But..... How Do I Co-Parent???

Posted on July 28, 2016 by Amy Goller | 0 comments

I am not going to lie, I am flying fucking blind into this co parenting gig..

I thought I had it all figured out, I thought that I was going to have this dream situation, I thought my determination to have that incredible co parenting family that all get along for the greater good of the “family unit” was enough. I thought if I constantly remind myself that Ever deserves it that I somehow would be all Mother Teresa and mind my P’s and Q’s and not mention the past. That’s all good in theory but after what I went through for 6 months those feelings are bubbling up, I am still so incredibly hurt, I am still choking back tears daily and seeing him with her does make me happy but also feels like daggers right through my heart.

No one goes into mother hood without the thought of not having a family, we all want that white picket fence, we all want Sunday mornings laughing in bed with our beautiful partner and kids so having my little family right in front of my face yet knowing that it will never be and that it will always be a matter of compromise, tolerating one another and not love.. it hurts.. It fucking hurts like hell.

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I always thought that when he returned this whole single mum gig would get easier, I always thought that I would be more calm, more content and at ease. But it comes with a whole set of new hurts, it’s the same situation with a different label on it and I feel like its ground hog day.. I spent 6 months keeping the mind set that when Ever arrives it will all be different, that the pain will subside and be replaced with overwhelming love, that she would distract me from the big elephant in the room and I had just come to terms with the fact that doing it alone was achievable, that I could do it, that I would rock it without him.. then the rug was swept right out from under me and once again I was left spinning wondering what was going to by my next move.. I had a moment yesterday, I couldn’t hold some of my feelings in anymore and words spewed out of my mouth that I had promised I wouldn’t mention.. I feel like I am scrambling around in the dark, neither here nor there.. Not knowing what is up or down.

He is not just Ever’s father, he is my ex partner.. The man that I loved enough to make the big life decision of having a baby with.. I only made that call because I thought it was a forever relationship, I thought it was finally my happily ever after.. I thought it would be pancakes on Sundays in bed with our little ones.. laughing and making memories together.. Having that man around me, the same man that I loved so much.. The same man that walked away from me and the one that I mourned – it kills me.

But I do it for her, I do it because I am not going to give up and be one of those “families” that doesn’t work out, I am not going to go into this co parenting gig half arsed, I made a decision to have a baby with a man and I loved him enough that I knew it may not be forever but if it wasn’t that I would always respect him as her dad, I knew It may be a decision that falls apart and we still have to live with each other for the rest of our lives.

I came from a single parent family, my parents did not get along – it was all “if he/she is there then I’m not coming” it was horrible to feel like I was taking sides all the time, to feel like I was betraying one if I had fun with the other one. And I remember yelling “don’t get mad at me you chose each other to do this with, just because you made the wrong decision doesn’t mean you get to take it out on me” I always felt like I was neither here nor there, It made me feel very unstable. I knew that choosing Scott meant choosing him for a lifetime, I knew that making the choice to have a child with someone was more important than choosing them to marry and I knew I loved him enough to respect him if it all fell apart – and regardless of the situation I still feel the same. It is easy to protect yourself and not allow that person around your child, it doesn’t bring up complications, questions and uncertainty.

I know in putting myself out there and letting Scott into both of our lives again is putting myself at huge risk for hurt, I try to say to myself that I know him by heart and that he will be there for Ever and that he will always do right by her, and by me as her mother but I still feel very nervous about that given what happened in the past. The relationship breakdown takes two people, but I will always be the one that stayed, I didn’t leave, or give up.. I will always be the one that was left and the feelings with that are still raw and painful.. But I cant let that control the future, I cant let my own feelings control Ever’s future. She deserves a life with both of us, and I wont ruin that for her with my own issues from the past.

A few women have contacted me asking for advice for the similar situations that they find themselves in – The truth is I have no idea what I am doing, maybe I am making mistakes.. I guess I wont know if it has been a positive influence on her life until she is older. But my advice to all women in my situation who have had the father return would be – Do not let the past dictate your future, if your ex partner or father of your child wants to be involved then make sure he is in it for the right reasons. They do have a lot to prove, to not only your child but also you. I am letting my heart guide me through this, I am doing what I feel is right.. I am trying to leave the whole legal side of it out of the scenario at the moment, I am going simply on a respect basis – if we both respect each other as people and as parents and we are focused on Ever and her life, giving her the best support network and family unit that we can then I am happy. I don’t believe that all men deserve the chance to be a father based just on respect and the fact that a child needs her father around – if they are a domestic violence offender then No, If they are on drugs No, If they are emotionally and verbally abusive towards you then No, If they are not willing to prove themselves to you first and foremost as your child’s guardian then No fucking way! If they are at ALL a toxic person then No.. forget it and make them go through the court  system – I am not naive and I understand that this is not a one rule applies to all thing – look after you, trust your instincts, protect your number one first and foremost.

Not everyone agrees with my decisions, a few have thought I am being to giving and forgiving and all the rest of it – But all I care about is what is best for my little “family” unit. A few have asked what our arrangement is and at the moment we don’t have an arrangement, Scott comes over all most every single day even if its just for an hour. He works and studies at Uni so its hard to have an arrangement with his schedule, bath time is his job and he loves doing it and Ever is always so relaxed and I think its lovely that they have their own little bonding session. Sundays are our family day where we try and spend some quality time with Ever, going to new places so we can show her new things and getting photos of beautiful memories for her. We don’t have a financial agreement in place but he helps out where he can which is all that I can ask for, to me the finances are not what is important, the pieces of legal paper are not important, and working out visitation is not important to me – all that matters is what works, that Ever is happy, that we are all doing what we can for the greater good of a rather shitty situation.

I have no idea how to “co parent” and I never thought I would have to do it.. But it doesn’t matter how I got here, all that matters is how I deal with the situation that’s now my life. I guess my own experiences as a child has fuelled my determination to get me through the hard days, because I am a by product of parents that didn’t quite co parent successfully – I know what I want for my daughter and I know the challenges it will bring her life if I don’t swallow my pride, hold my tongue and turn this around from a negative to a positive for her. I think that people so often forget that the children are what’s important, I feel that in circumstances where you are torn about how to behave try to remove yourself from the situation and focus on what you want the outcome to be. My answer was all I wanted was Ever’s happiness, that she goes through life feeling love and support and that she has as many positive people around her while she grows – I mean after all it does take a whole village to raise a child. 

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