Coparenting in different households, or from a military post, is challenging enough as it is. When you are coparenting over hundreds or thousands of miles, every little problem is magnified.
Fortunately, technology and affordable travel have eased this situation somewhat. These tips aren’t going to change your life, or even be breaking news, but timely reminders can sometimes spark a solution to an ongoing problem.
The wonders of shared calendars
You may already be doing this, but shared calendars can be dynamic tools beyond scheduling school events and birthday parties.
People don’t often use the unlimited space for notes in shared calendars. Use this space for addresses, phone numbers of other parents, activity organizers, and school officials, general logistics and whatever else springs to mind. That way, either parent can leap into problem-solving action if the other is occupied. Don’t forget to use the email and pop-up reminders to keep everyone on time.
If your kids are old enough, give them access to the calendar, too. It will make them feel more involved in the coparenting balancing act and they can add detail to events you may have missed.
Treat check-ins like they are chiseled in stone
Losing connections with kids is easy when most communication is over the phone. For this reason, scheduled calls should be prioritized.
If you feel like you and your kid are drifting apart, put extra energy into making these check-ins count. This can be as simple as asking them “How are you?”
On the other hand, frequent, unscheduled calls can create stress for the other parent. Read the room and learn to recognize when you’ve called at a bad time.
Keep difficult parenting calls private, if possible. Kids absorb more than you think. They will sense even mild stress, never mind full-blown fights. These things are not their problem, so don’t force them to carry that stress.
Visitation long-distance travel arrangements
Things going wrong is part of the nature of travel. Whether you’re escorting the kids or they’re traveling alone, try to book travel as far in advance as possible and have a Plan B for delays and cancellations.
Go with the flow
Even without kids in the equation, things will happen that are beyond your control. Kids add several layers to that unpredictability. While structure is important, know when to surrender to fate and find a way to work through it. Be resourceful and flexible. Yelling into the ether, at customer service representatives or each other doesn’t help anyone.