There is no secret to co parenting, but here are a few ways I’ve made the tough times a little easier.
Give them confidence when they question his love
The only thing I can do is to try to make them strong and happy the 324 days a year they are with me. When they are exposed to one of his episodes, I do damage control. I say things like,
Your dad loves you, he just shows you love in a different way that we do.
Your dad doesn’t always make the best choices, but he always loves you.
Your dad doesn’t get to see you a lot so he probably doesn’t know ______.
Encourage them to share their feelings
My girls aren’t actually themselves when they talk to their dad. With me, they have no problem expressing themselves, but with him, they act the way they think he wants them to act. I encourage them to share their feelings because I can’t always fight their battles. Depending on his mood, I’m either a controlling bitch or great mom who they girls are lucky to have. Of course, what he thinks of me doesn’t matter, my priority is making sure the girls feel safe and loved.
Remember it’s not about you
I have spent the last 7 years protecting our children from his inconsistent, selfish behavior. I have shown them happiness when everything was literally falling apart around us. Some days have been hard, and I wish he would fall completely out of their lives for good, but then I remember, it’s not about me.
I can only hope that after my daughter’s experiences with their dad, they will not feel unworthy of his love, or rejected and damaged. Instead, I hope they will learn the true lesson of unconditional love.