At first, when Kayla’s dad and I broke up and began co-parenting I would probe her, hound her with a million questions. Where were you? Who were you with? How long were you there for? Who is she?

Kayla was wobbling, she was barely talking when she became the victim of a bitter break up. I would confuse and often upset her until I got a detailed account of her entire weekend. This would often lead to bitter phone calls, ignorance and insults. I’m a stubborn cow. The change in routine, the new living arrangements and the lack of communications; it all had a negative effect on Kayla.

co-parenting one child two homes

I felt Kayla was too young to explain the separation but she was old enough to feel the tension and the bitterness. At the age of two, she had already asked why I didn’t love her daddy. I didn’t have the answer. What do you say to a two-year-old? I would reassure her that both mammy and daddy loved her very much.

Now that I had begun to accept Kayla would have two homes I would feel sorry for her and her broken family. I began to spoil her. I compensated her with sweets, treats and toys. This continued until my mother intervened and made me realise what I was doing. She didn’t need chocolate, pancakes or the latest must-have toy. She needed her parents to communicate, to compromise and accept that she needed us to work together as a team.

Kayla’s dad and I have different personalities, routines and unique styles of parenting. Even though we live minutes apart we live completely separate lives. Every families system is different and it took me a long time to accept this. We didn’t always see eye to eye. There would be ongoing disputes. We were unreasonable and we would refuse to negotiate.

You see the conflict is a completely natural part of co-parenting. Parents need to negotiate and resolve their differences. We both loved her. We both wanted the best for her but it took us time to agree what the best was.

You need to put your child’s needs ahead of your own. I think this is why her dad and I began communicating, we began to compromise, we combined our different strengths, we began to negotiate and resolve.

Whether your child is two or twelve, talk openly and honestly about separation. Encourage your child to express any feelings or concerns. Make co-parenting work for the sake of your child’s well-being.

I am no expert in co-parenting and I will never claim to be but I have learnt so much in the past few years. Always be respectful when giving your point of view. Communicate directly with the child’s other parent; never allow your child to be a messenger or to negotiate on your behalf. Never undermine, criticise and never argue in front of your child.

Ensure your child retains contact with the extended family. I receive at least five phone calls a week from family wanting to take Kayla here, there and everywhere. It’s hard to please everyone especially when your child has two families. And organising weekends, Christmas, Easter and everything else in between can be a nightmare but you need to find a balance.

It has taken me over two years to understand and accept I am co-parenting. I have learnt so much about myself on my journey. I’ve many strengths and weaknesses. I am not perfect and I can only learn from my mistakes. Co-parenting doesn’t work for everyone, but unless you really try, unless both parents give it their heart and soul, it will never work.

My daughter is happy. My daughter has two homes.

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40 Comments on One Child, Two Homes – Co-Parenting

  1. Hi, Great Post very honest and candid. I Co-parent. It is tough to start off with, we are sore with emotions and subsequently, meaningfully or not, children get caught up in it. I think now about what my two were like then and how they were “used” and I am disgusted with myself. Access was stopped and adults and children were broken hearted. But the most important thing you say here is communication. When communication did happen it worked towards what was best for the children not for us. I now have 50/50 access which is lovely (hard and tiring but lovely) we split everything down the middle and to do that takes a lot of communication, something that I thought two years ago would be impossible. I hope, for the sake of the children involved, that people can take a deep breath and actually consider their kids.

    • Totally without the communication we would have nothing. Two years ago I couldn’t look at him. Now I look and say he’s my child daddy and I’m so happy we could work out out differences, just like you have. A happy child is a happy home.

  2. I can totally relate to this as I’ve been Co parenting for nearly two years too. At first there was a lot of tension, especially because I lost my home to him and he moved on with someone else very quickly, I was wrapped up in how I was feeling about everything, I didn’t realise how it would impact Zak , my son. Eventually we realised that Zak was the only person we cared about and we wanted the best for him. There’s still sometimes a bit of tension, but we get on and work things out for Zaks sake now and I’m honestly happy that it’s like this. I loved reading this post, sometimes I feel like I’m so alone in this situation. We share Zak and as equally as possible too, I have him 4 days and he has him 3 days, it breaks my heart, but why shouldn’t Zak see his Dad as much as he sees me?

    • I feel like I’m alone too but it’s so common. I think it’s one of those things people don’t about.
      Exactly if daddy id there, and wantds to be a part of the childs life they have every right to sharing them. There’ll also be hiccups but as adults we can work through them.

  3. As someone who lived her parents’ very bitter divorce and years of tensions, I couldn’t be happier to read this. I think the impact on the children of an acrimonious relationship between the parents is a lot more damaging than divorce itself. Divorce is very hard, I have seen it so closely, but children really do need for their parents to put all of that aside and work together in raising them. I am really happy you and your ex have figured out a way to work together for Kayla’s sake. You are doing a great job!

  4. I read this and have some hope. I hope my ex husband starts to realise why co-parenting is so important. We live in different countries so obviously it’s very different but when he does see our son, he completely ignores me. What he doesn’t seem to realise is S will pick up on this. Here’s to hoping x

  5. It’s lovely you’ve found a way that works for you all. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts, please do link back or add my badge if you can. Thanks

  6. she is happy, has two homes and lots of people who love her! Lovely honest post. The topic is also close to my heart as a daughter (only child) of divorced parents. I was 8 when they split and loved having two homes! What I hated was how my parents talk about each other (I still do). You’re doing so well by working on communication with your daughter’s dad! And nevet beat yourself up about the situation. You’re doing what’s best for her and she will understand that one day. #sundaystars

  7. This is just the best attitude, you are both doing the right thing for Kayla and her feelings and that is wonderful and a true sign of great parents x

  8. This is a lovely post. I am so glad you have managed to find a balance. Don’t be too hard on the way you used to be, you were hurting too. As long as moving forward you can communicate then Kayla will be fine. Separation will always affect children though- my dad has just left my mum after 31 years and I am affected as an adult! Talking is definitely the way to go though, you are doing a great job. x

    • It’s very hard, sharing weekends, trying to organise days out but we got to sacrifice somethings for the sake of an argument. Sometimes I want to get so mad but i can’t jeopardise what we have built.

  9. My child was not a victim of either of the above. The blog clearly states my experiences and shows advice for people in the same or similar situations. Nobody in their right mind would recommend or push a child to stay or have contact with someone who abuses them.

  10. You are brilliant parents – this seems to be the right way forward that is working well for everyone involved. And your kids will totally love and respect you all the more for it! Steph xxx #SundayStars

  11. I’m glad you linked this up with the #bigfatlinky I stand by what I said before but
    It was good to read again. Its tough but so good to see good Outlook on it now.

  12. We are a blended family so we know exactly the feelings and emotions you describe. Thanks for sharing this honest account.Im sure it will be useful to there in similar situations. Thanks for linking up #bigfatlinky

  13. Kellie, your attitude to co parenting is so refreshing. Its so so difficult to share, even as adults. I co parent with my 4 year old sons father. Weve been doing it for a year even tho weve been broken up since I was pregnant. My son did ask questions as he got older and through gritted teeth, I explained as simply as I could. He is happy to visit but will not stay any longer than he needs to and has refused point blank to stay overnight. His dad has never asked for more time than his one day a week so the issue/argument has never come up. I admire you for being so honest and admitting that its not easy 🙂

  14. Such a great post! I co-parent too and it is so difficult at times, but it’s all about communication. My daughter is two and a half and we separated 10 months ago. She is just about getting used to it and we are trying so hard to get on, but the different styles in parenting can be so difficult sometimes. xxx

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