Bonus Parents are a Gift, Not a Curse

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My children have divorced parents.

They didn’t ask for it.  They didn’t ask to be raised in two separate homes.  They didn’t ask to split their holidays and vacations.  They didn’t ask for the added stress of accidentally leaving their homework or favorite toy at the other parents’.  And they didn’t ask for four parents instead of two.

But that’s what they’ve got.

This is what life looks like for approximately 50% of children here in the U.S.
It was the decision of none of them.
It was our decision, their parents, to completely rock their world in hopes that after the dust settled, we could provide them with a healthier, happier life.

So why is it that so often we see divorced parents continue to try and make eachother miserable and refuse to make an effort to get along with eachother or get along with the new spouses?  Isn’t that where the decision to divorce came from in the first place?  To be happier?

It always surprises me when I get comments on how well me and my ex-husband co-parent together.  Or how well his wife, my kid’s bonus-mom, and I get along.  This should be the norm, not the exception.

In order for our kids (and when I say “our” I mean all four of us parental figures) to have a happy, normal as possible life, we all have to work together.  The old saying “it takes a village” rings so true, especially in split families.  We have to coordinate sports schedules, holiday schedules, school projects, family gatherings, birthday parties, etc.  It’s no easy task for a traditional two-parent household, much less coordinating all that with four parents.

We are a TEAM.  And when we act like one, our kids end up as the winners.

I’m lucky.  My kid’s bonus mom is fantastic.  She makes up for a lot of my shortcomings.  She’s incredibly hands on, does crafts with the kids, coaches their sports teams, and as a former teacher she is much better at being patient when it comes to homework time.  It’s funny when I say this to people.  I am often met with the response of, “Stop!  You’re a good mom too!”  Who said I wasn’t?  Recognizing that she is an amazing addition to my kid’s lives doesn’t take away from my value.  That’s what makes co-parenting such an awesome thing if you let it be.  The kids get the best of all worlds.  Identify the strengths of each parent and use them for the benefit of the kids.

I for one am so glad that my kids have two happy homes.  Never for a second would I attempt to make their father’s life harder for some sense of self-gratification.  Doing that would inevitably negatively affect my kids.  I understand that not every situation can be as good as the one I’m in, but I’d encourage you that if you are co-parenting, make it the best it can be.

Remember that your kids never had a choice in any of this.  You owe it to them as parents to do your absolute best.  Remind yourself that a child can never have too many people in their life that love them.  Take all you can get!  Embrace the people who make a choice to come in and invest in your child.

 

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