Separating from your kids father is never easy. It's a huge decision and it's also the harder decision as you find yourself having to start from scratch with 2 kids in tow. That was me at the beginning of 2016 and guess what, co-parenting hasn't really gotten any easier.
Last year was a turbulent year. The kids and I moved out into our own place, a tiny hole in the wall but it was our home. I knew when I made the ultimate decision to leave that it wouldn't be easy, but for the sake of the kids, it was the best one. No parent wants their child to witness arguments and a toxic relationship and although it means that time between parents and the kids are separate, the less negativity they have to witness, the better.
Co-parenting is a bitch. You have to constantly be in contact with someone you don't necessarily get along with, or really want to talk to, but you have no choice. There were stages where the kids father and I didn't talk at all apart from a simple text, sometimes nothing at all - we had our routine and we stuck to it. But then you decide to attempt a civil friendship, which turns to shit over the smallest argument and once again you're reminded of why you left. And then they decide that they made a huge mistake and really make an attempt to be a part of you life again, and by that time you're too much of an independent woman to let them in that easy.
That was me.
When I first left, I was a fucking mess. I cried on my kitchen floor, I had my girlfriends coming over on a nightly basis once the kids were in bed with a bottle of vino in hand so I could cry, vent and eventually laugh about the new life that I had started, and the one I had left behind. I formed a stronger relationship with the kids than ever before, but when they went to their dads I had never felt so lonely. I would sob uncontrollably, over-exercise to cope with the stress and throw things across the room because I was so angry that I had let this happen. That being said, I always kept a brave face in front of the kids because I wanted them to know that even though their mummy was really struggling, she was still incredibly strong.
It was when I was at my strongest that the kids father decided he wanted back in. He had taken months upon months to reflect on how much he had wronged us, and had taken the steps to start righting those wrongs. At first I didn't give two shits and wouldn't give him a bar of me because when I was suffering from PND and at my lowest point, he had left me high and dry, but when I realised how serious he was, I knew I had to give it one last go - at my pace. After all, I had always loved him and believed that there was an amazing person in there just busting to come out, I just never thought that it would take the kids and I leaving for it to actually happen.
There were blissful weeks, maybe even months, plus an engagement and I thought that we were really going to make this work, however after a while my conscious was taking over and reminding me of the past and I wasn't letting go of it. I was still hurting like a bitch, and when he didn't want to have anything to do with me, it made forgetting about it so much easier. I still hated him for everything he had done, the lies, the bullshit and everything in between was still embedded in my mind and I needed to protect myself from it happening again and this is exactly why I chose to keep living alone with the kids - we had A LOT of work to do.
Aaaaand that pretty much sums up the last couple of months. I finished my studies, I've worked my absolute ring hole off so I can try to build a reputable name in the fitness industry this year and I am now trying to practice the "art of letting go" which I am currently doing shithouse at and this co-parenting thing is back to bullshit status (I say bullshit status because I seem to say "this is bullshit" quite often lately). Luckily I have recently started meditating and it has taught me to consciously accept my anger and channel it so I am able to remain calm and not throw my phone off the balcony every time we have a disagreement and I can assure you that it's just as shit for Drew as it is for me.
We still do many things together. We got to family events, breakfast and a little family time together, however to make sure the kids are in a healthy environment free from any toxicity, we still stick to our parenting agreement so the kids have their usual routine. We don't always get along, but we're trying to work through our differences for the sake of our family and ourselves. Once I learn to let go of the past, I will be able to move forward with our relationship, and as much as I try, it's not something that can be forced.
Until you've mastered the art of co-parenting, it sucks balls. You need to have a civil, amicable and even playing field with the other parent and until you reach that point, you'll feel pissed off, ripped off and fucking exhausted to say the least. Please don't get me wrong, I ADORE AND LOVE my children, but I believe they need to see their dad just as much as they see me. I miss them when they're gone but I know he looks after them just as well as I do.
It isn't easy, but you'll gain a sense of strength and independence that you never knew that you had. You'll end up so independent that you'll refuse to take any bullshit and learn to love yourself. You'll learn to love your own company and know exactly what you want for yourself.