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Here goes nothin’

August 9, 2010

Ever since Moxie’s and my divorce became public, I’ve been gobsmacked by the support I’ve received from readers all over the hither and yon. I’ve also been asked (and abysmally unprepared for) myriad questions about what the process was like, how I survived it, and how I cope with this new, transformative reality.

I got a lot of great advice about divorce and co-parenting when my marriage fell apart, and I appreciate the chance to pay it forward. But whenever I do, I am compelled to say that this is only my experience, and I don’t want to put words in my ex-wife’s mouth when she isn’t around to weigh in on her own. This blog, then, strikes me as a way for both of us to write about our processes and involve the other in the conversation.

I was skeptical about the blog idea at first, mostly because the divorce has made me hypersensitive to privacy—especially for my kids. But I guess I warmed up to it because I want to express how grateful I am that Moxie and I have somehow sidestepped, for the most part, the visceral anger and resentment that plagues so many divorced families.

This could be a stupid idea, because I haven’t seen many co-blogs co-written by divorced co-parents, and there may be a really good reason why. But it might also be a stupendous idea. And I think I want to find out which.

This blog couldn’t have happened six months ago. Or even six weeks ago. The fact that it can now is living, breathing proof that although co-parenting after divorce is one of the most vivid colors in the Spectrum of Suck, it’s possible—aided by time, effort, and dumb luck—for it to suck less.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. August 9, 2010 9:25 pm

    I just want to raise my voice in support; I have a zillion questions for you (coparenting and public transit? Negotiating school choice with a former spouse?) and several questions I’m not even brave enough to voice yet. Thanks for blogging, and I look forward to reading more.

  2. Elizabeth permalink
    August 9, 2010 10:11 pm

    This is groundbreaking. You both are very brave to do this. And I imagine it will be a powerful thing for your boys to read one day. For now, I have a lot of friends I intend to forward this to. Thanks for sharing.

  3. August 9, 2010 11:46 pm

    When my parents split in 1979 they were the first divorced couple ever to be awarded joint custody in the Indiana county where we were living. They fought very hard to get it, against the wishes of both their lawyers and any one else with an opinion on the matter. The fact that they did this has always meant so much to me, regardless of the fact that the actual joint custody only lasted a few years until school and work realities made it impossible to continue. I can’t even imagine how grateful I’d be now to read a joint diary that they had kept about the process. If nothing else, documenting this could turn out to be a mighty salve for your boys as adults.

  4. August 10, 2010 12:11 am

    What an excellent idea. I counsel people all the time trying to co-parent when they don’t particularly like the person they had kids with, and I’m fascinated by what makes it work. So far, I’ve come up with: Maturity. Can’t wait to see what you two have to say about it.

  5. Slim permalink
    August 10, 2010 8:40 am

    I think the reason there aren’t blogs like this is that most couples I’ve known have divided things so that one person has custody of All the Emotional Skills That Allow People to Act Like Grown-Ups, and one person wraps up in a big blanket of Acting Put-Upon.
    Thanks for pulling aside the curtain so people get to see the least-sucky was of doing something that sucks.

  6. August 10, 2010 9:18 am

    Phenomenal. There is NO WAY that my ex and I could do this (we are most definitely still at that “six months ago” or “six weeks ago” mark), although we are managing a fairly decent job at co-parenting. I can’t wait to see what goes up in this space. My new first-blog-to-read-each-day, for sure. Best of luck.

  7. August 10, 2010 10:33 am

    I am intrigued:)

  8. Meg Banas permalink
    August 10, 2010 11:07 am

    For 11 years, my x husband and I have been coparenting and it has been fantastic for our kids. It’s amazing what happens when people actually act like adults and MAKE it work. It IS work, no doubt, especially right after the divorce, but it is so worth biting your tongue sometimes.
    There has to be an absolute mutual respect for each other. After all…at one point you loved eachother enough to create these children. They are totally innocent in the entire process and we owe it to them to put our differences aside and prove to them that we love them enough to grow up and make the best out of a bad situation.
    We always know exactly what is going on with the kids at all times, we decide on punishments as well as rewards, together. If the kids are in trouble for something at one house, the punishment carries over to the other’s house. We back each other up on everything and present a united front for the kids. This helps to avoid having the kids “run” to the other parent so they can get what they want…they get the same answer at both homes.
    I love and respect their father for giving me 3 beautiful kids, for sticking around to be an intense force in their lives and for being my “other (parental) half”.
    It takes work, maturity and forgiveness but our children benefit 100% from the work we’ve done.
    Kudos to all the “grown up” parents who put their kids first and who don’t put their kids in the middle of their own mess.
    Thanks for the blog…keep it up 🙂

