Co-parenting at Christmas (Blogmas #6)

Mawnin mawnin!

I came across this viral article over the past couple of days and decided to include my views in my blogmas series because this is an important part of Christmas for some. It may be a tad longer than the usual fare but I hope you read all the way through.

Now a grandmother in the UK bought her grandchildren matching Christmas pajamas which seems innocuous enough except that she bought the PJs for all of them except for her son’s stepchild. So the lineup looked like this:

What the entire fack is dis?

You can read the entire article and understandable outraged commentary here.

Now…..one like me so…..NONE of those six children who came from my belly was seeing or wearing dem PJs which was supposedly given in good faith. NOOOONE! There is more meaning behind matching pajamas than simply what they are and this is why everybody makes a big deal about them specifically at Christmas time. There is a sentimental symbolism involved that granny was either fully aware of and didn’t give two shits or was completely daft about. Either way she is a complete dummy. Her daughter-in-law had one child before she met her husband and fiiiiiiiive children thereafter. That grandmother had more than enough time to get over herself if she was so pressed but I fully understand that everyone’s family dynamic is different and I’ll stop there.

This whole situation got me thinking about co-parenting during the holidays and especially at Christmas time and I am expressing my thoughts, some of which come from a position of personal experience.

  1. It can be uncomfortable – It can shift you off your balance as you may spend some time thinking about your child and that you couldn’t provide a traditional two parent home for them and not one where they have to be shuffling back and forth. This may create some guilt in you that discomforting.
  2. It can be stressful – You and your co-parent may not agree on the exact days that the child can stay with one or the other especially Christmas Day which is the most important. This may cause some division every year if this is not agreed upon beforehand.
  3. It can be lonely – If there is only one child and either party is single, it would mean a Christmas alone or with family without the child and the mere fact is that even if you are with family during the holiday you will feel some measure of loneliness if your child is not physically with you.
  4. It can be irritating – You may be found in a position where your family adds to your discomfort in an annoying or even enraging manner where they may ask snide questions, make sarcastic comments or even rude jokes at your expense.
  5. It can be an unavoidable lost opportunity – The child may have step- or half-siblings and it may be a case where they may lose out on certain family traditions or bonding experiences because they are not present thus missing out on a chance to create memories.

The thing about co-parenting is that much like the grammatical structure of the term, the root of it lies squarely with the parent. The MATURITY of both parties come heavily in to focus and all decisions made must have the child as the top priority. This can go from where and when the child stays with either party to the type of Christmas presents the child will receive (sometimes some parents tend to want to out do each other in an unhealthy manner for the sake of ego). In order for it to work I want to emphasize MATURITY again between the TWO parties as well independent, RATIONAL thought processes.

Now if this falls square in your garden, be mindful that for some this is a level of operation that can take YEARSSSS to develop so be kind to yourselves in the process. Remember that the child/children is/are a wholesome reflection of the two of you which the both of you are primarily responsible for but which neither of you own as property.

…and don’t be scared to tell grandmothers to fuck off…….respectfully.

Comments are welcome.

Bless

TMIDM

Iron sharpens iron…

This one is for the ladies. A potentially triggering post on human expectations.

Tell me if I am wrong.

You can be a top-notch human being with the XX chromosome and cook, clean, raise the children properly, stay hydrated, mind your damn business, fight to protect yourself, secure the bag, fulfil your dreams, do squats, destroy the patriarchy, pray, moisturize, be a role model, protect yourself, be a sex goddess, read books, top your career field, manage mood swings, puff up a sada roti, shatter the glass ceiling, practise self-care, check in with your friends, do your Kegels, decide what you want to eat when prompted and people will STILL side-eye you and have an opinion on how you should live, sometimes even boldly taking up said issue with you.

Tell me I’m wrong

I realize that people love to make pronouncements on a woman’s life just because it is the historically, socially and (especially in Trinidad and Tobago) culturally acceptable thing to do. Sadly, a lot of these pronouncements come from women as well, a thing of wonder, as if we don’t have to fight up enough while being considered the weaker sex. This idea that people are just free to express themselves and say whatever they want to women without responsibility, measured compassion or the faintest of consideration is mind-boggling. The gag is however, armed with this knowledge, you are free to measure out your own response as you see fit against whomever you are defending yourself for the sake of your sanity.

So if you are:

Single and they’re asking you why you still single,

Single with child/children and they’re asking “where de father?”,

Single with child/children and dating and they’re wondering what example you’re setting,

With someone and they’re asking why you’re with that person (“you could do so much better!”),

With someone and they’re asking when you getting married (“you eh lock he down yet?”),

Married without children and they’re asking when the children coming,

Married with one child and they’re asking when you making the rest (“The child will be lonely!”),

Mastering your career/business and they consider you a failure because you’re not with someone or married (“all ah dat and she cyah find a man yet”),

Mastering your career/business and they think you are selfish for not having children,

Not wanting children and they also think you are selfish for being as you are,

Actually wanting more than the usual three or four children and they think you are crazy/in a cult,

With someone of your race………

With someone of another race…….

Happily working in a field and they’re wondering how much money you could possibly be making,

Struggling with fertility and they’re thinking you are an alien,

Struggling with weight issues and they’re asking if you’re pregnant,

Struggling with weight issues and they’re thinking you have AIDS or a demon inside you and you need deliverance (“You eh see how she drying up?),

High maintenance and they’re whispering “who she feel she is?”,

Not as high maintenance and they wonder “oh gosh, you hadda be looking drag up so?”,

chances are you have felt the disdain. The statements and questions are just put out there into the universe without consideration of what women are going through in their personal situations and even more within their mental and emotional spaces!

Man, I could go on, but the main take away here is you CYANNOT please everyone so why waste precious brain cells trying to think that you can? The Bible says in Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. We are put here on this earthly space to sharpen each other, to encourage each other, to gas each other up and (to completely mash up this metaphor), to ensure that we are all acute and razor-edged to glint in the freaking sun.

To my sisters, just remember nobody is running your life’s race but you and I am yet to see a race ran with athletes taking the exact, same stride from the gun blast to the ribbon. So be kind to yourself and protect your head space. Find those around you who keep you sharp and keep them close. As for the others who want to dull your shine and keep you matte and muted because of how they perceive your life is to be led, your responses could range from the silent, to the polite, to the sarcastic, to the IDGAF.

The IDGAF

Blessings

TMIDM