Co Parenting with an Extra Child in Tow

This week was a crazy week. My sister’s mother in law passed away and so off to Northern California she travels with her husband, leaving her seven-year-old son behind to stay with my girls and me. I know so many people who parent more then one or two children and I say more power to you. I had three kids, three different schools, and all of the extra curricular activities. It was amazing how hard it was to step out of our daily routines and add just one extra child into the mix. We had car pool, bus stops, homework, and meals every morning and every night, family time around the table, lunches to pack, and of course just when it could not get any busier it was time for the State fair and my oldest daughter shows goats with her dad so just one more activity. You would think that would throw me into a tail spin but nope there was too much to do and to many little people counting on me so as one of my girlfriends would say I put the “S” on my chest, grabbed my cape and my cup of what is now cold tea that I had made earlier and headed out the door everyday to run the bus and carpool race.

I laugh at how by the end of the week we effectively had incorporated a new child into our routine and it felt like we had been doing this all along. My Nephew and I would walk my oldest to the bus stop and then race back up the street, it is pretty sad when you get your butt kicked y a seven-year-old. I was excited every morning after seeing my second daughter off on her bus to have the 30 minutes with my nephew as we sat in the carpool lane of his school. I was able to read a new friends amazingly clever and hilarious book, Feng Shui Love. We chatted about the book he was reading and I have to admit it was a little stolen pleasure in what could have very easily been a stressful and difficult week. We created a positive out of what could have been perceived as a negative.

Only a few small hiccups, just when I thought I had it all under control, 30 minutes before picking up my child from carpool for dance on Tuesday I realized it was at the same time I had to pick up my nephew on the other side of town. A fleeting moment of panic set in and then this super mom was freaking out about how in the world I was going to achieve the impossible and be in two places at once. I could feel my cape slipping off and my “S” fading and then my oldest daughter had called they had finished showing goats and I reluctantly asked to speak with her father thinking he would say no or be irritated or worse say something in front on my daughter to make me look weak and helpless and unable to handle my co-parenting duty. I really had no other choice at the moment and I was going to have to take that risk. And there he was ready willing and able to pick up my youngest daughter in time to take her to dance while I picked up my nephew and we met at the dance school. Whew another small crisis handed with ease and grace.

Where I am going with all of this is simple: Co-parenting can be difficult, maddening and sometime an outright pain in the behind. It is a choice you and your ex make to create chaos or calm in your lives. You can choose to work together or apart. Sometimes we let our own minds run away with what we think someone is going to do that we don’t give them the opportunity to do something kind.

There are times in my own situation I wonder if we are ever going to make it through our differences so that we can get something accomplished. And then there are the times when Mr. Ex steps up and is there for me and more importantly our children. I am so grateful that we can look past our differences most of the time and put our children’s needs first.

Could I have made it through a challenging situation of needing to be in two places at one time without the help of my ex? Probably, however it made it a lot easier that I did not have to worry about it for too long as he was cooperative and willing to help. This is not always the case and it is important as a single parent to remember to not always rely or abuse the other parent when you are in need or a time of crisis. If you are always crying wolf your child’s other parent is not going to respond. Remember that your crisis does not constitute a crisis for your ex even if it does include your child. As single parents we all need to learn to take care of things on our own we need to make a conscious effort to work with our children’s other parent and to not always rely on them but to know that we can count on each other in times of need when it is related to the children is a luxury we should all strive for in our co-parenting relationship with our ex. Cooperating with your ex means laying down your weapons in the war of divorce in order to protect your children.

I am grateful that my girl’s father and I have come to a place where we work together and help each other out. I am grateful that I can express gratitude without feeling slighted and he can help without feeling owed. I am grateful that we can put our children’s needs first and even though we get irritated with each other we can focus on what is the most important which is our children.

Its so easy to stay negative and it take effort to be positive but the rewards are so worth it.

Create a GREAT day!

In love and service,

Dorcy Russell

Conscious Co-parenting Institute

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