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How I Navigated My Co-Parenting Relationship Post Divorce

Episode Summary:

Thanks for tuning into the newest episode of The Resting in Motherhood Podcast. For this episode particularly, I am really nervous because it’s a pretty vulnerable topic – co-parenting with my ex-husband during and after our divorce. Before diving in, I want to acknowledge the fact that what I will be talking about today is not just my experience, it is also my ex-husband’s experience and so I’m really going to try my best to remain real and authentic while also understanding and respecting that I need to respect my ex-husband’s privacy, I need to respect that this was also his experience, not just mine. I also want to say that I know my experience as a whole is different because our divorce was mostly amicable and we do not currently do 50/50 parenting. I just know that this is something that I get asked about often in my DMs and emails so I wanted to make sure I shared my experience with you all. Just a reminder to do what’s best for your child while also trying to prioritize what’s best for yourself, too.

Topics:

  • Why Brittni is leaning into doing less in order to find rest in this busy season
  • The stigma that still follows divorced women and how this affected Brittni’s decision making
  • When Brittni knew she was ready for divorce and actually going through the process
  • How Brittni struggled with having free time again for the first time after having her daughter
  • Navigating overnights and creating a new routine with your co-parent post divorce
  • Brittni’s number one piece of advice for co-parenting after a divorce
  • What to do when you face a problem in co-parenting that doesn’t have an instant solution
  • How to decide what’s a big deal and what’s not so you know where to put your energy in your co-parenting relationship
  • Tips for what to do when a new partner or spouse enters the picture for yourself or your ex

Resources:

Read a raw, unedited transcript of this episode.

Brittni (00:00.29)

Hey friend, I hope you’re having a wonderful day or evening, wherever you are in the world. I hope your week is starting out great. This episode is one that I have both been looking forward to recording and also simultaneously being really nervous about, given how personal it is, but I also know that it’s a necessary conversation to have.

So I just wanna say upfront, I am a little bit nervous. I also want to acknowledge the fact that what I will be talking about today is not just my experience, it is also my ex-husband’s experience, since we’re going to be talking about co-parenting, divorce, all of that. And so I’m really going to try my best to…

remain real, authentic, and raw, while also understanding and respecting that I need to respect my ex-husband’s privacy, I need to respect that this was also his experience, not just mine. So yes, I will be diving into all of that, but before I get started, I will start how I always start, which is by sharing how I’m currently finding rest in motherhood. I am currently finding rest in motherhood.

by simply doing less. I am really this year, and I’ve talked about this in my dropping balls episode, but this has really been my year of realizing and trusting that I don’t have to do it all. And that is honestly appearing in every part of my life, be it motherhood, be it running a business, be it…

like working out, doing stuff for myself, I’m really trying to tune into myself and be really intentional with the things that I’m doing instead of trying to be busy all the time, get it all done. And so just that in itself is giving me a lot more rest because I am finding more time for rest. A perfect example of this would be yesterday. I finished my workday at 3.30.

Brittni (02:22.01)

Lila wasn’t going to be home until seven. It was her day with her dad and the old Brittany would have worked probably up until about six. Then I would have eaten dinner and then been ready for her to get home. But I had no work to do that was imminent. There’s always work to do when you own a business but I’m like you know what I’m gonna take the rest of my time and I’m gonna go do something for myself. So I went for a walk, I watched tv and then when Lila

home, I was relaxed, I wasn’t feeling like I was having to shift from CEO, business owner, right into mom. I had given myself that time to simply do less and just be. So that is how I’m currently finding rest in motherhood and I hope that you take this opportunity to think about how you are currently finding rest in motherhood or how you could be finding rest in motherhood.

and how you can commit to yourself that you will find rest in motherhood this week. So I will jump right in. This is a topic that I get asked a lot about and I try to be as open as I can on Instagram, but obviously I can’t share all of the details just because you can’t share everything on Instagram. I mean, there’s no way to…

Brittni (03:44.714)

You can’t share everything on Instagram because there’s no way to get nitty gritty unless I take up all of your story, do like 100 story slides. So this is my chance to really share my story, share my experience with you so that if you are a solo parent, if you are considering going through a divorce, if maybe you’re separated, if you’re navigating any of this, I want this to really help you. But I also wanna say that

