How is it that back-to-school always creeps up on me? I spend the majority of the summer avoiding this truth, and all the responsibilities that come along with it. Hoping the warm rays my skin soaks in during the warmer months will make September stay far far away.
But come mid-August school paperwork starts to arrive. Backpacks and lunchboxes have to be purchased. An inspection of all clothes and shoes determines which items will live to see another day. Checklists of essential items are created. Extracurricular activities are scheduled. The calendar quickly fills with events, games, and playdates.
And so back-to-school begins.
In addition to ensuring my daughter has pants without worn knees and enough matching socks, I also have to mentally prepare myself for a school year without the involvement of my co-parent. It isn’t an easy thing to prepare for and presents significant challenges. I slightly panic thinking about how I’m going to manage getting my daughter to all of her activities, attending school events, and figuring out options during school vacation weeks.
There are so many events and activities throughout the school year – and especially September that kids want both of their parents at – if possible. In our case, our daughter has two parents who love her, but routinely find themselves in high conflict co-parenting. Our communication issues have only increased in the six years we’ve been separated, and at the end of the day it’s our daughter who misses out.
Regardless of how high conflict your co-parenting relationship is, realizing what is most important should be everyone’s focus. Or at least yours, since there is no way to control someone else. So what can you do to engage your co-parent for the benefit of your child? Below are three ways I try to do so:
Provide Opportunities –
Even though I’ve been shut down in the past, if I have a late meeting at work I ask my co-parent first if he’s available. If there is a special school event or field trip, I ask my co-parent if he’d like to attend. Sometimes he needs a nudge.
Stay Committed –
Even when the thought of your co-parent makes you want to punch something. Stay committed to the happiness of your child. This also means talking positively and often about your co-parent. Do I really want to hear about my daughter’s father’s new puppy “Gucci”? No, no, no. But she’s excited about it, and that’s what matters.
Share Information –
I don’t expect my co-parent to know our daughter’s school calendar, when she has a half day or when vacations start. Pop your child’s school calendar in the mail in September. Know when your child has a special recital or game? Send him a note (in advance). Sharing is caring.
What are some back-to-school tips you can share with other co-parents?
Written By: Alexandra Elizabeth, TheCubicleChick.com Contributor