So you thought co-parenting was tough before the pandemic? Welcome to 2020! Who would have thought we’d face lock downs akin to martial law or have everyone at home all at the same time ALL THE TIME? We’ve now been co-parenting during COVID for more than 7 months with no end in sight and no government entity has even defined what it would take to declare the end to this shit show.
If you feel like you’re losing it, remember you’re not alone and that as every ad and commercial will tell you, “We’re all in this together.” Am I the only one sick of hearing that? If we were all in this together, there’d be someone at your house right now watching the kids while you work. We’re all going through this at the same time. But in reality it is rather the opposite of together. As if normal parenting decisions weren’t enough pressure, now we have to evaluate whether continuing our shared parenting schedule endangers the safety of our family. We have to determine if our children’s mental health and social development are compromised as a result of isolating them at home.
Looks, it’s a lot to manage emotionally. Hell, my son is grown and sometimes I feel like I’m barely hanging on by the magnum-sized bottle of wine on my bar. But that alone will only get you a headache and puffy eyes. Let’s take a minute to break this down into consumable actionable steps. Then it won’t all seem so overwhelming.
Here are 4 ways to keep your sanity while co-parenting during COVID
- Maintain your parenting agreement
- Make sure both homes have everything your kid needs for school and play
- Take advantage of curbside grocery pickup or delivery
- Remember to live by the Golden Rule!
Maintain your parenting agreement
If you don’t get along with your ex, it may be tempting to use this as an “opportunity” to withhold visitation from them. But not only would this be wrong and hurtful to your child and their parent, in most states, this is illegal. You can be found in contempt of your divorce decree or parenting agreement. So you think you have problems now? Go ahead and involve the courts, attorneys and all the costs that come with that, not to mention the hostility that will sow in your co-parenting relationship.
Instead, show respect for your child’s need to spend time with their other parent and talk to your co-parent about things like what does your child need at both houses for school and play, reminding junior to wash his hands and discussing the at-home school schedule.
Make sure both homes have everything your kid needs for school and play
Talk to your co-parent to discuss the supplies your kids need to complete at home school work. They need a quite space free of electronics – unless needed for the school work. You need to feed them breakfast and lunch which may seem obvious. But with routines all reshuffled, you may forget about this not-so-little detail when they are online for class and you are online for work.
Obviously, they will need ample school supplies and play items at both homes to minimize transporting germs back and forth. They may need a bigger board or easel to draw or write on to emulate the visual experience of the classroom. You will need to monitor them! And you will need to maintain communication with both their teacher and your co-parent to keep them academically and emotionally on track. While some things have stopped, much of life is marching on – most markedly, TIME!
Take advantage of curbside grocery pickup or delivery
This is more of a time management and organizational tip than a pandemic tip. But now, it’s just far more accessible with so many stores offering the service. You can shop at any time of day or night. Like when you wake up at 4:00 AM unable to sleep because you’re thinking about the upcoming election. Or is that just me? You will also avoid all those impulse buys you might make as you’re walking down the cookie aisle. Good for your checkbook and your health.
Remember the Golden Rule!
When you’re co-parenting during COVID and so much feels out of control, it may be easy or even seem justifiable to be a little selfish or controlling. But now is not the time to forget empathy. Remember what I said earlier, we ARE ALL GOING THROUGH THIS together, separate. Whatever! It’s affecting everyone. Not just you. When you get that selfish desire to withhold visitation or impose your own code of sterility on your child’s other parent, take a deep breath and then ask yourself, “Would I want someone to do that to me?” If the answer is no, choose differently. Karma is a bitch you do not want to piss off.
Do you have creative ways you’ve tackled co-parenting during COVID? I’d love to here them and share them with our Collaborative Co-parenting Community. Submit your stories here.
For more co-parenting insights, visit my blog.
And remember… no wine before 5 o’clock! Yeah yeah, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. Choose happiness!