Coparenting schedule - flexible or firm?

This is my thought for the day..

Should a parenting plan be something that's set in stone, or should it be fluid and flexible?

Let's face it, a single parent's schedule is far from boring, it's usually crazy, hectic, and changes pretty much daily. In our house we have gymnastics and swim classes - those are regular and can be planned for, but we also have the occasional girl scouts meeting, sick visits to the doctor, family obligations, etc. Those are the times that my ex and I try to work together to adjust the coparenting schedule to accomodate each other's and the children's needs.

But what happens when it gets so out of whack that there practically isn't a schedule at all anymore? The agony of going through the process to create a fair and reasonable schedule to begin with seems like it's all for naught. What do we create such a precise schedule for, if not to follow it? Isn't it better for the kids if they have a regular schedule that they can count on following - some small bit of consistency in their crazy two-household lives?

Or maybe it's not better. Maybe it's better to work together to make sure the kids get the fullest enjoyment out of their lives, even if the schedule needs to be adjusted accordingly. After all, if they were living in a two parent household then that's how life would have been, right? Does having a flexible schedule mean more fulfillment for the kids, or does it create confusion and anxiety?

I'm curious how other co-parents handle their own schedules. When does the schedule get out of control? What are good exceptions for breaking the rules? What if one parent isn't necessarily available or doesn't even want to follow the schedule you both initially agreed upon?

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