After ten years, I have to say, that I essentially have a successful divorce. While it would have been nicer to have a successful marriage, I am proud of all the work that I put in to have a successful divorce. Although I am sure that my life’s experiences have taught me some things that I might have done differently if I were ending a long term marriage today, but overall, I am OK with what I have achieved.
Key to that success is to not allow anger to interfere with the fact that communications skills regarding children are key to remembering that the parents are getting a divorce; the children are not.
Early on in the process for me, I decided that in spite of my ex-husband’s decision to minimally parent due to his oh so important career, I decided that my children would still be better off with him in their lives, then in the minimal capacity that apparently works for him. Key to my working on HIS parenting skills, is to keep my opinions at a minimum, and keep HIS level of information high. My plan was to invite him into their lives, to teach him better parenting skills, and to make sure that my three kids have the benefits of what BOTH of their parents have to offer, in spite of the fact that we are now divorced.
I am pretty sure that he expected me to act differently. He expected me to be a bitch in the process of divorce. He expected me to call him out on all the missed visitations, and the failures to attend events and his overall lack of parenting. But I didn’t. My only mention of his parenting failures came in terms of determination of the visitation schedule, and assertion of my rights as the custodial parent. I made it quite clear to him, that as the decision maker since the first child was born, I would keep him informed, but I would continue to make decisions, without the need to seek him out for every daily decision that was necessary. In my mind, he had given up that right long ago.
I was clear on my goals. I wanted civility and peace. I wanted, or rather demanded, that he be more than a sperm contribution. I demanded that he do better, and I was wholeheartedly determined to teach him to be a more involved parent. We needed a communication medium that would allow me to share information, without having endless, miserable, undesired communication with my Ex. ( We are divorced after all, and I really don’t like him very much!) Early on, I settled on Evernote as that method. Interestingly enough, it has become my savior in both my personal and professional life.
In my personal life, it has allowed me to go almost entirely “green” with regards to saving endless pieces of paper around the house, including precious notes from my kids, and important documents that are always at my fingertips because of the availability of the phone app. Amazingly enough, all of this is free; there are some benefits to the paid version, but I leave that to you. The benefits, to me, are worth 40/year or so.
As a neutral means of communication and organization in a divorcing family, the ability to set up notebooks for each child allows for the sharing of lists, documents, schedules and of course pictures. The newly added work chat also allows a neutral ground to “chat” about relevant issues and schedules. It took me some time to arrive at all of this, but if I were starting my divorce now, I would immediately insist that all parties, including older children, immediately download that application to both phones and computers. Having relevant information “out there” has helped me to hold him accountable to what his obligations are to me, as the other parent, but more importantly, to his children as their father. So, even if he doesn’t show up, having the knowledge that some event is happening, or that they have mastered some goal, or attained or struggled with something, he is better able to communicate with them when he does see them. It allows me, and the children, to hold him accountable as someone who is a part of their lives.
Having this ability to have a centralized place to share, has eliminated the accusations of “You never told me” or “How was I supposed to know?” Well, the burden is on you buddy. The system is set up. Did you do your homework??
The features and benefits of Evernote are seemingly endless, as are the ways that it can be used. My goal is not to advocate for any particular program or application, but only to share something that I feel very strongly about, and that is, in spite of my divorce, my goal is to not allow my children to suffer in any way that I can avoid. Having a strong sense of organization, as well as showing them that Mommy and Daddy are essentially on the “same page” regarding wanting the best for them, has built something that I am strangely proud of- My successful divorce, which means that parents can share information about their children in a neutral arena, with the common goal of raising happy, healthy children.