Episode 3: Me, My Ex, and Her - The Reality of Co-parenting with Karen Chellew and Catherine Shanahan
In episode three, we continue our real talk about the world of divorce with a conversation about the realities of co-parenting. Is anyone really ready for that? Co-parenting is always a challenge, for sure, but this podcast will give you practical tools to get through it with your sanity and current marriage intact.
Celebrities, They're Just Like Us!
With all of the money and resources available to celebrities, it’s easy to presume they sail through co-parenting or relating to an ex’s new significant other. At the end of the day, though, we’re all human and need to think of our children above everything else.
Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck are one example. Jennifer recently took their children on vacation and Ben went along. They stayed in two connecting suites of the same size, so their kids could spend time with both parents. They made it work for them and their children.
Ryan Phillipe, who was married to Reese Witherspoon, has said that “You have to get to that point as a divorced parent, as any parent, where you’re not putting yourself first.”
Taye Diggs, who is co-parenting his son with singer and actress Idina Menzel, acknowledges this: “When you have a kid in the mix of it there’s no time for negativity.”
No matter who you are, put your children first. We get married for a reason, we get divorced for a reason, but there’s never a reason to put your kids in the middle of it.
Keeping It Real
Co-parenting is complicated by so many things, the emotional residue of the divorce, new significant others or spouses on the scene, and the world of step-parenthood.
How can you navigate these relationships, stay focused on the well-being of your children, and stay sane? Know when to pick your battles. Here are a few ways we recommend to keep the peace, and your cool:
Drop the Rope
Often, you’ll find yourself in an argument with your ex. It could be a timing issue, or whether your children left things at the other’s home, or any number of issues. Instead of participating in this tug of war, simply drop the rope. You’ll feel more mentally free and present for your priority, your children.
This tactic is especially good to use with narcissists. When someone is battling head-to-head, and no matter what you say, you will never be “right” in his or her eyes? Just say “That’s interesting,” and leave it at that. It’s not worth the stress it will cause you or your children.
24 Hour Panic Rule
Things happen. The threat of court, an ex is late picking up your children. Whatever it is, give yourself 24 hours to not even think about it. Give yourself time to breathe. Often, whatever it is will resolve itself, or you’ll have a fresh perspective.
How do you know these tactics are working? React to the reactions of your children. If your child is happy and doing fine, that’s what it’s all about. Talk about it together so your child can feel secure.
When It’s All Said and Done
It’s hard to co-parent through a divorce. Stay engaged, try to better yourself. Be there for the kids, and you’ll all grow and develop together.
Give Us Your Feedback
The hardest part for us is not hearing your voices. Please give us your feedback, your comments, your questions. Let us know in the comments section below this recording.
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And remember we know divorce is never easy, and your life may be changing. Change can be good! We want you to know – you are not alone, and you will be ok. We’ll talk to you soon. We chat because you matter.