How do you co-parent without constantly wanting to pull your hair out?
Of all the things you can move on from or heal from after Divorce - you will always need to co-parent with your ex..
And it's ironic AF that communicating is KEY, when we all know the easy road would be just to write your ex out of your life.
Your kids need you both in their lives.
As some version of a team!
So, here's three quick ways to improve your co-parenting relationship Right Now :)
1 - Stick to just the facts about what you need to discuss with your co-parent. RESIST the temptation to give an opinion or biting sarcasm, or bait your ex, or react to bait. RESIST the temptation.
2 - always remember your kids love your ex (unless they are truly an evil or negative influence). So breath deep, when you feel yourself getting annoyed or frustrated and respond with 'just the facts' - text or email is awesome for this - cause you can review your correspondence before hitting send...
How are you handling stress in your daily life?
The past few months have been very dramatic and shocking in ways I never would have seen coming. Maybe you're feeling the same? It got me thinking about how well we manage stress, day over day, year over year.
You know those sparkling eyed 80 year olds that still seem so young at heart? That's how I want to end up :) ...but stress can really age you, it can wear you down quickly or slowly. It's a tricky one to wrangle.
So, I made a giant list of ways to keep my stress down or balance it out with some healing, so that over the decades of my life I will remain feel young at heart :)
1. sleep well (6-8hrs a night or on average the experts say!)
2. close your eyes & take 3 deep breaths (in...out...in...out..in...out)
4. read a book
5. meditate (a super easy one is to just sit somewhere with your eyes closed and become aware of your breathing)
6. smell the roses...
Lately, there have been several dads who’ve contacted me about this topic. So, if you’re in this boat - first off, it’s more common that you might think – and there’s comfort in knowing that you’re not alone in this, right?
Secondly, wholly crap. This is a huge pill to swallow. Brutal.
It would have definitely been nice to have an old friend be an ear for you, as you go through all the shit that goes on as your marriage ends and as you move on with your life. What fuckin' jerks. To put it mildly.
Needless to say, please cut yourself some slack. Walking through this pile of shit will take time. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Give yourself time to process it all. This will require a lot of patience and time. You don't want to get stuck in the rabbit hole forever.
Processing it all could mean...
1) taking time off work on sick leave or vacation to straighten...
This is one of the most frequently asked questions from parents in our community - it's SUCH an IMPORTANT conversation you need to have with your kids.
This is definitely one of the hardest conversations you'll ever have.
It's heart wrenching, it's terrifying.
You don't want to disappoint your kids. It's all true.
And it's totally human nature to want to avoid this kind of conversation. Any kind of hard, shitty conversations really.
BUT please don't avoid it.
Don't brush over it with a rose coloured brush either.
Sit in your discomfort and talk to your kids about Divorce.
I know that your love for your kids is WAY BIGGER than your discomfort and fear about your marriage ending.
You can do hard things. Your kids are looking to you to guide them through this.
You can do it.
Ok, Deep Breath.
Now, that we are clear that you will have this conversation with your kids. Here are some simple...
So, you’ve been dating someone for a while – perhaps several months, perhaps years – and the million dollar question is when and how to start blending them into the family?? It can feel daunting, for sure.
In my case, I’ve been dating my boyfriend for years. He has a couple kids. We’ve been discussing how it should go for a while now but we were both a little scared to rock the boat I think – or maybe it was just me!
My kids are well adjusted to their current family arrangements – a two family home, with a mom and a dad. No boyfriends, girlfriends or step anybodies to add to the mix. And that has been a good way to roll for a long time! :)
It’s been over five years since their dad and I split up and so, in my case, there was no risk of introducing anyone new too soon!!
Although, from all the reading I’ve done, and from various therapists and parents, the general...
How do you react when your ex wants to change something in your co-parenting routine?
A several weeks ago, my ex emailed, to bring up the idea of changing the co-parenting schedule. This was a surprise to me. I could feel my body tightening as I read the email.
And my immediate reaction, was to just tell him to go fuck himself cause the schedule is the schedule – there’s nothing written anywhere that it ever has to change. PLUS, I’d asked to change the schedule a few years ago and he’d just written the idea right off, so I sort of wanted to reject his idea just out of spite. :)
I was also in the midst of a lot of deadlines at work, so this was just not something I wanted to deal with at all right then.
It got me thinking – how do you react to your ex when he/she bring up a topic that surprises you? When they want to change something that you weren’t expecting?
Does your body tighten?
So, a few weekends ago the kids and I went to Montreal to visit with my sister – who is currently living up North – so the kids are hungry for more time with her! We’ve been doing an annual visit with her in Montreal for quite a few years now, I’m not sure how many off hand, but the kids look forward to it and love the whole experience! Montreal is awesome isn’t it?? Endless adventures to get yourself into :) Even for kids!
Anyways, we were having a great time, and found ourselves in the Botanical Gardens in Montreal after a late breakfast on Sunday. This had been something that was discussed with the kids and everyone seemed good to go!
However, the minute we had got past the ticket counter and started walking around, one of my daughter’s says ‘when are we having lunch, I’m hungry’ and my son says ‘I’m too tired to walk, let’s go back to the hotel’…
The top TWO things Co-Parenting has taught me:
.1 Good things can come from a difficult situation. Let's face it, I would have probably never talked to my ex again - if we didn't have kids. Way simpler and way less work. But in the dust of our marriage ending, co-parenting has forced a different sort-of relationship to bloom. It has expanded what I thought I was capable of and what I thought my ex was capable of. We've grown as individuals and as parents, after years of negotiating and balancing everyones' schedules - as annoying as that is sometimes!
.2 My communication skills could be improved :) Cause when nearly everything is in writing over email or txt, for reference, it’s easy to see where something could be misinterpreted or just not written clearly enough. And you want to make sure you express yourself without ruffling any feathers, if that's not actually your intention. So, communication skills become fine tuned like...
I was on a retreat a month ago that changed my life forever.
It was called ‘Seduction of Spirit’ and is put on by the Chopra Center, which was founded by Deepak Chopra.
I’ve been a HUGE fan of Deepak Chopra for over 20 years – I still vividly remember the first book I ever read of his, it was called How to Know God, and while it blew my mind at the time, it also rung so deeply true to me. Like when your soul knows it to be true, it resonates.
And ever since, I’ve kept reading his books when they interest me and I’ve seen him speak a few times when he’s come to Ottawa.
I have a Civil Engineering degree, so I’ve got a naturally scientific mind and I’ve always loved the way he blends science with spirit & mind/body concepts.
ANYWAYS, this retreat was primarily a meditation retreat – with lots of doses of yoga and talks with different mind/body teachers and researchers. It was also in Sunny...
Let’s face it – as your marriage ends and you start your new life as a family with two homes, the shitty situation seems enormous, almost unmanageable, and whether or not you can actually climb over a shit pile that huge appears doubtful a lot of the time.
And for a long while you may not even be able to tell which way is up and which way is down, and if you’ve made any progress out of all this shit at all.
It sucks. It really fucking sucks.
So, what can you do?
Believe it or not, you have choices.
What will you do?
I hope you’ll see beyond the shit. To your version of a great life.
Where you have someone to unconditionally love you and be your cheerleader in life. To raising well adjusted and resilient kids. Having the freedom to travel and vacation more often. Those are just a few of mine :)
Let that dream be your fuel, when you don’t think you have anything left in the tank.