A while back I took my son, Gabe, to meet his dad, Jess, and his wife, Michelle, for the weekend. Jess usually comes to pick up Gabe on “his” weekends, but I was out running errands and texted we could meet up. My ex-husband and I have the kind of coparenting relationship where we actually try to make life easier for each other. Imagine that?! Well, we ended up meeting in the parking lot of a gas station. Michelle and I whole-heartedly hugged while Gabe hugged Jess and then Michelle. We all chatted a bit and then Gabe got in their car and I got in mine. I followed them to the next light when they turned right and I went straight. I “beep-beep-beeped!” my horn as I drove by and then it hit me: Coparenting done right STILL sucks!
You see, I was driving away ALONE and my “baby” was driving away with his other family for the weekend. This is not what God intended and it hurt.
I’m sharing this story because even though we have the kind of relationship we do, don’t EVER think that our life is without pain! (Check out more about our story here). Tim and I have have had people say, “Wow, you both got divorced and now things are SO MUCH BETTER for you…” as a way to justify their own desires for divorce with a “grass is greener” mentality. Listen Moms:
“The grass is NOT greener on the other side…It IS greener where you water it!Neil Barringham
IN SPITE OF our sin, God has blessed us to overflowing. For example, when Tim and I were presenting at a Marriage Conference, Jess took BOTH boys for the day! Another time, we were going to be home late and when Jess came to pick up Gabe, he got dinner for Ethan. It’s pretty cool how our blended family has come together. We are very grateful.
When Co-Parenting Doesn’t Suck:
In our home, we don’t use the word “step.” And neither do our boys. Not about each other or about the siblings in their other families! Our boys see each other as BROTHERS. And so do we. We’ve been raising them for almost 13 years together (since they were three and four) and are now even homeschooling. They spend a LOT of time together. And, as different as they are, they LOVE and FIGHT like “blood” brothers! As they are joined by the Blood of Christ, they are indeed, Blood Brothers. We DO talk about being a “blended family” for that IS our reality. And, how can we understand how MUCH God has blessed us if we don’t honor from where He lifted us?
You must recognize that even though we have the best possible relationship with my ex-husband, it is still difficult. Now, some of you may be thinking, “Oh yeah? I can’t even be in the SAME ROOM as my ex so you have it good!” And we do. I recognize that it wasn’t always this relaxed or comfortable with Tim’s ex-wife (but, praise GOD, it is now!). I’ve been there and am so THANKFUL for the blessings that Tim and the boys and I have with these relationships. Step-families aren’t going to be pain-free this side of Heaven.
It just won’t!
- We won’t. There will always be the fact that you have to navigate your child having another “family” who probably has different values than yours.
- Our kids won’t. They are always going to be pulled in different directions by biological parents and step-parents, having difficulty with loyalty (real or imagined).
- Our families won’t. There will be holidays where one of our children are missing or have to leave soon, or just got back and there’s the adjustment period.
- Our spouses won’t. There is always going to be another “dad” or “mom” reminding you that you haven’t always been the only one.
However, there IS hope in Jesus! My go-to verse is Romans 8:1 – There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Let these true words wash over you, my Sisters in Christ. Repeat them to yourselves often. There is therefore now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! And, when you are in Jesus, that means that this is true of YOU! In Him alone you can have the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22) to do more than just SURVIVE this life, but to THRIVE in it for your good and God’s glory!
Kate Fraiser is a Parent Coach with Connect Point Moms helping you create stronger relational connections with the children in your life. This starts with being aware of your own stuff so you can BE PRESENT with your children in the moment you’re in, and then knowing and using the best ways to communicate with them. For quick and helpful parenting videos, find her on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, or Facebook.