I wanted to start todays blog with this statement, “I wish I could say that co-parenting has been an easy journey.” But I realized that this statement isn’t completely true. In fact, it isn’t true at all. I don’t wish this journey would have been easy because co-parenting has helped to shape who I have become. I’m a better person, mother, friend and believer because of my journey. With that said, I want to tell you how I overcame resentment and what it has done for our parenting relationship.
It happened last summer. I was upset about some money that he did not send or some kind of miscommunication we had and I blew up. We were both in a tight spot at the time. Suddenly, in the middle of a heated argument, I lost it completely. I wasn’t even sure why I said it, but I immediately knew it was true as it rolled off my tongue and into his ears. “You owe me. I feel like you owe me.”
There it was. We had spent 10 years in separate places trying to raise a daughter together, but we never communicated on a genuine level. I felt alone in parenting, alone in romance and that he had left me hanging to live a fun life in the Queen City. It hurt me to say what I said because it forced me to look at the reasons why I had come to resent him so much. The person who I was once head over heels in love with had (in my mind) neglected his parenting duties and his allegiance to me as the mother of his child. I had unspoken expectations for him and his role in our lives. So long as these expectations remained in my head they continued to breed resentment in my heart. This conversation was the turning point in our parenting endeavors.
I began to really communicate as much as I could what I needed his help with; From $20.00 for gas to a summer to myself, I asked for it all. Things did not change overnight. I had to fight the “I am a Black woman and I don’t need your help” mentality. This is what kept me overworking myself to stay afloat, asking everyone else for support except for him and internalizing the pain when I fell flat. I had to learn that this was a two-person team and that whether I liked it or not I just couldn’t do it alone. And when I made him aware of how much I was really doing to get it done he started to show up differently – through simple appreciation posts, taking baby girl more often and sending money whenever I needed it without hesitation.
And don’t get me wrong, my resentment wasn’t solely based on my pride and my inability to effectively communicate what I needed from him as a co-parent. He had his own internal and external struggles to deal with that kept from being the parent he needed to be. He had to grow as a man first and then as father in order to be a better co-parent. Moreover, he had to grow spiritually and I had to get real about who I was in all of that mess. I had to get real about my feelings about our failed relationship. I had to get real about feeling like I missed out on life while he lived child free. I had to get real about what I needed from him in order for this to work. I couldn’t continue to play the role of the super woman anymore. We can improve our personal circumstances, it’s true, but if we don’t get real with ourselves and examine our hearts, it’s all for naught. I can honestly say that our parenting relationship is much better because we are doing the work and working together.
I’m grateful for our journey in co-parenting. I’m a real G because of it!