I realised early on that having a kid together means my ex (now my co-parent) is going to be a part of my life forever.
If I like it or not…
Even if I don’t love her anymore, my daughter sure does. Both my daughter and I want a healthy and functioning mom.
It wasn’t easy. It was like going to hell and back, but we've managed to find ways to maintain a working relationship.
Here are 7 things my co-parent and I say and practice to stay on track:
1. “We’re going to make this work”
This is what we say when my co-parent and I talk about our need/want for some special time off with interruption to the usual 50/50 agreement.
Sometimes we’re sick, got some work, a study opportunity or want to take a vacation.
When she’s the one asking me, I’m aware of my prosecutor voice. It shouts: “Oh, here we go... she’s sick again!”. My job is to breathe through this and listen.
My co-parent health and work/study are important so she can give care to our child. Same goes for me.
When I’m the one asking, I’m aware of the voice that is scared to ask, and so thankful when she replies: “OK, we’re going to make this work”.
2. “What’s best for our kid”?
We use this lens when we’re having to make a life decision. Move to a different state, take a long holiday, choose a school, choose a partner.
Our kid needs are top priority. She needs to feel safe, cared for and loved. If the conversation goes a bit sour, one of us will say: “What would be the best for Ella?”
3. “I’d like to think about it”
This is something I came up with to deal with my people pleasing habit.
As a recovering people pleaser and someone with rescuer tendencies, I used to rush to save the day. This included things like helping my ex around her house.
After becoming aware of this unhealthy habit, I initiated a new default to her requests, by saying: “Let me think about it.”
This stops my urge to save her and gives me time to sit with my intention and ask: “What do I really want?”.
This worked so well that now her request start with: “I don’t expect an answer now, please think about it.”
I’m happy to say I’m not doing anything around her house anymore 😊
- As this post was too long, I'm going to upload it in two parts. Part 2 coming tomorrow!