When T and I chatted, she was midway through her three hour drive to visit her beau, Rascal and me-time is one positive of a good co-parenting relationship with your ex. Without me-time, developing a new relationship would be very difficult. T said she was pleasantly surprised by her relationship with her ex.
There’s still some awkwardness. He’s very private and I’m not – I have a blog! He doesn’t really ask me too much about my personal life and we do have boundaries that we maintain. But I didn’t know what co-parenting was going to be like.
In the beginning, it was so frustrating for me because I had an idea of the type of father I wanted him to be and he wasn’t meeting any of that. It wasn’t until I let it go that I saw him really start to blossom into the father I wanted him to be.
I’m big on quotes and one that I read was, “Change doesn’t happen when you force it. It happens when you let it go.” I believe that.
I’m very type A and after we’d separated, every time the girls were going to him, I’d make sure he have everything he needed. Well, I think I was sick one time and I forgot to pack several things. He called me and said, ‘You didn’t pack this and you didn’t pack that,’ and I was very upset with myself. Then he said, ‘Don’t worry. I went to Walmart and got everything I needed.’
I thought, ‘Wow. Look at that. He actually took the ball and ran with it and I didn’t have to do it for him.’
Then he started to feel more confident in his abilities and thought, ‘I can handle this, I can handle being a dad and I can handle the kids by myself.’
I was scary because I didn’t know if he was going to run with the ball or not. You don’t know until you let go and that’s the scary part – letting go.
I think somewhere in there I learned to respect him more for the dad that he was and he respected me more for the way I treated him and our children. There’s something about that respect that was very surprising and wonderful and think that’s why we’re able to get along as well as we do.
I was the same as T at first, even though my children are older. I would be making sure they had everything they needed for the weekend packed and ready to go, hovering over them. Now, the burden is firmly with them – I think it’s all part of building organizational skills. It is however a rare weekend that I don’t see them from Friday evening to Sunday evening – they’re usually back here at least once. And in my case, it is the kids who’ve really stepped up – my ex was never organized and still isn’t. But like T said, I can’t change that and the kids seem to accept that far better than I ever did. These days it seems to matter less.
T blogs about her journey of self-discovery over at Quest for T and there’s usually a quote at the end of each of her posts. You can follow her on Twitter @TsQuest.