This week Irene (together with Astrid the founder of Flow) writes about: The co-parenting community
Americans are fond of making lists and giving advice – as am I – and these two things come together rather wonderfully on Facebook’s HuffPost Divorce group. I’m always coming across the finest of posts about problems that, as a divorced parent, you recognize and can relate to, even though you wish you didn’t. And the way that the Americans talk about these matters is such a treat to read. First, you’ll see someone has written about something that makes you think, “Yup, I have that issue too” (recognition!). And then comes some feedback that, deep down, you completely agree with and that makes you want to jump with joy, cheering and shouting, “Yesssss! You’re so right, thanks, you really helped me!” (agreement!)
Take, for example, a list that was recently posted: “10 Quotes Every Exhausted Single Parent Needs to Read.” Now, there is a discussion going round within the divorced-people’s-club about whether you can be called a single parent if you co-parent, but I’m not going to delve into the ins-and-outs of that topic; I’m going to focus on the tips instead. A Jon Vaughn was the first to post his statement, which said: “The life balance of being a single parent teeter-totters between my children’s happiness and my own” (yup, I can relate to that), and then followed the opinion: “I have heard parents say ‘As long as my children are happy then I am happy.’ That, my friends is false. In order for my children to be happy, I must be happy first.” (Oh yes, in complete agreement there).
And just before Christmas last year, journalist Shawna Wingert wrote a blog entitled “To the Single Mom at Christmas,” a poignant piece that basically hit every single mom in the heart, as it was sooo familiar. She wrote about how when your kids are not with you for Christmas, you walk around like a lost soul; whilst the years that they are with you, you become completely overwhelmed with all the stuff you have to organize all by yourself. “Being a single mom can be crushing, especially this time of year,” she writes (yes – I recognize that feeling). And then she says something in a way that only Americans can, and so I’ll leave it in her words, but deep down, I’d also like to embrace this sentiment next year: “So as we get closer to Christmas, I want to gently, lovingly say: You are not alone […] You are a mother. You are so very special and important and powerful. I am celebrating you this Christmas.” Hallelujah! I completely agree!