If you're anything like me, you'd rather scrub the inside of a public toilet than sit next your ex and his new girlfriend at your kid's soccer game while they cheer on your precious baby like the phonies that they are.
What was that? Do you detect a bit of resentment? Believe me, that's only on the inside. Because if you saw me at said game, you'd scarcely know that we were there for the same kid. Talking to my girlfriends about these emotions and a few trial-and-errors has allowed me to compile some great Co Parenting Tips for getting through these less than palatable episodes. These tips will keep you above the drama and keep your kid well-adjusted to the changes that come with divorce.
From what we've learned, divorce isn't really what hurts our kids--it's conflict. So the first rule of thumb when dealing with your ex is just what your mom's been telling you your whole life, "If you can't say something nice, keep your damn mouth shut." (I'm sure my mother's version was the template.)
Keep a smile on your face whenever you are dealing with your ex and his/her new significant other, especially whenever your child is around. Kids need the comfort of mommy and daddy getting along. When your little angel reaches for your ex's new girlfriend's hand and your stretch marks tingle with aggravation, just smile and think about how you'll have to blow up her car at some point now. (Extra tip: don't actually do anything remotely like this. I shouldn't need to spell that out but this is the internet after all.) Keep smiling and then call your girlfriends and vent if you have to. Don't give them the satisfaction of seeing your feathers ruffled and certainly don't give your innocent child the confusion and guilt that comes with curt words or passive aggressive actions. Kids pick up on all that stuff and the transition of breakup or divorce is enough to make them blame themselves so don't give them anymore material to work with.
When you're communicating with your ex, try to remember that he/she isn't your friend, they are your co parenting partner. Keep the communication relative to the topic at hand and try not to stray with any small talk about your personal lives. Keep it short and pleasant, even if you don't feel like being pleasant.
Which brings me to the last in my list of Co Parenting Tips is one that has helped me time and time again: Before calling your ex about anything to do with the children, take a minute (and I mean at least 60 seconds) and script out in your head what you are going to say. Dealing with someone who you shared a big chunk of your life with can stir up a lot of emotions, so communication must be ever so nuanced. You want to come off as neutral, concise and clear. You know which phrases that your ex uses that can really set you off. It's likely that you say things a certain way that will set him/her off too. So avoid those like the conversational potholes that they are.