Every experience is unique. Every relationship is unique. Every co-parenting relationship is unique. So this is my experience, but I hope that you can take from it what you will. I hope you find it valuable. So I really need to start at the beginning, which is when I was still married. And again, I need to be respectful that this wasn’t just my marriage. So I’m not gonna share the super nitty gritty.

details of what led to us getting divorced. But I do want to acknowledge that leading up to our divorce, which we decided to separate in November of… I need to do a little bit of mental math here… 2021 was when we separated. And leading up to that, there had been ruptures, there were breaks in our

And I specifically remember in summer of that year telling my mom, like, I don’t think we can continue on this way. I remember that conversation. I remember her telling me. Cough.

Brittni (05:26.686)

I remember her telling me, give it until…

I remember her telling me, give it until the end of the year. See what you can work on, see how you’re feeling at the end of the year. And then at the end of the year, you can make this decision. And I look back and I knew the decision when I was having this conversation with my mom, but I was terrified. Terrified for a lot of different reasons, right? Terrified of failing at marriage, terrified of…

the implications of having divorced parents for my daughter. I swore I would never be a parent that went through a divorce. I swore that Lila would grow up in the same home as both of her parents. And so it was really a process of working through all of these feelings and…

Again, I mean, the biggest thing there, I think was feeling like a failure, feeling like a failure as a wife, feeling like a failure in the eyes of society, because I think we still live in a society that very much looks down upon divorce. There’s definitely a stigma, especially against divorced women. And even more so, there’s a stigma against divorced moms.

I was just having a conversation with somebody yesterday and I let them know that when I had announced my divorce on Instagram, I lost like 5,000 followers. There could be a lot of reasons why, but we were talking about it and she’s like, it’s so interesting because if a man would have announced his divorce on Instagram, he probably wouldn’t have lost 5,000 followers. He might’ve gotten like a good job for getting out.

Brittni (07:23.206)

And I don’t like to generalize, but I do, I know that there is a stigma against single moms, divorced moms. So there was all of that baggage to unpack, and then I didn’t wanna feel like a failure as a mom. I felt like I was failing my child. And so from summer of 2021 to November of 2021, I was really trying to navigate all of this within my relationship and really like,

diving inwards to see like what does this look like. We had also just recently moved out of living with my parents. We moved out in September and we decided to separate in November. So during that time too I was worried that we had just left my parents’ house. How was I going to live on my own with Lila, thinking about all the monetary

aspects of that as well, the responsibilities, and so I just, I really kind of came inwards and really tried to do some internal work on that. I was still kind of just waiting until the end of the year and then Thanksgiving weekend actually came up and there was a big fight and I said, I think we should just get a divorce. Now,

Looking back, I want to take responsibility for that because I think I said it flippantly. I was really upset, but I also it’s hard because I know that was the right decision, right? But I don’t think I handled it right. I was expecting more of a fight back. Like, we know, like, let’s work on this. Let’s fight for this. And I didn’t get that. I was met with, okay. And that was that.

This is again Thanksgiving and his dad was coming to visit from Chile for Christmas and we had again just moved in. I didn’t want to make this huge change for Lila so I didn’t want to move her out of the apartment that we had just moved into. So we settled on Bruno sleeping on an air mattress in my office. I was staying with Lila. We were continuing to live together.

Brittni (09:44.358)

And there weren’t really any further conversations after that about, okay, what is this? What does this look like? And I tried to have these conversations. These conversations were shut down. But finally, I think it hit me maybe two weeks after of like I said that and I didn’t give us any time to really like talk about this. And so I approached him. I asked him

Do you think maybe we should go to therapy before we make a decision this big? Like I said it and we haven’t really had any conversations afterwards. And I was again, met with like a very closed door, wall up, pretty much saying, no, nothing’s gonna change. We just need to continue on. So that was that. And I really struggled with this because I…

Again, it brought up those feelings of not wanting to fail because I wanted to be able to say that we put everything into it, that we tried everything before we decided that our marriage was over. And now again hindsight is 20-20. I know from the depths of my soul, from the bottom of my heart, that this was the right decision. It was the decision that needed to be made. But during that time I really kind of mourned.

not trying anything else. And I felt like I didn’t get that closure. And so I started therapy because I obviously wasn’t getting the conversations that I needed from him to kind of get that closure. And again, he was grieving our marriage in his own way too. So I’m not placing blame here. Again, I’m sharing my story, my side of the story, and my perspective.

