When you have your first child and the father and yourself are not in a relationship you have to figure out how to properly co-parent. This can be a bit tricky and it is a serious learning process on top of getting into the swing of being a first time mom and dad. There are definitely some do’s and dont’s when it comes to co-parenting. Some things that were told to me before my baby girl arrived, I wish I would have taken it more seriously instead of thinking that everything would just work itself out once she got here. Being great co-parents without a lot of drama is definitely doable, but it takes both parents to be honest with themselves and what they want and expect from one another.
One of the main things that you want to do when you are entering a co-parenting relationship is establish boundaries between you. Like if you are comfortable with the father spending the night over your house, and if so, how often. Setting a schedule for the days that each of you will have the baby. Will the baby spend every other weekend with dad or even every weekend, if you don’t have your own plans with the baby. You both should discuss the type of environment that you are and aren’t comfortable having your newborn in. I am not a smoker but my child’s father is and he knows that I do not want her in a room with cigarette smokers. We have a rule where when he smokes before he comes close to the baby he needs to take off the shirt that he smoked in and wash his hands, face and brush his teeth or put gum in his mouth. It’s also very important to keep each other updated on what is going on with the baby no matter how small it seems so that there is constant communication. Communication is the key to any type of relationship but it is especially important when co-parenting to raise your child in the best way possible.
You do not wan to be an ineffective communicator and not discuss what your rules, plans and expectations are for your baby. If you feel as though the father does not spend as much time as he should with the baby, don’t let it fester up inside you but have a calm conversation with him about it. Let him know that you would love to see him spend a little more time with the baby and develop a strong bond between the two of them. When you are angry with each other, never use the baby to control each other. The baby is the one that ends up suffering in the end. Do not be inflexible when it comes to how much time each of you are spending with the baby. It is important for both of you to spend as much time with the baby as possible.
ADVICE GIVEN TO ME
So before I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl a lot of my family and friends had advice for me and what I should do to begin my co-parenting relationship with her father. The most important advice was for us to always be honest in our communication with one another about how we are feeling and what we want for our baby. We agree on a lot of things when it comes to her daily care and well-being and how we plan to raise her. There are things that we don’t quite agree on but respect that we have a difference of opinion and try to come to a middle ground that works best for the both of us. We have similar but also different ways of caring for and parenting our little girl and that works for us.
This is just the beginning of my journey with co-parenting. I know that as long as we continue to communicate effectively, are honest with ourselves and each other, respect one another, and remain flexible we can rock this co-parenting relationship and our daughter will grow and flourish into an amazing woman!