  9. August 10, 2010 11:09 am

    I’m treading water in this pool right now, trying to work out a 50/50 agreement with my children’s father. Not sure we’ll get there. Every day I wonder how we’ll make it through to a place where no one breathes fire in a conversation between us. And I hope for the day when this feeling of being unsettled (and off balance) runs off with its tail between its legs. Any day now, right?

    I admire you both for creating this space to talk about all of it.

  10. August 10, 2010 11:19 am

    I think you are brave and brilliant. Two amazing writers coming together for the greater good? Wow.

    We’re lucky to have you.

  11. August 10, 2010 11:24 am

    Written really well – I wish you all the luck in the world and more love than the world holds to get through this 🙂

  12. August 10, 2010 11:33 am

    Thank you for taking the plunge.

  13. August 10, 2010 11:42 am

    This is an incredible idea and I really hope it works and works out for both of you. What an amazing thing you’re doing here.

    Also, as a complete aside, it was great to meet you at BlogHer this year.

  14. Nikki permalink
    August 10, 2010 11:59 am

    Well done to both of you. My parents divorced when I was 9. The yelling, screaming, and crying was terrifying. They were totally unable to communicate on the subject of raising their children. They never agreed on anything. I already have subscribed to this new blog’s
    RSS feed so that I can see the conversation unfold. Thank you both for doing this.

  15. August 10, 2010 5:23 pm

    WOW. Bold territory. Amazed by your joint effort here, to put words to the stuff that so often leaves us all speechless. Wishing you both well on this endeavor and separate endeavors!

  16. August 10, 2010 5:27 pm

    I’m so glad you’re doing this! It’s terrific to see how good parenting post-divorce can be.

  17. August 10, 2010 8:12 pm

    I am more than a little intrigued by this.

  18. August 11, 2010 3:02 pm

    Great idea! I have experienced both sides of the coin if you will. I am divorced mother who re-married to a man who was also a divorced father. We each have 50/50 custody with our ex-spouses. However, we have experienced just how well this can work and how awful it can be. I agree with the commenter who earlier stated that the single most important factor is maturity. My ex and I decided during the painful divorce process that we would always put our daughter first. And we have endeavored to do that – it’s uncomfortable at times but our generally good, mature attitudes make it easier to move past those tough spots quickly. My husband’s ex on the other hand, uses their boys as pawns in some neverending game to make my husband’s life hell. In and out of court, never adhering to anything either agreed to or court ordered – it has sucked. Fortunately, the boys and we have persevered and now that they are older, they see their mother’s faults for what they are. It breaks my heart that they have had to learn this lesson. Good luck to both of you on this journey! I look forward to reading your thoughts on the process and sharing this site with others in similar circumstances.

  19. letajoy permalink
    August 12, 2010 8:56 am

    I’ve read both your blogs for awhile now and did not realize that you were each others exes. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I clicked on this link. So, obviously you are doing something right when it comes to navigating this situation. Well done.

  20. kiddo permalink
    August 12, 2010 9:44 pm

    Fantastic blog!

  21. August 13, 2010 2:33 pm

    This is such a great idea! I’m really excited to see what you all write about and how the co-writing will go. And I’m guessing that even those not divorced will be able to benefit from your experiences of co-parenting.

  22. AmyinTexas permalink
    August 13, 2010 4:37 pm

    I am looking forward to hearing the father’s point of view. I’m fairly certain that in all the crap that comes up between my ex-husband and I in co-parenting our children, I am always right and he is always wrong.

    But, you know, I’m willing to see what the “guy” has to say, so to speak.

    (And I am utterly kidding… I think my ex and I do a bang up job raising our kids… but there are definitely issues.)

  23. Debora permalink
    August 15, 2010 1:44 pm

    My ex and I have been co-parenting our three children for over two years now. If WE can do it, then ANYONE can.


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