Why are you divorced? How do you co-parent? These are the most common questions I get. Everyone wants to know who my “baby daddy” is and the awful things he did. Well yeah, we aren’t together, so something terrible had to have happened. If you are someone I know personally then you will remember my mental break down on social media when everything happened. But this blog post is not to bash anyone or call anyone out. In my marriage, I believe, and he can agree, that we both failed. We were young, pregnant, and scared. My ex-husband was only seventeen when our son was born. He was still a senior in high school, and it was scary. We followed some bad advice and ended up married. It was hard; it was emotionally and mentally draining. We had to get used to being married, living together, college, and being new parents all at the same time. It was hard, and eventually, it stopped working. Are we bad people? No! Was it sad? Yes, it was heartbreaking. It took me a long time to be okay, and while he is a suffer in silence kind of guy, I knew it was hard for him too. We separate back in April 2017, and now that we are finally taking on 2018 I am glad to say that he is one of my best friends.
This friendship DID NOT happen overnight trust me. It took a lot of arguments and doing things we are not proud of to get here. We are still legally married just so we can pick up each other’s prescriptions, use each other’s cards, pick up money from the others bank accounts, etc. He has given me money when he has had nothing and vice versa. We are a team. It took forever to realize that, but we are a TEAM. We are on team Parker, and we had to recognize that anyone not on team Parker was not welcome in our lives or his.
So I will start from close to the beginning. When my ex-husband and I separated we were on bad terms. Horrible terms. But during our marriage, I had watched a horrendous co-parenting relationship. It was toxic to the child, and it hurt me deeply. While in the end, it wasn’t the parent’s fault, it was a third party; it was still very stressful as an outsider. I could not imagine how the mom must have felt. After witnessing all of this and hating my ex to no end, I still refused to use my child as a weapon or a pawn to win some battle. My child was old enough to know his father and miss him deeply when he was not around. But I still hated him…a lot and because Parker was still only a year old I fought to get as much custody as possible while letting his dad have him a couple of times a week. I also struggled to make sure that he gave me as much money as he possibly could. Remember that we are still legally married through this, so he never had to do anything. Well, this ended up being very hard for me to be honest. Carrying around this extreme hatred for someone I once loved and doing everything to make his life hell, really took the joy out of me. I was angry all the time, and I became so toxic to everyone around me. I lost every single friend I had and eventually brought a new friend into my life that allowed my hatred and anger to thrive and flourish. I hated who I was.
Then I participated in a musical. This was the first musical I participated in since high school, and I was very nervous. I do not do well with new people, and while I struggle with ADHD, I can be timid and quiet. But I met the most amazing and beautiful ladies. There are dozens, but one primarily above all helped me. She was older than I was but I saw myself so strongly in her. She was happy, and after having a tough life she never let on that she was sad or angry. She reminded me that there is no joy in life unless you fight for it. So I fought for it. When school started back up, and I was with my friends again it all started coming together.
I allowed my ex to be a part of my life again as a friend. We became our team. Now instead of using all of our energy to fight against one another, we use all of that energy to fight for Parker in everything he does. Instead of forcing each other for child support of any kind we merely share in any surplus we have and help one another when we are struggling, benefiting our child. Instead of fighting for time and visitation we just work with each other’s schedules. He works days, and I work nights, so I have him during the day, and he has him at night. If we are both unavailable, then he goes to daycare two days a week during the days, and Parker’s grandma will have him at night. We decided there was no point in having to find babysitters all the time when parenting means you have a built-in Parker expert who loves watching him ALL THE TIME!
We are fighting to give him the best life we can give him. We are fighting for him never to have to experience the hardship that the two of us had in our lives. We are fighting for his future every day. If you are struggling with parenting or divorce, please feel free to reach out. I do not know everything, and I still have a lot of work to do on myself to move on and be happy, but I have come a long way, and I am very proud of myself.