Co-Parenting: The Silent Partner

There is a new show called “Raising Fisher” or something like that.  Have you seen it?  I missed the pilot but got episode 2 on my DVR.  It was pretty funny and cute and made me feel good when the entire family was sitting around a candle lit dinner eating takeout smiling and laughing with each other.  What a picture perfect family. 

But wait. 
That couple had just gotten divorced. 
Say what?!?!
That picture doesn’t look anything like what I have seen in broken marriages and relationships.  In fact, the image that media wants to put off about perfect co-parenting families really boils my blood (Trophy Wife?!?!).  Show me a real life situation where things are that hunky dory and maybe I will have a glimmer of hope.  
I usually see the situation between me and Michael’s dad (D), as very positive.  In reality it’s not positive at all – unless the fact that we don’t argue is considered positive. 
It’s impossible to argue with someone if they won’t talk to you.  
Every Thursday I call D to ask about Michael’s week.  I want to know about school, his friends, did he get to do fun stuff like go to a movie or visit his grandparents house?  I want to know what his life is like at his dad’s house and have some pointers on how to talk to Michael when I pick him up.  This curiosity seems normal to me.  But…. maybe it’s not? 
D NEVER calls me.  I’m lucky if I get a text saying Michael is sick and staying home from school.  D has not called once this entire school year to find out about Michael’s week with me.  This tells me D doesn’t care.  Maybe D wants to pretend that Michael doesn’t actually have a life over here? I really don’t know. 
Every once in a while the four of us sit down for dinner: both sets of parents.  Sounds nice right?  And it is.  On the surface.  We smile and chit chat and order drinks and food.  They offer to pay sometimes as long as we don’t order alcohol.  Their beliefs tell them alcohol is wrong so instead they order root beer and mountain dew.  They always leave my one margarita on a separate bill for me and Mr. Sexy to pay for.  It’s awkward.  But it’s also stressful.  So I always try to ask the server to throw in some extra tequila.  Wink wink. 
Then we talk about Michael.  School.  His friends.  His behaviors.  Then we brainstorm.  Oh, wait, I’m laughing too hard.  I brainstorm.  Mr. Sexy brainstorms.  D and his wife don’t usually have anything to say on how we can improve our co-parenting relationship or how we can guide Michael through his struggles.  It’s nice that they always agree to our ideas.  It’s not so nice that a week later D tells me they won’t do it.  I’m completely fine with new ideas on how to parent.  I’m even fine knowing he is going to be parented completely differently at his dad’s house. 
I am NOT fine with his dad and step-mom telling me one thing and then “changing their mind” once they walk out of the restaurant.  
I know things could be worse.  Voldemort is a great example.  It’s just that things could be better as well.  So much better. 
The facts are: 
D and his wife are good people.  They love Michael.  They are nice – as far as I can tell.  
Mr. Sexy and I are good people.  We love Michael.  We are nice, too.  
So why can’t we just get along like they do on TV?!?!  

3 thoughts on “Co-Parenting: The Silent Partner

  1. I know some people that make it work okay — usually those cases are when the divorce was pretty amicable.
    I've been through divorce twice as a child – and both times my mom made a clean break. So she never had to deal with my dad and then step dad. *whew – Praise Jesus!* And for sure those 2 men would definitely made life difficult. It would not have been the sanitized TV version.
    The thing with TV is that everything can be solved in 60 minutes or less.
    which is not real life at all. Thus — their stories tend to be a bit “neater”, and thus less real.


  2. Oh that sounds like a really tough situation. My parents can't stand each other and have talked poorly about each other in front of me since I was a small child and I will always harbor resentments in both of them because of it. I know they fell out of love but they didn't have to tell me about it! You're being smart calling and having dinners, hopefully you can get a margarita out of them 😉


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