Co-Parenting is Tough Stuff

parenting, Relationships, Uncategorized, Your Ex

If you’re a single parent, whether divorced or never married, you will find yourself dealing with a myriad of issues that weren’t part of your dream of having children.

On top of implementing new routines and schedules to fit your new family dynamics, you still have to go to work everyday, get the kids to/from school, and handle running the household without assistance from your former partner.

In addition to all those daily changes, you are also dealing with other issues like paternity tests, divorce paperwork, child support, visitation schedules, missed visit disappointment, along with issues that either of you finding new partners brings for everyone. The list seems to go on forever.

As soon as you feel you may have resolved or conquered one issue, the next one rears its ugly head and the roller coaster begins again. But for the sake of your children and their emotional well-being, life must go on. And it is ultimately up to the adults to make sure that happens when there are minor children involved.

Children from single parent families need reassurance that things will be okay and they need some kind of stability above all else to heal. So how do you achieve stability for your child in a way that acknowledges and sustains the bond children should have with both of their parents and doesn’t compromise your dignity?

Co-parenting is made more difficult if you are dealing with a former spouse or partner who isn’t willing/able to remain in their child’s life on a daily or at least a regular basis. Trying to co-parent effectively can be fraught with emotional wounds between the parents that still need to heal. So how do you make sure that the emotional wounds or possibly unpredictable actions of the other parent don’t interfere with what’s best for your children?

Control, Communication, and Compromise are the three C’s that will help you get through whatever issues you have to deal with from the point of your single status forward. Control your emotions, communicate the needs of your children, and compromise with the other parent to make sure their needs are met.

It’s a tough journey, it takes maturity, and it requires the ability to put your pride and ego in the backseat. You must do your best to give respect while requiring it from the other parent as well. You won’t always do it perfectly and there will be times when your resentment and anger get the best of you.

How do reassure your children that things will be okay when you really aren’t even sure yourself what’s ahead of you?

Have confidence in your ability to provide a life for your children no matter what happens. If you commit to doing whatever it takes to make sure that things are “okay”, then you can confidently project that aura to your children. It’s okay for them to see you frustrated, angry, confused, or sad. The key is to make sure that you role model for your children the appropriate way to deal with and resolve those feelings.

Just as children are different from one another, relationships between parents who have separated, can really vary. What might be an issue for you and your former partner could be a total non-issue for another divorcing couple. While there could be no one set of instructions as to how to co-parent perfectly with your former spouse or partner, there are some basic rules to follow.

  • Do not bash your child’s other parent. It’s okay to vent your feelings of frustration or anger to another adult. It’s especially crucial to avoid doing this in front of the children.
  • It becomes very important to separate your emotions and relationship with your former partner from the relationship between the children and their other parent. You may need to seek therapy or counseling to identify and separate these emotions and issues so you can make decisions solely based on what’s best for your child’s needs at the time.
  • Although it’s natural to want to shield your child from disappointments and you want to avoid speaking negatively about your ex, sometimes it’s better to just give honest answers (without blaming the other parent) so children can begin to accept what’s happening and start the healing process also.

Here’s a great co-parenting guide with some more helpful information>>>>https://www.custodyxchange.com/guides/co-parenting/

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An Appeal from One Woman to Another-Be the Voice of Reason!

civil rights, parenting, politics

As a woman, a mother, stepmom, and a grandmother I would like to appeal to all women everywhere. It’s time that each of us step up as the voice of reason within our own families and circle of friends. Our husbands, boyfriends, brothers, nephews, our sons and stepsons, grandsons, and great grandsons are killing and are being killed in alarming numbers.

There is fault on all sides and I’m not going to debate that here.

I’m appealing to each and every woman in America, and all over the world to step forward and be the change I know that each of you want to see in our world.

There is no longer a reason to fear the war overseas for the war has already begun and it’s right in our own neighborhoods. If you want to help ensure that your loved ones regardless of their skin color, sexual orientation, or political affiliation come home safely, there is one thing you can do that will make a difference if we ALL STAND TOGETHER.

Talk to your family! Sit down with your family, those people who are dear to you, the people you love so completely, the children and friends that you would cry for if they were to be caught up and killed in this war that has begun in our country.

Talk to them about the importance of forgiveness, love, and peace. Talk to them about why it’s so important to you that they choose to turn the other cheek when situations arise in this world that give rise to anger and hatred. This is not to say there are not people in this world who already advocate peace because of course there are. But as women we know that many of us, many of our family and friends are quick to anger, quick to step up to defend and protect, quick to spread hate and gossip rather than “talk”.

