As any parent knows, raising children is more difficult than any other job we may hold…of course, it’s also the most rewarding, so that takes the sting out enough to make it seem less like work. But it IS work, and I’ve discovered that in many ways, the job only gets harder when parents divorce.
I have two girls, and can honestly say they’re great kids. They are both smart, considerate, and respectful, and they stay out of trouble—for the most part. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret. While we love them both with everything we have, my ex-husband and I each have a child to whom we relate easily, while the other sometimes leaves us scratching our heads in confusion. One of my girls, I totally get without even trying…the other one I have to work a little harder to understand. As such, I find it somewhat harder to discuss important matters with her, and disciplining her can be especially tricky.
When we lived together, it wasn’t as much of an issue, because the other one was always there to help get the point across, but now the majority of our parenting is done separately. I would love to be able to say our girls have never played us against each other, but they do try on occasion. So far, we’ve handled these situations pretty well…if I smell a rat or am unsure how to respond in a situation, I will call a time out and pick up the phone to discuss it with their dad. It usually doesn’t take long for the pieces to come together.
I expect the girls to test those boundaries, but thus far, we’ve been pretty good about maintaining a united front when it comes to parenting. (Not that there isn’t room for improvement, but isn’t that always the case?) I want the girls to understand that even though they’re not with us every day, we’re BOTH their parents ALL THE TIME. Once they realize this, they’ll stop testing those boundaries and rest assured that in many respects, Mom and Dad will still be a team.