Co-parenting during these strange times can be a challenge. While some parents might be getting along fine, others are having a really hard time dealing with the situation. What can be done when mum and dad just don’t agree on what counts as risky behaviour? Is there a set way to get through this pandemic?
By Lara Franco Gomes
I have two daughters with my ex. We are not together, but we are both single, so we decided we would all live in my house during quarantine so that all of us could be as safe as possible and so that our daughters would not be leaving the house unnecessarily. We are now living apart again and they spend one week with me and the next with him. However, we are still careful and we talk to each other about anyone we decide to bring into our children’s circle. Of course, I don’t ask who he is with when he has his week alone and he doesn’t ask me either, but we trust each other and have the same fears, so I believe we have the same values in mind.
The girls have been quite secluded; they have only seen certain family members and we are debating whether or not they will go back to school, since we can both work from home a lot.
Mum with 2 daughters aged 3 and 5
My ex and I don’t get along and if things were bad before, they are now worse than ever. We have never agreed about anything. We have completely different ways of educating and completely different values. I’m always more careful and he always does what he wants and never even listens to my opinion. I’m still very afraid of the whole situation and only see certain family members and close friends who I know are taking the same precautions that I am. He goes to the beach every day, lets my daughter go out with school friends and even put her into surf classes with 30 other children and teachers every day when they spent a week on holiday together. I’m not even complaining about all the parties he goes to with his friends, I’m just complaining about the places he goes with my daughter. I am concerned because I have two other kids with my husband. I talked to my lawyer and there is nothing I can do. During a pandemic, I think this is unacceptable. I hope this nightmare ends soon.
Mum of 3, one 12-year-old daughter and 2 sons aged 2 and 6
At first, I was really worried about this situation because my ex and I don’t really get along that well. But as time went by, I realised that there was nothing I could do. I don’t agree with everything I know he does and perhaps he doesn’t agree with how I am handling this situation either, but I think we have chosen to remain silent. No one knows or understands anything about this pandemic either way. I just do what I can to survive and not go mad; I try not to think about it too much.
Mum of a 13 year old
I have to confess I am very scared of the way my ex lives his life. He lives like nothing is going on and I am still very secluded. Every time my daughter goes to see him, I feel really insecure and sad about the situation. On top of this, my mother has been alone since my father died and I am an only child, so I go to see her very often and always feel a bit scared for her health. I think this situation is really unfair. I continue to take precautions and measures to stay as healthy as possible and keep my mother healthy too, but I have a baby daddy that is acting as if we are not experiencing a pandemic that could, at any moment, risk the health of my child, that of my mother, or my own. There should really be measures in place for this kind of situation. I’m having a hard time dealing with all this.
Prefers not to add any more information
We don’t get along that well, but with regard to the pandemic we are pretty much on the same page. We are scared and take the measures that we can in order to stay safe. Problems that we had before are still there, but I think we respect each other a little more since this started. Maybe fear has brought us together a bit more. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not easy. We still fight a lot in private about other stuff, but I feel we are more united while taking care of our child and making sure she is safe. My ex works from home and I’m thinking about not letting my child go back to school in September. I think we need to reopen schools but I also think chaos will follow. He is open to it and we are considering everything because she is not a baby and we know that at this stage she could fail a year for not attending classes. So now what? Risk her health or her education? I am afraid that if I prioritise her education I will come to regret it.
Prefers not to add any more information
I really get along with my ex and her boyfriend so this year we all spent our holidays together. At first, it seemed strange, but just because of what society puts in our heads. My wife and I have one kid that is 9 months old and my ex and her boyfriend have one kid that is 2 years old. The kid that I have with my ex is 4 years old. Yes, she was quick; she fell in love with her now-boyfriend when our kid was 7 or 8 months, the same age as my younger kid (now that I think about it). She was always very truthful and her new partner came to speak to me and ask for my forgiveness. It was really hard at first but after some time I fell in love too and everything became easier. And since I think they are really good people that just fell in love and tried to do things the best way possible, I respect them. Well, the holidays were great and we even talked about helping each other with all the kids until the pandemic is over. Sometimes I go to pick the kids up from school and stay with them and sometimes they do that for me. There is no reason for the children we had with other people not to be friends when they are both siblings of the child we have in common. In fact, we think it is really cool for our kid to be with all his siblings at the same time!
Dad and Mum of 4 year old – Dad has another child that is 9 months old and Mum has another child that is 2 years old
My ex and I can’t say much to each other because we need to work and have our kids at school and each of us lives a pretty normal life. We go out with friends, we go to the beach on weekends, we dine out, we go to the park with other friends’ kids. We don’t do it together but we do it. We have chosen to do what we want and never point fingers at each other during this time in our lives. I even found him on Tinder and never said anything. For God’s sake, he has been single in this situation for so long and I have been there too because my other ex with whom I have no children broke up with me during quarantine. Don’t judge, be happy!
Mum of two, aged 7 and 9