This dad made super-sure that the mother of his kids had a beautiful birthday, knowing that the best gift of all is respectfully and positively co-parenting their children together, after separation.
A different story
Billy Flynn shared his story on the Love What Matters Facebook page, in the hope that it would offer a fresh perspective on dealing with these enduring parental relationships, post-divorce or separation.
As many readers will know, breaking up when you have children is not the cut-and-run it may be when you are childless. You have to spend the next very many years interacting with the person you’ve split from… because you share these little humans. Add potential future partners and differing approaches to parenting to this mix and it can be extremely, gosh darned HARD to keep things nice.
It’s easy to see why some separated parents throw in the towel with their ex, or stop trying to be communicative, civil or constructive. The pain of relationships that didn’t work out the way we’d hoped can leave us bitter, and people in pain often find it hard to see the bigger picture.
But there is a bigger picture, and in this one, short life, it’s so worth considering.
The Flynn Method
Billy Flynn was keen to focus big picture and show there IS a better way – if both parents are strong enough and/or grown-up enough to consider it.
Billy knew that his kids needed him to set aside whatever he was going through with their mum, and find a new way of being together. He knew it would pay dividends for everyone, now and in the future.
Billy used his ex-wife’s birthday to illustrate The Flynn Method*, mentioning that people often challenge the wisdom of his approach.
“It’s my ex-wife’s birthday today so I got up early and brought flowers and cards and a gift over for the kids to give her and helped them make her breakfast. Per usual someone asked me why the hell I still do things for her all the time. This annoys me. So ima break it down for you all,” Billy posted.
(Of course it takes two to tango. The mother of Billy’s kids is obviously a sensitive and smart cookie who’s been able to put aside the couple’s differences for the sake of their children, too.)
“This is bigger than you”
Billy (and his ex) knew that the usual conventions of making a break when you separate are not always best for everyone. Rather, mistakes made in the past, incompatibility and petty squabbles are best put aside in the quest to raise good, kind, resilient, respectful little humans. They needed to find a new way to be together, even though they were now apart.
“I’m raising two little men. The example I set for how I treat their mom is going to significantly shape how they see and treat women and affect their perception of relationships. I think even more so in my case because we are divorced. So if you aren’t modeling good relationship behavior for your kids, get your shit together. Rise above it and be an example. This is bigger than you,” Billy wrote.
He urged other parents to suck it up, put aside their differences and rethink their relationships with their exes, in the quest to raise better humans (and take the pressure of conflict out of the whole equation.)
“Raise good men. Raise strong women. Please. The world needs them, now more than ever.”
Permission to love the other parent
Other parents agreed, flooding the comments of the post with excellent advice for separated mums and dads:
“When parents can’t stay married, it’s vital they give their kids permission and opportunity to love the other parent. Just because they’re done with each other doesn’t mean the kids are.” one mum wrote.
“Right on the money. Ive been divorced 17 years and I get along with my ex wife better now that when we were married. When we, decided the marriage was over, we sat down, made a list of everything we wanted as far as child support, visitation, etc, went to one lawyer to finalize it and the rest is history. We both agreed not to get into pissing matches in front of the kids, and for the most part it has worked well. The kids know both of us are on the same page when it comes to them. I wouldn’t have it any other way,” a smart dad revealed.
“I have an amazing ex husband! He is absolutely one of my best friends… We have 4 kids together and have always spent holidays, birthdays and any other special occasions together. I moved out of state a year and a half ago with my fiancee.. He is also amazing! My ex stays with us when he comes to town to visit… People think it’s weird.. It may not be ideal, but ALL of us luv those 4 kids more than anything and want nothing more then for them to be happy! That’s what it’s about! And if him staying with us means more time with our kids, then that’s what we’ll do!” Another mum wrote.
Wow. It’s heartening to see that the usual clean-break style of separation is not the only way. While many breakups have mitigating factors that may mean it’s impossible to preserve friendly relations, many are perfectly primed for this compassionate, newfangled family approach.
Thanks for sharing your story, Billy! It’s a great one. (And nice work to the mum of Billy’s kids, too!)
* possibly we made The Flynn Method up, but it SHOULD be an official thing, shouldn’t it?!