Next week I’m going to write about what things are specific to LOD and me and our circumstances that are allowing us to share custody equally. Not everyone can or should do it, so please don’t feel like we’re saying that. We’re lucky about a lot of things, and we know it, and I’ll tell you what they are.
In the meantime, I wanted to put up some resources for going through the divorce and co-parenting process that I found helpful and think will help anyone in the middle of it.
The best book about divorce I’ve read is called Uncoupling, and it’s by Diane Vaughan. She wrote it after observing and interviewing a bunch of couples who were together long-term (married or unmarried, opposite-sex and same-sex) and then separated. What she found was that there was a predictable, common progression of events, both for the person who instigated the split and for the person who did not instigate. Those of you who read AskMoxie.org know that I only like books that tell you what’s normal/common and what to expect, and loathe books that make judgments and tell you what to do. This book is not going to make you feel guilty or like you’re ruining your kids’ lives or like you’re a bad person for splitting up or that you’ll never be happy. Instead, it’ll give you some insight into what your process is likely to be like as well as your (ex)partner’s. So worth the read for your own process, but it will also give you insight into what your former partner experienced, and that helps a ton with getting past things enough to co-parent.
The seminal website coparenting101.org by Deesha Philyaw and her ex is the gold standard for information and advice about co-parenting. It’s really a how-to site and covers a zillion different situations, with guest bloggers, a ton of different topics, and reality checks.
Google Calendar. Seriously. You and your ex can each have one, and you can create one for each of your kids, and your babysitter, too (if you have one). Then let everyone have access to each other’s calendars, and you can all see who’s doing what in different colors. You can also enable all kinds of public calendars for holidays of various countries so you know which which vacations are going to happen when. You can set it up to kick out an email to you when someone else adds an event, so you’re all on the same page.
Rescue Remedy. I have no idea why something called a “flower essence” works, but for some reason a few drops of Rescue Remedy calms you down when you’ve had an upset, like a near car crash, or a big fight with your ex that leaves you feeling weepy and shaken. It’s in an alcohol suspension, but if you’re recovering you can also find it in pastilles that are alcohol-free. Getting along can be nasty work, and you need all the nerve-soothing you can get.
The other three things I can’t recommend specifically but couldn’t have done without are:
* a good therapist who helped me figure out why I married LOD, why we were such a mismatch, and how to move forward and not repeat past mistakes. A few months with a good therapist is the best investment you can make in your future.
* a spiritual practice that fed me. I got to a whole new and deep place with my faith, and that transformed the experience for me.
* a couple of really good friends who were endlessly sympathetic but not afraid to give me a reality check.