I woke up today with lots of items on my to-do list. First off, there were the affirmations, the prayer, the meditation. Then, I had to feed the dog. Coffee. Time to grab that planner and get busy. But then I remembered - whoa, the ex' birthday.
After more than 20 years "after", I still note the date and remember to recognize it. Many of you know me as the chick who's always pushing the benefits of positive co-parenting. Some of you know the reason why #KidsNeed2 is so important to me. But very few people - maybe only he and I - realize just how difficult was the move from chaos to communication. From being psychotic to being PALS. From faking it to making it.
First few years = a hot mess.
Like, the hottest. Wasn't easy. Wasn't fun. But then I changed my spirit. And then he changed his.
I had to learn that I wasn't perfect, so to expect him to be was just sorta goofy. I had to learn to be quiet sometimes - even when what I wanted to say was mad on-point - and instead of talking I had to learn to listen. To God. To Dad. (Now I'm learning to listen to the guys, lol). And things turned around.
Do we hang out together? Uh, no. Dad is happily remarried and has his own relationship with his sons. What kind of relationship? Seems to work, but its theirs to fix, to tweak, to improve, to repair, to whatever. But what we can do is show up at those public events, the smaller family moments, and laugh. At other people. At each other. Because we're good.
Now...the co-parenting birthday guidelines:
- Show your children the importance of family and of respect. Just acknowledge the birthday. Saying Happy Birthday is important. It celebrates a milestone, a life lived, and because of that its never wrong. If your children are pre-school or school age, they're watching you to see how you treat your ex. If they're older, guess what? They're still watching. You can either be an example of kindness and family-respect, or you can show them how heathens handle these moments. In all seriousness, if saying Happy Birthday is difficult for you, there's no judgment. I don't know your circumstances. But I can help you, so please schedule a Discovery call with me so you can give your babies that positive environment I know you want for them!
- Mean it when you acknowledge the birthday. If your relationship ended, you were a part of the breakup. You weren't perfect. Don't get in your feelings, please. At some point the ex meant something to you. Then the relationship changed between the two of you. They continued to be a parent, though, so say Happy Birthday and mean it. It's just once a year. Get over yourself!
Besides, look at that picture - my guys are adorable and totally worth it. So are yours!