It took a pandemic to get us to co-parent…Co-parenting during COVID… I have wrote before about how co-parenting is not for everyone. My ex and I have not co-parented very well over the last 5 years. In the past, we have had minimal communication. I have spent years developing boundaries and sticking to them. I have limited the form of communication to mostly email and not engaging in additional texts on parenting. As long as I kept it to those guidelines, things would stay civil with us.
Then COVID started and everything had to change. There is no way we would have survived parenting, teaching our kids, and working from home with how we had co-parented in the past. We had to start communicating more effectively and become more flexible with our schedules.
My ex had a very strict schedule with the kids at his house. I had always been the more flexible parent and had adapted to my kids lifestyles. My ex had a completely different parenting style than myself. However, he learned that he would have to loosen the reigns a little to be able to survive having 3 kids at home everyday. In addition, trying to work from home and following up on their school work. He had to learn to give my kids some independence and trust them. And in return over the last few months, my kids have enjoyed being there a lot more.
We now had to communicate daily about the kid’s schoolwork. We also had to schedule google meets between houses and teachers. In addition, we had to be more flexible with our time with the kids. We basically had to work together so that we were both able to work from home and divide up our kid time. We had to learn to help each other out, which is something we had not done in years. We had to be flexible on drop off and pick up times, along with additional time with the kids. If one of us had more work commitments on a certain day, the other would take the kids longer.
We also had to trust each other because neither one of us knew what would happen in the next few months. We had to trust that what each other said or did would be followed through. We had to trust that schoolwork and similar routines were followed at each house. This was hard because I had not really trusted him in years and it made me nervous that it would backfire.
I think one of the things that turned it around was that my son had to celebrate his 1st communion virtually this year due to COVID. We all got together and my house and watched the 1st communion service virtually on the TV. Watching it virtually was hard to get used too, but then we all had to sit together in my living room for over an hour. I had no idea what we would even talk about. This is the 1st time in 4 years that my ex has came past the front door and now he sat with all of us and we celebrated my son’s 1st communion. A couple days after that, my daughter said, “ you and dad actually seem like you are friends”. That was crazy to hear from my daughter, because over the last 5 years we had such limited communication.
This was completely different from the past. It was hard to get used to our new relationship. I had always wanted this type of co-parenting, but it had never happened. There had always been so much anger and conflict from him over the last five years. It was hard to trust that he was beginning to be flexible and even supportive of my parenting.
There was no more questioning on my decisions. In addition, he was letting the kids make some of their own decisions at his house. Having the kids notice the difference in our relationship was probably the greatest outcome from COVID.
I can only hope that six months or a year from our now, we are still communicating and showing each other more respect. Maybe it’s covid or the amount of time that has passed since our divorce, but I had always wanted my kids to see that we can still be great parents even though we are not together. I hope that we are finally on the right track…