No one enters into marriage believing they’ll one day divorce. Having children together only complicates an already excruciatingly painful time when a marriage ends. Even in the best, most amicable situations, it can be difficult to treat your ex with respect and love. But when you do, you show your kids that even though your family dynamics have changed, you will always be a family.
Codie LaChelle McPhate shared a sweet picture on Facebook of her dad out mowing the lawn, but when she explains it’s actually her mom’s lawn and her parents have been divorced for decades, it really hits home why that love and respect is so important.
“This is my dad, mowing my mom’s lawn. They’ve been divorced 28 years,” McPhate writes. “When my younger siblings questioned ‘Why is your dad mowing moms lawn?’ I told them ‘Because, She needed help, and he knew she couldn’t get out here to do it, so he did.’”
According to McPhate, her mom has bad knees and her stepdad works out of town a lot, so her dad steps up to help whenever he can. “This is co parenting. This is how lucky I am to have 4 parents who respect each other, and know that at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is showing your children (Even ones that are 32 years old) how to treat people, and how to love your family, no matter how it came together,” she says.
McPhate tells Scary Mommy her parents have always had a united front when it comes to their family. “They’ve never let on that their relationship was bad or good. Its always been ‘We’re a family and that’s all you need to know,” she says. “To this day, I don’t even know why my parents got divorced. My mom always said, ‘It’s none of your business, it wasn’t your marriage, it was mine.’”
Her mom’s sentiment is so powerful. Your kids don’t need to know why you’re getting divorced, or who did what, or whose “fault” you think it is — what kids need to know is they’re safe and loved and will always be a part of a family, even if that family looks different than it used to.
McPhate echoes her parents’ approach to divorce. She says kids don’t need to go from a loving family to parents spewing hate against one another to cope with their own pain, or for vindication. “The only ones who really suffer are your kids,” she explains.
Since her post went viral, she updated it to say her dad wants everyone to know he’s not a saint but that “we should all choose kindness whenever we can.”
Amen to that.