Day of Reckoning
Whether your divorce is cooperative or acrimonious, it can take time to adjust to the ‘new normal.’ How do you interact with this person who is now only your co-parent and no longer your spouse? What if feelings are still really raw? After all, even as adults we are still only human. Sometimes we need a wake-up call to gain perspective and get us all working in the same direction:
Like many families with school-aged children, Modern Family Dad and Modern Family Mom chose to live in the same school district after their divorce in order to provide consistency and stability for their children and simplify their co-parenting future. While they were eventually able to settle their divorce, it had been acrimonious and filled with plenty of vitriol on both sides. Feelings were raw as both parents set up new households and they settled into the shared custody schedule, seeing each other often. Despite some large scale parenting successes (summertime-vacation-wows-or-woes.html), the pain of the divorce caused day-to-day struggles and score keeping in their parenting interactions. Then the Day of Reckoning occurred.
On the Day of Reckoning, oldest Modern Family Child came home to Modern Family Dad with a ‘B’ in math on her report card. Not a big deal for most families, except Modern Family Dad is an engineer and Modern Family Mom is a STEM teacher. As expected, Modern Family Kids excel in the maths and sciences. Until they didn’t.
Modern Family Dad called Modern Family Mom to break the news of the ‘B’ in math. This was a wake up call for Modern Family Parents. Their children do not get ‘B’s’ in math or science subjects! While they had set up nice, new separate households and were efficiently following their nice, new parenting schedule, they had not recognized how their continuing acrimony was impacting the kids. This was a wake-up call for Modern Family Parents. In that moment, they pledged that the nonsense had to stop and they had to change the focus back to their children’s well being.
For this Modern Family the change wasn’t overnight, but slowly these parents made the conscious choice, day-by-day, to interact with each other differently. They chose to keep their word, be flexible and communicative, show up on time, be civil, and be respectful in their conversations and interactions. They were not perfect but they were intentional and consistent. And at next report card time, and in the years to come, the Modern Family Kids excelled not only in math and science but in life, secure in the fact that their parents are on the same team.