Thursday, April 19, 2018

Divorce, CoParenting & Modern Technology

It seems to me when we think about divorce, although new statistics are constantly being created, we still assume what we knew about divorce and its effects in the 1980s.

Divorce doesn’t have to look now the way it did then.  It was the time of latchkey kids, microwavable dinners, Disney dads, and the forever-single-sad-sap of a mother. 
As a society we have grown since then. Just because your relationship isn’t working out, it doesn’t mean that your child has to listen to years of fighting resulting in one parent carrying the weight of the family. Therapy is more accepted and readily available than ever before, as is the option of coparenting.

What is coparenting? Coparenting when I use it, is referring to shared parenting.  A (mostly) harmonious raising of a child in more than one house. 
It is sharing the role of primary caregiver, the role of disciplinarian and who drives the kids to soccer practice.  In 1989 the Convention on the right of the child stated that a child has THE RIGHT to a strong relationship with both parents, even if separated.  I imagine that remained hard at first, as I knew no kids in the 80s or 90s who split their time evenly between both parents. However today, I find it all around me.

I've often wondered what has changed in the last couple decades that made equal sharing of parenting responsibilities easier after divorce. I've come to one simple and obvious conclusion, the text message.  Think about it, who wants to talk to an ex multiple times a day? Not a soul. Honestly, I think you probably would go out of your way NOT to talk to them ... because just the sound of their voice might drive you absolutely bonkers.  But in walks the text message and all of a sudden you can have 1000 effortless communications a day (In my house, we probably average 1-3 a day).  
Now the tiny little details of your kids life, that the other parent needs to know and no one else really cares about can be said quickly: 
'birdie needs more clean clothes in her school cubby.' 
'Redding lost his library book, do you have it?' 
'Just checking in, Everyone feeling ok this morning?'
There are also numerous apps that make sharing information, a calendar and photos easy as pie.  
Dear Technology, from all us divorced parents, THANK YOU! 

Of course technology isn't everything (wait, what?) The way society as a whole views men and women's roles has changed astronomically too.  Even in non-divorced homes, we no longer expect women to do 100% of the lifting when it comes to child raising.  From everything I've read however, it still seems women are doing the majority of the work, BUT times are a-changin' and will continue to, making it easier for men to get just as much time with their babies as mamas ... and mamas to get a little bit of the pressure relieved.

My sweet babies with Matt my boyfriend
Splitting custody of your children isn't easy and isn't ideal.  Bringing new parenting figures around can be scary.
However maybe our brains need to break a little bit on what the ideal family looks like. 

This is the beginning. This is my overview. This is me getting comfortable with writing again, because you have to start somewhere.

The real mess of what it is to be human, whether in a nuclear family or blended, is still to come.  Egos and resentments. Broken hearts and big joys. Awkward birthdays with everyone and holidays without your kids.  These stories are all to come and I am excited to share them with you.

With love,

1 comment:

  1. I never thougt about how much easier texting makes co-parenting, but it's definitely helpful to us introverts who hate talking on the phone. It took me a while to get on board, but I can't imagine life without it now.