Monday, April 13, 2015

It's not about us

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. This is a picture of my ex-husband and I. We took this picture on Easter Sunday. It was his weekend to have our daughter, but since it was a holiday, we planned time together. We took her Easter Egg hunting and they came to my Church. Isn't my kid just the cutest in her Easter dress?

The weird thing is... for the most part, this isn't weird. This is normal for us. No, we do not hang out all the time. But it is important to both of us to both be in our daughters life and be able to do things together with her. We may not be married anymore, but we are her parents, for better or for worse.

I am by no means an expert on the situation, and well I know that in many aspects I am just lucky that Jacob and I get along as well as we do.

I wanted to write this blog because I see so many people having issues with doing the whole co-parenting thing. I'm not saying it's always a walk in the park, but I do have a few tips that might make it a little easier.

1.Make it legal
It seem like a lot of the issues that parents have when raising a child together comes after they begin to not get along, which makes a lot of sense. Sometimes couples who split, go into this co-parenting thing with good intentions, but then their feelings get hurt or they have a fight. My advice is, make everything legal before that happens. Don't wait until your ex is mad at you and refuses to let you see your kid. Maybe it's was a train wreck from the get go, and if that's the case even more reason to get it taken care of so everyone knows the rules. Our agreement is pretty simple, he gets her every other weekend... end of story. It's that simple because we didn't need to make it complicated. If he is off work on a Wednesday and wants to spend the day with her, that's totally fine. And we've worked out Holiday's to where we can both spend time with her at some point. I get that not everyone's agreement can be that simple, and maybe someday we will have to go back to court to adjust the agreement. For now this works for us, figure out what works for you.

2.Get over yourself
Can I be honest? Jacob still makes me angry from time to time. It's not like it's just rainbows and butterflies 24/7. Sometimes I'm still hurt by the past. Sometimes, I just plan think he is dumb. But you know what? It's not about me. He loves that little girl, and she sure does love her daddy. As long as he is doing what he needs to do to keep her safe, raise her well, and support her, why would I ever try to take him out of the equation? Now, if you ex is abusive or on drugs or any other situation that would cause them not to be a fit parent, THIS DOES NOT PERTAIN TO YOU! This if for the parents who let their hurt get in the way of what is best for their kids. Stop being selfish.

3.Stop the bashing
I honestly make it a point to not bash my ex. I'm not saying he doesn't ever make me angry, and I might need to consult with a close friend to stay calm about it. I don't air it all out on Facebook or sub-tweet about it. I don't run and tell everyone I know. Why? Because someday my daughter is going to be old enough to understand a lot more than she does now. This is my way of protecting my family. Not only should you not bash your ex, you should also not allow your friends or family to either. I get it, they were hurt by the situation as well, but this isn't about them. This is about protecting your child and doing your best to keep the peace. And regardless of any crappy thing my ex may have done, he is still the father of my child. Never EVER bash your ex in front of your kids or but your children in the middle.

4.Be a family
Like I said before, Jacob and I don't hang out. But we make it a point to make sure that we can be good examples to our daughter. We went together to get her ears pierced. We had her birthday party together. We don't hang out all the time, but I want Olivia to know that her dad and I love her so much. That our marriage didn't last, but that she is still the most important thing to both of us. We are a family, although not a conventional one. We share our daughter, and we want her to see us getting along and making this work. We would never want her to think we hated each other or that we are too stubborn to make this family work. Because once again, it's not about us.

Something that personally helped me when we first separated is setting some boundaries for our relationship. No, we didn't have to sit down and discuss anything. But I had A LOT of hurt and anger built up. So I deleted him. I took him off my social media accounts or made it to wear he didn't show up in my news feed. Because I was driving myself crazy about what he was doing or who he was with, and it wasn't making me feel any better. I think it's important to realize what you need to heal from a situation, and for me that was to learn not to care about the things he was doing because they were no longer my business (unless it came to Olivia of course).

6.Stick Together
I probably drive Jacob crazy because I read way to much about things that could go wrong and kids looking at porn and why you shouldn't do sleepovers... and all these things that stress me out when our kid is only 3! But it's important to discuss big issues and make sure you are both on the same page. I never want Olivia to think her dad can tell her no and the she can turn around and get me to say yes. That takes communication! Kids need consistency. Be consistent and stick together. Don't ask kids to carry messages! Your children need to know that you communicate, otherwise it will be so easy for them to pull one over on you.

I'm not saying we have it all together and I know it isn't necessarily this easy for everyone else. It makes a big difference if you are both committed to doing the best you can for your kids. But that isn't always the case. I know it isn't easy, but you have to be the bigger person. Not because your Ex deserves it, but because your kids do.

But for me, it's so important! I know that kids that come from divorce don't fair well in the statistics. My hope is that if Olivia sees her parents loving her, communicating, getting along, making her a priority... that she can grow up to be successful and well adjusted. I know our decisions affect her.

Olivia is the most important thing in my world. I hope and pray that she becomes more and does greater things that I can ever imagine. And I believe she will, because her Father and I refuse to stand in her way... because it's not about us.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way she should go; and even when she is old she will not depart from it.

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