Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The challenges of Co-Parenting

Co-Parenting Hell. That is honestly how I feel sometimes. It is so frustrating parenting a child whose parents have different parenting styles.

For instance, I’m freaking out about lil mama’s transition to Kindergarten and how I am going to leave work early to pick her up from school. I’m thinking ahead and worrying about next summer and how I am going to pay for summer camp. What about school vacations? I don’t have a support system. I have to worry about these things. And I don’t like handling situations last minute. I can’t afford to do that as a single mom. I plan as much as I can. Of course there are times when things come up unexpected, but I like to be as prepared as I can.

The co-parent in question is not worrying about it at all and getting frustrated that I’m going to him with all my worries.  But I thought that we were CO-parenting? Thought we were both fully invested in making decisions about her. And sometimes I don’t think he could care less. Which thoroughly frustrates my life!! Grrrrr. I know that I can’t make him care about her transitioning to Kindergarten…and that’s because he doesn’t have to deal with it. He doesn’t have to deal with her getting up an hour earlier or if she is sick during the day. I’m the one who has to deal with it. I can’t make him care about her going to summer camp next year because I’m the one who would be filling out the paperwork and calling to find out more information. Because it doesn’t affect him directly he won’t have to drop her off or work more to cover the costs. I won’t wait around for him to care or want to be included. I would be wasting my life away.

So maybe he acts the way he does because HE KNOWS I am a capable parent. He knows that I will take care of it somehow. He knows that I will be there bright and early with her on her first day of Kindergarten snapping photos with tears in my eyes. 

Maybe its me. Maybe I worry too much. Maybe I don't know how to communicate with him. Maybe there are just too many past emotions still in play.

So how can I be ok with my role as a co-parent who basically has full responsibility of my child? Because in my head I’m screaming, this is not right, this is not right! This is his child as much as mine, but I have all the responsibility! Of course I wish I could just make this whole co-parenting situation disappear, but I am no magician. I’m just me.


  1. The problem is not you. So, stop beating yourself up. If he isn't living up to his responsibilities as a parent then take him to the man!! I'm all for working out parenting issues without getting Family Court involved, but you're going to end up spreading yourself thin emotionally, physically and financially. If he's not being their physically for his daughter, then the least he could do is volunteer to help pay for academic and childcare costs.

    I know that good moms often feel torn about seeking out things like child support and court ordered visitations, but we have to do what is best for our kids and ourselves. It's not fair for him to make you feel bad or like you're chasing after him because you're trying to get him to care about his child.

  2. Hey lady, I know this must all be frustrating for you, but stop blaming yourself. You are being the best mom you can be, and giving your all for your little girl. The problem is with him and its not fair. Like you said, your daughter is just as much his child as she is yours.

    I wish I could give you some sound advice or even a way to get to the solution of this issue, but I will keep you in my prayers. You are such an admiration to other moms and women in general! Your strength is amazing :) But just remember you have to take care of you too.

  3. Hello, Alex! Thanks for your comment on my blog - I know exactly what you are going through as a single mom. My mom was single and raised my brother and I for many years. It's a very hard job, and I honestly don't know how you do it. You must be a STRONG WOMAN, and deserve tons of mommy badges for all you do for your children. I look up to women like you :)

  4. Thanks for the support :)

    @YUMMama - I took me awhile to gain the confidence, but I haven taken the necessary steps to include him financially in our daughters life. It was a hard step to take, but I did it and am def glad I did.

    @Sharina-So frustrating!!! And I know I have to stop blaming myself, but its so easy too! And I know I am being the best Mom I can be to my daughter, but just wish he could say he was being the best Dad he could be to her, too. Sigh. Thanks for the kind words, I donno if i really have strength and most days its all an act. I put myself last and its not something I am proud of.

    @Moriah-I love your blog! You are lucky not to have to deal w/ the co-parenting bs thats called my life! I dont know how I do it either. I dont think i think about it much, I just go, go, go. But I'm tired! And I wish her Dad could be there when I need a break.

  5. Hunny, it seems to me that you're really doing the BEST that you can. You're already an excellent mom and the fact that you're planning WAY ahead just shows how much you really do care about "lil mama's" well being. No, you cannot make him care (and you're right... it's probably b/c he doesn't have to deal with it which is why he doesn't seem to care as much as you do). All you can do is... EXACTLY what you're doing-- be a loving mother to your daughter.

    He may come around and get on your page, he may not. Unfortunately, that's the reality of a single and FABULOUS mother.

    It pretty much was the same way when my son's father and I were living apart so I KNOW what you mean.

  6. Thanks @SweetAl! He makes me doubt myself, which I really really don't like!! I think I'm being a good parent by planning ahead, but he makes me feel like I'm not! Why oh why do I let him get under my skin so much? I know its because I still care about him, and I care about him more than I should considering we haven't been together in over 2 years! But these feelings, I dont ever see them going away. He's my daughters father not just some guy. Just wish I could get through to him. But I have to realize I cant change him, I can only change myself!

  7. Yup! That's true... can't change HIM, can change YOURSELF. And yes, it IS hard to stop caring about someone who you once cared deeply about and who is the father of your child.

  8. oh how I feel your pain..... My little one is starting kindergarten this september... I have been planning for this since last september... and still haven't ironed out all the details... and the ex... doesn't have a clue.... why? because he expects me to take care of it all... and I am the enabler who allows him to be oblivious... honestly... I think its easier to to just take care of it myself... I have this little calendar... that has become my life obsession.... I have never been so forced to be so organized in my life....... hugs to you....

  9. @SweetAl- My love for him is much stronger than I thought and I really feel like its limiting me, i hate hate hate it. I get frustrated with him, but I dont hate him. There is such a soft spot in my life and heart for him, and that is why he affects me the way he does. I just wanna be ok with having him in my life. I know its ok to still care about him, but I do more than I need too, esp when he doesn't care about me...

    @Moo's Mamma-Girl, think we need to exchange emails and chat. Are we really enablers? Gosh there is no middle ground, and it frustrates the hell outta me, that i always gotta handle shit. I mean he is a parent too...but i'm the one over here looking at new school sneakers for her and a new winter coat. sigh, sigh, sigh

  10. I found you via YoungMommyLife and can TOTALLY relate to your trials and tribulations with being a single parent and "co-parenting". I put that in quotes because I can barely call my sons other parent a "co-parent". But thats another issue altogther.

    One thing you said really resonated with me and that is the fact that perhaps it's not a worry because he KNOWS you are a capable parent. It is very very true....knowing that even when they "can't" we "will" definitely lessens their guilt and helps them find solace in their absence.

    I really enjoyed reading you.


  11. @Eboni - Thank so much for visiting and your kind words. These men, they know that WE will ensure that our children are fed and have lunch packed for school the next day. We will never let our children go without which leaves them off the far as they are concerned. But if they would dig a little deeper, they would see that their children still need their love and support and need them to physically be around.
    Headed over to Shes Beauty By Design!
    Thanks for visiting, dont be a stranger, ya hear? lol


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