Q: My ex and I have been co-parenting our kids for the past three years. About a year ago she married a guy I really like. Recently they told me my ex was pregnant and asked me to be their child's godfather. Sounds a little weird to me. What's good ex-etiquette?
A: You're not the first to ask me this question. What it means is that you're doing such a good job co-parenting that your ex's husband believes you'll even put his child first when called to do so. From the request it's obvious that you've been practicing good ex-etiquette.
Let's examine what being a godparent means. The duties associated with the request can vary culturally and from family to family. In some families being a godparent is merely an honorary position. In others the godparent is like a second parent and a fundamental part of the child's spiritual education. In essence, a godparent's role is to serve as a mentor and stay involved with the child should his or her own parents be unable to guide him or her.
Get clear on that one. Ask what being this child's godparent means to them and what they expect of you. If it's more than you want to take on, be honest. (Good ex-etiquette for Parents rule 8, "Be honest and straightforward.") Being a godparent is a huge compliment — but also a huge responsibility.
It sounds as if you don't have someone in your life now, but you probably will. Being a godparent will require you to interact very closely with the child — and with his parents.
It's not uncommon for new partners to understand the need to interact with your own children, but not your ex's children. That could upset your well-balanced apple cart. Anyone you choose will have to go along with the program for you to remain successful.
Finally, you shouldn't be surprised that they've asked you to do this — you're actually the logical choice.
There are half-siblings in the mix and your being designated the one to have the kids means that the siblings will be raised together.