When people ask what achievement am I most proud of in my life, without hesitation I say the relationship I’ve created with the father of my children.
Our kids are 7 and 9. We have been divorced 7 years. You can do the math.
But co-parenting isn’t just for divorced people. I use it to describe anyone who has a partner, spouse, grandparent or child-care provider that in some way affects the raising of your child. Some of these relationships are easier than others, but because of the strong emotions attached to our children, anytime more than one human is involved in the sacred act of child-rearing, the environment is ripe with land mines, high speed railroad crossings and sometime land-fills where we intend to bury those who cross our path.
Of course I am proud of my kids, but the relationship their father and I have created since our divorce required me to dismantle every ounce of my pride, my self-righteousness, my ego, my hurt—all of it—because my commitment to my kids having an extraordinary life was the most compelling and motivating future I have ever had.
It was simple, but it wasn’t easy.
We both went through a lot of conversations with other people, sorting out all of the emotions and upset until we could even consider creating a new relationship together. When we had finally cried, yelled, talked it all out and gotten to a place of completeness, we created a new partnership together as parents.
We created a 300-year future for our partnership, one where our great-great-great-grandchildren will experience a better life because of what we created together.
Creating a 300-year future took our ego and anything personal out of the whole thing. It was no longer about us.
We’ve divvied up our responsibilities and committed ourselves to our new and modern family unit in a way that leaves people perplexed. We respect one another’s personal lives, and we are full partners in parenting. More than once we have been asked at school, “But I thought you two were divorced?” We just wink and smile.
One of the most challenging aspects in our society today is co-parenting. People who once loved each other enough to have children together are now fighting, have resentments, struggle to get along and to make it all work. But for all of the good intentions, it always seems to be a battleground, filled with land-mines, traps and challenges.
My process was created in the laboratory of real life, with real people, real feelings, real new girlfriends and boyfriends and real kids. There is no magic formula to bring all parties to this committed level of parenting. It takes work and a willingness to give up your position to honor your children and family’s future.
How the process works:
I will take each parent individually through the steps to complete on all of the upsets and challenges they have had up to this point. We may also need to include new spouses and significant others in the process.
Then I work with parents to get clear about what they are committed to in raising their family and providing love and support for the children.
Finally we create a structure within which the commitment can be fulfilled in a way that works for everyone. I become another partner for you in having it all work, and I will be your champion and cheerleader in the process.