In a divorce, how often do you hear that phrase? Everything you do feels like it is for the sake of your children. But for now, it really is.
Every decision you make in the divorce is related to your children, even if you don’t realize it. Do you give a little more money to your ex-spouse because —- it is better for your kids to be more comfortable when they are with her? Do you not push for the sale of the family home because — it’s better for the kids to live in the home they know and feel safe in? Do you allow your kids to go on that big Thanksgiving trip with your ex every year rather than insisting on “my year, your year” because — it’s better for the kids to see that grandparent they never see?
I would argue YES. Sometimes, what is FAIR, isn’t necessarily the BEST for your children. It’s important to consider their age, their disposition, and how they are handling the split between you and your ex-spouse when making decisions. Sure, it’s fair for you to share custody and split the Thanksgiving holiday every other year, but if once a year is the only time your children will see your ex’s parents, maybe you want to let them go with her and establish a new “Friendsgiving” holiday for yourself. And in the spirit of “fair,” perhaps your ex can share a few extra days to spend with your children over the Christmas holiday.
It’s all about working together for the sake of your children. Ironically, working together isn’t generally what people want to do when getting a divorce. That’s why they are divorcing! However, when you are a parent, you already know that you must give up some luxuries for their sake. Remember the lack of sleep when they were born? A crying newborn isn’t fun, but you lose sleep so that you can comfort, feed, change, and love your little one. It’s the same thing now.
If you absolutely cannot come to agreement with your ex-spouse, there are excellent co-parenting coaches available to help you get through some of the rocky patches. A good divorce attorney can direct you to someone they know and trust. A co-parenting coach is like a therapist for parenting, helping you to communicate effectively with your ex and get some good advice in the process.
Don’t lose sight of the big picture here. You are still raising these children, and raising them together with your ex-spouse whether you want to or not. Soon enough they will be grown and making their own decisions about who to spend the holidays with. Children inherently know when you have their best interest at heart, and you will always come out ahead if you can focus on that. Don’t always worry about what is “fair”. Worry about what is “best”.