Not a day goes by where I don't find myself thanking the procreation gods that I get to parent with my partner. He's a wonderful human being, a fantastic father and someone I can truly confide in (which comes in handy on a pretty regular basis). We're not married, but we live together and raise a 2-year-old toddler together and have found a way to parent that works best for our entire family. However, how wonderful my partner is doesn't keep me from experiencing some of the most annoying parts of co-parenting; the parts that are necessary and not even that "big a deal," but can be a thorn in my whiney side.
I realize there are so many parents who would gladly experience the annoying parts of co-parenting on a daily basis, so make no mistake: even when I'm annoyed, I'm grateful. However, I think it's important that the collective "we" remain realistic about co-parenting and how freakin' challenging it can be. It's not easy to raise a tiny human being with another human being, whether you're married or divorced or separated or dating or not romantically involved in any way. Even if you have the perfect co-parenting relationship and you're on the same page (usually) and you're able to communicate respectfully and efficiently (most of the time), you're going to get on one another's nerves and you're going to butt heads and you're going to, well, get annoyed. After all, you're human beings.
So, yeah, co-parenting can be annoying and even when I love it, I sometimes kind of hate it. That's parenthood in a nutshell, really; the good parts and the bad parts are so closely intertwined that you can't have one without the other. So, in the name of transparency and because my therapist says airing your grievances is a good thing, here are just a few moments when co-parenting is pretty annoying:
When You Have To Compromise
Yes, yes. I know that compromise is important and it's beneficial when you're in a relationship and blah, blah, blah. However, sometimes I just don't want to, OK? I just, you know, don't.
Will I? Yes, because I'm not the only person parenting my son and we need to be on the same page and while I might think I'm always right (I am) I'm usually not (no really, I am), my partner knows a thing or two that I don't. Still, finding a compromise can be difficult and it doesn't always feel like a "win" when I end up saying "yes" to something I didn't necessarily want to agree to.
When You Have To Admit You Were Wrong...
OK, fine. I'm not always right. I'd like to think I am, but I make mistakes and I mess up fantastically and flamboyantly and I don't always have the answers to life's unending questions. However, sometimes my partner does. Which means, of course, that I have to admit when I am wrong and own up to my mishap and try to learn from my mistakes. Ugh. It's the worst.
...And Worse, That Your Parenting Partner Was Right
Nothing is worse than saying, "you're right," though. It's bad enough I have to admit that I wasn't totally correct, but now I also have to admit that my parenting partner was the one in the know? Ugh.
(Honestly, this isn't that bad, especially when my parenting partner does the same when I'm right and he's wrong. You know, compromise and stuff.)
When You Have To Share Your Kid
It's not that I want my child all to myself, it's just that sometimes I want my child all to myself.
My partner and I live together and are a couple, even though (gasp!) we're not married. While we do spend the majority of our time together as a family, I have to admit there are moments when I really want to just spend time with my son, alone. Nothing against my partner, of course, and the time that the three of us get to spend together is wonderful and something I truly cherish. I just, you know, want to enjoy some mother/son bonding time, too (and usually do).
When You Have To Visit In-Laws
When You Have To Answer Questions About Your Relationship
I don't know about you, dear reader, but I think the worst part of co-parenting is answering all those unnecessary, intrusive questions about the relationship you share with your parenting partner. Whether you're romantically involved or not, people seem so mystified that you can raise a child with someone without actually being married to them.
I'm constantly being asked when and if I'm going to get married, and why I don't want to get married. It's, you know, annoying.
When You Don't Get To Be The One Making All The Decisions
Because I'm not the only parent my son has, I'm not the only one who gets to make all the decisions. In a way, that's nice. I'm not the only person responsible and when the decisions are tough to make, it's nice to have someone help you make them or weigh in or take that decision on, by themselves.
On the other hand, this means letting go of a certain amount of control (which is hard) and trusting my partner to make the best decision possible (which is somewhat easier). I know my partner is a capable, loving and wonderful father, and I do trust him, but sometimes it's just easier to do everything myself. (Clearly I'm a Type-A crazy person. I know, I know.)
When You Have To Help Out
This is me at my laziest, you guys, but I make zero apologies.
On the one hand, having a parenting partner means that you have someone to, you know, help you parent. That's pretty damn awesome, and I'm not one to complain about having someone take on the roles and responsibilities that come along with parenthood, with me. However, because relationships are a two-way street, that means that I also have to chip in and help out and do things I don't necessarily want to do, because my partner needs me to. I do them, don't get me wrong, and I don't make a big deal about it because this is what partnership means. However, I might grumble and I might (read: definitely will) internalize my, "Ugh, I do not want to do another load of laundry," complaint. I know, I know. I'm the worst. However, Stranger Things isn't going to watch itself, you guys. #Priorities