I still vividly remember the painful moment. After 12 years of marriage, we told our kids that their dad and I were separating. I knew that their whole world would change in that moment — I had spent months researching the effects of divorce and had worried how we would all get through it.
We had worked so hard and invested so much into raising great kids. I knew how harmful the effects of parental conflict could be and it was something I wanted to minimize for them. It can be hard when emotions are running high, especially early in separation, to remember to keep your and your partner's issues separate from your children, but it is so important.
After some hard times and a lot of work, we had settled into a dynamic that has allowed us to co-parent our three kids with their best interests in mind. It has been seven years that we have been co-parenting, and although it is not always easy, we will keep at it because of the love we have for our children.
The following is what we have pledged to our kids as we continue on this co-parenting journey. These are the important things that we try to remember every day, especially in the hardest moments. In a perfect world, it is what every child would hear when their parents are separating, but we all know that there is no such thing as perfect. With that being said, I believe it is something to strive for, because it is what our kids deserve.
You deserve to have conflict-free exchanges between us.
Sometimes people ask why we do the things we do. Why we try our best to be kind to each other. Why we sit together at events for you and sometimes celebrate holidays together. Why we smile and talk in your presence and pick our battles when we don't see eye to eye. The only answer I have is that it is best for you.
You deserve to have the two most important people in your world on the same side. You deserve to look to one area to find your cheering squad. You deserve to have conflict-free exchanges between us.
Because when you took your first breath, we both were in awe. Because when you took your first steps, we both cheered you on with pride. Because when we look at you, we both see the incredible person we want you to become.
Yes, life changed and we parted ways, but we will be forever be connected through you. We will still work together as a team. We know we are equally special and important to you, and we will never make you decide. Our love for you is the tie that binds us together. We are still a family.
No, this does not work for everyone. There are different relationships and circumstances surrounding every union and every parting. Sometimes there has been violence and abuse, and sometimes there is distance or death. So maybe we are blessed that our situation is not that. We are blessed to know that this isn't about what we like and don't like about each other, and it isn't about always being right or things always being fair. It is about coming together as a team and putting what you need first.
You need us, both of us, in our own unique way. We both offer you gifts in what we teach you, and we will both sometimes disappoint you. This is life, whether we are together or apart, so we will not make this a dividing factor.
And this is why we will continue to work together, and sometimes it will be damn hard work. Yes, our family looks different than it did before. Yes, it may look different than some of your friends' — but I promise you that the love behind it is the same.
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