It is very easy to get wrapped up in one’s everyday activities and obligations without stopping to pause and ask “Why?” Why are you engaging in these activities? Why are you obligated to do some things and why do you feel obligated to do others? The meaning behind the everyday actions of our lives should ground us. Meaning should arguably drive not only our intentions but also how we execute the actions paired with those intentions.
This perhaps especially true when it comes to parental responsibilities. The life of a parent, any parent, tends to be hectic and laden with responsibilities. Taking time to clarify why you are shouldering these responsibilities can help you to inject them with the meaning and intention that should be driving them in the first place. For example, you may be frustrated by the commute that you must engage in when dropping your daughter at dance class. But if you stop and think about how dance class is going to teach your daughter the values of discipline, creative expression and poise, your commute may no longer seem so burdensome.
It can be very difficult to co-parent with your former romantic partner. But if you and your co-parent can clarify your goals, values and expectations both for your co-parenting relationship and for child rearing in general, your interactions may benefit from the shared meaning and intentions you create.
When your co-parenting relationship is focused on shared meaning and values, you can potentially reduce tensions far more quickly than in the past simply by reminding each other what you are really working towards.
: The Huffington Post, “4 Ways Creating Shared Meaning Can Improve Your Marriage,” Terry Gaspard, Nov. 13, 2014