Although the idea of vacationing with your former spouse and the children you had together may seem like a nightmare, co parenting on a vacation isn’t impossible. In fact, we talked to a divorced woman who coordinated a joint vacation twice, the most recent during COVID-19, and the family had a wonderful experience.
When Alexis and her ex first divorced, they decided together what the boundaries for their new family situation would be, as well as what experiences they did not want for their child. They both grew up in homes affected negatively by divorce. The negative effects of what they each saw and heard convinced them to co parent differently.
With this in mind, Alexis took on the challenge to plan their first vacation as a family after they divorced. After the vacation -- where they saw what needed changing in households, what support each parent needed with their child, and what struggles each parent had -- she and her ex decided to include a vacation together annually.
Then, COVID-19 hit, and plans were placed to the side because of health and safety for all. The health of one caretaker in particular placed the vacation plans, and even visitation plans, in a perilous position. But Alexis and her ex husband established communication as a focus early on in their divorce, and they talked about the safest ways to see one another, and keep the other caretaker, her father, safe as well. With the help of her ex’s new girlfriend, a nurse, safe plans for visitations and a vacation were put in place.
Months later, the family, grandfather included, enjoyed a stay at a resort where they were able to social distance from other patrons and reap the benefits of a vacation surrounded by nature. They made memories and each parent had a reprieve from the pressures of single parenting: cleaning, cooking, disciplining, and playing with their child all balanced out, unlike many who are parenting as a married couple.
At the end of the vacation, Alexis and her former spouse had bonded as the parents of their child, and as friends. Her ex will marry soon, and they are planning a vacation with the whole family, new wife and stepchildren as well.
We don’t want to give the illusion of perfection, because of course there were challenges, but the key to the story is in the boundaries set forth and respected by the former couple. Co parenting, even the day-to-day kind, must be maintained by mutual respect and good communication. Sometimes the greatest motivator is not the love of two former spouses, but the love they have for their child.