It was off the back of watching a feature on This Morning today that made me write this post, a story involving two ‘celebrities’ and one baby which had got ugly. Uglier than ugly – it’s a bit of a mess. Though it got me thinking about my journey of learning to co-parent, in obviously a much less dramatic way than them but it has been a journey all the same.
Co-parenting is hard, I have been a single parent for a little under 2 years now. Back when the girls dad and I decided to split I was pre-warned it wouldn’t be easy. For a while though it was easy for us, their dad would still come out on days trips with us, he’d come over for dinner, even have the girls at my house if I needed to go out.
While it’s all well and good being civil and having a good relationship for the sake of your children, the reason we split up is because you no longer wanted to be together so as you can imagine still spending a good chunk of our time together was not ideal for either of us. It was also confusing for the children, they needed to adjust to life without their dad living with us. It’s hard to know what is for the best but we gradually spent less time together and he took on the role of having the girls by himself a lot more.
Time went on and we adjusted to life sharing the custody of our children and trying to do our best by them together but individually at the same time. It was only about a year after our separation that things started to get tough for us both, communication between us started to break down, other people got involved in a way which they probably thought would help but really didn’t.
There was a really rough patch, we could barely speak without sniping at each other. I’m not proud of it, he could be an arse but so could I. Being a parent to three young children is hard let alone doing it solo, at times I felt stressed and my anger went towards their dad. It’s frustrating that as he’s a shift worker dividing the childcare is never a simple task, from one day to the next I’m not 100% sure what time he’s actually working, I didn’t know whether I was coming or going and we all know the importance of routine when it comes to our children.
Almost two years on, we still have our niggles but we have a bit more structure to our arrangement, we can still go to sports day or school parents evening together which at one point I wasn’t sure we would. We’re getting there, it’s a healthy environment for the girls.
Co-Parenting definitely isn’t easy. My advice for anyone going through a similar situation is to communicate; talk like adults. Compromise – but don’t be a push over. If you are angry or frustrated sleep on it no good comes from screaming, shouting and demanding. Do your best to keep it between yourselves, issues splashed across Facebook are embarrassing for all parties we’ve all seen it it’s not pretty and very little will be achieved from it. Lastly; think very carefully about the small people involved and what is going to be best for them.
Anyone on this journey knows emotions can run high but I can assure you it will get better, it does get easier and it can be done successfully without Jeremy Kyle it can just take some time to get the balance just right.