Friday 19 June 2020

Family | The Struggle With Co-Parenting

Co-parenting is something often talked about to describe how two people parent after they have split up but we all know the reality is, everybody is co-parenting even if the couple are still together. You're never going to see eye to eye on everything and like most things in life, it's all about compromise. I've talked about co-parenting at Christmas time and how P and I split our time with the boys fairly through the week since we separated 18 months ago but the struggle with co-parenting in any situation can be difficult. 

P and I always had diferent views on how to parent from the very start because he wanted to do everything by the book, which of course there's nothing wrong with that but we weren't even allowed to have music on in the house as it was "too much of a distraction when he's playing." In fact, I remember a girl coming to our house and commenting how quiet it was. I wasn't even allowed to put a Christmas movie on Christmas morning which caused murder on our very first Christmas as a three. 

One thing that has always been a struggle is getting the boys into a bedtime routine. I touched lucky with George in the fact he was a good sleeper from the start, a taboo subject to talk about, I know, but he was brilliant. He started sleeping through from 8 weeks old and you really do feel like a knew person after weeks of broken sleep. On the otherhand, Henry was not a good sleeper because nobody is that lucky and even to this day he doesn't sleep through the night. I wanted to introduce a proper bed time routine for George when he was around 9 months which coincided with the time I returned to work after maternity leave, however, P wasn't supportive of this. I got my way and things were going well until I went away for a few days for a friend's hen do and all my hard work had swiftly been undone. The sleep thing has always been an issue for us. 

When I moved out last year, I moved into a little two up two down with the boys, got their bedroom kitted out with bunks and new things to make it exciting for them. I was determined to stop them sleeping in my bed and to stop staying in their rooms until they fell asleep. For weeks I grafted, staying in their room until they were used to it, to sitting on the landing outside their door, moving to my bedroom until eventually they were okay with me putting them to bed and going downstairs. If they woke up and came into my bedroom, I would take them back into bed. Bedtime was strictly pyjamas, milk, story and teeth starting at 7 pm reading for them to be in bed by 7.30 pm. Their dad on the otherhand, again refused to support me on this and to this day he still refuses. 

Whilst they've been off school he said he "doesn't care that they're up late" when in actual reality it's affecting their day to day behaviour. They're tired, they're grumpy and they have no routine whatsoever. Co-parenting is actually really really difficult especially when you're being undermined all the time and you've worked hard to get something to work and sometimes I really do wonder if I'd be better off doing it alone. Of course I'd never punish P or the boys and stop them seeing each other but at the moment I think they need to spend more time with someone who will give them some structure.

It makes it really difficult to set boundaries for the boys when they're between houses where two people just do not make a good team whatsoever but I guess I have just go to persevere and hope that something sinks in for them. 

The struggle with co-parenting is real and I feel for all of you who are doing it whether together or separated. Stay strong, you're doing amazing! 

Rachael xo

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