The world’s best ex-husband

I am blessed. Truly, I have the world’s best ex-husband. I’m not bragging, I’m just so grateful.  But to be honest, I am a pretty kick-ass ex-wife.

It’s not always easy to spend non-court mediated time with your former spouse, but my ex & I do it willingly every week during what we call Family Dinner. When we separated, we wanted to assure our boys that although we were not a family living under one roof, that we are still a family.

As my kids spend 70% of their time with me, meal times are rushed, chaotic affairs filled with threats, bribes and the odd fist fight at the kitchen counter. Family Dinners are much more civilized affairs: I plan the menu – usually something special that I would not just make for myself, like tempura crusted ling cod, green peppercorn tenderloin or brine roasted chicken (ie. not Cheddar Bunnies or PB&J on the run) and we all sit at the dining room table – a space normally reserved for overdue library books, electronics and unpaid bills – and talk about the week & upcoming events. The boys help to set & clear the table and my ex & I chat about current affairs, mutual friends and other gossip without appearing overly familiar. It’s very polite & reserved conversation, punctuated by magic moments of shared exasperation or hilarity at the children’s behaviour. It’s nostalgic and sometimes melancholy, as we all miss when we did this regularly and daddy didn’t have to leave after story time.

Sometimes these dinners are strained and frustration is barely masked, but to the best of our abilities, we never let our children see these emotions. We smile sincerely and tease our boys while cajoling them to eat their fish. When you have children with someone, the love for those children is never in question; you will do whatever it takes to help them become successful, happy human beings. Breaking artisanal bread once a week is the least that we can do.

About Pamela

I’m a Vancouver-based divorced mother of two awesome boys embarking on a respectful, amicable and often humorous co-parenting adventure with their father. By day, I'm a publicist for good causes + companies at

6 Responses to The world’s best ex-husband

  1. Lola May 20, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

    Most of my friends and family can’t believe the relationship I have with my children’s father – we even live in the same townhouse complex. Like most people, we likely screwed up a few things during our split, but one thing we got right was that we agreed NEVER to say negative things about the other parent in front of our children. We went through a rough couple of years, but then things got much easier.

    Now we attend all their concerts and events together and he is often invited to dinner. He’ll fix the odd thing around my house and I’ll bake him his favourite cookies at Christmas. He was even invited to my extended family’s Easter dinner when we found out he didn’t have any plans. We make our parenting decisions together and our kids know they can’t play us against one another.

    It obviously takes two willing parties to make this type of easy relationship possible, but for us, it was our way of trying to lessen the effect of our divorce on our children. Their parents might be divorced, but we are still a family.

    • Pamela May 21, 2013 at 4:00 am #

      What a wonderful relationship you have built with your ex Lola. And I say “built” because I know that these things don’t just happen by chance; they are work. The piece of advice that I carry with me everywhere is that the children you have with your ex are 1/2 you, 1/2 your ex. When you speak ill of your ex in front of your children ie. “your dad is a loser” you are also insulting your children. I love your last line: Their parents might be divorced, but we are still a family.” Thank you so much for sharing your story. /P.

  2. Sarah June 19, 2013 at 5:30 am #

    Thank you for this post (and your whole blog). My husband and I are at the very early stages of separating. We’ve been together almost 20 years and have 2 young children together. We still love and respect each other and only want what’s best for each other and our children. Since we’ve been together so long it will take time for us to adjust to this new change, just as it will take time for our children to adjust. We both picture a future where we can spend school events and holidays together. It’s so refreshing to hear others make it work, it gives me the confidence to know I can too.

    • Pamela June 19, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

      Hi Sarah – it sounds like you & your ex are off to a very strong start to co-parenting. Putting the needs of your children ahead of your respective egos is tantamount to successful co-parenting. Take your time getting comfortable in your new situation. One thing that I’ve learned is that change can be uncomfortable – painful, even – but it will eventually feel right. Stay in touch & stay strong! xo

  3. Cea Person October 25, 2014 at 12:44 am #

    You are making wonderful memories for your boys by doing this–I commend you for putting them first, above everything!!

    • Pamela December 6, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

      Thank you, Cea! xo

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