Tips for Conscious Co-parenting
I want to do this message justice. But one post won’t cover the complexity and beautiful journey I have been on with someone who is dear to my heart; the father of my child and the man I’ve shared 18 years of my life with.
Last night we had one of our 5 hr real, raw, ugly crying conversations. The kind that really stirs up some deep seeded emotions and creates ripples in your pool of vulnerability, doubt and self-worth. As we discussed our path moving forward we found ourselves being confronted by change that was so scary it had us wanting to retreat back into our safe place.
We have worked HARD to have a good relationship, we communicate better than we ever have through sheer determination. We have a vision of our parenting friendship that has been challenged at every corner; by people who love us and even by ourselves! Is this weird? Should we hate each other? Shouldn’t we get the other person to validate our wrongs and suffer for all the ways we have suffered?
It hasn’t always been the way for us. While we have have plenty of amazing memories we also struggled with communicating what we needed or how we were feeling. We placed the responsibility of our happiness in the other persons hands (co-dependent) and relied on each other to determine our self-worth, sense of belonging and love-ability. We felt powerless to our circumstances because we sought external rather than internal validation.
Our co-parenting path hasn’t been easy. I was on my own for a long time fighting for a vision of our relationship that he didn’t believe in. But I kept being the change I wanted to see in the world and lived the example of what I was trying to create.
Even on the days when it was so hard, I was tired and I thought “what’s the fucking point”. I kept showing up.
And slowly things started to shift; when I responded to him differently, I created space for him to respond differently.
Remember it’s not how you start but how you finish that matters.
It’s easy for me to say if I knew all of this 2-3 years ago things might have been different. I’m constantly fending off a barrage of internalised what if’s. But there’s no point; the only person that gets hurt in this equation is our beautiful son Beauden.
Co-parenting and breakups can be messy, but they can also be healing and beautiful. If you can just get out of your way and acknowledge that perhaps all of your difficulties are just your ego having a tantrum then that white picket fence fantasy can be laid to bed with a kiss on the head as you awake to your new realities.
Appreciation and love demand that we release the space previously held for resentment, anger, blame and insecurity in order to move through us.
Tips to heal your relationship to consciously co-parent
COMMUNICATION // Learn how to communicate effectively with each other; understanding why you are feeling the way you are, what you blame each other for, what you take responsibility for and most importantly how you can move forward. Communication is a skill and I recommend getting professional advice (therapy, counselling, coaching) to develop your ability to express yourself.
DISCOMFORT // Uncomfortable conversations can bring up uncomfortable feelings. But if you acknowledge this and choose to move through them knowing that a new of being is just around the corner then you will find you don’t fear them as much.
LET GO // Let go of your pre-held beliefs about the word “family” and create your own definition. Real family is inclusive, not exclusive. It is about creating a loving, supportive unit where you uplift and share life with each other, your children and your prospective new partners.
APPRECIATION // Shifting your focus from the negative to the positive and having appreciation and love for the gifts your relationship brought you (i.e. your child) will have you looking at your partner or co-parent in a different light.
VISION // Remind yourself of your why; why is it important to consciously co-parent? Holding tight to the vision of your future rather than clinging to the memory of your past means you will enjoy the present moment so much more.
BIG PICTURE // Remind yourself that there is something more important than what’s going on in your head right now about what is right or wrong and that how you interact with each other will have a huge impact on your child. Try and put yourself in their shoes and then decide what your next best step should be.
LOVE // What are you modelling for your child about love and forgiveness? What are you teaching others about how you want to be treated. Having unconditional love is difficult for some because it means getting out of their way, but ultimately wanting others to be happy no matter what gives yourself permission to be happy no matter what.
TIME // Don’t rush the unfolding of this process, take all the time you need to build a strong foundation. When the root is deep there is no reason to fear the wind. There will be more casualties than just you and your partner if you force something that’s not ready; your children, friends and family.
TRUST // Develop your trust muscle…not just in the other person but in yourself; trust that you will do what you say you will do. Trust that you can handle anything that comes your way.
The path we have chosen is not conventional or easy.
But it’s worth it.