5 DAILY REMINDERS WHEN YOU'RE CO-PARENTING

Yesterday I cried because I missed my babies, and I did the same again today. I just wanted to cuddle them, kiss them, or even just hear their voices and although I've been doing this for a while now, I still have my days where the pain of not seeing them every day like I was used to, takes over. I still got out of bed, went and trained my girls nice and early in the dark, came home to shower and get ready for the rest of the day. Because this is just one way I set myself up to get through the time times.

Over the years, I've had to find ways to cope on the days my babies aren't here. When they're gone, I live alone and I have become very good at being alone, but that doesn't come without its struggles. You still have to walk past their room, look at their photos and think to yourself "Why the fuck aren't they here, this just isn't fair". Yes, the feelings of sadness, anger and frustration linger at times, but there are ways to overcome these moments and it's important to be proud of the strength that can be gained from these types of things happening to us. 

These are the biggest reminders that I have to keep repeating to myself daily, so I can keep going - this is my situation for the rest of my life, so I need to be able to cope with it. Everyone is allowed to have their moments, and these moments are the ones we learn from and gain all of our strength from. At the time, we feel broken, thinking that we'll never get through it and yet some how we do get through it, we thrive through them and essentially become stronger than ever before - and our babies see that, they thrive from it and as they grow older, will see how fucking epic you are.

This is just a mum thing, this goes for dads too. If you are a parent that loves your kids like nothing else in this world, you're going to struggle at times when you're not with them. It's painful and too often we spend so much time acting like tough bitches when really we want a cuddle. Going through any type of struggle requires different phases which we go through so we can come out the other end, equipped with the tools we need to conquer those feelings again.

So all of this being said, here are my biggest reminders that I tell myself when bad self talk pops into my head, my sadness is beginning to take over and I start getting angry about a situation that I can no longer control.


1. YOU HAVE NOT FAILED

When negative self talk settles in, something in your head starts to tell you that you've failed. I myself come from a family where my parents are still happily together, I had never dealt or experienced separation and when I went through it, everything was foreign to me, so obviously my first thought was that I had failed. Utter bullshit, I hadn't and neither have you.
Statistically, separations are on the rise, where although unfortunate, is reality. I hate the term "broken family" because it is possible to have a healthy co-parenting relationship and be able to thrive in the situation. No-one has failed, if the relationship didn't work, it's better off for your babies that they have two happy parents that aren't together, than witnessing their mum and dad have an unhealthy relationship - they are sponges and they see all of the shit.


2. YOU CAN ONLY CONTROL YOUR WORDS AND ACTIONS, NO ONE ELSES

I've learnt to try and not control EVERYTHING. I spent so long trying to make my situation as perfect as possible, all in the best interests of the kids. I tirelessly compromised myself and ran myself into the ground, only to realise in the end that as kind, understanding and fair as I was, not everyone will be the same as me. I couldn't control everything, and I had to learn to not let that get the best of me.
One thing that I have found that parents forget is that IT ISN'T ABOUT YOU, IT'S ABOUT THE KIDS. Your kids shouldn't have to grow up and recover from their childhood, and the fact that their parents weren't be together is not their fault, so keep them out of it and make sure they're fucking happy as they can be. My apologies for the swearing, every time I say fuck, is just my passion shining through. 
Be the best person you can be at all times, do not respond to negativity and instead make sure there are smiles on your kids faces and do the best that you can to make the situation as best as it can be.


3. LOVE WILL COME WHEN YOU ARE READY

Ahh, loneliness. That sinking feeling that there's no one because your house is radio silent and there's no little voices echoing through the living area from the bedroom because they're fighting over the same toy even though they have a thousand toys. You fucking miss that noise when it isn't around. Being at home when they aren't is fucking lonely, but you CAN enjoy it when you learn how to!
Instead of trying to rush yourself into a relationship that you're certainly not ready for and you're just compensating for the loneliness that you're feeling because you're alone, take time to learn to love yourself. You won't be able to give love to someone new in your life if your cup isn't full - you need it to overflow so you are giving the excess love to someone who deserves it. 
So many mothers (I'm assuming this happens to dads too!) come to me saying they don't think they'll ever find anyone because of the word "mum" - all I have to say to that is, if someone runs when they find out you have children, FUCK THEM, they're not right for you anyway. The right person will see your babies as an extension of how awesome you are and will accept and love them.
When I found Jack, I wasn't looking - he just showed up because I was so content with where I was with life and the kids. I was filling up my child free time with as much as I could, I wasn't on tinder, I wasn't out looking for a man and I was fine with that, so of course when I wasn't looking, I managed to find the most amazing person who ticked every box, then created boxes on top of it. 
Go out with the girls, find a job you are passionate about, join a group fitness gym or bootcamp, socialise or set yourself a goal to achieve something you've always wanted. Make use of the time alone and learn about yourself. You become so much stronger through it, I promise you that.


4. YOUR KIDS STILL THINK YOU'RE FUCKING AWESOME

You have doted on those kids since day one, you have loved them tremendously since day one and no matter how young they are, they fucking know that! Kids don't care about how much money you spend on them, how big your house is or how cool your car is, they value your TIME. When you're with them, BE WITH THEM. If they ask you to play with them, you play with those dolls or those blocks. If they ask you to read to them, you fucking read with them. Go to the park, go to the library, ride the bikes - just spend as much time as you can with them.
When I had them full time, I used to pine for some alone time and now I would never wish for a second alone because my time with them is shared. Every tantrum is an opportunity to understand them, every stage five clinger moment is a moment to cuddle them so tight and at the end of the day, I don't want them to go to bed, I want them to stay up with me. 
Spending time with them is how kids understand love. Love isn't money, it's time. Spend the time with them, they'll remember that forever. They will always think that you're fucking awesome, don't you every forget that. 


5. STAY CALM AND DO THE BEST YOU CAN FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR KIDS

Every day I wake up and my children are my driving force behind everything that I do. Whether they're waking up with me or not, I'm still their mummy and I'm sure as hell gonna make sure that I am the best parent that I can possibly be - every single day.
I am guilty of believing that everyone has the ability to be civil and that's bullshit - someone people will be out to hurt you and this is where you need to learn to remain calm, vigilant and continue to do the best that you can, even when someone is telling you that you're not.
It's natural to react to a person that hurts you, but by using your strength and the belief that you are doing all that you can to the best of your abilities, instead respond if necessary and go on with your day. People will always have their own opinions about your parenting, but opinions are just like assholes - everyone has one, but you don't need to think about it. 
Your kids are learning from your actions and will hear every word you say, so continue to be kind, grateful and assertive. Stand up for yourself, but remain calm and just when doing so. 

 

Life goes on, and you become stronger through every struggle that comes your way. I myself have not done this alone, and I've used resources to help me get through some hard times along the way. Here are some extra resources that might come in handy:

PANDA 
Beyond Blue
Single Mum
10 Life Tips for Successful Co-Parenting

and there's surrounding yourself with epic people such as family and friends. Even find a parenting support group and Facebook, they can really help!

Lauren
x

Lauren Patterson