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Ever since announcing my divorce last year, I’ve gotten endless questions about co-parenting.
Parenting with another human is challenging enough when you’re married — so what’s there to expect from the situation when you’re divorced and trying to stay on the same page when it comes to your child together? Not to mention three kids, including a newborn!
I understand the interest, and I think a lot of it is genuine — there are more women than you’d think reaching out to me personally via DM or email, sharing that they are in a similar life shift to mine and looking for advice when it comes to managing being divorced with children.
I will take this opportunity to say that every family’s situation is so different, as are the needs of individual children. It is nobody’s right ever to judge another family for their choices or their system when it comes to raising children, and this applies to co-parenting as well! As I always remind people — tend to your own garden!
That said, I’ve made the choice to share little updates here and there when it comes to things I’m learning along the way with parenting post-divorce. I think it’s important for people to see relatable resources in this area, as I really had none when I was going through it myself. I’m going to share what I feel comfortable with sharing, and I’m sorry if that’s not “enough” for some people. At the end of the day, I have my reasons, and that is that!
Before Mateo was born, I shared a co-parenting update, and I figured it was time for another installment.
In some ways, much has changed (an extra person. LOL) and in some ways, not much has changed. I’ll reiterate here that Kyle and I have our ups and downs in our post-divorce relationship as you would imagine! But we are on great terms, we remain friends, and our focus is always on what is best for our three kids.
I honestly think that is what keeps us on track and moving forward in the same direction. Of course, nothing is simple in the times of COVID-19, and with us in two different states, this has been probably our biggest hurdle. I think we have found a good rhythm with safety and making sure we are balancing our kids’ mental health and their physical health during these very unsure and challenging times.
Right now, Kyle has the two older kids every other weekend at his house. I’ve seen such a shift in the kids’ happiness since having more consistency and time spent with their dad at his home. I think they love having their space set up there, and getting used to real routines and touchstones with Kyle individually.
My wish is always for my kids to have as strong a bond and relationship with their Dad as possible, so this makes me really happy! The only downside that’s tough to manage (but possible!) with this inter-state co-parenting commute is how it effects weekend activities.
We don’t really make many weekend commitments for the kids since they’re in transit a couple of times a month. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in future years, but Kyle and I are committed to working together to make sure the kids don’t miss out on things they are really wanting to be a part of.
All three kids also see their dad a day a week at my home in Connecticut, from after-school through bedtime. This day also serves as a great way for Kyle and I to catch up in person about things that are better to discuss in that way than via text or email. The kids, of course, talk with Kyle daily outside of these times as well.
I also feel that it’s really important with divorced families to make sure that the parent not-in-the-home is represented warmly. In both houses!
I have a family photo with Kyle in it in the kids’ room, for example, and we bring him up often or talk about what he’s up to. I always want my kids to know that there is an open and warm line of communication when it comes to their dad, no matter what Kyle and I may be going through interpersonally at any given time.
I think it is so disrespectful to one’s children to bash their other parent or to make them feel like they have to choose, even if it’s in subtle ways.
So, what’s the plan for Mateo? I wish I had a dollar for every time somebody asked me this…I could move to a chateau in the south of France. LOL.
The plan is that he will be going soon for the weekends with Dad, but isn’t going yet. Kyle and I have decided to keep checking in with one another to see when we both feel ready for that — and we are gearing up to start in the next month or so. We both want to make sure that Kyle’s house is totally set up for baby and that he has all the gear he needs to balance the three kids on his own.
I will say that I’m very much looking forward to getting the break once it starts! Kyle is a wonderful father, and I have no doubt that he will adjust beautifully to having all three there for the weekend. And if any snafus happen…he will figure it out! Ha!
To anybody going through co-parenting their kids after divorce, and the ups and downs it brings — I’m right there with you.
There will be moments of anxiety, there will be moments of frustration and loneliness. But ultimately, teaching our kids to trust our choices and to trust themselves makes them very resilient and ready for their lives beyond our homes.
Sending love to any divorced parent out there who needs it today!
Read more from this series…
Photographs by Julia Dags | Copyright © 2020 Happily Eva After, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
You are my hero! That is all… You seem to be doing the best job of keeping a balance of all life’s curve balls! I would imagine that it takes so much self control when you are co parenting to always be “nice” to the other, especially when you are frustrated inside. I’m married and I have a hard time when we are not getting along talking nicely about or to him in front of my kids. That’s something I have to work on. You’re doing an amazing job!!!!