But I started therapy, we got through the holidays. It was very interesting to have his dad come stay with us. At that point, again, we hadn’t really talked about anything in terms of like what our steps moving forward were going to be. I think we were just kind of in the survival mode of let’s get through the holidays. After the holidays, we can kind of reconvene and decide what this is going to look like.

Brittni (12:05.818)

So we got through the holidays. Again, we did spend Christmas with my family, his dad and him. We were all together just, I think, to respect Lila, to not make this drastic change on her. And I think the way that this all happened, there wasn’t like, yeah, we had a fight, but it wasn’t this big blowout where like we didn’t want to talk to each other.

I mean, was it super comfortable? No, but there wasn’t a lot of animosity there, which I do think is a sign that, yes, our marriage was over long before that because we didn’t have this strong dislike towards each other. Was it hard for me? Absolutely, I don’t wanna discount that. But we got through the holidays, we remained a united front for Lila, and then…

starting in the new year sometime, again this was two years ago, so I can’t remember like specific details, but somewhere in the new year he, like sometime in January, he had found a place he was going to be moving out, he was going to be living with roommates, and so I didn’t feel comfortable with Lila going over to his house with these roommates that I hadn’t met. We live very close

Brittni (13:33.874)

um the rent that he was able to afford while still helping me pay for the place that we just moved into uh led him to live with college students and so i just did not feel comfortable having Lila over there. So in the beginning there was no set schedule it was just kind of like when he got off of work around 3 30 he was coming over every day to be with her and i again had started therapy

And so once I was in therapy, I quickly was kind of talking through things about how it was really hard for me to see him every day just because I couldn’t really process or grieve any of my emotions because he was there every single day. And so that’s when with my therapist, we talked about, I think it’s time to really talk about this. Okay, so we have decided to get a divorce. You’ve moved out.

What does this look like? Because I can’t have you in my house every single day. It’s just not healthy for me. We needed to create some boundaries. So we sat down together, we established a visitation schedule, and we also discussed how we were going to be handling the holidays. So at that time, I was still breastfeeding throughout the night. I was still breastfeeding to sleep. And so it was very clear, and I didn’t want her sleeping at his house or being at his house. So it was very clear that

he wasn’t going to be able to do overnights. So I can’t remember our exact schedule back then, but I think it was, he was off Fridays and Saturdays. So he was coming over all day Friday, all day Saturday to be with her until about maybe six o’clock. And then I would come home, do dinner with her, bedtime. And then the next day he would come again.

I would leave Saturdays, I was working on Fridays, but I would leave Saturdays and go hang out with my mom or my sister or work at my mom’s house, whatever the case may be. And again, this part I’ve talked about, but this time when I was left with like free time in my life was a really hard time for me. It was a time when I really needed to get comfortable being by myself again and really work through.

Brittni (15:53.374)

fear of being alone, really work through getting to know myself again, enjoying who I was becoming. And again, if you want to listen to that whole story, if you haven’t already, you can go back. It is, I believe episode two or three, it’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned in motherhood. So that time that we set that visitation schedule, and so that was a really big growth experience for me.

But it was also really helpful to not then have to see him every day because again when you’re grieving a relationship you’re grieving the end of a marriage I think you really do need that time by yourself without seeing this person in your face every single day Lila was young enough. She was just about a little over two and a half and She didn’t really have a lot of questions. We just told her that

Daddy was moving to his own house, that he still loved her, he would still see her, and we weren’t met with many questions because she was so young. Another thing I’ll add here is, since we bedshared, I would go to bed with her at night and then handle all parenting at nighttime, and he wouldn’t come in to bed until 11 or 12.

while she was sleeping and then he was actually up before she woke up to be at work. So him being there at like at nighttime wasn’t like this big, him not being there, I should say at nighttime wasn’t this big change for her because it was, I was already the primary parent, the sole parent pretty much doing all of the parenting at nighttime. So that wasn’t a big change for her either. And then we kind of got into a flow of

again him coming over, me working, and then leaving on Saturdays. And I had a date actually like in June of that year, so about six months after he had moved out, eight months after we had separated, and it was his night with her but normally he would leave at six. But I asked him, do you think that you could just try bedtime tonight?

