4 Helpful Steps to Positively Co-Parent With Your Ex

Two parents smile at their newborn baby

Sharing parenthood with an ex-partner can be incredibly hard. I know, I've been there and continue to navigate this tricky situation on the daily.

When you break up with somebody, generally the last thing you want is to keep them in your life long-term, but it simply isn't an option to just cut them off when you share a child together.

So it's all about making the best of a bad situation for the most part and creating a parenting plan that works for all of you.

I've struggled a lot in the past, and these are some of the ways that the two of us are putting our differences aside and moving forward with a better approach nowadays.

Sharing Calendars

It might sound simple, but actually taking the time to go over calendars together throughout the year, or in one go at the start of a new year is an excellent way of knowing where you both stand.

We used to get confused by the court order we had set up as it tended to mess up our weekends, but we now work it out together, while referring back to the court order, which makes things much more straightforward.

Actually, it makes it better for both of us, and of course, our daughter, who gets to spend lots of time with both of her parents over the space of the year.

Sorting through calendars together is really beneficial as we both know when we will have access and when it is the other parent's time, which helps to plan everything around this including holidays and other special events, in advance.

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Inevitably, our relaxed and friendly approach to our court order has presented the need to be a little more flexible.

At the time we went to court, I would never have imagined a point where we could both compromise, but it has happened and it is much better for everybody involved.

By allowing extra time or swapping dates, the other parent is more susceptible to doing the same when necessary, and it means that unexpected family gatherings don't have to be missed by our daughter. And if something comes up and plans need to be changed last minute, there isn't a big drama.

It is so much more relaxed and easier this way.

Sitting Down To Talk

Hands down the turning point in our co-parenting relationship was when we made an effort to actually sit down together in the same room.

We made a point to go through our diaries together, and to talk openly about our needs and commitments, so that we were able to complete the first two steps I have mentioned. Being on the same page is key to successful co-parenting.

Before, our communication solely existed over WhatsApp, in a series of sniping messages, referring back constantly to our court order, unwilling to compromise. We weren't able to even speak face to face without an argument brewing. It was awful.

Nowadays we are far from friends, but we can be in the same room and we can speak openly either in person or over the phone, to put our daughter’s best interests first.

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Being Approachable

Part of the success of our co-parenting is the effort we both make to be more approachable.

As I said, things used to be a lot different and we would argue a lot, it was very toxic and achieved nothing but negativity on both sides.

But, I have made a conscious effort, and I can appreciate my ex-husband has as well, to be able to put aside our differences and to be nice for the sake of our daughter.

She now goes between families without the upset she used to have, the whole situation is a lot more chilled, and everybody seems to be benefiting from a calmer relationship between the two of us.

Co-parenting is far from a walk in the park most of the time, however, it is important to remember that the happiness of your child is the most important thing.

No matter how difficult it may feel to be civil to somebody who might have hurt you, it's important to be able to try and work together to make things as easy as they possibly can be for the sake of your child.

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