My ex-husband and I have always had similar views—we both wanted to get married, start a family, and have one of us stay home to raise the kids. After we had kids we settled into our roles without a lot of problems. He would go to work, and I would stay home and take care of them.
We both believed we wanted our children to go to public school but we didn’t think preschool was necessary. We wanted the kids to have the option to go to college, but weren’t planning to pay for the full ride or force them to go if they weren’t motivated.
Having shared values made parenting together easy, and it was what kept our divorce amicable. I honestly believe you can be great co-parents but that doesn’t mean you should still be married.
In fact, I would say we are better parents to our three children now that we have gone our separate ways. While my ex and I are not married any longer, we still consider ourselves a family.
And living through this pandemic has brought challenges for every family, including ours. It just looks and feels different than it used to when we were all under one roof.
We do things a bit differently, but overall, my ex and I share the same rules for our children and believe that good communication between the two of us is important—and it makes our kids happy to know we’re in agreement.
We may not be together any longer, but I am still proud my ex-husband is the father of my children. He puts their needs and feelings first, spending time with them and, most importantly, listening to them.
Thankfully, my ex also still listens to me. If I have a concern, he hears me. If I’m struggling and feel like I need him to step in with something he does it, no questions asked.
Being stuck at home with three teenagers who miss their friends and have only gone between our two homes for the past two months has reminded me how glad I am to have had kids with him.
When I can tell they are going crazy, or we are sick of each other, my ex spends more time with them to give us all a break. He’s gone out of his way to take time off work or plan activities with them, like building an outdoor fire or making sushi.
He hears me when I tell him that I think our kids need something I just can’t deliver. And he trusts that, since I spend more time with them, I know what they might be going through.
He never ignores my requests or feels like he needs to assess the situation for himself. If they have consequences for something they did at my house, he follows through when they get to his house.
We’ve been able to have each other’s back even though we have been divorced for three years and I’m thankful every day that we have been able to maintain a healthy (not perfect) relationship throughout this. Not just for our children, but also for ourselves.
We may not want to be married any longer, but we still want to be partners. And if a crisis like Covid-19 hasn’t changed that, I honestly don’t think anything ever will.