Brittni (18:16.15)

or I can just get home later and I’ll do bedtime but she’ll go to bed late. So he was like yeah no problem. So I remember I had agreed okay I’ll be home around 7 30. Seven o’clock rolled around and he was like hey don’t rush home I have her in her PJs we are reading books and I was like okay my date was going well we were talking chatting.

And so I kinda kept an eye on my phone and at 7.20, when I would have been leaving, he was like, she fell asleep. And so this was kind of like an eye opener of, wow, she fell asleep with him. We didn’t even plan on that. She had always fallen asleep with me. And so then this kind of opened this conversation of.

Could they have sleepovers? What would that look like? They would have to happen at my house because again, I didn’t want her at his house. And so after that, then we tried a full on sleepover where Friday they did their normal thing. He did bedtime, stayed the night with her. I stayed at my parents’ house. I kept my phone on loud in case he needed to contact me. And it went smoothly. There was no issue.

I’m not going to say she didn’t cry. I think the first few times she would wake up like halfway through the night and cry out for me and he would tell her mommy’s not here. You’re gonna see her tomorrow. And there’s a lot of beauty in that because I’m glad that it wasn’t something that we rushed her into. I’m glad that we took our time. It kind of just happened naturally. Like it was kind of by mistake that it happened.

but it opened up more time for me because I will say I was starting to feel really resentful that he was parenting two days a week, no overnights. I was absolutely the primary parent and I was starting to get really frustrated. So this kind of opened up a whole new world for me and I think it really helped their relationship because instead of being a father who showed up at…

Brittni (20:26.85)

breakfast, left by dinner, and then showed up at breakfast again and left by dinner, he was now becoming more involved with, you know, preparing dinner, getting her ready for bed, supporting her at night if she woke up. So this became our new routine. He would stay at my house, I would go to my parents’ house, which is a little unorthodox, but I think that I knew I didn’t want her at his house.

And so to me, it just felt more comfortable for me to go to my parents, let them stay in Lila’s space, keep it very normal for Lila. And I’m really glad that we did it that way. And one thing I’ll say through all of this is I’m really proud of us for, I think we both have done and did a really good job of seeing each other as

co-parents and not seeing each other as exes. Was it hard? Absolutely, in the beginning it was really hard. But I think this was a conversation that I had with my therapist of, when you’re communicating with him, see him as the father of your child, not your ex. And that really helped me. Now, if there were other conversations that we needed to have about…

money or anything like that, then obviously that got a little bit trickier. But if we were solely talking about parenting, we did a really good job at communicating and seeing each other as her parents, right? Instead of exes. And I think that really helped us keep her front of mind. It helped us be really mature in how we were handling the situation. And one thing I forgot to mention as I was talking about this with the visitation schedule.

is we also decided that we would do joint holidays. I never wanted her to feel like she had to flip-flop between homes on Christmas. I never wanted her to have to do like a birthday celebration with dad and a birthday celebration with mom. And those are really, that’s something that’s really important to me because again, one of my biggest fears when approaching this divorce or knowing that it was probably coming

Brittni (22:49.63)

was I didn’t want a child who felt like she was flip-flopping back and forth between homes. And I want to acknowledge here that I know that that’s not possible for all couples, for all co-parents, depending on how the relationship ended, depending on if there was domestic violence involved. There’s so many factors. So I just want to say

and acknowledge that I think that I was very, and I am very fortunate to have a co-parent that is really on board with me, or we’re on board together. And I will also say that I feel very fortunate that he really defaults to me when it comes to parenting decisions. And that’s probably because I do what I do. I’ve studied what I’ve studied, right? Like he knows, okay, this is…

her ballpark and I’m gonna trust her on it. And so I have been so lucky in that, that for example, my decision to homeschool, he is totally on board with that. So I have been very fortunate that we really can see each other as co-parents, not as exes, again, when it comes to parenting decisions. And so I think that if I could give you one piece of advice, if you are navigating this,

season, if it’s something that could be a possibility. The number one thing I will say is feel your feelings about that person, grieve the relationship, everything you need to do, but when it comes to co-parenting, put on a co-parent hat, put on a co-parent lens. That person is on your team because you are there to support your child. Now again, if you have a co-parent who’s not willing to do this with you, that’s where it can get a little bit trickier.

