We need our dads to show up for us, as well as our moms. And when the dad is removed from a family, with the SPO, the balance is shifted dramatically in favor of the "mom as the emotional center" of everyone's lives.
My goal, as a good dad, is to be available emotionally and physically to my kids all the time. They know where I stand. I've never bad-mouthed their mom. And as they continue to grow and mature into adults, I'm back to having an equal opportunity to be with them.
I may not reach serenity with my ex-wife and her new husband ever. That's okay. The serenity is within me. I am doing, have done, and will do the best I can to support my kids and keep my relationship to them above the fray my ex continues to keep seething around us.
Finally, if you're going to agree to a cooperative divorce, make sure you add in a clause about NEVER INVOLVING THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE. EVER.
As my kids grow older more of the divorce and reasons for the divorce will become clear to them. Life is long. Parenting is forever. Love will win out over anger.
You can't control the other parent. But you can choose your response. If you can diffuse the urgency and your need to be right, smart, witty, or even a jerk, you will go along way towards lessening the drama and making things easier for both you and your kids.
Yes, divorce is hard. Trying to whitewash every single detail of a co-parenting relationship in some fantasy land haze would be of benefit to none of us. I am committed to owning my part in the divorce, always. And I am hopefully clear on my self-awareness when it comes to my own struggles with money, depression, communication breakdowns, and disagreements with my ex-wife.
During my failing marriage, I got very good at listening for the sirens of destruction (I had done something wrong) and looking for an escape or some heroic journey to fix the problem. Both in my marriage and in this relationship, that was not the right approach.