Co-parenting is a way of life. And here in New Orleans, so is Carnival. And just like we co-parent with our children’s best interest in mind, we approach Mardi Gras the same way.
We also have an added element of both riding in night parades. I ride in the Mystic Krewe of Nyx and Dad is a Rolling Elvi, which roll on back to back nights. We both know that on the days the other rides, we are entirely responsible for the girls. Schedules go out the window as we work to survive Carnival. It is about finding balance in our own carnival commitments with our intention to give the girls a naturally N’awlins experience.
Our approach to co-parenting through Carnival is made up of a big picture strategy of schedules, attendance, and king cake consumption.
It starts with a big picture look at the entire season. Next, we create a general strategy of what parades the children can attend. As most families, decisions need to be made on which days or nights they need a break. For us, that includes a discussion around which parent will take the girls to which parade. We want our children to grow up immersed in Carnival. That does, however, looks different to each of us.
We certainly will parade together, but sometimes our parades preferences or attendance frequency are not the same.
Their dad is fine if they miss more parades than I am. If I want them to experience those extra parades, it is up to me to make that happen. And in our co-parenting philosophy, I don’t get bitter or frustrated about his choice. This is really key in to our partnership and friendship.
Yes, I said our friendship. We don’t expect each other to be anyone other than who they are and as long as the children’s best interests are being met. The rest is lagniappe. Therefore, this allows us to enjoy our individual and our partnered-up pursuits guilt and (mostly) frustration free!
If it is my personal pursuit to have them attend parades all day, I ensure that I have help, a place to potty, snacks, a parking strategy etc…
And mega kudos to their dad who, without fail, brings our oldest (now 7) to see me on Nyx float line up on Tchoupitoulas. As every good dad, he chases our float with her on his shoulders to see me. And he was super cool when I was too pooped to make it out the next night to bring them to see him in Muses.
We also communicate about king cake. How much have they already had at your house? Who hasn’t gotten the baby yet? I generally cover Mardi Gras day costumes and ensuring we are stocked for the day with food, drinks, and change out of costumes clothes.
Co-parenting is a way of life, and for us, that is a constantly moving target. The way we Carnival has looked different each year and is still working for us so far. As Rebirth Brass Band says, Do Whatcha Wanna! And this is what we wanna do!