generalizing. Many women aren’t spiteful or jealous towards the other woman. That’s a myth perpetuated by a man whose ego is bigger than his d*ck. Many women are just tired of the revolving door of relationships, the BS from their ex or the shenanigans that the new woman is playing.
I’ve known countless situations of friends, family and fellow bloggers who’ve endured enough BS to last two lifetimes from their ex even though they are not together anymore. Co-parenting is hard and it starts with two adults being able to do so. If you both can’t be adult, you can’t co-parent. Simple truth you need to accept.
Many people expect you to put up with BS from the other parent regardless of the fact that ya’ll aren’t together. They then try to spin it as in the best interest of the child.Let me ask you this…if your ex was abusive towards you in any way shape or form should you continue to endure it because it is in the best interest of the child?
If your ex has mental health issues that threaten the welfare of the child should you just endure it? If your ex has a revolving door of women or men around your children should you just ignore that fact? You get the picture right?
I’ve often said that there are three sides to every story….his, hers and the truth and that the truth is somewhere in the middle. You can’t assume that the reason people don’t get along is because the women are being spiteful and jealous. Hell, people don’t like you for any reason and they don’t know you.
What I will say is that in order to have a happy and healthy co-parenting situation like the one above you need at a minimum the following three things:
- Two mature adults. It seems easy right? But, let’s be clear. Not everyone is mature enough to co-parent after a relationship ends. Not just women, but men too. In order to do what is in the best interest of the child it takes two people willing to put their own issues aside to do what’s best for their child. Maturity is a process. Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean that you’re being mature. Focus on the bigger picture.
- Respect. Like Aretha Franklin sang “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” is needed in order for you to have a co-parenting relationship. If there is no respect, how can you have a healthy co-parenting relationship much less get to like or know your ex’s new partner? You can’t. I mean if you can count on your hands how many times you’ve been cussed out by your ex in the last 12 months and you’re not together anymore, how could you get to know the new woman or man? Many people don’t stay around talking to people that disrespect them.
- Open Communication. The thing about co-parenting is that sometimes you need to be able to discuss things without blaming and vindictive behavior. It goes back to number 1. When you can’t discuss things without getting into arguments, the question becomes what is the issue? If we can’t talk, we can’t co-parent. We parallel parent and hope for the best. Is it ideal? Nope, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do for your sanity.
Co-parenting is not a one situation fits all item. You can’t expect something from nothing. You can’t expect people to co-parent effectively if you’re missing just the basics I’ve mentioned above. I’ve learned that some of the biggest barriers to co-parenting can be men too. Not just women.
Children grow up. They see and learn things. They pay attention to behaviors and they draw their own conclusions. I wish that every situation and relationship could be as glamorous as above, but many times it can’t. In those situations, I just pray that the parents are being the best parents possible and that the child understands that he/she is loved by both.