My parents divorced when I was very young.  It wasn't pretty.  I remember a lot of yelling, a huge lack of communication, and the absence of my daddy for most of my childhood and adolescence.  I knew for sure when I grew up my marriage would be much different.  I was very wrong!I married in my early 20's.  From the beginning my marriage was a roller coaster for all involved.  When it ended I felt like I was watching my parents all over again.  What was even worse, we weren't the only ones who endured the pain.  Our boys took it hard.  They asked lots of questions and witnessed things children should never see.

I remember during our divorce a very wise person told me "if you treat the interactions with your ex like a business transaction when dealing with your children it makes things a whole lot easier."   I thought to myself "how can I ever do that?" or "be business like when I have so many emotions, there is no way we could ever be professional with one another."  Several years later and whole lot of bumps in the road, I look back, smile, and realize they were exactly right!

It has taken many years for the boys' dad and I to get to where we are now but it works.  We get along for our kids.  We had to grown up.  We learned what worked for us but, most importantly we learned it wasn't about US, our failed marriage, our disagreements, or problems.  We both finally realized two other lives were more important than someone winning the battle.

Now I know some of you are flaring your nostrils at me and shaking your heads in total disagreement.  If for no other reason than your children make it work.  There are lots of benefits to co-parenting when done right.  According to an article in FamilyLobby.com

  • Kids feel secure.  When parents work together for their children, they adapt better to all that is changing around them.  Our boys are both secure in their relationships with others.  I truly believe it is because they feel loved and cared about from both of us.
  • Consistency and Communication are key!  We have always worked well when it came to discipline.  The rules in each of our homes are similar and this helps with the transition.  This also helps to provide structure.  The boys also know they can't play us because we check in with one another. Thankfully we keep them in check most of the time!
  • It teaches them problem-solving.  When children see their parents working together they learn it can be done no matter the circumstance.  They learn you can solve difficult issues without fighting or holding grudges.  We share holidays, have joint birthday celebrations and make adjustments with schedules when needed.
  • Leading by example.  Children look up to their parents.  We have been able to show them appropriate behavior as we work together in the best interest of them.  Now I'll be honest and say it doesn't always work this way.  We disagree and annoy one another from time to time but we make sure to keep it simple and handle the issue and move on.

I know every situation is different.  And I am not giving you some fool-proof solution.  It's tough.  It takes work.  It takes forgiveness.  And most of all it takes you reaching deep down inside and putting your precious babies before your own emotions!

When we compromise it allows us to be parents.  We don't miss out on their life because one parent is being selfish.  We get milestones and memories.  Everyone WINS!

Truth be told I am thankful for my boys' dad.  He is a great dad.  Not only because he spends time with them and loves them but because he shows them he respects me.  He has my back and when I call on him about our boys he is always there to help, listen, and be the parent I need him to be for them.  It works for us.  And while our marriage didn't work I am very blessed that we have a united front that helps our boys be successful in life.  And that is what's most important

Below is the story that inspired me to write this blog.  This dad went the extra mile for his ex.  This is co-parenting at its' best.  Sometimes it isn't just about taking care of your children.  Such a beautiful act of kindness!

Via Brandon Carpenter Facebook

My child's mother said our daughter isn't feeling well and needs some Tylenol...so I bring her infant Tylenol and notice her fridge is completely empty other then some water..but she has a full pantry of my daughters food formula snacks and water..mind u she works a full time job and then has my daughter..she pays rent and all her bills plus she is paying off a car..so today I went shopping to make sure she had food for the next few weeks..just because we aren't together doesn't mean I can't provide for her if she needs it...if my child's mother is good then I know she is taking care of our daughter the best she can and that makes me happy..some of yall think I'm only going to provide for my child the mother but that's thinking like a child..it's time to grow up and take responsibility in all aspects of life...!

 

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