Hey there, fellow co-parents! Embarking on the co-parenting journey after a divorce or separation can feel like heading out on a road trip without a map. As a professional who works with divorced moms daily to help navigate co-parenting, I’ve seen it all. I want to shed light on a common stumbling block: unrealistic expectations. Believe me, I get it. We often bring the same expectations from our married life into our co-parenting arrangements, which can lead to frustration and resentment. But fear not! We're about to dive into exploring three unrealistic co-parenting expectations to find out why it's time to leave those “instagram influencer” co-parenting fantasies behind.
Unrealistic Expectation #1: Instant Harmony and Picture-Perfect Blended Families
Okay, let's get real for a moment. We've all seen those movies where divorced parents flawlessly transition into being best friends, hosting blended family birthday parties, and dancing together at the children’s graduation parties. But guess what? Real life doesn't always work like that. If you've had a messy divorce or high-conflict separation, it's totally unrealistic to expect immediate harmony. Healing wounds, rebuilding trust, and establishing a new co-parenting dynamic takes time and effort. It might take years, and frankly, sometimes it won't happen at all. And that's life! Be patient, understanding, and lean into the support of professionals who can help you navigate this bumpy road.
Unrealistic Expectation #2: Continuing the intimate, physical relationship with your co-parent.
Ah, the lingering temptation to maintain a physical relationship with your ex. I understand—it's familiar, comfortable, and might even give you a temporary sense of security. But let's be honest here: sleeping with your ex after a divorce is messy and confusing, especially if the kids are wondering if their parents are getting back together. It's time to let go of the physical intimacy and familiarity that existed in your relationship and prioritize your emotional well-being by focusing on moving on. Setting clear boundaries and allowing yourself space to heal will do wonders for your personal growth and your ability to establish a healthy co-parenting relationship. Trust me, you deserve a fresh start, and so do your children.
Unrealistic Expectation #3: Keeping Roles That No Longer Serve You
Within the daily life of our marriage we naturally fall into specific roles and responsibilities. But guess what? Once the ink is dry on those divorce papers, it's time to rethink those roles. Wake up call for parents, the “default parent” is no longer obligated to be their ex's personal secretary, keeping them informed about every school event or packing clothes and snacks for visits. And additionally, the breadwinner is not obligated to support the same lifestyle they did during the marriage, beyond what the law requires. Each parent should be expected to step into their new role as a solo parent and embrace these new responsibilities as part of their new life after separation. Co-parenting is like running a business together—your focus should be on raising happy and healthy kids while living separate lives. It's time to redefine and renegotiate those roles for a fair and balanced co-parenting relationship.
So, my fellow co-parenting trailblazers, let's wrap this up. Unrealistic expectations can trip us up and hinder our co-parenting journey. Setting realistic co-parenting expectations helps to establish a strong foundation for a successful journey.
Remember, Healing takes time, intimacy with an ex is a roadblock to progress, and those old roles need to be redefined. Let's face co-parenting with patience, empathy, and a willingness to let go of those unrealistic expectations. Together, we can be more realistic, less disappointed and build healthier, more successful co-parenting dynamics that benefit everyone involved. With realistic expectations, open communication, and a shared focus on your children, you can navigate the co-parenting journey with grace and positivity.