You Need To Pick Your Co-Parenting Battles
Coronavirus has shed light on my co-parenting relationship and various media outlets are reporting similar stories- so I think many of us are feeling the cracks in these relationships getting exposed. One of the clichés that come to my mind after a recent email exchange with my former in the new COVID-19 reality is, “pick your battles.”
At times I’ll rant about why traditional families don’t understand what it is like to be divorced. For example, getting upset when my son is invited to a birthday party on my weekend. Listen, I know that it is not the other parent’s fault, but I still miss my son and get into a funk. This is an example of what it is like to be a divorced parent. Now that we’re in this pandemic situation, this birthday party disappointment feels small versus figuring out how to share custody and keep our blended families safe. This is incredibly hard.
My former spouse requires me to email her on Tuesday’s to let her know what time I am picking up our son. Because the kids are using Zoom for school, I thought that our son could complete his work at my house. My email contained an ask. The ask was to pick up our son on Thursday instead of Friday since he could complete his work from my home. A simple ask, yes? This is the part of the story where I will implore you to pick your battles with your co-parent.
In the past, I was not a very good “ex” myself. My former communicates with me via email and I would literally “read too much” into her emails. In my mind, the tone of her notes was always negative and occasionally I’d try to reach out to her with a compliment and she’d stonewall me. This would drive me crazy and my mom helped by reminding me that every time she got to me, she was renting space in my head.
I have been divorced since 2008 and the anger is gone, making it easier to pick my battles. When I received her email with a “no” to my simple ask, I just sent an “Ok, thank you” back to her. Yes, we all have our moments when we want to send the scorched earth return email. But I held back, is it worth sending the email, was it going to get me closer to getting what I wanted? Based on our custody agreement, was it a fight I would win? The answer to all these questions was, “no.” There might be a time and a place to battle with more bravado, but not this, and not now.
I have principles that help me co-parent. Be kind to your former, because it can bite you, and escalate to court fast (not kidding there). Don’t let your ex bait you with a jab. Brush it off and say to yourself, “Is that all you got?” Lastly, I believe in KARMA so I can let go of feeling vengeful- the world will take care of it someday.
There are always going to be battles in the world of divorce. It will be up to you during those times to be an adult. Remember that your kids should come first, and with that means picking the time to choose your battle.
Using apps such as DComply can make the process of co-parenting easier and more stress free. Additionally, all of your child expense tracking can be conveniently kept in one place. You can also pay child support online and it’s a convenient way to pay your child support and receive payments too.
Written by Tommy Maloney. Tommy is the Executive Producer and host of the podcast Blending The Family, where you can find on Apple Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, and Stitcher Radio. Tommy has spoken at TEDx, Ignite Fort Collins, and was the Keynote Speaker at Everything Dad Convention. You can find his interview with DComply Co-Founder Marco Munoz here: https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/blendingthefamily/Marco_Munoz_w_dcomply_full_-_4920_1.36_PM.mp3?dest-id=243521