It may not be your ideal parenting situation, co-parenting with a partner you don’t co-habitate with, but it can be done – and peacefully, too. No matter your circumstances, whether you’re separated, divorced, or never intended to be together, you can ensure you share parenting duties without losing your sanity. After all, your new focus should be making certain your baby always feels loved, safe, and cared for – no matter what kind of baggage either of you brings to the table.
To that end, Brette McWhorter Sember, author of How to Parent with Your Ex and Unmarried with Children, offers these tips for preparing to co-parent if your ex is still in the picture.
Keep it separate
Compartmentalize your relationship with your ex, especially if your split was messy. It is important to the well-being of your baby that you two put your romantic relationship issues in one box and your relationship as parents in another.
Develop a relationship as parenting partners. Your child deserves to have a relationship with both parents, so make this a priority. Shutting out your ex will affect your child.
Be the example
Spend time together with the baby. Let your ex learn by watching you, but remember he might not always do things exactly the same way and that’s fine too.
Give father and baby time and space to bond. Step out of the room occasionally and give father and baby some alone time. Your ex needs to find his own way as a dad and the best thing you can do is encourage him.
Put it on the calendar
Set a schedule. Increase the time your ex spends with the baby according to both of your needs and availability. By the time your child is several months old, think about setting a schedule for visitation. This will make your life easier, because you won’t always have to make arrangements—and babies respond well to regular routines.
— Amanda L. Freeman and Emme Lukasik