Co-Parenting—Lifetime Work In Progress

March 3, 2020  |  Published by

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the first week of my new job and my third week in Arizona. I sat in a conference with my new team listening to a keynote talk about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). She was rattling off the nine experiences most common, then it felt like a knife went right into my stomach, “…one of the most common ACEs in all 50 states is divorce or separation.” I had heard this a million times, but this time was different.

My body started shaking, eyes began to well up, and I had to excuse myself and get out of there, and quick! I found myself having an emotional breakdown in the women’s bathroom for the next 30 minutes.

Divorce! I am causing my 2 year old and 7 year old adverse childhood experiences? I was smack in the throes of a divorce. In fact, in a matter of 2 months my kids went from single home, family intact to moving across country to a new state, two new homes, new schools and knowing few people who could help us navigate this crazy whirlwind. That was my lowest moment as a mother.

I needed to find safety in what I could control for them. My soon-to-be ex-husband and I had to become the best possible co-parents. We had to shift our focus from us and all the feels, anger and drama we had toward each other and put the kids at the center.

We had to research every example of healthy co-parenting out there and start adapting ourselves to this new world order. The one lucky thing I had in this very hard time was someone on the other side recognizing the same thing and willing to deal with our emotional BS on our own time and focus all our collective efforts on what type of co-parents we would become.

I sound a bit like I was in a Wonder Woman pose and we together saved the world for our children. Ha! Not even close. There were plenty of below the belt moments: kids acting out both behaviorally and emotionally and both of us on near breakdowns on multiple occasions. Thank goodness for mental health counselors for us and the kids! But we kept pushing forward and now, 4 years later, we are co-parenting without training wheels.

We are still works in progress, and will be for a lifetime of co-parenting, having to constantly check our egos and irritations but I can say we are both pretty proud of how far we have come. Our litmus test is that we have two thriving, happy, witty little humans, now 6 and 11.

Check out our selfie video to answer a few questions about our lessons learned:


  • Charmaine Sibley says:

    Thing I love about the article and the video is that as parents you guys took the time to figure out a way to work with each other. Setting pride aside you guys were able to do the work that was need for your family to stay healthy. There a some important points that even parents that aren’t co-parenting can use. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Thank you Charmaine for commenting. To quote our CEO of ASCC, Nicole Newhouse (and Jerry McGuire) parenting is a pride-swallowing seige! And, yes, this focus is important for all formations of co-parents with young children.

  • Rodney Gibbs says:

    Morning, I am sharing this with my Juvenile Delinquency Class & Introduction to Sociology class.

  • Wonderful website. Lots of helpful information here. I’m sending it to some buddies ans also sharing in delicious.
    And obviously, thank you in your sweat!

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