And I will talk about that in a little bit. But if you can, really try to take the personal aspect out of it when it comes to these parenting decisions. I also want to say that things have kind of changed now. Lila and I moved back in with my parents in September for a few reasons, one of them being to help my mom take care of my dad since he was in the hospital for seven months.

Brittni (25:11.326)

And so once we moved back in, that meant that they didn’t have a place to have a sleepover. And in these two years, I mean, I don’t wanna take up all your time today, so I haven’t gotten into every single detail, but in these two years, he now has a girlfriend who he moved in with shortly before Lila and I moved in with my parents. And there was a conversation ahead of time where I said,

Brittni (25:41.698)

would or should you like to continue doing sleepovers? I need to see where you live. I need to meet the girlfriend, which was shut down. Again, I want to respect privacy, but it was communicated to me that the girlfriend was not ready to have Lila over for sleepovers, which again, this is really hard, right? Because I wanna be completely honest.

and share my perspective. But what I will say was I was really disappointed that this decision was made without taking Lila into consideration. So just all of this to say that yes, while I do think that we got a lot of things right in terms of really respecting Lila’s experience in all of this, really trying to keep her first of mind for the most part, frustrations and…

and challenges have arisen and there have been other things too that again I don’t feel our mind alone to share. But it’s been a really hard experience especially with those things in terms of okay this is really frustrating me I don’t think this is being handled correctly but this is my daughter’s father how can I be the bigger person?

how can I put her first and how can I let go of this animosity or anger or frustration and really continue forward in a way that honors her and keeps her first of mind. And honestly, the best thing I’ve done is just like journal what I need to journal. I have a few people, my sister and my mom, being the biggest ones that I can really be open and honest with about how I’m feeling. And so I get those feelings out and understand that

I don’t need to like this person. I need to see them as my daughter’s parent, right? I don’t need to be best friends with this person. I don’t need to approve of all of their life decisions. What’s important is how he’s taking care of her, how he’s treating her, how she’s feeling. And so that’s been a really big lesson this year is just kind of, again, really seeing him as a co-parent and letting all of the other stuff go.

Brittni (28:03.79)

Communication wise, one thing that I found was even when we were married, face to face, uh…

Brittni (28:19.522)

Face-to-face heated discussions or disagreements were quickly shut down. There was not a lot of communication. Anytime something got a little uncomfortable, a wall went up. And so one of the things that I had talked about with my therapist is this was happening during our marriage. So how am I supposed to approach these really big conversations with him if a wall is going up, especially like an even higher wall now that we are not married? And

And she said, well, how do you feel like you could talk to him? And so I told her, I feel like I get a lot better reception if I text something. And I felt bad about texting, right? About these big things. And she said, I don’t think there’s anything bad with that. If you feel like that’s the best form of communication between the two of you. And so that’s what we did. We ended, I still to this day, if I have something that I want to talk to him about, I text him about it. I feel like.

having a screen between us doesn’t make his defenses go up right away. I think it makes it easier for me. And so we text these big conversations because it’s easier and I think it keeps things more peaceful. Now one of the frustrations that has really kind of circled back around again, especially since he is not doing…

Brittni (29:43.102)

any overnights is I’m starting to feel like, again, like I am doing it all and that he kind of gets to be the fun parent who shows up, takes her for fun outings, then brings her back and then I’m doing bedtime and overnight and then he gets to show up again the next day and do the fun activities and then drops her off before bedtime. And so I am feeling a lot of resentment and I have brought up these feelings.

and there’s not a solution at this time. And Lila has also been expressing to me that she really wishes she could do a sleepover with her dad. So that’s a big difficulty that we’re handling right now that I don’t feel like maybe the co-parenting is going as well as it should. So I also just want to acknowledge that sometimes I don’t have the answers for everything, right? Like this season right now is really hard. I am feeling frustrated. I’ll tell you, like…

if she comes home from his house and then it’s a long bedtime, I will end that bedtime being angry, right? And seething like I don’t get a break and I get this anger, but then I have to take a step back and remember like, okay, right now there’s not currently a fix to this. And since there’s not a fix, I can either sit here and be angry and then let it impact how I’m treating Lila just because I’m getting frustrated or I can just accept that.