It is way past TIME my human sisters. The turning point is here for our country. The point where we will either continue to spread hatred and condone killing based on fear and anger or we will say enough is enough.

We as women must stand together as wives, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, nieces, sisters. We must stand together and encourage, nay we must plead on hands and knees if need be, for our families, and especially our men and sons to stand with us AGAINST all of the violence and hatred that is threatening to consume this world.

We cannot begin to make change in our neighborhoods or the world until we make changes in our own families.

We as women have stood united in the past and won on many fronts. I beg of you my human sisters, be the peacemakers and the voice of reason within your own family and friends. If we stand united in just this ONE TASK, We can reach everyone and turn the tide to save the lives of our loved ones.

Mark Zuckerberg, I’m happy for you. I’m sad for our nation’s families.

parenting, Uncategorized

I think it’s great Facebook is so generous to its employees, I really do. But this hits a nerve for me and I’m sure for many others.

For most Americans who live in the real world and yes, that means they live paycheck to paycheck, maternity leave is NOT something pleasant or a time of joy. It means a missed paycheck, maybe more than one. It means lean times all the way around as you figure out how to pay bills and rent and finance things a new baby needs or your recovering body needs, on even LESS income than you had before.

I’ve raised four children alone. There was no “PAID” time off available for any of them. In some cases I wasn’t even sure I would still have a job when my body recovered and I returned. I worked up until the day I went into labor with all of them, except my 4th because extreme stress took it’s toll and landed me in the hospital and then on doctor ordered bed rest 3 weeks before she arrived.

I can’t even tell you the financial burden that incurred–because again–no PAID time off. With all but my first child (I was 18), I was back to work in 2 weeks or less because I couldn’t “afford” to stay home. Not to mention the pain and guilt involved with having to leave your newborn all day, five days a week, in the care of someone other than you. And the added guilt of knowing they will basically be raised in daycare because if you don’t go to work all day, every day, then there is no money for anything let alone all those things that as a mother you want your child to have and experience. You come to dread basketball signup sheets, fundraiser packets, picture day, field trips, all of it because it just means MORE money that you have to figure out how to come up with from somewhere, someway, somehow. And most can’t count on child support to help at all because unless they were impregnated by someone in the 1%, it’s virtually impossible to receive it on a regular basis, without the help of an attorney, which you can’t afford. If you do get receive it, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the expense of raising children and comes very sporadically or coupled with an ex who is angry about giving you money and so thinks they can complain about how much they pay to everyone they know and/or question you about where “their child support” goes.

So I think it’s great Mr. Zuckerberg and his wife have the luxury to stay home with their newborn. Their child is extremely lucky. I think it’s great that they have such a great plan available for their employees because those children will benefit greatly.

I think it’s just extremely sad that we allow so many other companies to get away without providing such a needed benefit….we know it makes better families, we know it makes better employees, we know that leads to happier communities and yet—I don’t see any boycotts of companies that don’t give their employees PAID maternity or paternity leave.

We have more families than ever breaking apart early in a child’s life. We have fathers killing their children and/or the mothers. We have mothers killing children. We have children killing each other and children killing themselves.

And yet we just shake our heads, post how sorry we are or how tragic it is.

Or worse, we take the easy way out, and we blame the parents when issues in families become overwhelming. When the continuous rat race becomes unbearable. When parents and their attention deprived children just suddenly snap and make news headlines. That’s when we care but only until the next one comes along.

So WHEN are we as a society and a nation going to insist that employers recognize the importance and value of spending quality time with our families? I think we’ve failed as a country hugely in this regard.

I think I’ll be doing some research about companies without such liberal PAID parental leave policies.

When I have the list, I’ll pass it along. You can decide for yourself whether to stand aside or stand up for families!

In a post to his millions of followers, Mark Zuckerberg announces his plan to take two months of paternal leave after his baby is born.
SCARYMOMMY.COM

Say What You Mean and Do What You Say

parenting, postaday2011, Relationships

Trust is one of those things that takes a very long time to build and yet can be wiped out in an instant.   In some relationships, trust is eroded gradually but other times, a major act of betrayal or dishonesty can virtually destroy trust overnight causing sometimes irreparable damage.

Trust is important in every relationship we are involved in including personal relationships with family, friends, children or spouses as well as professional relationships with clients, professors, colleagues, partners and employers.

