I’m sitting at the kitchen table, like most nights, with the Cowboy. To set the scene, he’s making fun of me because I’m in my ‘get stuff done mode’ – trying to get this written, have it make sense, not piss anyone off and have an ounce of valuable takeaway. Which I can’t be sure of if I don’t focus on this before I hit publish. It’s not all that p-c to tell you what he’s doing to get me to laugh .. I can tell you however, he’s been laughing at himself as he rocks out again tonight on his guitar to Stayin Alive. We are apparently in a Bee Gees phase.
I want to write about co-parenting, what it is and how some experts advise doing it well. Because, it’s a constant struggle to do well in divorce, if parents consider doing it at all. Because it’s an ongoing conversation in our home. Because we have children and we are challenged to always be doing things better for them. And because we see so many of our friends (and quite honestly complete strangers who share way too much with us at times, which is okay, don’t get me wrong) that struggle with it and often want advice.
Having said that, I feel perhaps it’s important to start this conversation with the following information:
I have done my best over the past 13 years now, to be a good co-parent. My ex may argue with me, but I’ve tried. To me, that journey started well before our child was even born.
My efforts didn’t stop with our divorce. I have always felt my daughter needed my ex husband as much as she needed me in her life. We both bring different personalities and traits and skill sets to the table. And, she loves us both.
We have shared equal time – split absolutely down the middle, almost this entire journey post separating. We agreed to this in what’s called a collaborative divorce process where we sat down at the table together, with our attorneys and literally discussed how we would work together on everything – and never say anything negative about the other in her presence, because it was and is in the best interest of our only child. Equal time. Equal say. Equal rights. Equal everything for the most part.
We’ve worked over the years on a weekly basis (every Monday), to email each other with any and all updates in regard to anything involving our daughter. It was recommended as a good model for contact and communication because we were struggling with our communication otherwise.
Those emails weren’t perfect – on either side. We’ve had our share of other issues as well. Issues that, no matter how much love was behind the root cause, ultimately became detrimental for our daughter’s overall well being.
But we’ve tried always to do what is right by her. What does that mean though….