Hello there, Madame Woo here, welcome to Faithfully Madame. Let me ask you a question. Do you agree to co-parent? Do you believe co-parenting comes in different forms? Could you co-parent in the same house? I know as human beings we are filled with expectations when it comes to certain things. Yet, desire is the beginning of entitlement. At times, we must reach back, remember the moments of despair, and humble ourselves. Nothing is guaranteed, circumstances out of our control occur from moment to moment. Expectations usually revolve around something that we want to receive, rather than what we look forward to giving. Expectations can turn on us forcing us to believe as though we are entitled to what we expect to get. Do we care about our expectations to do for or give to, others? We expect the government to protect our rights, the plumber to fix our pipes, our therapist to fix our problems, and the parent of our child to be who we say. If things do not turn out how we want, then it is bad. We must figure it all revolves around us, how we feel, what we want, and what we will do.
In this world, we are taught not to expect anything or demand anything, but with this, we have lost perspective in the worse way. You maybe wonder if this is good or bad, that is quite irrelevant. Is this supposedly better for us, expect nothing implying we should expect deception? Expect your government to impose on your liberty, expect the plumber to cheat you out of your money, expect the therapist to help you listen to yourself, and expect the parent of your child to do whatever it is they choose because they are a person after all. It is all contradicting, in a way, which I like to think is balance. In other words, you have no rule over anyone but self by way of the earth, the truth lies somewhere between all the lies. Preferring to allow rather than expect. Allow favor, the favor will come. The control over self is all authority needed. How you handle your behavior or morality in hard times, is who you are. That connection to self-control has to be strong.
The thing I have observed about most human beings is they want to be told what to do. Yet, they want to feel they have come to those answers all on their own. Being direct will get you nowhere, folks actually enjoy the beating around the bush as long as they can have a scapegoat for their confusion. If they fail to come to the right conclusion they will inadvertently blame another for their elusiveness and failure to be more direct. As the saying goes there is nothing new under the sun. I am sure these thoughts have been expressed in one way or another by one or more individuals.
I have discussed my need for meditation practices only briefly before and only briefly again. The ability to be aware at every moment is difficult for the human mind in this day and age. They have been trained to tune things out and given plenty of distractions to do so. These distractions give the illusion of focus. In reality, it is a tunnel vision which is the lack of focus. With tunnel vision, you are only capable of seeing one way out of any given situation, if that. You could be wandering in total darkness with no light in sight. Even when more appealing options present themselves, you can not see. Once you come out of the tunnel you see the land, the light, and the sky. You get to focus on the bigger picture. I do believe meditation helps with your ability to focus not on the situation but the teaching making the future less of an obstacle and more of a blessing. Trust me, blessings and curses are often disguised. They tend to dress up as each other.
Let us get back to the focal point. What is co-parenting? Now if you happen to find yourself in this situation regardless of age then there would be no need for me to tell you that it is your sex life. No need for me to tell you that you brought this upon yourself and that all the choices you have made brought you here. I can not tell you how many times I have heard from folks that you slept with that person unprotected or you should have gotten married or simply known this would happen. Yes, there may have been warning signs of negative behavior between you both. Whatever caused both of you to turn a blind eye to those signs are the forces we can’t explain and only forgiveness from self can heal. We all know single parents who were married once, we can’t predict the future. Forgive self, nothing was done wrong. It is all too common in my culture for single parents with children to be ostracized. Women and men must be held accountable for the life of a child.
Co-parenting with the other half of the child should be the majority of single parents’ dreams. It is rare that you will find two perfectly capable parents wanting absolutely nothing but to not work for the betterment of the child. Now how you define that co-parenting relationship or child support is up to you both. Just figure out what works for the family or let the courts decide.
As single parents, we have the initial question to face. Whether or not to co-parent with the other half of our child. This question doesn’t present itself if you have been abandoned or you do not know the parent of your child or life-threatening situations of assault. Other than those circumstances, the only way I would find myself unwilling to work with the other half of my child is if the parent is a threat to the well being of the child or if they refuse to cooperate, not want to be a part of the process. Before I continue, I would like to state that you are in command of your life. You can decide for yourself and your child, you brought into this world, your heart knows what is best. However, true equality says that the other parent equally has those rights. Let us not neglect the truth for that is a dangerous game to play.
Do not compromise your health, mental state, or finances trying to overextend yourself to fit into any box of what others think a good parent or family looks like. If you do not want to do something, don’t. Do not half do it, the results will not favor you. I say work wholeheartedly with true intentions or not at all. If you do choose to co-parent with the other half of your child, your partner. Then you all together must decide what is best for the time, which will change over time if it is a functioning plan fit for the child. If you are solely making the decisions then you are not co-parenting.
My ideal co-parenting situation would be Thursday through Monday every other week with 50% of all financial responsibility up and through college. This is what some would consider reaching for the stars, shocking. However, what is truly ideal is the median between what is ideal for you and ideal for your partner, both equally compromising. If you are dealing with a mentally stable human being then just ask and see what they say is ideal for them. Meet somewhere in the middle.