Thank you! You’re right, these things are never easy, but it’s been a great lesson for myself in really thinking before I speak or act– and it’s been very rewarding to watch this type of self control build on itself and to create a very healthy and positive dynamic. xoxo
Thanks for sharing this must be hard and it’s great to hear you are all doing so well with this adjustment.
My biggest advice for weekend activities is that the kids come first. My ex and I have agreed that our child can choose her activities and sleepovers regardless of “who’s weekend it is.” That way she never feels left out of parties or sports because “it’s dad’s weekend.” It’s worked well for having her feel a sense of normalcy among divorce and splitting time.
This is great advice! I do have a question about that though, if you’re willing to share: since my kids go out of town for their time with dad, how would you handle in terms of if them doing a sleepover or activity cuts in to time with one parent? We both want to be understanding of the kids’ needs, but at the same time, their time with their dad is really valuable and I don’t know how to prioritize that as we get in to the tween and teen years if it conflicts with social activities. This isn’t an issue now, as our biggest problem is our kids wanting to be with us 24/7 LOL…but I’m somebody obsessed with preparation so it is something I’m thinking a lot about now!
I’m so happy for you that you were both mature enough to come to this amicable arrangement. I don’t think the same could be said for myself and my husband. We are still married, but have been discussing divorce for almost a year. Our first and only child is 8 months old. I don’t think we ever would have agreed on an arrangement in the newborn months. Did you work with a counselor?
We haven’t used a coparenting counselor (we did a lot of therapy together in our marriage, so we learned important skills that way)– but I have heard AMAZING things about coparenting counselors!
A little insight here from someone in the thick of it…
My husband and I have created a blended family (my son, his daughters, our daughter) and started facing this situation a few years back. When our kids started getting invites for birthday parties, school activities, etc that fell on…well, whatever days they wanted, we had to figure out how to manage our children first our family second and ourselves third. We always felt like it was important to let the kids make decisions about attending these events at the cost of time with mom or dad if necessary – and *never* made to feel badly about it. At first they were hesitant to miss that time with their dad (we have his girls W-M every other week) but my husband was always clear with them, “I will be ok, you will have a blast and we will make up for lost time when you get home from your party tomorrow!” The guilt for missing time with dad was harder the smaller they were (now at 13 & 15 they barely blink at skipping out for a sleepover or time with friends) but we always worked around them. We are 45 minutes away from their mom so it involves a lot of driving but they never miss a sleepover/birthday party/soccer game unless they want to. It might serve you all well to make your schedule slightly more flexible as the kids get older and attempt to sneak in a make up night with dad the following weekend. The distance between parents makes it hard (we log a lot of car time) but we make it work – and you will too! Being on the same page from the get-go is a great indicator of success! Good luck!
We’re in a similar situation – about 45 minutes away and kids are old enough for sports / sleepovers etc etc.
Our philosophy has been to just do the best we can – if we can work the schedule around an event they want to go to – great. If we can’t, then we can’t. Growing up neither of our parents were divorced but that didn’t mean we attended every sleepover or event we wanted to with friends. Sometimes you miss out ?♀️. Maybe sad in the moment but ultimately not the end of the world. (That said we do try to pay attention so the same kid isn’t always the one not able to go have fun with friends.)
Apologies for typos. Phone keyboard!
This is so lovely. My parents divorced when I was three. They never really fought, but I almost NEVER saw them together. It was always separate until my wedding. I also always (and still do) felt uncomfortable talking about the other families. When my son does something with one grandparent or even worse, step-grandparent (we do not call them step-granparents FYI). I worry about making the other sad. I love to see parents putting thought into their separation!
I had a similar experience growing up, so I get it!
Hi new to your page. I found you looking for advent calendar ideas (forgot to buy one) not sure who you are or your family but always remember to listen to your hearts on the children, not so much your friends, I lived that mistake with my parents and my own divorce. Always listen to your “momma” heart… always
your grace is astounding and inspiring.
That is so kind, thank you xo
I have so much respect and admiration for how you guys are co-parenting! <3
Thank you Laura!
I was so excited to see a family picture of you guys. I have a friend who makes sure to do Christmas photos together with her ex and their child because she says its so important for the kids to see that. I love that other people have the same ideas. Your approach is so wonderful. My partner grew up in with divorced parents and it turned so ugly and really affected him and his brothers. Love that you’re serving as a positive example, it needs to be shown that there are many ways to raise a family and it might be messy but it doesn’t have to be ugly.
I love that last line! Yes for sure messy and agree that it doesn’t have to be ugly 🙂
What a selfless act to share such personal aspects of your life – it brings comfort to those on the journey, shows that there is a different way to separate and divorce.
