A wave of nausea hit my stomach every time I thought about it. There was a conversation about our financial obligations for our kids that I needed to have with my former spouse that I did not want to have. I dreaded it. I delayed it. I downright ignored it.
Our co-parenting relationship has been consistently strong. We are able to attend parent-teacher conferences together as parents. Recently, we sat at one table together at our daughter’s 8th grade graduation reception with our respective families and it was pleasant. I can send him messages with the eyeroll emoji attached when one of our daughters is being dramatic.
But in the seven years since we have been divorced, some things have changed – things that require that we revisit some details in our divorce decree. I didn’t want to upset the proverbial apple cart. I just wanted things to stay the same. But I knew deep down that it is best for our girls and us as parents if we are clear about our parental responsibilities. It would have been unfair to their dad if I had just opted to cover his responsibility, too. That wouldn’t have felt good to me or to him. I needed to have the conversation.
Well, as my typical, change-resistant, and Irish self would have it – the first approach was less than ideal. I acted out of annoyance at an unrelated issue and segued that into an ill-timed and unplanned finance conversation. I violated my own critical rule not to engage when I am emotional, annoyed, angry, or tired. I forgot to give myself the space I needed. It was a disaster. I came across as defensive and he threatened me right back with court interaction. My last couple of messages went unanswered. Not good.
I felt terrible. It was not how I had intended to approach the subject. For all the thought I had given to this topic, it came across as a flippant flop. I let it sit for a few days (maybe over a week). I sent a detailed email – thoroughly outlining my goals and my reasons supporting them. He promptly replied that he received it and would let me know his thoughts.
A couple more days passed and he responded that everything looked good to him and he provided a few more details for consideration.
I was on cloud nine. What I had spent months fearing in reality was now a fiction of my imagination. I reflected on my mistakes, my assumptions, and my worry. I forgot to give my co-parent credit. I forgot to accelerate my courage to have the conversation sooner rather than later. I forgot that we are both good parents with good intentions which inevitably leads to good results