You might find yourself in a situation where the partner has no intention of co-parenting with you. There may be plenty of bad blood, so much so that any type of coexisting is tainted. You don’t have to love or like your partner but if you find yourself unable to work with them and vice versa then that there stops the process from even being workable. You can’t split the child in half. If your partner claims to have a desire to be in the child’s life but does not want to co-parent with you then you have a bad apple. What do we do with rotten apples, we simply throw them out. No hard feelings. There is no way to subtract either of you from the life of the child without hindering both relationships with the child. Remember whether your partner is there or absent they still play a major role in the development of the child. Mediators are great but should be temporary. I personally find them to be childish and only necessary if one or both parents are acting in a juvenile manner. If you could coexist long enough to have enough chemistry to have sexual intercourse then you are more than capable of brief interactions as parents. I know parents who are in and out of court, every time there is a problem. That is perfectly okay, I guess, if it works for you if agreements aren’t something you can come too. Staying out of court should be somewhat of a priority especially if it is unnecessary and an agreement can be reached. Tying up the court system is not okay, there are people in serious need of mediation.
Oftentimes, it is hard for some parents to tell if the other half of the child has good intentions or is self-involved. It is hard to distinguish between someone going through a hard time, not understanding the role of a parent or someone who is manipulative. Do not count yourself out of the pool of manipulation. Custodial parents who hold the child above the non-custodial parents head as a prize to be won, are guilty. I will just say actions speak louder than words. If you find yourself in a situation where the parent has not made a definite decision to either co-parent with you or to remove themselves from the child’s life, stop muddying the waters. This is not helpful to you, the partner, or the child. Finding out where the parent stands, is crucial to the upbringing of the child. If you can not come to a co-parenting agreement, then take up my previous suggestion and go to court. This will put all power into the hands of the law and out of yours, it will give you relief when you have done all that you can do. Don’t be afraid of court and don’t wait for them to initiate. If you are afraid of the court, it is because you are afraid to give up control. If they are afraid to go to court it is probably because they are afraid to take responsibility. In other words, you must relinquish some control in order for them to take responsibility. If the partner does not want that responsibility and continues with the difficulties, it is perfectly okay and justified to cut communication completely off. Always keep the option open for the child to make that connection later on in life if they choose to do so.
CHILD SUPPORT VS. CHILDCARE
Child support versus Childcare, if you had to choose which would you say is more important to you? I want to define the two from my perspective. Child support yes is the entire job of the parent, it is being both physically, emotionally, and financially available to your child. This is doing all of these things to the best of your ability at any given time, supporting your child. However, here I am specifically speaking strictly of financial support. Childcare is defined as looking after a child which could also cover all that I have previously stated, meaning they both are the exact same thing. I will define childcare here as the emotional and physical part of parenting, truly being present in your child’s life. If you are blessed to have a true co-parenting situation then you have a partner who is providing all-around support for your child. I am happy for you. If you are also blessed in this area then you have a partner providing one or the other or nothing at all. Blessings are sometimes disguised, don’t be so quick to judge a situation just because it is tough.
In these situations, seeking child support from the very beginning should be a priority. If you feel that you are a parent who is independent and you don’t want to take anything from the other individual, you got it on your own, great. Don’t be naive in this matter, It is not your money to decline. Do not leave money on the table. If you don’t need it to care for your child or children then good for you. Open a bank account and throw it in there, your child will be thankful for the inheritance from their birth parent, even if it’s 100$ a month. Over the course of 18 years, that is 20 thousand dollars, it’s enough for a small business start-up. If you need child support, by all means, pursue it especially if you have asked for help and not received it. Do not consider what situation this will put the parent in, that is of their consequence. In this circumstance, the needs of the child come first. Be righteous in your spending of the funds you are given, respect goes a long way. You are a guardian of sorts for your child so look out for them with grace.
Before I concluded, I want to say that if you are the one making things difficult for yourself, your partner, and your child for whatever reason then stop, easier said than done I know. Take the steps to ask yourself these questions when making a decision. Is this in the best interest of the child? How do I feel right now and why? What are the long term consequences for all involved? How can I help turn things around? If I had to choose whether or not I would want child support or childcare. I would choose childcare but of course, I’m stubborn and I want it all. My child deserves it all, so my expectations are high, they have a long way to come down. Expecting good things means that yeah sometimes I will be disappointed. I trust the process of life, a series of ups and downs, that will ultimately build character and humble me before the power of The Universe.
“Don’t promise when you are happy, don’t reply when you are angry and don’t decide when you are sad”.The Unknown
If you need time to make the best decision for you and your child, then take that time. Remember time waits for no man, every second is precious in your childs life. So much love to you and yours and I hope that you enjoyed the holidays and welcome to the year 2020. All favor points ahead. Peace is love, Madame Woo.