When I mention co-parenting, I’m speaking about all the ways of co-parenting. Meaning if you’re co-parenting with the other parent and you are separated. You may be co-parenting with the biological and step-parents. You could be like me and my boyfriend, Craig, where we are together and we have a child together. A lot of folks associate co-parenting with being separated but it still means sharing the duties of parenting. And it can be easy and difficult with our different backgrounds and opinions to parent Alaina at times.
Craig and I have had many arguments about things that are or aren’t okay about what we do with our toddler, Alaina. She is our first and only child, so far, lol. So although we both have had our experiences with children and babies, we never raised one on a constant. Over the last 3 years, it has changed and matured with our experience.
She is generally a wonderful child but she is still a toddler. She doesn’t like to eat certain foods we cook but will eat those some dishes at daycare. I really feel some type of way that she doesn’t like my food or cooking, 🤣. She would prefer to eat Apple Jacks and chicken nuggets all day if she could. Things like this are what mess up our obsessed parenting goals before we had her. You know what I mean? I have to use organic everything, I will make my own baby food, I will breastfeed, I will have her on a schedule, and she will eat right and healthy. NOPE NOPE NOPE!! Reality check, this doesn’t apply to anyone, no matter how perfect you think you are.
There was a time that we argued over my disciplining methods. At this point, I was angry and so was he and we just didn’t listen to one another. I finally had a tiny bit of sense to walk away and think about what I wanted to say. It is still super hard for me to do that because I love to have the first and last word. Regardless if it is right or not. When I approached Craig, I explained to him that I repeat “No!” “Stop!” on a constant basis just as someone were to repeat the alphabet or numbers to help a child remember. I don’t do it to be an asshole or to piss anyone off. If we praise what is good and discipline what is bad, multiple times, then she will get it.
It was an awesome turning point for our relationship because we knew that we could talk to one another, apologize, calm down, and think about it. We live together, we aren’t going anywhere. Anytime we disagreed, it would turn into a screaming match. Unfortunately, it’d around the baby when she was a year or so old. Now, I don’t even remember when is the last time we did that around her. I still feel a lot of regret for being that way because of our issues and throwing her under the bus. I hope to never have her witness that again.
With that being said, I have some pointers about co-parenting. I know I can’t offer much help to those who are single parents or step-parents, but I can say that this may help you, too. I am no great parent, that is why this is called The Kali Mom. I have no idea what I am doing. I also know that I always, ALWAYS, think I am right above Craig. I don’t have any formerly qualifying experiences. I just happen to make myself seem convincing. As much as I want to provide this advice, this is also for myself. We have to identify our biases and areas of opportunity to learn and improve.
- Compromise and listen to their suggestion (even if you think it is pointless)
- If things are heating up, walk away or say, “Give me a moment to think.”
- Do some research online (YouTube, Pinterest, etc. because seeing the implications of your research is better than asking at times)
- Don’t ask family (unless you feel like their intentions aren’t questionable, I say this because they will usually take your side and that is way too biased)
- Do not fight or disagree around your child(ren)
- If you are questioning your own judgement, don’t do it
- Talk about it ahead of time if possible
- Remember, it is okay to have silly or “dumb” suggestions for parenting, that is how you learn
- Lastly, there is no right or wrong way because EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT
I could really dive into detail but my main goal is to say that it is going to be alright. But it isn’t okay to display that to your children. I try to run to the bathroom or bedroom to cry, to scream, to just talk to myself like why in the hell… I never want my daughter to remember those sides to her father and myself. We are still learning and we aren’t great at this gig. We are still learning, we are still growing within our relationship because we started out being pregnant.
Since we knew each other for years, this wasn’t a huge issue because we were strangers. Craig’s best friend George even called it when he was breaking the news about me being pregnant before he passed away. That was one of the best moments of my life because it showed me that is how a best friendship is.
Remember to try and think, have patience, if you have an idea just sit down and try to talk about it. If you feel like it is impossible to reach understandings, I’d recommend counseling or seeking some kind of assistance. Whatever you guys decide to do as far as parenting, this is going to stay with your children and shape them forever.