This month's guest post features Ms. Demi Labelle! She is a mother, lover + writer. She is currently travelling the world, sharing her journey + other motherly things on her blog: www.demimotherland.com. From the moment I met Demi, I have been inspired by her passion to not only live life, but to fully experience the vibrancy of life! Demi is a dedicated member of the FTHC Tribe Lounge (come on in - we'd love to have you!) + offers her nuggets of wisdom whenever she can! I hope you enjoy this post. If you want to keep in touch with Demi, you can find her on IG @demilabelle + on TW @demimotherland. Ok enough of my chatting - Ms. Demi Labelle...
Let's be real here. Not everyone lives happily ever after. We all want that fairy tale romance, but the reality is that divorce + single parenting is more common in our society than ever before.
We rush into things too quickly + we give up even faster.
When you're married with children + divorce comes into the picture, you can't just give up. You have a responsibility to your children. This is why a lot of people "stay together for the kids" because it's "best" for them to be in a home with both parents. That's not true. The truth is that it's best for a child to be surrounded by love + positivity. If that means you guys need to break up + live in separate homes to raise the children together...do it + do it now!
I am sorry to be so blunt. I can't speak on divorce first hand + how hard it must be. I am a child of divorce + I watched my parents hold onto a relationship that died before it was even born. They thought they were doing what was best for me. They didn't realize they were doing the opposite. When you force yourself to stay with someone you no longer love, you end up exposing your children to a home filled with tension + lingering emptiness. You may think your kids can't tell you don't love each other, but believe me - kids pick up on a lot more than you would think. Let's just say, things would have been better for everyone if they were honest with other + said, "This relationship isn't working, but I want to figure out a way for us to both be involved with our children."
When I found out I was pregnant, I was faced with a different dilemma. Luckily for me, my son's father is actually an awesome guy + I am a single, co-parenting mother. We chose not to get married or even date for that matter, because our little boy was a blessing from above. Just because it happened does not mean that we need to force each other to be together. We decided to co-exist + do it together.
I know that Elijah's father loves + cares for him just as much as I do. I know that he wants to be involved + raise him to be the best person he can be. So it's up to me to let go of my ego, my pride + allow him to be a father to our son.
Having a father in a young boy's life is important. There are things that I cannot teach him when it comes to being a man. It is just as important for Elijah's father to be around for me as it is for him. I think that is why co-parenting has been working for us so far [for the most part]. We put Elijah's best interest first. We moved across the planet to Guatamala into our humble, new abode. We got a two bedroom apartment, a room for me + a room for him. One home, two separate lives + yes we know we are crazy. It has been four months + wow! I have learned A LOT about myself, about him + about the true definition of co-parenting + the true meaning of love. On four separate occasions, I had my bags packed + I was ready to fly back to Canada, live the common way + receive a check from my son's father considering his part of parenting. I kept letting my ego get in the way wanting the fairy-tale family life that I saw on television.
I chose to stay over + over...so did he...
Over the past four months, I have grown a love for my baby daddy in a way I didn't knkow was possible. It's not the kind of love in the movies. I don't lay up at night thinking about him, but I do love him. He gave me the world's most precious gift + I want what is best for him. If Elijah's father is thriving + functioning at his best, that means he can only give Eli exactly that, his best. With me stressing him out + giving him grief over things that don't even matter he isn't able to give my son what he deserves. I am learning to accept that he + I have different views when it comes to parenting. We will always have differences + that it will be a beneficial thing for our little boy instead of a burden.
Here are some simple tips by yours truly to rock at co-parenting + co-exist with your ex (or your baby daddy):
Remind yourself that your child needs BOTH parents. Neither one is more important than the other. The balance of the two parents is what's important. Communicate + agree that you are going to be team mates + raise your children together.
Embrace the beauty of your new modern family. You can't control every situation. You must understand that your child's father/mother is separate from you. They are going to have different ideas on what is best for your child. Let them parent how they want to + understand that whatever they are doing, although it may seem crazy to you, they are doing what they feel is best for the child.
Let go + be like water. Things don't always go according to plan. You must let go of what was + accept what is. Let go + learn to flow. You must learn to adapt + be willing to improve yourself to be the best co-parent you can be. There will be new challenges to handle + it is up to you to step up to the plate + handle them...together. just because you aren't together doesn't mean you can work together, because yes - co-parenting is work + you must commit to the job.
Always keep emotions out of the equation. Once the relationship has died, just let it be. Holding on to old emotions + trying to rekindle a love that has already died will just create more problems. Or if your situation is like mine, don't try to force a relationship, just focus on the child.
Communication is KEY. Just like it's important to communicate in a relationship. It is even more important to communicate as co-parents. Make an agreement that you are in this together. It is important to set the intention you want for this co-parenting relationship. Figure out a way that works for you two + if you can't - maybe look into parallel parenting.
Be willing to make sacrifices. Not only for your child, but for your ex as well. Just because you aren't together does not mean you cannot make the situation easier for one another. My son's father didn't want to live in Canada, so I came to a place he considers home to try + make things work.
Keep the parenting decisions between the two of you. It is fine to get advice + ideas from others, but when it comes down to the final decisions that concern the children - let that remain between the two of you. It is your opinions that really count.
Always love your child's co-creator. You didn't bring that beautiful ball of flesh into this world alone. Remind yourself that your relationship with each other will influence their view on relationships for the rest of his/her life. So even though your romantic relationship has sailed, it does not mean that you can't respect + love each other for the benefit of your child + your own sanity.