Ok, I’m not saying that this is always the case and I’m not trying to go against all of the people that say divorce hurts children.
Here’s a positive though, see if it resonates with any of you. I AM A BETTER MOM because of my divorce. I don’t take my kids for granted, there isn’t always tomorrow to spend time with them, they could be at Dad’s
When they were smaller, I did laundry, cleaned and did shopping on the weeks that I didn’t have my children. I also worked overtime and travelled on the weeks that I didn’t have my children.
Do you know what I did on the weeks I did have my children? Played, talked and spent time with them. What a joy!
I’m a better mom because I stopped delegating things to their Dad. I rarely got babysitters, I learned how to cook (although this took years), I got home from work on time, I helped with homework, I was involved in my children’s lives in a way I was not when my ex and I were together.
I was there when they were sick, I took them to appointments, I was there for the tears, the laughs and the temper tantrums.
When I was focused on my career and financially supporting our family with a stay at home Dad I missed bath time, bedtimes, extracurricular, school events (such as Mother’s Day tea) and even missed my daughter’s first birthday.
Now I try not to miss anything. It’s just not worth it. Our divorce allowed me the opportunity to refocus my priorities, which I now think that I have in the right order.
My children and I travelled together, we were the 3 musketeers. We had so much fun. I got to enjoy who my children were as people and leave some of life’s stressor to be dealt with when I didn’t have them.
Having that “me” time takes some getting used to. You think that you are missing so much time already, so make good use of the time you do have with the children. After a little break, you may be less stressed, ….and more open.
If you ask my ex I’m sure he would say that he was a better parent than me and that the children should have grown up with him as the primary parent – at least that was his argument at the beginning. As do many parents, I struggled with this, what was better? A stable home for the children or a stable co-parenting arrangement? One involved a primary home and a primary parent, the other 2 homes and 2 equal parents.
At the end of the day we decided that 2 homes and 2 equal parents worked best for our family. I’m so happy that I had this opportunity to learn, grow and be a better parent.
As a mediator, I see parent’s struggle with this decision every day. It’s about what works for your children, your schedule and you as parents. It’s sad to see parents with the best of intentions just have different ideas about what is in their children’s best interests. I have seen many parents in a similar position to me step up in a 50/50 shared parenting arrangement. I have also seen parents who didn’t feel this would work for their family or were just not able to do it. It’s important to note that there are also many other ways to share parenting time between the 50/50 and 90/10 you hear about most. A parenting schedule that works for your family is the right one.
Some parents are just better separate. Some families are happier apart. Sometimes children do better when the parents are focused on them and not all of the “other” issues that go along with being in a significant relationship that isn’t working.
The one thing I can tell you, and tell you strongly…don’t make parenting decisions about the child support. Make them about your children!
You may be pleasantly surprised at how well the children can do if you are both there for them to the extent you can be.