“I can’t wait to go to Dad’s!! HE will let me go to my friend’s house.” Despite all the instructions not to, both of my hands instinctively went to my face and pulled my eyes and cheeks downward. And here it was – co-parenting during COVID19.
My eldest daughter and I had just traveled over her spring break from school right at the onset of the pandemic breaking. My youngest had gone to Washington D.C. for a pre-planned school trip during the same time period. As the news was breaking around us, I knew that we potentially could have been at risk due to our travel so I was strictly enforcing boundaries and voluntarily containing our household.
My teenage daughters were distressed by this decision to say the least. They were not afraid to act out and rage against me. They knew the ultimate weapon – to tell me they wanted their dad more than me. Fortunately I am a master manipulator spotter. While their words stung for an instant, I knew better than to engage. I turned back to my sewing project and said, “Yes, you will see your dad soon enough.”
As soon as they had safely stomped off to their rooms I texted their dad. “Hey, heads up that the girls think you are going to let them go to all of their friends’ houses next week. Due to our travel I am not letting them go anywhere. Obviously you have your own household rules – but just wanted to let you know how I am handling this.” He replied “okay thanks.”
What did that mean? Was he really going to let them? Was he going to pierce the protective bubble I had placed my baby girls in?? What should I do? I felt the anxiety start to turn in my stomach.
I took a deep breath. He will not harm them. I know this. I believe this. And now I need to show that I trust this.
Sure enough the first evening they were with their dad, I received a text from him. He wanted me to weigh in with him and 2 other sets of neighbor parents on whether the neighbor kids could hang out like they normally do. I wanted to start crying. He asked for MY input!! He trusted me back. He continued, “Of course I am not letting them go anywhere else.”
During this uncertain time, your co-parenting relationship may be challenged in ways it never has been. You will have to trust each other and remember that your co-parent loves your children as much as you do.
If you are in need of additional co-parenting support during this time, please call Koenig Dunne at (402) 346-1132. I provide Co-Parenting Coaching for parents considering divorce, working through a legal action, and post-divorce parents. Added bonus – this service is available to anyone (not just residents of Nebraska).