Finding the Silver Lining in Co-Parenting
This is a guest post by writer and blogger, Carolyn Laba from Carolyn Laba, about the silver linings she has found in co-parenting.
I didn’t become a parent to only see my child half the time. I didn’t ask to be a sometimes-mom. I gave birth to my son to love and hug him daily and raise him the best I could. I certainly never imagined that when he was only two years old, I would have MY child taken from me 50% of the time.
After my relationship unexpectedly ended, even in the midst of the shock and sorrow, I knew that all of these decisions would be harder now. All of the big parenting/disciplinary/life decisions for my child would become twice as complicated. I was terrified. I was angry. And yet, I managed to calm myself, and asked:
What is the best thing for my son?
The toughest thing for me to admit was that, even at the precious age of two, my son’s life was HIS, not mine. It is only my job to guide him through. He wasn’t taken from me – he never belonged to me in the first place. And the best thing for him was to spend his time equally with both of his parents.
Over the past five years, I have adjusted to sharing my son with his dad. It isn’t always easy, so I hold on to the small benefits I have discovered in co-parenting.
5 Surprising Perks to Co-Parenting
1. I am not a single parent
I know many parents who are truly single parents. They get little or no help from their child’s other parent, and have to walk the minefield of parenting alone. I not only have my son’s father actively in his life, but I have remarried. I have more help in raising my son now than I would have had if my first relationship lasted.
2. We get a break from each other
Ages, stages and phases – some are great, and some cause you to question your sanity. Well, on those tough days when I can’t listen to the non-stop questions or handle the defiance any longer, knowing that we get a break from one another is a blessing. We all get a chance to recharge, and welcome each other, refreshed.
3. He has more family to love him
My son now has 3 Grandmas and 3 Grandpas, and also his dad’s girlfriend’s extended family (yes, it gets complicated!). That means extra aunts, uncles and cousins, too. Since he doesn’t have any cousins on my side of the family, I’m grateful he does on his dad’s side. With so much support and love, I know my son is going to be alright.
4. I enjoyed one-on-one time with my new baby
When my son was three, I gave birth to my second son. With the second child, most parents don’t get leisurely bonding time with the new baby, never mind catching up on sleep during the day! When my eldest was with his dad, I took full advantage, and napped and cuddled the new baby like mad.
5. Sharing The Bad Stuff
Stomach flu? Pro-D days? New shoes because he grew again? We share all of that awful parenting/adulthood stuff. The last time my son had the stomach flu, it was on his dad’s day! Sure, I would have liked to make my child feel better, and I hated he was suffering… but… I didn’t have to clean up the mess! Happy Dance! We also share the bigger costs, like sports fees, and help each other cover childcare for Pro-D days. Thank goodness, because parenting is expensive, gross, and inconvenient.
Co-parenting takes a lot of patience and cooperation – not something always associated with exes. And trust me, I am not friends with my ex. We just manage to meet in the middle when it comes to our child, because we can at least agree that he comes first.
About Carolyn Laba
Carolyn Laba is a working, full-time mom to two boys (even if one of them only lives with her half the time). She lives on the West Coast of British Columbia, and wouldn’t trade the ocean and mountains for anything.She blogs at www.thefresh.ca, and writes at www.carolynlaba.com.