Long time follower here! I appreciate your honesty and openness with sharing about your modern family as you’ve evolved. This can’t be easy to manage but your kids seem happy and so well loved. It’s also obvious you respect each other and both care deeply about what’s best for your kids. Good job! 🙂
You guys are very mature and wise in the co-parenting dept. Regardless if you’re married or divorced you will have ups and downs along the way. The kids happiness and well being should always come first. I saw two sides to divorce from my older siblings. One siblings spouse used the kids as pawns, tic for tac, BS and they were miserable… the other sibling and spouse co-parented where they eventually remarried and the new spouses all hung out for holidays… very cordial and became friends. BEST to you, Kyle and kids always! xo
My 4 and a half year old son literally throws himself to his daddy’s arms every afternoon when he is back from work, he is “obsessed” with his father.The only time he had to stay away from his father for 6 days he was sooo sad after the first couple of days.Even though marriage is difficult and sometimes I reached a point of asking for a divorce I felt that it would be unbearably heartbreaking and selfish to separate my baby from his dad (only my point of view) and I prefered to work things out with my spouse(because it was hard but possible, obviously when it is impossible you can’t help it).Did you feel the same with your kids, were your kids more accustomed to Kyle being away from home due to work obligations so the transition of not seeing him daily was smoother?
You all are doing so great! My parents divorced when I was 12. My sibling and I spent every weekend with dad. It was so hard missing out on sleepovers and parties etc. this was in the ‘70s so no social media or FaceTime. I felt so isolated. You are so thoughtful to think ahead when they’re not so little ?
I was thinking about the weekend activities challenge & gear needed for baby…had you considered letting the kids stay home (yours) & Kyle moves in on his weekends & you go somewhere? I hear of parents trading homes, but it’s usually for a week at a time…so kids’ school & evening activities aren’t disrupted. I’ll bet you already considered that…you’re so clever. Thanks for the update!
God. You guys have made a rod for your own back. Doing everything twice over. How much work is that? I had to go lie down after reading this. I was exhausted.
What’s your goal with this comment? It doesn’t seem helpful or kind in any way. Everyone is just out here trying our best.
Wow, you sound like you have problems. What part of this article sounds exhausting that you needed to lay down? Maybe you are that divorced parent doing everything wrong And can’t deal with life??? If every divorced parents handled their situation the way Kyle and Eva does there would be far more stable and happy children it this world. Just a thought.
As always, your post is honest, insightful, and refreshing!
Wishing you and your gorgeous family lots more happiness and fun adventures as you learn to navigate this new normal!
Thank you for being open and sharing what you fee comfortable with. I know it’s too soon, but I do hope one day you’ll share about getting divorced while pregnant as that’s something nobody talks about and is hard to find people who can relate/understand/help from personal experience. Or maybe if there were any helpful resources you found that could help? xo
Eva, I grew up in Westport back in the 60’s & 70’s. I subscribe to Dan Woog’s 06880 and read the lastest posting about How White is Westport? That’s where I found out about you. Forget about your comments, I was more shocked that you announced you were pregnant with your third child and two months later your divorce! So, you were divorced before your third child was born? I came from a divorced family and all I can tell you is, I would have done ANYTHING to have my father come home from work every day, instead of taking the train into the city every other weekend to see him. You have no idea how important it is to have both parents in the house while your children grow. If you believe for one second you’ll be able to conquer all of the no-father-in-the-house issues that come up the next 20 years, you are sadly mistaken. I’m now in my 60’s and thank G-d my wife and I are still happily married so my two children didn’t have to go through this. But, what were you guys thinking when you got pregnent the third time? You must have been having issues by then? It pains me to no end to see a broken family with three small children that must grow up with no father in their everyday lives. And yes, It does matter!
Eva, you know that I love the way you are as a mother, but really, it makes me sad, angry, frustrated that you can’t rest.
I saw on Instagram that Kylie went on vacation alone, I imagine you would never make vacation plans alone.
It is not fair that you carry the greatest burden is you.
In that sense, Kylie feels very far away from her children, at some point you are going to exhaust yourself.
You deserve a weekend alone away from everything, to rest, for example, a weekend where Kylie stays at your house with the 3, and you go alone to a hotel on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
All this overload can work against you.
Kylie must assume more role as a father, and not be more like a bachelor without children, who goes on vacation alone.
Thank you for a great post… 🙂
Love your updates, so just curious have you ventured into the world of dating yet? I’m just starting too and my baby daddy ( my ex haha) have some rules in place regarding our children and their exposure to this. Just curious if you have anything like that or less not or advice!
You are an amazing family and admire your coparenting with this beautiful family! Rockstars☀️