I’ve been co-parenting my youngest daughter for almost five years now, and the experience has been a real eye opener. I was a single mother who was raised by a single mother, so accepting help from my daughter’s father was hard at first. I fought that man every way that I could, until I realized that him wanting to be a parent was a good thing. It took A LOT of prayer from our mothers, a couple of sit downs, and maturity for us to make our co-parenting situation work. Baby girl is four now, and her father and I have both grown from this experience. Here are a few lessons about co-parenting that I’ve learned through trial and error.
- Remember that it’s not about you, it’s about the child.
So what, if things didn’t work out between you two. You created a child together, so raise that child together. Tap into whatever it was that got you here and put your differences aside.
- Keep your body parts to yourselves.
Whewwww . . . It took two years for me to figure this one out. Having sex while you’re trying to build a healthy co-parenting relationship can make things messier than they have to be. Boundaries get crossed, lines get blurred, and an already complicated situation gets more complicated. It’s best to just keep your clothes on and your mind clear, when trying to co-parent.
- Come up with a schedule.
Sit down and come up with a parenting schedule that works for the both of you. Be open and willing to compromise. It’s important for children to have stability, so be consistent with whatever you two decide.
- Keep conversations short and strictly about the child.
If you can’t get along, it’s best to keep conversations short. Too many words being exchanged makes it easier for something to be misconstrued and “ain’t nobody got time for that.”
- Don’t use your children has pawns.
There is nothing more childish than using your child to get back at the other parent. I’ve seen men and women do this, and all it does is confuse the child in the end. You can help your child avoid years of therapy, by solving your issues verbally and like adults.
- Learn how to pick your battles.
Before you react, ask yourself if it’s really worth it. Things won’t always be skittles and rainbows. As co-parents, you’re going to disagree. It’s important to find common ground and do whatever is best for the child. Not everything requires a reaction. Sometimes it’s best to just be quiet and let it be what it is.
- Keep your issues off of social media.
We live in a time where it’s not uncommon to see someone bashing their baby’s mother/father online. Social media has made it easy to vent your frustrations out for the whole world to see. Before you post, think about how your child would feel if they were to read your comments.
- Know your rights.
I prefer to keep things outside of the courthouse, but it’s important to know your parental rights just case. It takes two people to make a child and by law, those two people share responsibility for said child. Now, there are exceptions to the rule. That is why it is so important to do your research before and after having kids.
- Create similar house rules.
Once you have your schedule ready, it’s important to go over household rules. Children need stability. Having similar household rules can help make the transition from home to home as smooth as possible.
- Enjoy your time off.
Being a parent is a full time job. While your child is with their other parent, relax. Take some time to take care of yourself. It’s the perfect time to clean, shop, or SLEEP. Use the time apart to get yourself back to 100%.
Even with tips, there is no perfect way to parent or co-parent. It’s all a learning process. At the end of the day, the goal is to raise a happy, healthy, and loving child to be the best version of themselves.