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For context, I am a stepmom, but I can answer for our household, and communicating with the biomom. We have had a blended household for about 10 years now.

1. How do you share/give information to the other co-parent? Phone, Email, Text, Note?

My husband tries to stick to email, but occasionally texts occur. We never use the phone unless an emergency.

2. What aspect of co-parenting has been the hardest? (ex. syncing information, scheduling, communication)
We do not co-parent. My husband was coached by the family therapist early on to parallel parenting instead due to the high conflict relationship between the two parents. The problems were primarily due to the biomom's regular attempts force her agenda, schedule, and demands onto the kids while they were in our house. Scheduling became a problem almost immediately after the divorce, so within the first two years or so, the parents got to a point where almost no requests to change the schedule would be accepted.

3. What are the tools you'd suggest for someone just beginning as co-parents? (google calendar, record keeping tools?)

4. What are the potential minefields for those just entering into this family arrangement?
Step parents are NOT parents. Everyone needs to understand this. Both the parents, and the steps.
Both parents have to be willing to co-parent.

5. Has technology helped the parents of today? I've researched some parenting apps that attempt this. Have you tried these apps/software? What worked for your family and what didn't?
Phone calls did NOT work for us. We needed everything in writing. The biomom used to make sure the kids were in earshot when she would call, and then proceed to manipulate the conversation to create misunderstandings among the kids.
For example, the biomom called my husband about 8 years ago and asked him to pay for school lunches. He said he would take care of the lunches on days when we had the kids at our house, but she was responsible for using the child support to feed the kids when she had them in her home. On the first day of school, the oldest called us to ask about school lunches. Her mom had told her that her dad agreed to pay for these, and due to the conversation over the phone, she had made it sound to the kids like that agreement had occurred.
 

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At the same time, I disagree that step parents are not parents. As a step mom, I do occasionally get vetoed on some things but SD knows she is expected to obey me just like any other parent, teacher or coach. Thankfully her BM supports me with this. There was one time during the early years where she threatened to tell her BM how mean I was being (would not allow her to touch things that are glass and cost $300 in a store and proceeded to pitch a fit in the store) and I said "tell her yourself" and dialled the phone for her. She cried to her BM who promptly told her to smarten up or risk being grounded twice, once at each house.
I think SaraBear, in your situation, steps can act as real parents - if they are given the latitude to do so. I wish we would have had this luxury. In a high conflict divorce, steps are forced to a much more reserved role. When my kids called their BM to tell her that I or their dad was being mean, she would call my husband and yell. She would also be very coddling to the kiddo, and tell them they had every right to be upset - no matter what the situation was.

One example - our son was in Jr. High and forgot to bring a new reed with him for his clarinet. He had a functional reed, but wanted a new one from his mom's house for school. Of course, he didn't bring this up until right before I had to take all the kids to school for the day. I told him I didn't have time to take him to his moms for the new reed and still manage everyone's schedule, and he would have to make due. He called his mom, who then called me. Instead of saying something constructive, she yelled, called me heartless and a few colorful metaphors before I hung up on her.

Any time I tried to help the kids through the school or doctor's, etc, that office would get an irate call from the biomom banning them from talking to me.

Any time the kids start acting affectionately toward me, the biomom gets even worse. Our family therapist said the best I can do is to stay distant but helpful - like a cool aunt who just stays out of the way.
 
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