Tips for conscious co-parenting

Photography:Fresh 48 & Family Photography

By Monique Barry

I want to do this message justice. But one post won’t cover the complexity and beautiful journey I have been on with someone who is dear to my heart; the father of my child and the man I’ve shared 18 years of my life with.

Last night we had one of our 5-hour real, raw, ugly crying conversations. The kind that really stirs up some deep-seated emotions and creates ripples in your pool of vulnerability, doubt and self-worth. As we discussed our path moving forward, we found ourselves being confronted by change that was so scary it had us wanting to retreat back into our safe place.

We have worked HARD to have a good relationship, we communicate better than we ever have through sheer determination. We have a vision of our parenting friendship that has been challenged at every corner; by people who love us and even by ourselves! Is this weird? Should we hate each other? Shouldn’t we get the other person to validate our wrongs and suffer for all the ways we have suffered?

It hasn’t always been the way for us. While we have had plenty of amazing memories, we also struggled with communicating what we needed or how we were feeling. We placed the responsibility of our happiness in the other person’s hands (co-dependent) and relied on each other to determine our self-worth, sense of belonging and love-ability. We felt powerless to our circumstances because we sought external rather than internal validation.

Our co-parenting path hasn’t been easy. I was on my own for a long time fighting for a vision of our relationship that he didn’t believe in. But I kept being the change I wanted to see in the world and lived the example of what I was trying to create.

Even on the days when it was so hard, I was tired and I thought, “what’s the fucking point?”, I kept showing up.

And slowly things started to shift; when I responded to him differently, I created space for him to respond differently.

Remember it’s not how you start but how you finish that matters.

It’s easy for me to say if I knew all of this 2-3 years ago things might have been different. I’m constantly fending off a barrage of internalised what ifs. But there’s no point; the only person that gets hurt in this equation is our beautiful son, Beauden.

Co-parenting and breakups can be messy, but they can also be healing and beautiful. If you can just get out of your way and acknowledge that perhaps all of your difficulties are just your ego having a tantrum, then that white picket fence fantasy can be laid to bed with a kiss on the head as you awake to your new realities.

Appreciation and love demand that we release the space previously held for resentment, anger, blame and insecurity in order to move through us.

Tips to heal your relationship to consciously co-parent….


Learn how to communicate effectively with each other; understanding why you are feeling the way you are, what you blame each other for, what you take responsibility for and, most importantly, how you can move forward. Communication is a skill and I recommend getting professional advice (therapy, counselling, coaching) to develop your ability to express yourself.

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