This new 6-part series will help you work through your relationship with your baby daddy. This includes: How to navigate parenting together, how to best understand yourself and him, and how your children can best thrive while all together. Most importantly, you will learn how to love and trust yourself and your decisions.
So, I must warn, as you read this 6-part series, I may rub some the wrong way. I will be as diplomatic as possible, which I normally am not. But being honest and truthful are my primary intentions. So please forgive me if I accidentally offend anyone. Shall we dive in?
Let’s say the world is perfect. You meet a guy who is awesome. You fall in love. And while skipping all required steps needed to ensure a healthy relationship, this new love creates a beautiful baby. Or, let’s say the world isn’t as perfect. You meet a guy who didn’t have any intention of creating a meaningful relationship with but you either acted purely on sexual impulse or got caught up in your emotional problems or daddy issues, and, oops, you got pregnant.
Back to this perfect world, we imagine all consequences are erased. Maybe your baby daddy never challenges you, doesn’t act on or even have personal feelings, respects you deeply and agrees with all your parenting techniques, doesn’t have his own issues, has the ability to change your outlook on the world, can be anything and everything you need him to be at anytime. Pretty perfect, right? Well guess what, that was fun but soon your pretend world unravels. No matter how wonderful you think your baby daddy is, he’ll never be that type of perfect. No one can be!
Accepting the realities
Though my daughter is 19, I still have to collect myself when communicating with my Baby Daddy. Here’s a good example of how we can get carried away over nothing: When it’s his weekend with our daughter, we do the drop-off/pickup halfway between us (since he lives nearly 40 minutes away). On this particular night, she was scheduled to return to me, so I sent my Baby Daddy a text message, asking what time he’d be there. While I waited for his response, I texted my daughter to start packing her bags. She hastily replied, “Why don’t you just call my dad, you always text, you’ll get a quicker response.” I stared at the phone for 3 minutes, boiling with anger. I thought, Why the hell do I have to call? If he wants to speak to me, he can call me! And, first of all, don’t tell me how to communicate with your father! I was extra frustrated. I mumbled to myself, Why do I have to call? I don’t have to cater to him. He has fingers to dial the phone. But why was I so livid? Wasn’t I the one who wanted some information?
I called my life coach and asked why this so annoyed me. I was eating a salad, listening to Frank Sinatra to relax (recently I decided to try some new tunes), and wham! That little text sent me reeling. My coach listened as I went on and on projecting. Finally, he confirmed, “Well, you are right. If he would like to chat with you, he can call you.” This was obvious. So why did that text make me jump out my skin? Was it because I already felt so many other responsibilities, and this was something about which I could get angry, fight, and complain. Did I feel he was not upholding equal responsibility in our communications? Would it had killed me to pick up the phone and call instead of text? Especially since I was the one in need of a time for pickup. Again, I was requesting information, not he. I also recognized that this anger surfaced because of what my daughter texted me. I assumed that my Baby Daddy had said something as he has in the past about my communication.
I took a step back and considered what one of my favorite bloggers preach at personal excellence (a wonderful series about managing anger). When you find yourself feeling annoyed and ticked off, consider answering the questions here in part 3 of her series. The questions and your answers help you find the root cause of your anger and from which subconscious level it’s coming. After reflecting, I realized I was not only annoyed because my Baby Daddy did not respond, but also because my daughter’s text, which shocked me, reminded me of how inconsiderate and immature people can be, who can act vindictively, intentionally avoiding, rejecting, and projecting. I felt like I was responsible for someone else’s state of mind and feelings. How could I be upset about having to call when I was the one who needed to know the timeline! Wow, that was deep! I immediately calmed down and thanked my coach. It’s simple: when I want to speak to someone, I should call and not expect someone to read my mind. Now dont get me wrong, this does not take away the fact that people should be considerate but it does leave the onus up to you to react and control your emotions. The point that I’m trying to make is that I had some resentment from old frustrating communications and was highly defensive. This happens alot when two people are co-parenting. Someone will always be out of alignment of the way you think they should act, behave or communicate. Try this, next time you feel defensive about something ask yourself why, reflect on what is really bothering you and commit to openly dealing with it by yourself first. This will be hard because the first thing we may want to do is confront the person who is triggering us.
This will help you when you’re co-parenting. Take the necessary steps back to gather yourself and not “win”. The question to ask is do I want to “win” or do I want peace?
1. Don’t harbor resentment (I know that’s hard to do).
2. Don’t feel anxious about other people’s reactions to your needs.
3. Change happens in practice. You won’t get it right everytime.
See you in part two if this series. Post in comments what your most concerns are.
In Part two of this series, we will dig much deeper into how to forgive yourself first and how to first give to yourself what you need from others.