When I was going thru my divorce, my ex and I always said the children will come first.. we will always agree on that. Co-parenting…Yes, I believed that fairy tale just like many others. I believed we would sit next to each other at soccer games and celebrate birthdays together. I really believed all that…
Fast forward, we now have very different parenting views. Co-parenting is very difficult for us. The amount of communication between the two of us is minimal. I know everyone says that you need to co-parent for the children, however in some situations you have to do what is best for you. We tried to spend birthday celebrations together but it was uncomfortable for everyone and mostly the children. I dreaded every birthday, which I realized was so sad because I love birthdays and I love celebrating my kids birthdays. The children eventually did not want to even celebrate it together.
So for the first couple of years after our divorce, I would go along with all the co-parenting and trying to play nice with him. I would go along with his parenting ideas and discipline for the children. He had an opinion for every decision and strong opinions. This was difficult for my children, since he had never been the one to discipline. They did not know how to respond or act to his strong strict behavior. They did not understand why they were never given choices or independence.
I stayed home with my kids when we were married, I was the one that was the disciplinary, and I was the one that handled all of the parenting decisions. My ex did not have much of an input on any of those areas. I asked him but he would trust my judgement and agree. Unfortunately after our divorce, he was trying to parent our children in such a different style then they had grown up with over the years. It was more of an authoritative style, which they were not used to. Kinda like you do this because I said so style..without a valid reason why.
I would let him speak to me however he wanted to me. I would feel like a failure as a mother when I received emails from him constantly questioning my parenting. I would receive emails on his strong parenting views that made me question my decisions… why? I am a damn good parent. I have always stood by my decisions and now I was allowing self doubt. I was allowing this from someone that never wanted an input in our decisions. I allowed all of this because I felt guilty for wanting the divorce. I did not want to cause additional friction between us and I felt it was best for the kids. I had read all the books and articles on how you need to co-parent….
Well thank god I came to my senses… The reason I divorced my husband was because I was not happy. And I should not feel guilty for that. So I finally realized that trying to co-parent was not working for us. I realized that I was not going to fake it through birthday celebrations, soccer games, and conferences.
I realized that doing those activities independently was my choice and I needed that. I needed to make that decision for me and my children. I wasn’t dreading participating in those activities anymore.
I wanted to remember all of these moments with my children. I wanted them to remember how fun those times were with them. I did not want them to remember that they were forced or made to feel uncomfortable. And my kids could see how uncomfortable it was for all of us. I didn’t want to make them participate in these fake get togethers because the text book said co-parenting is the best.
My children and I have built a great life in the last 5 years and we are really happy. Not just facebook happy, but truly happy. What I post is us being happy. We have fun together and we like doing things together. They understand that their dad and I have different views on parenting, life, and discipline. They understand what is expected at each household and that it is different. They understand that people have different views and expectations…. I have learned to let them develop their own thoughts and views on the different households and that works for us. And I have learned that I need to do what works for our family…