Co-Parenting is hard. I say that because there’s a lot of B.S. that you have to put to the side to do it effectively. Being an effective Co-Parent means swallowing your own feelings and thinking about what’s best for your children, with you and your parenting partner coming last. I like to think I do this well. I’m not breaking my arm to pat myself on the back when I say that. I do my level best to be a good parenting partner but it’s not always easy.
Today was one of those days. We have an easy arrangement, the Ex and I. He picks them up every weekend. They spend the week with me because I can stay at home with them. I have it easier than most divorced women and I’m grateful for that. There are no epic battles, no fights where the children are forced to choose. He comes and gets them every weekend like clockwork. Other than the occasional tears on Sunday evening, everything runs smoothly. I’ve seen the other side of the coin. The constant back and forth with the kid being the pawn in the middle. I’ll be the first person to say, I’m lucky I don’t have to deal with all that. My Ex will take the kids when the Hubby and I want to go away on vacation and it’s always Quid Pro Quo.
Then there are days like today. Where I have a hundred things I need to do. The Husband has a million plus one things on his plate too and we really need a weekend. A weekend to work, to get shopping out the way, to do housework that has been put off all week and somewhere in there find time to reconnect because we’ve been apart all week. Then, here it comes, the message that says he won’t be able to make it this week because he’s not feeling well. Now I get it, people get sick. Hell, I was just sick. This is the thing that keeps gnawing away in my head. When I was sick no one bailed me out. I sat in Urgent Care with strep throat, a fever and twin toddlers running around. I did this by MYSELF. When I get a cold or the flu, I’m still on duty. I still have to get up and wrangle the kids, get them on buses, make three meals a day. My husband can’t always stay home. He’s busy running an office. So unless I’m hanging over the toilet or about to pass out, I don’t call him home. How is it Co-Parenting when I’m the one who’s always being the “parent”? I’m the one who has to do it in sickness and in health, while he gets a free pass. How fair is that? How “cooperative” is that? These are the questions I ask myself when I’m irritated.
I know what you’re thinking, why would you want to send your kids there if he’s sick? I honestly don’t. If I can spare them getting one less cold this season, I’m all for it. The reality of it is this, I can’t keep them from getting sick. I have three kids in school, they’re going to get sick at some point. My husband brings home germs from work all the time and I regularly go to Wal-Mart and if that isn’t a den of various illnesses, I don’t know what is. When I’m home sick, no one rushes in and says I’ll take the kids because I don’t want them to get sick. With most things, you’re contagious before you exhibit symptoms so odds are, they already caught it anyway. All these things roll through my mind when I’m pissed off and then I think but it’s about the kids. I think about how I am when I’m sick and how they are used to their Dad running amok with them all weekend and if they go he’s going to be miserable then they’re going to be miserable. I don’t want my children to spend the whole weekend miserable. So I swallow my disappointment and start making activity plans for the weekend because it’s not about me, it’s about them.