Long before Gwyneth Paltrow coined the phrase, “conscious uncoupling” and people started using the term co-parenting more regularly, I was a little girl who lived with her maternal grandmother and grandfather.
My grandmother had seven children but waited until she was in her early forties to get married. At that time, I did not realize that my grandfather had not actually fathered my mother nor any of her siblings, but I knew my grandmother was very happy.
It would be more than 10 years later, during my grandparent’s divorce that I would come to realize that my Pa-pa was not my biological grandfather. In fact, he did not have any bio-kids of his own. By the time, he married my grandmother all of her children were out of the house and some were starting families of their own.
Growing up, family reunions were an intricate part of my upbringing. Biologically, I am an only child; however, there were dozens of cousins that I spent summer after summer with for years. Each year, the summer would end with a reunion. In my family, this is when people come from all over the country to descend on our great-grandparents hometown.
The reunions really shaped my expectations of family. There were so many people. I was always amazed how many aunts and uncles I had. I remember asking my mom how I possible could have more than six being that she only had six siblings. I laugh now, but my family taught me early on that family is so much more than blood. It is about relationships, respect, generosity, compassion and most importantly, love.
It would be more than twenty (20) years before I had my own child, beginning a family of my own. I was unmarried and was not ready to take that step. My childhood images of family gave me the courage to choice my personal happiness over a traditional family structure. This was not an easy decision, but images of a happy, well-balanced family was a blended family.
Every person has a general ideal of what a family looks like. Growing up I aspired to have a picturesque family, with a white picket fence and 2.5 kids. After all, it is a major part of the American Dream and can define who we are. However, once it came down to it, I was not ready to get married, yet I wanted to give my unborn child a happy and healthy life. It was a difficult choice to make, but my happiness was more important than fulfilling a childhood fantasy of the American Dream. We have our ups and downs, but for the most part my little family is the best example of love, respect, compassion and generosity.
Here are the seven (7) steps that I have used to ensure success with my parenting partner.
- Develop a written plan
- Nurture your village
- Have a backup plan
- Mind your business (Not your job to know what other people think about you)
- Look on the bright side
- Take time for yourself
What are the biggest pain points that you face with your parenting partner? Do you have any tips and tricks that I should implement as well?
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