When I first started dating my husband, he insisted that I had to meet his ex-wife and her husband so they could “approve” of me. I thought he was joking; turns out, he was very serious. Not only do they co-parent cordially, but they are actually friends. This dynamic had worked for the six years before I came into the picture, and it was important to my husband that I was not going to bring drama or negativity into a peaceful situation. I was instantly intrigued by their dynamic.
Previously, the only co-parenting situations I had observed were strained, if not downright ugly. I watched as people close to me fought over parenting time, holidays, house rules, and every other tiny excuse possible. Seeing the difference between that and co-parenting peacefully made me instantly respect my husband, his ex-wife, and her husband.
The night I met them, we went out without any of the kids. We spent the night dancing, talking, laughing, and getting to know each other. It was one of many times we’ve all gone out together as friends.
I cannot stress enough how amazing it has been to be friends with them. Our oldest daughter has grown up knowing that she doesn’t have to split the important moments between parents. All of our combined six kids adore each other and we love spending time together. People have tried to convince us that this situation is “wrong” or “weird,” but we know that it actually strongly benefits both families.
It makes me appreciate my husband so much more to know that he set aside the issues that caused them to separate. “It’s in the past,” he always says. I have seen others in similar situations who cannot set aside their pride long enough to do what is best for their kids. I do not blame them; it is nearly an impossible act to forgive someone you once loved who deeply wronged or hurt you. But as parents, we are supposed to sacrifice for our kids, and for many divorced or separated parents, that should include forgiving someone for past transgressions.
Being friends while co-parenting has allowed us to maintain a constant and open dialogue between all four of us. Everything is discussed between parents; there are no secrets, and any parenting disagreements are discussed cordially.
Co-parenting is still hard. Having to split time between two families is never easy for a child. Naturally, we are not perfect, and co-parenting offers its own set of challenges. But it is so much easier knowing that the other set of parents is working with you, not against you.
It is damaging for kids to grow up seeing parents be hostile towards each other. We choose friendly co-parenting so that our daughter can grow up in a happy, peaceful environment and she can have the healthiest childhood we can provide.
About the Author
Kenzie Grace is a stay at home mom to three crazies and wife to a hard-working, God-loving man. She hopes that her imperfect journey, chronicled on her new blog Eggy and the Jet, is relatable to other moms and dads who may be going through similar triumphs and struggles. Kenzie is surviving parenthood one temper tantrum and stinky diaper at a time through the grace of God and coffee. Born in Arizona and raised in California, she now raises her beautiful family in Texas. Follow along on her blog and Facebook.