I know how lucky I am.
My Ex and I get along so well.
We co-parent like rock stars. It’s not the norm…and I know it.
I am a lucky, lucky woman–and my kids are lucky, too. Our “un-family” is functioning beautifully and we are all thriving in our daily lives. (And I appreciate that others in my exact situation may not have it so “easy”.)
But I also know that it takes a lot of effort to achieve this space we have created for our children. It was a conscious choice that we made from day one…and still make each and every day. It is work to be kind, respectful and flexible. It takes work to be nice to one another even when we may not want to be. We have to put our egos aside and our childrens’ needs first…even when it’s difficult.
Being happily divorced takes work.
Being in a “Happy Divorce” is a choice my ex and I made and will continue making for the rest of our lives. It is a choice. It is decision. It is not an option. When we chose to get divorced, we also chose to do it right.
Because our children did not choose to get a divorce. They did not choose any of it. And they deserve the best of the worst.
So, when I get messages and emails asking me how we do it, or how I make it look so simple, I try not to get snarky! I simply reply, “Do you have kids?” And if the answer is yes, I say, “It should be easy. It should be a no-brainer.” An amicable divorce should be achievable or you shouldn’t be getting divorced at all. (Now, of course this is if both parents are of sound mind and it’s not an abusive situation.)
But if y’all are divorcing by choice, then choose to do it right.
I had a dear friend say it perfectly when she was on my podcast. She has two separate “relationships” with her ex. The co-parenting relationship and the ex-husband relationship. The co-parenting relationship allows her to be the mom she needs to be for her girls. (She co-parents like a boss and does everything she needs to do to make that relationship work!) But when she is dealing with him as her ex-husband, she can just function in that capacity. She does her best to “deal” with the ex she knows he is…I loved that. And it works for her and allows her to compartmentalize her emotions.
Look, no one is saying this is always going to be easy. But if you chose to get a divorce, you can choose to do it right. I’m not asking you to like him or go out for coffee. Hell, I’m not even asking you to share niceties.
But what I am asking is this:
You are accessible.
You are kind in front of the kids.
You respect each other always and all ways.
You return texts and calls about the children promptly.
You try to be flexible with scheduling.
You never, ever (and I mean NEVER) badmouth each other.
You smile, even if its fake…and be kind.
You remember you loved each other once. Remember?
You never put them in the middle (re: money, scheduling, rules, etc. )
You never do a kid-exchange in a parking lot or public place. UGH!
If all else fails, do your best to fake it until you make it. And if your ex is a complete and total asshole and won’t get on the co-parenting train to happiness then fuck ‘em! Do your best to be the greatest you can be. Trust me, your kids will learn in their own time what kind of parent your ex really is. Be the bigger person and rise above the bullshit. In the end, your kids will figure it out. They always do.
“Love your kids more than you hate your ex.” ~ Laura Lanier
Thank you, girl. I love that quote…I hope I got it right. It just about sums it up when talking about divorce and co-parenting. You have to put your love for your children before any negative feelings you may still be harboring for your ex. Egos aside, kids first. Period. The. End.
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