One way to strengthen and rebuild trust in any relationship is to practice being consistent and honest.  Think carefully before you promise something so that you can say what you mean and then do what you say.  This practice is a good one to implement for both personal and business relationships.  Little things can often build trust, for instance if you say you’ll take the garbage out in the morning, make sure you do it.  If you tell your child you will be there for their birthday, make sure you’re there.  This is especially important for parents because a child’s ability to trust is being developed by how trustworthy they view the adults in their life.

Trust plays an important role in work teams also because if you say you’ll be at a meeting, your employer counts on you to be there.  When you tell co-workers or group members you’ll finish a portion of a project, make sure it gets done or at least you give them a heads up if it won’t be ready on time.  Your reputation is on the line every time you swear by a product because a client or customer trusts you to help them make an informed decision.

Big things like infidelity, lying, dishonesty or theft can destroy trust virtually overnight but often it’s the little things we do everyday that can quietly eat away at the trust in a relationship unnoticed until there is nothing left.

Be mindful of how trustful you are to the people who are important in your life.  Are you giving them reasons to trust you more?  Or less?  Make sure your daily behaviors are in line with your promises and you’ll reap the rewards of developing trusting relationships.

The Town I Grew Up In

parenting, postaday2011, Relationships

As I think back on the town I grew up in, I realize that it was, at least to my childhood memory, just about perfect.

We lived in a three bedroom mobile home trailer which inside was a rather tight space for our family however the trailer was on its own piece of property in a neighborhood.  This meant we actually had a front yard, back yard and a huge side yard.  My paternal grandparents lived behind us so of course we had access to all of that space as well.

Our town was small back then, though I couldn’t tell you the exact population.  I just know that to me it felt like I knew almost everyone and if I didn’t my parents or grandparents certainly did.  I knew every family on my street to be sure, all the way to the lake which was at the far end, probably sixteen blocks or so at least.

If I was hurt or in trouble anywhere on the street, I could safely go knock on the nearest door and ask for help, even if it was something as simple as using the restroom.

I could probably still give you the names of those families and some of them I’ve been in touch with in recent years.  Several of those families were present at my grandparents’ funerals.

Most kids in the neighborhood were on a first name basis with the family who owned the corner store and the gas station at the end of the street as well.  If it was your birthday you could be sure that whatever you bought in the store that day would be “on the house” because the owner somehow just knew it was your special day.

When it rained really hard and fast, the big treat of the day was to put on a bathing suit and tramp and swim in the ditches on the side of the road.  Now wait parents cause I can hear you screaming at this.  As a parent today I would freak out if I saw children swimming in a ditch because of dangers from traffic, glass, trash, bacteria, etc. but we did it repeatedly every summer until I was about twelve and here I am.  It wasn’t just a different time back then, it truly was a completely different world.

We headed outside right after school during the week, would race home for dinner and then go back outside.  The primary rule in good weather was “be home before it gets dark.”  Weekend mornings there was an unwritten rule which kept us inside until after morning cartoons (about 11am usually) but then we’d be off to meet up with friends.  This gave us plenty of time to ride bikes, climb trees and whatever else our young minds could devise.  Many times on weekends, our house was the place everyone headed for just before dark, with permission first from parents of course to stay out later, and there were games of flashlight tag, ghost in the graveyard and hide and seek.

To say I was in a gang probably would be overdoing it, but our street had a core group of kids that were just about inseparable with a few others thrown in here and there.  Sometimes we’d be joined by an occasional younger sibling at the “request” of our parents.  We setup a kool-aid stand in our big side yard and cars would stop and no one thought anything of it then.  Course we drank up a lot of the inventory too on hot days.  Several of us had pairs of tall stilts made from 2×2’s and we’d hold a circus event or stilt races in the side yard.

But what I remember most about the town where I grew up is that everyone knew everyone else.  We had to behave most of the time because the whole neighborhood was full of eyes.  If a neighbor saw us doing something we shouldn’t be doing, they’d quickly come out, give us a lecture and send us home.  By the time we got home, at least one parent would be waiting on the doorstep because “Mrs. Smith” called each house to let them know what had gone on.

Maybe that’s why kids are in so much trouble today.  Neighbors not only don’t know one another but they are actually afraid to get involved in any way even verbally.  So the next time another parent or a neighbor approaches you about something your child did wrong, think about the intent behind their actions.  Even if they didn’t handle the situation in the same way you might have, be appreciative that they cared enough about your child to step in and to notify you so you could be more aware of your child’s world.

When the community stands together in raising children, it can create a much more effective and nurturing environment for everyone.  Let’s get back to that world again.  I know it can be done if enough people care.