Mom and Dad need to work out who is taking the kids shopping and for what. Who is paying for what and what is the budget? Can you really swing a new pair of Ugg boots or Reebok Reezig sneakers? Does anyone need new gear for fall activities? Also, what if the kids are in two different schools? Who gets to drop off which kid at which school?
These are all issues that married couples work out without even realizing it. Once you are divorced it takes more effort to make such decisions. Communication is key. Make a list of what needs to be purchased, what stores you want to go to and how much you have to spend. Like most things, the earlier you make a plan to follow the better. If you do not discuss who is doing what, then you run the risk of life being complete chaos the day before school starts. Now, the parent who has the kids will have to run around trying to get everything done for the first day of school, while resentment builds towards the other parent.
But, communication does not stop when school begins. In today's world a lot of school information can be sent to both parents via email, but this is not always the case. It is important if a notice comes home in a backpack to make sure that both parents are aware of the information. Your children want both Mom and Dad to attend their Back to School Night and don't really care that a notice came home in the backpack that only one parent saw. Your child does not want to miss a soccer practice or get stranded at CCD because one parent thought the other parent had it covered. It is important for parents to continue to communicate and communicate often.
Many parents find it difficult to communicate with a former spouse. Lack of communication may be the primary reason for the divorce. You need to find a way. The plethora of technological choices give you many options. Your new relationship with your former spouse can be like that with the pizza delivery person. Respectful and courteous, but very focused and efficient. No need to chit chat or veer off topic. Take the pizza, pay the person, thank them and close the door.
- Michelle Weinberg, LMFT