This is the post I have wanted to write for a long time…because I know there are so many parents out there in the same position…but it’s hard to get the right words…the words that aren’t too emotional..the words that arent too angry..the words that when my daughters grow up they will read and be proud of how hard I tried for them.
I am talking about shared parenting.
My Girls, Miss I (9) and Miss (6) share their lives between our home and their Dad’s. They spend 9 nights in our home and 5 in their Dads.
It’s hard..really hard. But it has to work. I grew up without my Dad in my life for 11 impressionable years and I will not allow this to be the case for my Girls.
I say hard but it has improved lately. I forced another round of mediation recently which saw big changes to our parenting orders and our Girls are starting to shine again.
Previous, I could see them becoming depressed. Miss I lacked self esteem, was becoming socially withdrawn and some days didn’t want to get out of bed. Miss M was internalising things and her reflux was playing havoc for her but she was too afraid to tell her Dad about it.
You see the original orders were away from me 5 nights straight.
I cannot begin to tell you how that made me feel when they were away so I can only can imagine how they felt.
This also meant they were away from their Dad for 9 nights. It was like the other parent didn’t exist while they were in the other home. Let me tell you also, I felt bullied into these orders by expensive solicitors. Solicitors don’t always act in the best interests of children.
So our new orders break up the days for our Girls. They spend 4 with Dad over a weekend then another one night the following week. More frequent catch ups with Dad is just simply what they needed. Still the same number of nights just broken up a little.
My Girls have suddenly become more confident..they don’t compartmentalise their homes, they skype between the two homes, they seem to be spending better quality time with their Dad.
These are my thoughts on how shared parenting is for us …
Sometimes, it is easy to over analyse my Girls because of the situation.
Sometimes it is easier to think a new negative behaviour is because of having to go between two homes and not because they are just being little monkeys.
Sometimes, I hear words from them that don’t sound like theirs and it makes me sad they are living between these two homes and it must be confusing.
Sometimes, I am so angry when I hear our home put down in subtle ways.
Sometimes, it hurts to see how hurt they are feeling by a step parents thoughtless words.
Sometimes, I want to voice my opinion on certain matters but I won’t.
Sometimes, I don’t want them to leave and go to their Dads.
Sometimes, I wish others would work as hard as I do to understand them.
But at the end of the day it is what it is.
I can see they are becoming more resilient. I can see them forming their own opinions. I will not force mine on them.
I know that our behaviour as parents is something they have a right to analyse, and one day will voice their opinion on.
So, as their Mum, I support them.
I advocate for them in every way.
I listen to their words.
I am watchful of their moods.
If I can’t help them I find someone that can and will.
And…most of all I love them, unconditionally.
(Bus Roll from Lime Tree Kids)