1. Make Time for Self-Care
Self-care is any activity you do deliberately in order to take care of your mental, emotional, and physical health. This year strive to take care of yourself to be able to better take care of your children. Parents often view taking time to do things for themselves as taking away from their children. Studies show that parents are better at their most precious job of being a Mom or Dad when they have charged their own batteries. Resolve to take more time for yourself this year.
You may be in the middle of a contentious divorce. You may be on the other side of divorce or a paternity suit. Wherever you are on your journey, it’s normal to have unresolved bitter, sour, downright negative feelings about your ex. I’m not here to tell you to sing kumbaya together. I am here to tell you that those things are likely not relevant to your co-parenting situation, and you should resolve to cooperate with each other this year when it comes to making decisions and raising your kids. Each situation is different, so you should resolve to cooperate as your situation allows.
3. Don’t Use Kids as Messengers
It’s not always deliberate, but parents sometimes use their children as messengers. A simple reaction to something your child tells you happened while at the other parent’s house turns into something like, “you tell your Dad to call me next time he thinks of deciding something like that” or “tell your Mom that I don’t care what the rules are at her house.” Suddenly you’ve upset your child and made them feel they need to either take up for you to the other parent or relay a message for you. Resolve this year to take a deep breath when an issue occurs and wait to vent about it to someone other than your kids.
4. Stay Focused on the Kids
Your relationship with the other parent may not be one that can be mended. It may be that you need to focus on ONLY speaking to your child’s other parent about parenting. You should set a business-like tone. Often, communication about parenting leads back to initial fights that ended the romantic relationship between parents. Resolve to only speak about the kids and cease all communication about anything else, and you may find yourself in a more harmonious 2020.
5. Learn to “Pick Your Battles”
When the other parent asks for an extra couple of hours with the child because there is an outing planned to celebrate a family member’s birthday, graciously concede to giving up the couple of hours unless there is a more important engagement you’ve committed to for you and your child. If there is no good reason to deny the request of the other parent, learn to let it go and “pick your battles.” Hopefully, your co-parent will learn to do the same and return the favor. Life is too short to bicker over issues with no significant consequences. You’ll be helping out your co-parent, yes, but you will also be making for a calmer existence for yourself.