Friday, September 4, 2015

How To Co-Parent and What My Days Without London Are Like

The hardest part about sharing custody are the moments when London isn't with me. Of course, I wonder what he's doing and if he wonders where I am. I have no doubt he is loved and happy and safe. His dad is great with him. He doesn't hesitate when London asks him to fly him around "like Buzz Lightyear" for the 20th time or when he wants to play another game of hockey. He loves him like I do. 

I know he's where he is supposed to be; But, I am lost when he's not with me.

I stay late at work because I can't bear to face an empty house. A home where there's no rushing around to get us both fed. A home where I'm not tripping over his toys. A home that isn't a home when London isn't here.

I come home from work and wander around the house. Some days I'm not even sure what to do with myself so I just stand in the entrance way almost afraid to go inside and face the silence.

I set my table for one and sit there wishing for someone to talk to. A little boy who will tell me about his adventures at daycare and who begs me to let him watch "just one more Dora please mommy."
After supper, I still don't know what to do with myself. I want to call someone but I don't know who. I've already spoken to my mom, throughout the day, and my friends are busy with their lives. They have little mouths to feed, wiggly bodies to get into the bath and backs to rub as they read the same bedtime story over and over again.

The silence is my house is overwhelming.

I wait for my nightly FaceTime call from London. It's the best part of my day although sometimes it only lasts a few minutes. As he giggles into the phone I think I would do anything to hear that laugh beside me.

I look at the calendar on my fridge and count the nights until the next highlighted square. The number of nights I have to go through the motions before London is back in my arms and everything feels right again.

I cry myself to sleep.

Co-parenting is hard. 

BUT, I'm lucky to have a great co-parenting relationship with London's Daddy. Of course, there are tough moments but there are ways to make it easier. 

I'm not an expert but I wanted to share with you how Jarod and I make it work. I've received a lot of questions, and comments, about our partnership and I feel like maybe it could help someone else going through a similar situation. 

How To Make Co-Parenting Easier:

1. Consider you and your child(ren)s' other parent a business partner. Leave the emotion out of it and focus on what's best for your "investment."

2. Have important conversations in private. Don't let your child(ren) over hear any serious conversations. For example, if you are arguing over who is going to pay their hockey fees, and they hear you, they may have some guilt and blame themselves for your divorce.

3. Put them first. No matter what. Get rid of your ego, forget about what happened in the past, how you feel about each other and focus on your child(ren.)

4. Involve each other. Spend time as a family. Let them see you get along. When you aren't together encourage phone/Skype dates. Also, talk about the other parent when they're not there "you'll have to show daddy the craft you did at school. He'll love it." That also includes talking about their family (grandparents, aunts, uncles etc.) it's important they know how many people love and care for them and that hasn't changed. 

5. Let your child be a kid. This sort of encompasses everything but don't talk to your child like a friend. They don't need to see you upset, angry or frustrated. They should never be pushed for information about the other parent. Yes, have open and honest conversations but be mindful of what you're saying. 

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