In a perfect world, single moms would not be single moms. At least I wouldn’t be one…it’s exhausting work! I am a proud single mom but I won’t sit here and pretend like I don’t need any help. However, that is not the reality of the world. Many women step into being single moms of their own choice and others have no choice; they have to do what’s in the best interest of the child.
I really hate that term, though…baby daddy. Someone who wanted to be really cute and creative came up with this term, but honestly Micah’s Daddy is known as my son’s father. I think that it is more appropriate and addresses his title as more official than just baby daddy. But I digress…
If you are single mom and you have or working on starting a co-parenting relationship with your child’s father (especially when he is a person like Micah’s Daddy), you must be mindful of a few things to keep the situation very focused.
1. Determine if you AND your child’s father actually want a co-parenting relationship.
This is number one in my opinion. It makes no sense to put in all this extra effort into building a co-parenting relationship with your child’s father if you nor he is not ready for it. When I was ready to talk, I texted Micah’s Daddy and scheduled a meeting with the three of us at IHOP. It was a public place where we could have a very civil conversation.
2. Remove the emotional ties.
You can’t have a good co-parenting relationship when you’re focused on what was or what could be. Don’t get caught up in conversations about the past or how things could have been differently. Let it go…it is what it is.
3. Keep the conversations focused strictly on the child and the well-being of the child.
Strictly speak about your child and the things needed to be done for your child, especially in the beginning. My conversations with Micah’s Daddy consist around sharing the costs of certain purchases, the crazy things that Micah has done for the day, times for pickup and drop-off — you know those kinds of things.
4. Be friendly but not TOO friendly.
Don’t give your child’s father the idea that because you are being friendly, there is a chance that the two of you can get back together or “getting” together. Micah’s Daddy thinks everything I say without a scowl on my face is an opportunity. He says he has a dream that we will get back together. Well, dream on buddy, it’s not happening! Ugh!
5. Be ready to compromise.
Now, this was definitely a lesson for me. I have grown tremendously in this past year, but even more in the past 6 months. At one point, I was unwilling to bend and show any sign of compromise. I just wasn’t ready for it. Now, I know the only route to go is to be ready to compromise.
6. Don’t allow your child’s father to come in and out of your child’s life.
Not only is this unfair to your child, it’s unfair to you. Depending on your child’s age, you will have to be the one explaining why Daddy is no longer around. He either has to be completely in or completely out. If he disappears, don’t allow yourself or your child to have to continue this back and forth. Let it go and wait until your child’s father is ready to grow up and handle his responsibilities before you try again.
7. You’re working on a relationship with your child’s father, not his entire family.
This is a multi-prong statement, so let me clarify. Actually, I can make this very simple — work with your child’s father only. Make arrangements with him, stay in contact with him, have conversations with him. Just because he lives with his Mom does not mean that you have to be communicate with his mom. The whole point of this is for you to have a co-parenting relationship with your child’s father, not the rest of his family. Get it, got it, good. 🙂
Hope this helps some of you that are in a co-parenting relationship or thinking about starting one. It’s still a learning curve for me, so I won’t even pretend to be the expert; however, these are the things that I’ve learned in the past six months that has helped me to get through these crazy times.
I have to add this little statement too. This works both ways – I’m only speaking from the single mom perspective; however, there are fathers that have to deal with trifling baby mothers. I can only speak from my own perspective and my own story, so don’t get offended.