This past weekend was full of firsts for my family. We had back to back family photo sessions (yes, with my ex and his wife, Molly) and we did several pictures with all of us. Yes, you heard me right! With the websites, and the book that Molly and I are co-writing, we felt like we really needed to not only tell the world about who we are, but also SHOW the world who we are. We talk the talk AND we walk the walk. There are some people who feel that we should air the details of our dirty laundry with the world, but we are very careful what we say, because not everything is appropriate for our children to know until they are older–like 40. Molly and I are co-writing a co-parenting book, and we are telling all of the details about how our family came to be–good and bad, so if you want the ugly stuff you will have to wait for the book! I also have to point out that while people can speculate what may or may not have happened in our family, no one truly knows what another person has been through until they have lived in their body. If you find yourself judging another, maybe it’s time to take a look in the mirror. We are co-parents in every sense of the word. We are a family, all of us!
After the family photo shoot we all headed back to Jeff and Molly’s house (the house in which I once lived) for Ali’s first homecoming. Molly and I decided to both help her get ready together. We both wanted to be a part of the entire experience.
It went very well. Molly and I shared everything, as far as who did what to get Ali ready. We laughed, we talked, we had fun! I played with the babies and got my baby fix. Bob helped Cami with her math. We all took pictures, and we all saw her off to her first dance, feeling excited and sad all at once.
Did it feel weird being in the house where I once lived? No. It feels like a lifetime ago that I lived in that house with my children. It stopped feeling like my home months before we were even separated, I had just refused to acknowledge the change. Was it weird for Molly having me in her home? No, this was not our first time there. She is so welcoming to me, and we feel pretty comfortable around one another. I think it’s more uncomfortable for the men than it is for us.
Everything went really well. Ali was planning to ride with a friend, so once her two friends arrived with the father, who both sets of parents have met before. At first when he arrived, he was friendly. He took pictures with all of us. He introduced himself to my husband again and my ex again, and as soon as he realized who all of us were he acted different. He was suddenly in a hurry to leave. It hurt my feelings a little. It seems like we show others how to co-parent, others seem to be beginning to accept us as a family, and then we come across someone who is visibly uncomfortable around us. I don’t understand why society is so uncomfortable with divorced parents getting along with one another.
Is our society so accustomed to negative feedback that it is considered “not normal” to concentrate on the positive? How can we change the way society views divorce? We have been called weird more times than I can count. What would “normal” divorced people do, have separate sessions for homecoming pictures at each house? Who does that benefit? Certainly not the children. If you are unable to be an adult for an hour around your ex FOR your child you seriously need to reevaluate your behavior.
Here are some benefits to sharing events:
- None of the parents miss the big moments.
- The more you share events the easier it becomes.
- You show your children by example that even though the marriage did not work you are both still a parental unit.
- You are teaching your children important lessons by example. Such as: tolerance, how to problem-solve, forgiveness, patience, grace, love, and acceptance.
- The child feels like they still have a family.
- Friends and extended family appreciate only stopping at one location for pictures.
- You are more likely to know all of the details of your child’s plans for the event if everyone is present and on the same page.
- The children do NOT need to know the dirty details of your failed relationship, and when you give them a neutral environment it helps them accept that even though their parents are divorced they are in a safe place to love both parents.
Have you attempted to share big events in your child’s life with your ex?
Trish Eklund is taking a nontraditional approach to parenting children after divorce and remarriage. Raising her two daughters of ten and fourteen with her husband, ex-husband, and his wife, they consult one another on all parenting decisions. Trish has been featured on www.playground-magazine.com, and www.bigblendedfamily.com. She is a regular writer on www.herviewfromhome.com, writer and co-editor for Her View From Omaha. Follow her on Twitter: @trishiewriter, Google +, and Pinterest.