I talk a lot about coparenting, but what does that mean to me? I never took the time to really break it down, so here we go.
Definition: When 2 people equally parent and support a child - physically, financially, and emotionally.
I use the term equally because the prefix co means ‘in or to the same degree’. To me, coparenting is 50/50 with the child being equally shared. Personally, I don’t consider myself a coparent. I do everything for my kids on a daily basis and there’s no one that shares 50% of the responsibility. So I don’t take the term coparent lightly because I am the parent.
It’s important to figure out what coparenting looks like for you. When forming this relationship, there are a couple of key points that should be talked about:
Visitation schedule - how frequently the other parent is expected to see the child
Child support - what the other parent is expected to do financially for the child
Decisions - who will make decisions for the child, or will the decisions be made jointly
I took a coparenting class, and these were the top 3 things that were highlighted. I feel that without having these conversations there can be confusion.
After you’ve had these conversations, what do you do if they aren’t doing their part?
A couple months ago if you would’ve asked me this question I probably would’ve had a different answer. But at this point, my answer is nothing. You do absolutely nothing. Because what can you do? Nothing.
Coming to terms with the fact that I can’t make someone be a parent to their kid.. and the fact that people actually will not do anything for them and be okay with that. It’s hard, because as much as I want my kids to have both parents, I also want to shield them from inconsistencies. A kid is everyday, not just occasionally or when you feel like it and I feel like everyone has this false narrative that kids are only everyday for moms. I’ll never entertain the fact that it’s okay that I have my kids almost 100% of the time. You should never have to do absolutely everything and allow someone to step in when it’s convenient for them, that’s not a parent.
Accountability. It’s important to for both parties to be held accountable for what was agreed on. Don’t feel bad for standing your ground for your kids. Don’t let anyone half love them. It’s breaks my heart because my kids deserve so much more, so much better. But all I can do is give them 100% of what I have. You have to be confident in the fact that you’re doing all you can and find peace in that.
Respect. Both parties should have a mutual respect for each other. Respect what each person brings to the table and be willing to compromise in different situations. It’s draining enough being the one to care for the child and figure everything out, but to not be respected for what you do puts a strain on the relationship. You also have to find peace in the fact that they just may not care enough to see your side of the spectrum. Demand your respect if you don’t do anything else.
It takes 2 people to create a child, and those 2 people should equally raise that child. That’s healthy coparenting.