Since writing an article on the 5 Parenting Lessons I Did Not Learn from My Mother, I learned another lesson that I want to share with you: Co-parenting is much harder than it looks!
My mom was a single parent–as in the only parent. My dad lives in Greensboro, NC and I would go and visit him once and a while but for the most part he was not a part of my life growing up (a gap we have successfully bridged since I became an adult). So, my mom did not have to deal with my dad’s opinions, thoughts, or concerns. She was able to parent me any way she chose–to include disciplining, advising, and nurturing. There was no second opinion or other person to tell her she couldn’t do things the way she wanted.
Thus bringing me to lesson 6: Having to involve, consult with, and consider the other parent is hard work. It brings a whole other set of issues in terms of disagreements on how to proceed on certain issues (i.e. when my older son said he no longer wanted to play football, I said ok. His dad said that’s nice, and enrolled him anyway) and how to handle disciplining (i.e. He’ll tell them no TV, no video games, etc. and I am left to enforce his will whether I agree with it or not). The kids live with me and I tend to take a possession is 9/10 of the law approach–which I do acknowledge is not the best way to handle it–but it is difficult for me to balance this co-parenting act when I don’t always agree with his decisions. I just try to keep the lines of communication open and keep our parental spats between us (can’t let the kids see any dividing lines). At the end of the day, it’s something I know I have to do (keep their father informed) so I just try to find the best way to make it work.
I want to hear from you!
Do you have any tips for making a co-parenting arrangement work? Please leave me a comment below and let’s have a discussion.