Are there people in your life that you can call, any time of any day? These are what I call, “3:00 AM Friends” who know us well, who care about us and who especially will tell us the truth, even when it is hard to hear. As a single parent or a stepparent, I believe it is important to have several of these type people in your life and to BE one for someone else. Here are a few reasons why?
Waving good-bye to our children as they spend time with the other parent is not an easy task and having a 3:00 AM friend to call or see when that happens, especially for a long spring break or summer vacation, can help the transition be healthier for us and protect our children from unneeded emotional pain when they leave us. Having an appropriate adult to talk to about these difficult experiences protects your children from becoming your counselor or confidant (it’s not their job).
When it comes to dating again, after a divorce or the end of a previous relationship, having a Godly and sound-minded friend to hold us accountable to the goals we have for our life is an important part of protecting yourself from a “rebound relationship” that may end up being another painful experience for yourself and your children. Having someone who walks alongside us and asks important questions can be a meaningful way to guard your heart when becoming single again.It can be tempting to date too soon when we are not ready, a trusted friend might be helpful to talk to about this, knowing that friend has our very best interest in mind.
An important topic to discuss with a 3:00 AM friend is related to how you “filter” the type of person you are looking for and what you are not looking for. Be careful and take it slow to see how has that person processed their past pain and relationship? If they are a co-parent with someone and will be dealing with them for years to come it is important to see if they have been able to move to a healthy way of engaging or if the toxic pain of their past relationship will cause unhealthy dynamics in your new relationship. Will that person be able to compartmentalize their pain and do they protect their shared children from the hard part of divorce between adults, or do they put them right in the middle of it? Take your time to observe this process and be open with a friend about all the details –there is wisdom in Godly counsel.
Lastly, we want to BE an amazing 3:00 AM friend to others. Look around in your life and see if there is a person who could deeply benefit from your wisdom and experience. We are not made to do life alone and being in healthy, Godly community is a significant part of how we stay stable and become the very best parent for our amazing children! They need this from us.
A companion in the co-parent journey,
Tammy Daughtry, MMFT –Founder, Coparenting International and The Center for Modern Family Dynamics(www.CoParentingInternational.com)