This is what it is right now. I’m her mom. Motherhood isn’t always going to be this hard and move forward the best that I can while still acknowledging my feelings. Another thing that started happening when the sleepover stopped for a little while was Lila didn’t want to go with him. She, I would notice the mornings that he was coming home or coming, not home, coming to our home to pick her up.

She would wake up that morning really fussy and tell me, I don’t wanna go see daddy. And I didn’t try to like toxic positivity her way through it. I just would validate, I know it’s really hard baby, I know it’s hard to leave me. I miss you when you’re gone too, but I can’t wait to see you and give you bedtime snuggles when you get home. I would also remind her that her daddy loves her very much and that she is safe with him.

Brittni (32:04.97)

And I really just held space for those feelings while also knowing that she was going to be spending time with her dad. So I wouldn’t say like, well, you don’t have to see him because it was his time with her. And now here we are. And I’m trying to think three to four months in and she happily goes with him now. Some nights before her first morning with him, she’ll tell me that she doesn’t wanna go with him. And again, I’ll just…

validate her feelings, let her know that she will be safe with him, that I can’t wait to see her when she gets home, and usually by the morning she’s fine and she’s happy to see him. So this again is my experience, but I’ve been asked a lot about like how I navigated it, what the situation looked like, and so I just wanted to really share my experience and share how I’ve tried my best to see him as a co-parent.

not as my ex-husband, but again, also say that I have also really worked hard on working through my feelings, not trying to shut feelings down, and it’s been a learning experience. Again, do I think that there’s things that could have been handled a lot better? Yes, maybe on both sides, but that’s the thing now is I don’t really have much control over that, so all I can do is put my daughter first.

Now I do wanna talk about quickly other situations. So again, I have been very lucky in that he really defaults to how things are being done in terms of parenting. But I also understand that I have a unique situation in which he only has her for 12 hours a week. I know a lot of families are splitting children 50-50. And so in that situation, there’s a lot of parenting happening with the other parent that you’re not a part of.

So if there’s things being done in a way that you don’t want them done, I will say one of these things that actually has happened in my life with is screen time. We don’t do regular screen time in our home and she has come home from his house and told me that they’ve watched three movies in one day, which you can imagine how I would feel about that knowing that we had discussed screen time. But in a situation like that, I…

Brittni (34:29.782)

have kind of, I will bring it up, hey, I’m not very happy about this, especially because screen time really overstimulates her and then she’s coming home and I’m having to do bedtime. So I do think again, my situation’s a little bit more unique because I have that say because ultimately it is impacting me as well. But if I had a co-parent who I really didn’t have a say in how things were being done and how parenting was being done, and I do take this mindset a little bit like with the screen time.

if it happens at his house, I’m not going to make a huge deal about it. I’m going to understand that I can’t control everything that’s going on in his home. I can only control what’s happening in our home. Similarly, like with parenting, I am all about supporting emotions, holding space for those emotions. And I know that he is not very comfortable with crying. And again, I…

respect his privacy, I won’t go in depth into his relationship with Lila, but in the beginning, especially when I would like work from home and hear him talk to her or hear how he responded to her tears, I would want to jump in right away. But then I reminded myself that her relationship with him is unique to him and my relationship with her is unique to me.

and I can’t control what that relationship looks like. I can only control how my relationship with her is and understand that okay so maybe I have to do a little bit extra work of really validating those emotions but they say I can’t remember where I’ve seen this but it only takes one attachment one primary attachment caregiver to really set a strong foundation in terms of expressing emotions being empathetic.

