A lot of people are truly shocked when they come to learn that my 2 eldest boys share equal time between my ex and I they have 2 homes, 2 sets of remarried parents who love them to the moon and back- they alternate weeks between us ie Sunday to Sunday….
I have been asked many a time if this is what I wanted… how I can be away from my kids every 2nd week… how does this work for us and my answer is:
No honestly I did not want it to be this way- I honestly wanted it to be the old way where my kids stay with me predominantly and only see their father on weekends- I fought long and hard against it but eventually I was told that since he wanted to see his kids I could not go against it and so I reluctantly agreed, there are times where I wonder whether this was the right decision but honestly the only reason why is because I do miss my kids more than I could ever explain…. For months I cried myself to sleep I even got back together with my ex because being away from my kids broke me….but I know now that leaving that relationship was as I felt when I left originally the best thing for myself as well as my children- we were not happy, he was not willing to change for me and we were affecting our children for the worse not the better.
So with that I thought I would draw up a list of what I feel are the pros and cons to this arrangement:
Our boys have 2 loving homes
Our boys have 2 sets of parents who adore them
Financially we are both equally responsible
Emotionally we are both equally responsible
It is nice to get a break even if it is sometimes more of a break than you would like
Our boys have both their mom and dad and know that they are loved by both
Both families are equally incorporated into our children’s lives
Our children can never turn to us and say that they weren’t loved or that either side kept them away from either parent
We can show a form of unity by working together instead of past each other
I miss my children so much when they are gone (I used to cry… I still get sad but I have now learned to appreciate some time off and use it constructively for house hold stuff etc so that I have more time with them when they are home)
You may not be there for every milestone (my eldest lost his 1st tooth at his dads he posted it on fb but didn’t let me know so that is how I found out I was LIVID!!!)
It is very difficult to not blame the other side for things that go wrong or occur (my middle son has eczema and if he comes home with a breakout I used to get very upset and question what they were doing to cause it)
It is very difficult to come to the same structural agreement on routine and discipline and STICK to it
(we went to a psychologist in order to draw up a parental plan)
You will never agree on everything (my exes discipline techniques and beliefs are worlds apart from my own- we both had to compromise)
It is difficult when your child starts seeing the step parent as a 2nd mommy or daddy, and hard not to blame that step parent when they do (the boys step mom asked them to call her mommy so and so after they got married I was enraged)
It is hard to take a step back and not jump to any conclusions (the boys have said once or twice that their step mom or their dad hurt them, I wanted to kill them but have learnt that kids exaggerate sometimes or tell stories to get attention not always the case but always keep an open mind and investigate if you feel it is out of the ordinary)
Motherhood and parenthood in general is a journey not for the feint hearted, what I can say from experience is that it is better for your children to have 2 separate loving and stable homes rather than one unhappy home or 2 homes but one where only one parent has all the responsibility- I will add that sharing custody equally as we do takes a lot of patience and compromise it is not always sunshine and rose there are many days when I just want to scream at my ex and go nuts but one thing we never do is fight in front of our boys nor do we involve then in anything that we have an issue with.
If the boys decide one day that they would prefer to live with their father… Gods forbid but they might then it will hurt and I will be heartbroken but I will let them because at the end of the day I only want their happiness, they are my first priority… I hope and trust that this will never happen but I can never say that it won’t, parenting is no recipe made easy but I trust in my heart that what we are doing will only affirm our love for them.