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When You Share Your Child(ren)

Updated on July 18, 2013

The Sarcastic Truth

The shirt says it all.
The shirt says it all.

When Parents Separate

"When a mommy loves a daddy, a child appears." Remember hearing that? Those seemed like simpler days. I for one, never really considered the idea of having children. A doctor once told me to accept that I would never have kids at a young age. So imagine my shock when an "oops" happened at 18 that changed my life. For the better, of course. It straightened me out, and made me re-evaluate life, including whether or not I should go to college after all. Naturally, shortly after the birth of our child, the father and I broke up. We were young. As much as I anticipated a wedding, I wasn't silly enough to think I actually wanted to marry him. I just thought I was supposed to. Then, it was me and my oldest son.

I feared I wouldn't meet someone after that though. What person my age would date a girl with a kid? I was damaged goods, I expected to live my life alone with my son. I was okay with that, only I was lucky enough where that wasn't the case. In a few months after, I started dating my now husband. He was a constant in my son's life, the first word he spoke was "dada" to him. It wasn't his fault; he just spent more time with my now husband. My husband stepped into a mostly vacant daddy role, and loved every second of it. In the early days, my son rarely saw his father. His father doesn't pay us money, and my husband prefers it that was as he was a child of separated parents that fought over money all the time. This whole scenario was new to me, but my husband lived a similar one. His father was as active in his life as a divorced parent with shared custody who didn't get along with the ex-wife could. It was the textbook scenario: a bad one.

My son would frequent his father's mother's house. I didn't feel she shouldn't see her only grandchild because her son and I broke up. I still have a good relationship with her, and it was important that, if nothing else, he knew his paternal family. His uncle and I were also friends for a long while. There was nothing beneficial to our son by preventing him from knowing his other family. The number one person in all of this was our son, and he's still the most important when dealing with each other. As a result, our child is none-the-wiser to everything. He just knows that he goes over there sometimes and spends a weekend.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was overjoyed since it was something my husband and I wanted. I, for a brief moment, worried that this child would be more important since it was "his"child. I was wrong, my husband loves my son as if he were his own biological child. We have a blended family. My husband walked into what Gabriel Iglesias calls "a premade family". We are all his family, He stepped into a role, and loved every second of it. He was made to be a father. We miss our son on when he's on his weekends at his Grammy's, and admittedly are at a loss of what to do with ourselves.

Family isn't all about a blood relation. I know some very happy families that are joined together with each parent having a child or only one having a child, and they raise the children together. Biology makes a child; love raises that child. Adoptive parents love their children as much as I love my biological ones. Whenever you're in that situation, the most important thing is your child. Sometimes it's healthier for your child to have the parents not be together, because the arguing and misery is more harmful to your child than being raised by single parents. The children are the most important people in these situations. They should be anyways. And I repeat this statement because it needs it: despite what people say, sometimes ending it is better for your children then letting them live in a miserable household. Listening to arguing all the time is terrible for your children's emotional well-being, as well as sets them up for thinking it's something normal in their life for their future relationships. We should know by now that our actions have a big impact on our children, it's our choice whether to make it a negative or a positive one.

So true.

The shirt as my main picture says it all. The truth is sometimes an accident happens while you're with someone. Sometimes that accident wasn't so much an accident as a "who needs protection anyways". Whatever the case may be, you're in a complicated situation. Do you stay with this person just because they are the father of your child? Society says yes, but what do I do?

Like I said before, you being miserable is nothing but harmful to your child. Society might say that you have to be with that person just because you're bound by a child. I say no. I say that you shouldn't feel the need to marry someone that makes you unhappy, that mistreats you or your child, or is a terrible person just because you have a child. Sometimes loving your child means to strike out on your own, no matter how scary that prospect is. It's the best thing for your child, and for your. A happy mother is a great mother. Plus, imagine the strength you are showing, telling your children that you don't have to settle for a miserable situation.

The Knight and his Lady?

They kind of look alike though... right?
They kind of look alike though... right?

Tips to Successful Co-Parenting

Separation of a family is never an ideal situation. But like every less than ideal situation, you need to make the most of it. Letting it get you down doesn't help anything. So here are tips that I've found that makes it easier.

  • If you have nothing nice to say, don't say it at all. This is the most important rule. If you want to be a team and do this successfully, you don't want to belittle the other person any more than you want them to belittle you. Your children will repeat whatever you say about the other parent, and they will think less of the parent as well. Just because you may or may not like your ex, doesn't mean your child shouldn't love their parent. If you have something unkind you need to say, say it when your child isn't around. If you're kind, and your ex isn't, then you can get bonus points that your children think you're the better person.
  • Don't feed into your anger. Weekends go by without your ex seeing your child? Ignore it. If your children don't mention it, don't think about it. Unfortunately, it's their choice how much they want to be in their children's lives. If they want to miss it, let them miss it and don't explain to your child unless they ask. I just live my life with my children, and if the ex forgets, why should I care? Eventually your children will be old enough to understand.
  • Work out the holidays before they happen. The minute a holiday happens and you're just now fighting over the day, bad things happen. You'll ruin your holiday, you'll ruin your ex's holiday, and most importantly you'll ruin your child's. Before Thanksgiving, my ex and I work out the holiday plans. It's compromise that will make this easier. That will make being separated from your child a little more calming.
  • No fight is worth it. Especially in front of your children. Arguments that can lead to belittling each other does more harm than good. Never ever say in said fight, "you don't love your child". That is the worst possible thing you could say. Children feed of this negativity.
  • You had enough of a connection to make the child.... Sometimes you have to be in the same place at the same time as your ex. Whatever situation you find yourself in with your ex, be pleasant. You were kind enough to each other before you created that child, there must be something there that you can remember in the better times. You need to suck it up and play nice with your ex. Show your child and the other people around that it's possible to do this. Bonus points? It shows your child that in life, sometimes you have to get along with people you don't like for the greater good.
  • Finally, be the adults. All too often, the children end up being the adults in this situation. Don't let that happen to you. You and your ex are adults, you should act like it no matter how hard it seems to be.


How do you handle co-parenting?

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