Relationships are complex at best. Co-parenting relationship with your children’s father can add a whole new level of complexity, emotion, stress and frustration to your life. Everyone’s relationship is different. I know women who have wonderful relationships with their children’s father, so good that it is hard to believe they are divorced! On the other side of the spectrum I’ve known women who literally do not talk to their children’s father at all and have a mediator or go between. Co-parenting relationships take time, patience and respect and are filled with peaks and valleys, but what matters most are the kids. Regardless of the divorce and the relationship afterward, most people agree that they love their kids and their happiness is what is important.
Many of the moms I speak to are completely burned out, not by the responsibilities, the kids, their job, or even finances, but it is their ex! There is so much hurt, anger, bitterness, and baggage that it consumes them. It eats at them day in and day out, so they vent…and vent… and vent. Listen, I get it! Sometimes you just need to let loose, but there comes a point when you have to let go as well. When we spend our energy bad mouthing and complaining about our ex, we are still living as though we are in the relationship! Moving on and creating something new becomes impossible, because of the negativity.
Dare, I say instead of badmouthing, become the peacemaker? No one is expecting that everything will be roses overnight, but do you want to live out the next however many years in a state of anger? Bad mouthing never really makes you feel better, it leaves a residue that sticks to you. Badmouthing pricks at your spirit, and convicts you. You know in your heart that God doesn’t want us to tear one another to pieces with our words. It is especially damaging if it is done in front of the kids. The longer you bad mouth the more exhausting it becomes because negativity is poisonous and zaps our energy and our light as Christians.
Divorce is heartbreaking, whether you both agree to it or not, so if you can work at creating something new for the sake of your family, why not do it? Our kids watch us and giving them an example that is rooted in respect will have a big impact, but so does badmouthing. Galatians 5:15 says, “If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” The enemy wants us to take a tough situation and make it worse by keeping us biting at one another until there is nothing left. Don’t allow it to happen.
I don’t know your ex or your circumstances and I’m not making light of any situation. There are some cases where an ex boyfriend or husband are physically abusive and dangerous and in those cases there is usually no relationship for reasons of physical and emotional safety. But, if that is not the case, coming to a place where you stop the badmouthing and start recreating the narrative will only be better for you and everyone involved. My number one way to do this is to pray! Ask God to bring you to a place of peace, ask him to heal the hurt, to bring the co-parenting relationship to a place of respect.
I can’t wait for you to dig deeper into this tip in my upcoming e-book, “15 Tips to Avoid Single Mom Burnout.”
Single Mom Burnout is serious! If you’re a single mom you know that burnout can take you out! It’s important that we reserve our energy for our sanity and the welfare of everyone around us. A burned out mom can be a scary sight! We take home the bacon, fry it up in the pan, and sometimes we forget we are a woman… not a robot programmed or capable to do a million things at once. We experience burnout when we say yes to everything. Listen, I like to please, but when I say yes, without evaluating if I have the time, money, or energy it never ends well. Well, it may go great for the people I said yes to, but I feel depleted and a little resentful if I’m being honest. This attitude defeats the whole purpose of saying yes!
Scripture tells us to let our yes mean yes and our no mean no. No is not a bad word. Saying no doesn’t indicate that you’re mean, standoffish, or selfish! Saying no means that you know when to cry uncle! You know when enough is enough and too much is too much. Saying no means you care about your wellbeing and acknowledge your limits. Saying no means you take your commitments seriously and don’t just commit without thinking it through. You give yourself peace and honor those around you when you are honest about your yes and your no’s. So, my friend stand firm and kind in your no it really is okay.
I’m excited to be launching an e-Book with my 15 Tips on Avoiding Single Mom Burnout! I’ll be giving you practical tips, prayers, and scriptures to help you avoid burning out so that you can shine your brightest as a woman of God!
One of the most challenging aspects of being a single parent is the custody schedule. It never really feels quite right to not have your kids all the time, but it is part of the whole co-parenting journey. Smooth transitions make life easier for everyone, but especially for the kids. “Mom’s House, Dad’s House,” was one of the books I found extremely useful during my transition with my daughter’s dad. If you’re in need of a little guidance I would love to give you this book!
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Coparenting can be rough, here are 10 Tips on Coparenting that have worked for me. Also, included is a resource page. Hope you find it helpful!
We’re finished with spring break and in a few short weeks, summer will arrive in all its glory! Single moms may find summer break and co-parenting a little challenging for several reason. One, you miss your kids. Two, you have to reconfigure schedules. Three, you want to maximize the time you have with your kids. So, here are a few co-parenting tips that will make this summer a little bit easier!
- Confirm dates in May. Some of you may have specific dates on when you’re sharing the summer. If not, I suggest you do it by next month. The more time and notice you give one another the less stress you’ll have with the transition. If your kid’s dad has 4 weeks in the summer, the quicker you know which dates the better prepared you’ll be for the months ahead. It’s okay to send a friendly reminder if you don’t have dates in the works.
- Take Into Consideration Any Camps or Special Programs Your Children Will Attend: For example, if your child is enrolled in a specific dance camp or football camp, make sure the other parent knows those dates in advance so that they can plan around it or make appropriate arrangements with you for pick up and drop off.
- Communicate With The Kids About the Summer Schedule: Kids like to know where they will be and what they’ll be doing during the summer. Keep them abreast of the schedule and get their input (especially if they are older) on how they’d like to spend summer. Ultimately, parents have to work around each other’s schedule, but it’s so important to give your kids a voice.
- Create a Keep In Touch Schedule: Depending on the age of your kids and the circumstances, keeping in touch when they are away is important for everyone. Most parents won’t make a big deal about this, but if it has been an issue in the past, talk to your kid’s father and figure out what works best for your kids.
- Exchange Important Information: Make sure that you exchange phone numbers, insurance cards, and anything else that both parents should have access to for the kids.
- Confirm Summer Holiday Plans: Take into consideration when you’re planning the summer the holidays, such as the 4th of July, Labor Day and Father’s Day. Depending on how you share holidays this may be something to consider when planning out the summer schedule.
- Stay Positive! It’s hard to be without our kids, even if it’s a day. But, we want them to happy and comfortable. Staying positive and being excited for their time with dad will encourage them to have a good time. It’s okay for them to know that you’ll miss them, but you know that they will have a great vacation as well!
- Plan a Little Fun for Yourself: This is an opportune time to get in some you time! Explore a new hobby, read a juicy book, take a drive to a new city, hang out with girlfriends and try to enjoy the free space. You deserve it!