And so I do default back to that of knowing like, okay, I am doing this hard work. I can only again control what I can control. And I’m going to trust that it’s enough because I can’t control what’s happening in their home. Now I will say if this was a safety matter, I would be much more vocal about it. If I needed to go to court about it, I would. But if it’s something like in terms of parenting, like supporting emotions or screen time, I think it’s kind of one of those things where you have to say,

Brittni (36:52.514)

This is now out of my control. If they’re open to a conversation, that’s great. Maybe you can have a conversation, but if the conversation is shut down, just knowing I can only do what I can do in my home and I can’t let myself continually stress about what’s happening in their home.

Um, this one, I put some notes down to talk about like other topics that I wanted to talk about. Um, them not being on board or fighting you about decisions. Again, I think this would be a conversation where you meet face to face without your child and you really get down to the nitty gritty about the things that you are not seeing eye to eye on.

If this is not something that they’re willing to do or it’s something big enough that you feel like you need to have a written Agreement on I would say you would want to go to mediation You may want to go to court, but I really think that if you can try to communicate that You want to put your past behind you want your child to come first and this is what you’re feeling This is what you think is best for them and try to have a very civil conversation

I will also say that one of the things that I have really learned is deciding what’s a big deal for me and what’s not. So does it bug me that many times she goes over there and watches a movie when we don’t really do any screen time here? Yes, it does bug me. Is it something that I want to fight about every single week? No. So now if it was three movies every single week, I would probably, that would probably cross a line for me. But if it’s a movie.

once a week that he’s doing with her, I’m gonna let it slide. I’m not gonna let it keep me up at night. I’m not gonna let it cause a fight. So really deciding what’s a big deal and what’s not can be really helpful. Now, one thing I haven’t had a ton of experience in yet, I might be getting there with a girlfriend in the picture, I don’t know, is dealing with a partner of your ex or a step-parent.

Brittni (39:01.41)

What I’ll say here is what I would really recommend is trying to be on the same team as this person, right? This person is coming on your team, not as your ex-partner’s new spouse or new partner, but as your child’s new step-parent or…

Brittni (39:26.634)

adult figure in their life, if they’re like a girlfriend or a boyfriend. So seeing them as part of the team. Now, again, this is gonna be really unique to your relationship with your ex. Are you already kind of on a team? Are you working together? Or are you on two very different teams and you’re really trying to navigate how to co-parent to the best of your ability? Then that’s gonna be a little bit harder, but I would say…

If you can see them as a team mate, if you can talk to them and say, hey, you’re gonna be spending time with my child. I want us to get along. I want us to have a healthy relationship. I think that can go a long way. If there’s not a lot of good blood there, there’s some animosity or some anger, I think that the best thing that you can do is have your partner.

be your primary point of contact and maybe you don’t really have a lot of contact with that person. One thing I am very, very adamant about is not speaking bad about my ex, not speaking bad about his girlfriend around Lila. I want her to feel safe when she goes there. I never want her to feel like she has to choose between us and so I do think that can be really helpful. It’s even if there isn’t a good relationship there.

being respectful, being kind, and not letting your child feel like they have to choose between parents. If you are listening to this and you are actually a step-parent, one piece of advice that I would give is try not to take things personally and understand that this person is wanting to parent their child, and now there’s…

And now there’s a complicated situation where a divorce or a separation has happened and maybe they have not healed, maybe they have not worked through everything and this is really difficult for them. So again, maybe try to see putting yourself on their team. But I think if we can really take the personal out of it, even if the person really annoys us and we can just say, you know what, and maybe you don’t have to tell them this, but in your head.

Brittni (41:51.858)

I don’t like you as a person. I don’t really wanna have anything to do with you, but we have a common link that is going to tie us together possibly for forever, which is a child that I love and letting that child come first and just really, again, putting on that co-parent hat instead of an ex hat and letting your child.

and their experience be the center of everything and letting them guide what decisions you’re making.

This is a longer one, very real and raw and vulnerable episode. So I thank you for listening. I hope if you’re going through this, that you found something from it. If you’re possibly considering a divorce or you feel like things are rocky, I will say even though we ended where we ended, I do, I wouldn’t have regretted trying to go to couples therapy just to say that we tried everything that we could.

So if you’re kind of in this place where you’re like, do I do it? Do we not do it? If you haven’t gone to therapy yet, it might be worth a try if you’re both willing to, just so you can, if you do end in that chapter knowing you did everything you could. I hope you have a wonderful day.

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