Coparenting can be difficult in your family’s day to day lives, and during special occasions, those difficulties can become even worse. If you and your coparent are planning on throwing a party for your child or children, it doesn’t have to be a harrowing experience. To throw a great party for your child with your coparent, keep the tips below in mind during the planning process as well as during the party itself.
Your child’s birthday party is not about you and your coparent. It’s all about your child and their special day — make sure that you remember that. If there are any issues or disagreements, make sure to always bring your thoughts back to your child and what will make them happiest. Don’t let yourself get into a petty fight with your coparent, only to have it impact the experience for your child.
Another positive of decentering yourself in order to give your child the best possible party is that you are setting a wonderful example for your children. If you and your coparent constantly fight, your child will see that as an acceptable and normal form of communication, despite the fact that it is not. Showing that you and your coparent can still work together is an important part of ensuring that your children aren’t harmed by your divorce or separation.
Keep the Location Neutral
When you’re planning where to have the party, it’s important to reach a decision that is neutral and not upsetting to you or your coparent. There are approximately 827,000 divorces each year, so you are not the first family to have this struggle, and you are far from the last. There are two main options for where to host the party: at a coparent’s house or in a public place. If you’re having the party at one of your homes, consider alternating years or otherwise making it more of an equally shared responsibility. Obviously, you can have the party at the same home every year if it’s the best choice for your family, but if it’s a point of contention, try to switch it up.
If you and your coparent begin arguing about whose home to have the party at, having it in a public place is definitely the best option. There are countless places to have a child’s party, from a park in your city or town to a bowling alley and everywhere in between. Play up your child’s current interests and take into account the approximate size of the party that you’ll be throwing.
Effective communication is an extremely important tool of coparenting at all times, not just while you’re planning a party. It’s important to have a discussion with your coparent about the expectations and budget for the party. If you are imagining an extravagant 150 person party with entertainment and catering and your coparent is thinking of a small at-home gathering of 30 people with homemade food and treats, you will absolutely have to reconcile your gathering expectations. While you’re compromising, make sure that you are planning on inviting people that fall on both sides of the aisle. If you invite your parents, make sure that your inlaws are also receiving an invitation to the party.
A good way to help center your child in the party planning process is to actually have them make decisions. However, make sure that whatever decisions you’re having them help make you aren’t forcing them to choose between your child’s other parent and yourself. Making them choose between their parents is not a healthy mentality to have, and it could negatively impact them down the road.
For example, if your daughter has her Sweet Sixteen coming up, you can have her make most of the decisions regarding decorations, the basic guest list, and other major decisions. In case you don’t know, a sweet sixteen is a party that represents a girl’s coming of age and is thrown to celebrate her sixteenth birthday. Since the party is a representation of her growing up, you should let her make a lot of the decisions. This also makes it easier for you and your coparent since all you have to do is approve or deny decisions made by your daughter. Before you turn the decision making over to your daughter, though, make sure that you agree on the bigger picture things like the budget and the date of the party.
Make sure that while you’re throwing this party, you are both contributing as equally as you possibly can. You don’t want either of you to feel like you’re a single parent throwing the party alone — you are coparents, so although you might technically be single parents, you aren’t contributing to the number of children who are raised by one parent, which comes out to about 22.4 million, or 27% of children under 21.
If you try to do everything yourself, you’ll get overwhelmed, so delegating tasks between the two of you, and even other family members, can be really helpful in the party planning process. Make sure that when you and your coparent are deciding on party planning details that you come up with a method of how to delegate tasks as you go.
Make a Pinterest
Pinterest boards are a great tool for throwing any party. You can easily make your coparent a collaborator of a board on Pinterest, and then you can both add your ideas to the board. It makes it easier to see exactly what your coparent is imagining for the party and what you are imagining, which can make it easier to combine your visions. If your child is old enough to contribute, they can also become a collaborator on the board so that their ideas for the party are also shared and shown to have equal importance to you and your coparent.
Coparenting can be hard and throwing parties can be hard, but throwing a party with your coparent doesn’t have to be hard. If you work together and communicate effectively, you can throw a great party for your child’s birthday, graduation, recital, or other special events that you may want to have a party for.