A letter came home from my daughter’s therapist with all sorts of things we needed to do to help provide her with consistency and stability between our two homes even though she’s at mine 95% of the time.
Co-parenting: It’s nice if you can get it to work.
I’d been waiting for this letter for months now, anticipating what the therapist would recommend. Not surprisingly, there’s nothing in that letter that’s mindblowingly original or different or even anything I didn’t already know or am already trying to do.
Though trust me, I’m not reading through the letter patting myself on the back because I’m so awesome.
It’s all common sense. At least, one would think.
But really, the letter is more like a reminder of how it could be if things were better between me and my ex, which is not something I anticipate ever happening, at least in the near future anyway.
Co-parenting, whether it’s in a marriage or a divorce, isn’t an easy thing because even people who are similar and actually get along well can have wildly different thoughts and opinions about how children should be raised.
Sure, two brains and four hands can be better than one, but they can also be more opinions to entertain and manage and disagree with and fight about.
And it’s not necessarily something you’d ever talk before you got married.
“How do you plan on handling the privacy of your tween?”
You might cover the big stuff, like religion and education, both of you not knowing that it’s always the little things that screw with you, all of which come into play when your kids get older.
When your kids are little, it’s all fun and games and teething and “when should we ditch the binky?” (awwwww!) but as they get older it’s pretty damn challenging to navigate.
Even harder when you just don’t agree with the parenting values and approaches of the person you decided to procreate with. Or like, you pretty much don’t agree with any part of how that person lives their life (and never really did except you didn’t actually figure that out until it was too late).
And as much as I’d like to co-parent, is it really possible when only one person is actually making an effort to do it? When there’s no communication, no respect, no consideration, well, what do you do then?
I know that so much of parenting, especially when it’s your first headed into the teen years not too far in the future, is a lot of trial and error. But some people will never see their errors. And they will never learn from them.
That’s just how it is.
I will never stop making an effort. I will be cordial. And straightforward. No trash talk, now or ever, especially in front of the kids.
But I certainly will not go out of my way to be extra nice or overly pleasant or ridiculously accommodating towards my ex, unless it’s for the true benefit and well-being of the kids.
Because in the end, some people, some situations, well, they are never going to change. I need to preserve my own sanity so I can actually parent these amazing kids.
And true colors will always shine through, beautiful or ugly.
Cyndi Lauper said it.
And so do I.