No matter what the circumstances that precipitate divorce, communication inevitably becomes strained for couples going through the process. In the midst of divorce, and often thereafter, couples can get so caught up in the “he said she said” game that they lose sight of what is really important and what will really matter in the long run, namely, the children.
By Jack Houghton, Lead Developer
What is NotBaggage?
NotBaggage is a website that was created by divorced parents for divorced parents. As lead developer on this project, I was motivated to help other parents based on my own divorce experiences as well as my own desire to successfully co-parent my children.
No matter what the circumstances that precipitate divorce, communication inevitably becomes strained for couples going through the process. In the midst of divorce, and often thereafter, couples can get so caught up in the "he said she said" game that they lose sight of what is really important and what will really matter in the long run, namely, the children. Face to face and telephone communications often veer off in directions that are not well suited to children’s ears. This is one of the main reasons NotBaggage.com was created.
How Does NotBaggage Help Divorced Individuals?
NotBaggage helps divorced individuals through its many organizational tools and features. The "My Schedule" feature allows users to customize calendars with their work and visitation schedules, upcoming appointments and events, etc. Users will receive daily reminders of that day’s scheduled events or items. The "My Task Lists" feature allows users to create and manage task lists as well as set tasks by priority. The "My Notebooks" feature allows users to create and customize individual online notebooks. Parents can create multiple notebooks to keep journal entries on whatever topics they choose. Some parents use the notebooks feature to track information about their children, about visitation exchanges, or about their day to day feelings as they adjust to the divorce process. These notebooks are private and viewed by the user only, and they help parents by providing a place for them to write or document whatever might be important or useful for them.
NotBaggage also has an in-house communication system by which users can send messages back and forth to one another. The benefit of the NotBaggage message system is that individuals do not have to weed through other e-mails and outside correspondence in order to locate and keep track of communications that are exchanged. All messages are kept in one, easy to access location.
NotBaggage users also have access to our divorce support articles and forums as well as our blogs which currently offer information to assist first time users in navigating the site and using all of the NotBaggage features.
How Does NotBaggage Help Divorced Couples?
NotBaggage helps divorced couples through a feature we call "netgroups". Once a "netgroup" is created through a simple invitation process, the couple can then mark certain events and appointments on their personal calendars as shared items. Those items will then be available for both parties to see through our "shared schedule" feature. This helps parents who need to share school events, doctor’s appointments, extracurricular activities, or any other divorce related event with one another. Parents can simply view the shared schedule to keep abreast of important events and activities in their child’s life, as well as to share pertinent information of their own with their ex-spouse. Parents still maintain their own private schedule as well. Only the items they specifically designate to share will go onto the shared calendar.
The "shared schedule" feature together with the in-house messaging system were created to limit uncomfortable telephone calls and face to face interactions. Let’s face it, if there is a way to communicate that minimizes the chance for unhealthy interactions to take place, our lives would be less stressful, right? That is the point of NotBaggage.com. By minimizing stress on parents, while still encouraging them to share information and communicate on behalf of their children, we are hopeful that parents and children alike will benefit.
Why I Believe in NotBaggage
Children are not baggage, but often the stress associated with the divorce process is. My wife is the owner of NotBaggage.com, and I am the Lead Developer. I believe in NotBaggage because I went through the divorce process myself, and I understand what tools and features can help divorced parents regain organization, improve communication, and work toward a brighter future. Here is my story:
I am a divorced father with two boys of my own, ages 2 and 4, and having recently remarried, I am now the proud stepfather of a 12 year old son as well. Having gone through the process, I understand the plight of divorced fathers today. Many of us often feel that our right to be an equally involved parent is overlooked in the Court system. It sometimes seems we have to work that much harder than mothers to secure fair and equitable time with their children within the Court system. Children need the involvement, love and commitment of both of their parents, and fathers and mothers alike are equally capable of handling the diverse roles of being providers, caretakers and role models. I’ve spoken with many divorced parents, both men and women, who share the view that times have changed and the Court system needs to catch up in terms of its views on divorce and custody/visitation arrangements.
I endured a two year court battle in order to secure joint physical and legal custody of my sons. It was no easy task, but perseverance paid off in the end, and my devotion and commitment to my sons was ultimately recognized. It wasn’t easy, but I stayed focused on my children, and I don’t regret a moment of the difficult process.
I grew up without a father, and the pain of longing for what would never be is something that never entirely goes away. I was determined to be for my children all that my father never was. That is what motivated me to stay focused throughout my divorce, and secure a custody/visitation arrangement that supported my goal of being a primary caretaker and role model in my children’s lives.
Upcoming Features of NotBaggage
There are many exciting new features in the works for NotBaggage.com, including an address book and a visitation tracker among others. I encourage users to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story, ideas, suggestions for article topics, and to give us some general feedback on features you like, dislike, or wish to see in the future. We are real people working hard behind the scenes to create a site that will work for you, and we will respond to your inquiry! Let us know what will help you, and we’ll do our best to provide that service.
Nothing is worse than struggling to maintain organization and feeling like things are spiraling out of control! We know that feeling as we have been there! Let our website enable you to communicate more effectively, get organized and work toward effective co-parenting as you adjust to life as a divorced parent. Consider joining NotBaggage.com today!
Richard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com,
a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children.
RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents
“Make Life Happen…Again!”