Co-parenting is hard.  Unless you’re one of those one-in-a-million divorced people that gets along great with your ex, coronavirus has made co-parenting phenomenally more difficult.

A guidebook for co-parenting through a pandemic?  Yes, please.

There is no guidebook for co-parenting.  Not really.  There are a million and one books on how to parent after divorce, and co-parent with your ex, but there isn’t a single one that can guide you through co-parenting through a pandemic.

Divorced parents parenting through coronavirus are struggling.  Different parenting styles and ways of handling and coping with crisis are heightened and made bigger, more difficult to get through.  Not everyone has approached this the same way, and difficult relationships and trouble co-parenting are only making these issues worse.

The courts have been pretty consistent that parenting plans must be followed.  For many, this means shuffling kids back and forth, and for some it can even mean putting them on a plane.  This is hard.  When it comes to our children, we want to keep them safe. We want to protect them.  And when half of the co-parenting team has a very different idea of how to do that than the other half does, it makes things 1000 times more difficult.

Divorced parents co-parenting through coronavirus: Let.It.Go.

I will admit to being a bit of a control freak.  Yes, I said that publicly.

That can make it very, very hard to let go of the things that are the most important to me in the world – my children.  Their dad does not have the same approach to safety that I do.  One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do is let go.  I’ve had to learn how to let go and let him handle things how he sees fit.  I’ve learned to not think about it, to not let it drive me crazy.

It’s not easy.

It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.  But it’s also one of the best things I can do for myself.

I could drive myself crazy with “what-ifs” and trying to picture what he might not be doing for the children.  But he’s not a dangerous person.  He would not deliberately put them in harm’s way (although the skydiving is debatable on that count), and I have to have faith that what he doesn’t know, he will learn and he will make the best decisions he can for the children.

You can’t control coronavirus, or the other parent’s parenting.

This pandemic has heightened all of those feelings of powerlessness and fear.  Divorced parents parenting through coronavirus have even more issues to deal with than before, and even more ways we can drive each other crazy.  In this environment where there is so much uncertainty, so much unknown, so much fear, it’s easy to try to take back some control to try to keep our loved ones safe.  Unfortunately, the law and the courts aren’t going to allow that.  You can’t keep your kids from going to the opposite parent, even with a pandemic raging, or at least not because of it.

Talking through what we think is best for the kids and the acceptable risks we think they can take is the best course of action.  But that can be really hard for divorced parents that can’t get along, can’t agree, or just can’t even deal with each other.

Unfortunately, it’s one more occasion that the kids get caught in the middle.  It’s one more opportunity for the kids to suffer.

It’s really all about them.

So, as you’re duking it out with your co-parent, keep in mind the price that might be paid, and who will be paying it.  Think long and hard about who your co-parent is, and how protective they are.  See if you can negotiate a middle-ground.  Relay your concerns, and the reasons behind your concerns.  Divorced parents co-parenting through coronavirus are going to have to try even harder.  Which is hard when you’re scared and you want to shield and protect.

But you can do it.

Divorced parents co-parenting through coronavirus have to work even harder to co-parent.  It’s not easy, but we have to do it.  We have to do it for the kids we’ve put in the middle.

They’re already scared and stressed. They need us to step up.  Getting through this, and co-parenting with their dad may be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done (and I delivered the first one naturally), but I’m giving it everything I’ve got.  Because my ex isn’t a horrible father (don’t tell him I said that!), and it’s what my kids need.  I usually suck it up when it’s for them.  Maybe someday, before I die, they’ll appreciate it.  I’m just not going to hold my breath.

divorced parents

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Once Upon A Time, in another life, Kristin graduated from the University of Michigan with a plan to teach high school math. But then, life happened when she wasn’t looking…. She married an Army guy and 23 years, 3 kids, a few dogs, 7 homes, and 2 continents later she’s now a single mom living here in Colorado Springs. Along the way she volunteered for the Army, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and several schools; managed volunteer organizations, coached judo, trained to be a whitewater rafting guide, biked down Pike’s Peak and even managed to teach some high schoolers a little math before forging new trails writing, teaching and financial planning. She never knows what’s coming around the bend, but she’s learned to handle whatever life (and the Army!), throws at her with a smile and a laugh. She’s pretty sure you can get through anything with those, even if you have to fake it occasionally!!

2 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for this Kristen! I’m feeling it too. How do you make the school decisions when you can’t even have a discussion?

  2. Great article. But, if this is the hardest thing you’ve ever done, you’ve not truly lived.

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