I invited Jessi Jacobson to contribute to our blog. What follows is her story of co-parenting.
When asked if I would be interested in contributing a blog post about co-parenting, I was pumped! I am the best co-parent-er in the history of co-parents. I will have SO much to say! People will LOVE it!!!…then I sat down to write, and was rather stumped. Although other aspects of my story are quite unbelievable, our co-parenting story is enviously boring. Interesting maybe, admirable yes, but very undramatic. As I sit here in front of my laptop, I wonder…perhaps I should just blow this off. I realize though, that from this angle, my story should be uneventful, no script-writers chasing me down looking for rights to this story. Hopefully, others might be inspired by my boring.
Divorce is challenging no matter the circumstances. There are multiple people involved, all with high emotion, creating many opportunities for fighting, competition, and revenge. On the flip side, you have the choice to look for the good, to choose respect, to choose kindness. Adding children into the mix makes that choice all the more important.
My ex-husband and I have officially been divorced one year, finalizing just two days shy of our seventeenth wedding anniversary. Divorce was never on my agenda, I was married to my best friend, and people were envious of our relationship. We were together since high school. Unfortunately, things shift, people change and grow, and our ultimate split was inevitable. Adding to the stress and sadness of it, was the fact that during those almost seventeen years, we created three amazing children.
Though we did end up just another divorce statistic, we are unusual, and our situation unique. We hold love and respect for each other, even while living apart. We put our children first, and continue to be a (larger) family. Our children now have four parents, an added sibling, and countless extended family who love them more than anything.
The process of divorcing, splitting a household, setting a custody schedule, and continuing with everyday life is overwhelming for all involved. I’m of course not saying that every moment of this transition was roses, but I am incredibly proud of our ability to remain friends through all the hurt, the tears, the sleepless nights, the splitting of property, and the period of adjustment for the kids.
Our best tactic for the latter was open communication. Countless Facetime calls were made during those first few months. You miss daddy today? Let’s give him a call. The hardest part for sure was having the children split their time with us. My initial thought was to do every other week. I knew others who did this, and it looked nice on my calendar. My ex, however, was quickly able to put that in perspective for me. He flat out stated that he did not want to be away from them for that many days in a row. I couldn’t argue that one. Our youngest was only three when I moved out, still changing so much so quickly. And so we settled on a rotation of two days, two days, three days. It gets a bit hectic at times, but it works for us.
Even easier than figuring out our custody, was all the other “stuff.” It was not even a question that all other issues concerning the children would be 50/50. This included all decisions and expenses, including medical, sports, school, etc.
Within our unique situation, I was quick to remarry (another story for another day). When we first told the children, their first response was, “Will daddy be there?” And of course, he was. I’m not sure that I have ever been to a wedding where an ex-spouse was on the guest list, let alone in attendance. He and his significant other spent the evening celebrating with us, showing our children that we are united no matter what. Before leaving at the end of the evening, they also made sure that we had a “family” picture, all eight of us.
It warms my heart to hear compliments from others on our ability to co-parent. I’m always uplifted when I feel respected by others. However, the BEST measurement of our ability to navigate this unsuspected twist in life is the smiles on our children’s faces, the hugs, the kisses, and the laughter. These kids FEEL loved, and that is really all that matters.
Do you have a co-parenting story to tell? We want to hear it!
What’s hard? What’s worked? What hasn’t? We want to feature your co-parenting stories on our blog.