By Mindie Barnett
I am a peacekeeper. I’m not a mediator, I’m not a referee and I’m certainly not a political negotiator. I’m a co-parent and a successful one. And I have the savvy business mindset I swiftly acquired by starting, running and managing my public relations firm to thank!
I attribute successfully co-parenting my two elementary-age children alongside their very involved and sometimes “generously” opinionated dad to the business model we both follow.
Instead of leading with our hearts as we once did in our life partnership, we now lead with our brains in this newfound co-parenting life.
It’s simple, really. Anyone can follow suit. You must put on your game face, throw passion and sometimes caution to the wind and learn to “go with the flow.” Step up and speak-up truly only as-needed – just as you would at your job – and you will find you will soon get through drop-offs, school trials and tribulations and even the most disturbing new girl or boyfriend with a grain of salt. Trust me. It’s that easy!
So, I’m a public relations professional. I have to deal with a multitude of personalities and egos. On both sides of the fence: the client and the media. They can both be unbearable at times. I do so with grace, poise and a smile. You get more with honey than vinegar both in the boardroom and in the living room – even if it’s your ex-spouse’s!
Business Tactic #1 – Learn to Stretch
I don’t mean the kind of stretching at the gym. You need to learn to be reasonable and flexible – always. Avoid shifting focus onto the other parent and instead hone in on what is best for your child. Shifting your eyesight to what’s in their best interest will help you become looser and learn how to give in – even if it pains you personally.
Business Tactic #2 – Take the High Road
Diplomacy is a virtue in any and all co-parenting relationships. Listen – with open ears – to the other person and remain supportive of family relationships on his/her side of the fence.
Business Tactic #3 – Trust is a Must
You have to be trustworthy. Always tell the truth to your co-parenting partner. A lie – even if it’s of the snowy-white variety – will eventually destroy the integrity of your relationship.
Business Tactic #4 – RESPECT
Civil. Respectful. Humane. All necessary to have a peaceful co-parenting existence. Take your emotions out of it. Just as you would when dealing with an unfair boss or client – speak with a smart mindset and speak with respect. Advocate for your child but do so with a breath of finesse. And if conversations just can’t maintain a proper tone – extricate yourself temporarily and revisit in a not-too-far-away time.
Business Tactic #5 – Don’t Give Up
Some days may be great and others not as pleasant. It’s constantly a work in progress. Just like in business, you’ll win, you’ll lose, and you’ll overcome. Every day is a new day and a new chance for you to protect the bond you must maintain with your co-parenting partner. Remember, the prize is your child and their happiness. And there is no price too high to pay for that!
Mindie Barnett is one the nation’s top publicists, an on-air lifestyle expert and the author of “Intermission: How Fervor, Friendships and Faith Took Me to The Second Act.” After successfully navigating her divorce, she became a sought-after motivational speaker. Mindie lives with her daughter and son in New York and southern New Jersey.