Tips for Keeping Your Co-Parenting Relationship Running Smoothly (Guest Post)

Apr 24, 2017 | No Comments

(image from Be Loud Be You)

The following post is by Tim Backes who is the senior editor for Custody X Change, a custody calendar software solution.

There hasn’t been any reimbursement for the posting of this article–but anything that helps co-parents peacefully negotiate a custody calendar sounds like a good idea to me! 🙂

Tips for Keeping Your Co-Parenting Relationship Running Smoothly

You and your ex may have had a fantastically amicable split. Or, it may have been a knock down drag out war. No matter the case, it’s in the best interests of your children that your post-split relationship is as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

Here are a few ways to make that possible.

3 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Co-Parenting Relationship

Even when you and your ex had a friendly split, as your time apart grows, attitudes and personalities can change. Understanding that from the beginning can help you in the future.

Plan for the Future

Depending on the age of your children when you decide to go different ways with your ex-spouse, your legal co-parenting relationship could be a very long one. Regardless of the assumed length, getting things right at the beginning minimizes potential problems as your relationship changes.

At the start of your new relationship you will have to create a parenting plan to show the family court how the two of you plan to raise your children while not living together. It’s extremely important to put anything and everything that matters to you in writing.

From where your children will spend their holidays to what school districts they can live in, you want to be as detailed as possible. It’s much easier to hash out the details up front than to fight about missing details after the fact.

Be Reasonably Flexible

A custody calendar is important, but it’s not sacrosanct. Life is very unpredictable. For the sake of keeping a co-parenting relationship friendly, when your ex-spouse needs to change a date or a time, you should consider working with them instead of stonewalling them if possible.

Many co-parents with instantly challenge the request. But, if it’s a reasonable request, it only makes sense to try and help. Unnecessary friction, no matter how minimal, can build up over time until a once friendly relationship becomes a toxic one.

The key to all of this though is to be reasonably flexible. You don’t want to let your ex-spouse walk all over you. But, random and reasonable requests should be considered for the sake of keeping things civil.

Transparently Keep Details Records

When working within a contract, which is exactly what a parenting plan is, hard records are your best friends. You should keep every receipt any time you spend money on your children. And, you should keep records of all your emails and text messages you trade with your ex-spouse.

While the records themselves are valuable, the true value comes in letting your ex-spouse know how diligent you are about keeping tabs. It’s a friendly way of letting them know they won’t be able to pull any nonsense as you have everything clearly recorded if needed for future reference.

In Summary

One of the biggest keys to keeping your co-parenting relationship healthy as time moves forward is to create a solid foundation right from the start. You want to spend a lot of time to create a very well thought out parenting plan. You want to keep good records and let your ex know you are doing so. And, you want to work with them when unexpected situations arise.

If you follow these three tips, you’re sure to have a better chance at maintaining a smooth co-parenting relationship than if you hope for the best without a proper strategy in place.

The “Give-Yourself-A-Pause” Phrase

Nov 28, 2016 | No Comments

I work with lots of folks on how to take good care of themselves…how to listen to their own needs and set boundaries that work for them. One challenge that comes up a lot is that, in social situations, conversation can move so quickly that it becomes really hard to be able to:

  1. Pause.
  2. Sense your reaction to the request or situation.
  3. Come up with a skillful way to respond or set a boundary.

But being able to do all 3 of these things is central to respecting yourself and your needs.

There’s nothing wrong with, for instance–saying “yes” to going to a party this weekend and then, after reflection letting the person know that you’re actually beat from the holidays and need a quiet weekend at home. But retracting a “yes” is often uncomfortable for people.

So here’s a little tool for your toolbox to help create a little more space in conversation when you’re asked for something and don’t want to say “yes” (or “no” for that matter) prematurely. Let’s call it the Give-Yourself-A-Pause Phrase.

“That sounds really nice!…I’ve got to check my calendar first…can I let you know later today or tomorrow?”

“Wow…I’d really like to be able to do that. I need to think about it a bit first. Can I let you know in a day or two/hour or two?

“Hmm…interesting. That’s cool. I really want to ponder that one before I make a decision. Can I let you know soon?”

“Thanks for thinking of me. Let me think about what I’ve got going on for a bit and I’ll get right back to you.”

These are cheerful and positive. It’s also a-ok to say, “You know, I’m kinda overwhelmed at the moment…can I let you know in a bit?” or “It’s been a hard day…I think I’ve got to think about it and let you know.”

These can work when you’re:

  1. Asked on a date.
  2. Asked to join a committee.
  3. Asked out for drinks after work.
  4. Asked to travel somewhere for the holidays.

What do you think? Are there some other phrases that have worked well for you?

Healthy boundaries—>Healthy person.

<3

Rachel

 

The Adulting School (or Why I’ve Been MIA)

Nov 3, 2016 | No Comments

 

Hi! I miss writing for The Open Heart Space, but I’ve been busy with a super-creative project!

I’ve started a new business and it’s been taking up a ton of time! The new business is called The Adulting School and it was created in response to my observation that a lot of my clients were experiencing stress from a lack of concrete skills-based knowledge in their lives…And also from the question I’ve asked—and you’ve probably asked—“Why didn’t they teach us that in school?”

We’re teaching, writing, and talking about: budgeting, paying off debt, meditation, relationship skills, how to cook a meal with what’s in your fridge, and tons more.

The Adulting School holds events and offers info to help fill in those gaps—but in a friendly, accessible, non-threatening way. The events we host have good food and drink and we’re all about having a good time while we learn the stuff we need to know to be successful adults.

If you’d like to know more, check out our website at www.theadultingschool.com and here’s a link to our first blog post from the site on “Why Yesterday’s Adulthood Became Today’s Adulting.” And take the Adulting IQ quiz you’ll find on the site.

Happy reading and I’ll be getting back to blogging for The Open Heart Space next month after The Adulting School’s premiere Summit on 11/13!

Mindful Sex and Meditation

Jun 27, 2016 | No Comments

This article was published a couple of years ago but has gotten over 3,000 views and so elephant journal has reposted it to their front page! Thought I’d share it again with all of you! Happy Monday!

The media is full of images and headlines about how to have great sex: hot bodies and new moves, gymnastic positions and pearly pink sex toys will “spice things up” and help you either give or get the mind-blowing pleasure you’ve been looking for.

One thing often overlooked, however, is whether you’re actually in your body while you’re having sex. By this, I mean are you planning your schedule for the next day? Are you going over your grocery list? Are you worrying about having or giving an orgasm? All of us have internal mental chatter while having sex, but when thoughts come up and we ride away with them we lose contact with the sensations and subtleties of the present moment. When this happens, we limit the richness and depth of the sex we’re having. (click to read the rest…)

Know the Truth About Soul-Mates

Jun 17, 2016 | No Comments

Here’s an article I wrote for the website: www.loveevolveandthrive.com:

You know the story about the man in the flood? He was waiting for God to save him and when a row boat passed by to help him to dry land, he turned it away because he was waiting for God. Then when the water was up to the second floor a helicopter came by and he turned their rescue down because he was waiting for God to save him. When he was on the roof, and the water was about to swallow the house he yelled at God, “I had faith in you and you’re letting me drown!” and God said, “Who do you think sent the boat and the helicopter?!?”

My point?

If your eyes aren’t open to what healthy love looks like, you might pass it by because it doesn’t fit your picture of “soul-mate.” (Click here to get the scoop on a new definition of soul-mate!!!)