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.”