Parenting is no easy feat. I think all parents would agree with that. It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. It’s even more difficult when you and your spouse are not on the same page. I experienced that in my first marriage, and am still experiencing it now although we are divorced. Being divorced with children doesn’t mean that you parent separately. It means that you attempt to co-parent, which often doesn’t really happen. In that case you have to do your best to parent in the manner which you think is appropriate, and handle situations created by another parent who has a totally different idea of it all. Sometimes it’s really difficult in the beginning, and sometimes it gets better over time as emotions and deep wounds heal. But many times it’s just the way it is because both parents have very different ideas of how to parent.
So all that being said, I am divorced with two children from my previous marriage, and remarried with a third child from my second marriage. It’s truly interesting how very different situations can be. And there are many dynamics that come in to play with it all.
Although I’m divorced, I still have to have conversations with and make decisions with my ex when it comes to many things with my two oldest children. Sometimes we don’t agree, and since I have legal decision making rights, at those times I just have to make the decision that I feel is best for my children.
Since I am remarried, I value my spouse’s input and feelings on the decisions that I make for my two oldest children. For several reasons, but mainly because I value his opinion, and because at the end of the day, every decision I make for my two older children affects him in some way or another. We have an open relationship and discuss everything else. Why wouldn’t I include him in these decisions? There may be times when my spouse and I don’t always completely agree on things, but we find a way to talk through the situation and come to what we feel is the best decision.
So all this is a new and different kind of parenting for all of us. A second time around for my ex and I, and a first time for my spouse who had no children prior to our marriage.
But the best part of it all, is seeing my spouse as a parent for the first time. It is very apparent that family is the most important thing to him. Family plays a part in every single decision that he makes. He doesn’t take it lightly. He shows that in the actions he takes every day. He is certainly not an absent parent, if he is not working he is spending time with the family. He attends their activities just like I do, and does so because he truly cares. He wants to be a part of their life, and for them to know that.
Beyond his parenting of my two older children, I now get to see parenting a second time around in a completely different way. With our child. While he didn’t get to be a part of my two older children’s lives before they were 5 and 8, this time he does. And he is a great parent. He takes part in almost every aspect of parenting from playing with him to changing diapers and putting him to bed. Those are the most important parts of parenting. Being there and spending time with your children, being a part of their every day lives, not just being a stand by parent. That wasn’t always the case in my first marriage. And seeing it and being a part of it the second time around is just so wonderful. It makes me thankful every day for finding a man who can not only be a partner with me, but be fully committed to his family.
And that commitment shows. Our little one is just over two years old. He has always loved his Daddy, but kind of been a Momma’s boy up until now just by the sheer fact that he spends more time with me because I work from home. But now. The tables have sure turned. Lately he is all about Daddy. If Daddy is home, he suddenly wants nothing to do with me! I have to admit, at times it is kind of hurtful that I spend so much time caring for him and that he literally pushes me away and says “Da Da”. But deep down, my heart is filled knowing that he is so connected with Daddy, and that Daddy is such a big part of his life. Not everyone is blessed enough to experience that. I know from past experiences. So while it may be momentarily hurtful, I am so blessed to see it. And, I guess I should be thankful that it does give me a bit of a break every now and then to not have to manage every single part of caring for him! I won’t complain when he wants Daddy to change his dirty diaper!
All in all, parenting is tough. And I wouldn’t choose to have to co-parent if it weren’t absolutely necessary. But things don’t always work out the way you plan, and sometimes you just have make the best of a given situation. While I never grew up dreaming of being divorced, I am grateful to have found someone that is on the same page as me, that loves me and all of our children unconditionally, that is truly a part of our family life and there for all of us. Parenting a second time around can truly be a blessing.