A few months back my husband and I were interviewed about our parenting styles and our blended family life, for an upcoming online series!
One of the questions was:
"They say it takes a village to raise a child. Who's in your village?"
My mind instantly went to our good friends who live down the road. They are there for us any whenever we need help with the kids, and we always return the favour.
We have this whole "you parent my kid, I'll parent yours" type of arrangement. They can totally give our kids crap and they expect us to do the same.
I also thought of my family. While we don't have the type of grandparents who are around every single week, we do have some family members who are always there in a pinch!
As I thought about who else is in our village, my husband piped in and said "my ex wife is a huge part of our villiage"
I'm pretty sure I raised my eyebrows and quickly turned my head to say "come again?"
BUT before the words came out of my mouth, I totally got it.
She is our village.
Together we are raising these three little people with one common goal. To raise them up into being kind-hearted, giving, hard-working, successful members of Society.
Even though co-parenting is not always easy and sometimes we have different opinions, we are a village. When push comes to shove, we have each other's back.
As my husband explained this to our interviewer, I felt terrrible. How had I not instantly thought about his ex-wife as part of our team? When I really think about it, she's one of our most important members...
Yesterday my husband reminded me about an event we have tomorrow night.
"You got a sitter right?"
No. No I did not get a sitter.
In fact, it completely slipped my mind.
Scrambling, I anxiously contacted all the sitters on our list.
They were all unavailable.
I tried my sisters, and our parents.
We were officially stuck.
As I brainstormed potential caregivers my mind went back to the conversation about our village.
"She's always offered to have Reese" I reminded my husband "Maybe we should check and see if she is interested"
So we did. Her answer?
"Sure no problem"
Now Reese isn't going to be stuck with a sitter. She gets an extra special night with her brothers and sister, who she misses like crazy when they are with their Mom.
It's our best case scenario.
Even though some people's reaction to this may be, "that's kind of strange" ...
when you really think about it, it's actually pretty great.
When I write posts about our healthy co-parenting relationship, I often get comments from fellow Stepmoms who don't, and will probably never, have this type of partnership.
Please remember, what's best for one family, isn't necessarily best for another. We all have unique stressors and unique stepfamily dynamics.
In our situation, it's important to note that we have all done a lot of work to get here. We will need to continue to do the work to stay here.
That being said, there are situations where the ex is not considered in your village. There are situations where it is not healthy to communicate back and forth unless it's absolutely necessary. That's okay too!
Lately, there have been a lot of posts online about these kumbaya co-parenting relationships and while I think these posts are great for changing Society's perception about blended family life, I also know that they make a lot of stepmoms feel like CRAP. For many, it's never going to happen!
If this is you! Check out the post titled "You Don't Have To Be Friends With Your Ex To Co-Parent Well" on ScaryMommy. It's an excellent read, and a great reminder that no matter what your co-parenting situation is, as long as you're doing whats best for you and your kids, you're doing just fine!