The upside of co-parenting

I don’t miss my kids when they are gone.

Really. I don’t.

It is school holidays right now – this means we have an empty blended nest. The three eldest are at their other homes. For two of them, this means they are gone for the entire holidays.

When I separated from my ex-husband it wasn’t practical for the kids to spend more than every other weekend with him during the school term. Therefore, over the school holidays we reverse our arrangement – the kids stay with him the majority of the time and come home to us for special events  (trips, holidays, birthdays etc).

This means over the christmas break my children are at their dad’s full-time for about five weeks and visit us every second weekend.

I feel privileged to have my children live with me the majority of the time. But I also recognise it is critical for them to spend extended blocks of time with their dad (over and above every second weekend visits) to build a deep, meaningful relationship.

So when I am asked if I miss my children when they are away, the answer is…

No.

Shock horror.

Gasp!

I know. It would be more socially acceptable for me to lay about crying the whole time they are gone, to declare I miss them every second of every day, to say I can’t wait for them to come home.

The truth of the matter is, I am comfortable knowing they are with someone who loves them as I do. I am secure in the knowledge they are being loved and cared for. Maybe it’s not the exact way I would do it – bed times are negotiable and soft drink is on the menu – but they are safe and cherished.

School holidays are a time for me to slow down. They are sacred. I try to read a book or two, enjoy a glass of wine in the evening, catch up on my BAS statements (wait, that one’s no fun) and spend quality time with my hubby and three-year old.

It doesn’t mean I love my kids any less.

Some of us mums find it difficult to separate from our kids, we try to hold on to every extra minute we can – each of which denies a father one less minute. This worries me, because it may be an indicator that a mother’s self esteem and self-worth are too closely connected to a child needing them.

I am certain no mother means for this to happen, or even wants things to be this way, but it is an unfortunate and all too common symptom of loss, separation and divorce.

Regardless of the cause, it is too much for a small person to be responsible for their parents’ happiness, to be the sole reason a parent gets out of bed in the morning.

We have a choice to view co-parenting as a positive or negative scenario. Yes there are negatives (like less time with your child), but there are also wonderful upsides.

So if you are one of the millions of us sharing a child’s life – pour a wine, open a good book, go see a friend, find something you love to do. Because co-parenting is a wonderful opportunity to take the time to be you.

Just you.

No guilt required.

Even though it may not be the way we imagined raising our kids, it is what it is. Make the most of the time you have with your kids – but don’t forget to make the most of the time you have without them.

Besides, it’s not like we left the kids tied to a tree somewhere so we can flit around drinking wine & reading books – right?

(Disclaimer – if you did leave your kid tied to a tree to enjoy a moments peace, I won’t tell anyone!).

Blend it your way,

Leese x

I always love feedback – leave a comment or come chat on the Facebook page. If you would like to read more about co-parenting check out If you can’t be good at marriage, be awesome at divorce; 8 rules for happy divorced kids.

2 thoughts on “The upside of co-parenting

  1. This sounds like it would be nice… Very nice… To have some ‘me’ time.. Kid free time! I have been a single parent for about 13 years and while the early years saw some free weekends… With a little co-parenting… that soon decreased to no free weekends! And so for a very long time now I have had my kids pretty much full time. I have an 19,17 & 11 year old who don’t see their father- no visits, no sleepovers, no relationships whatsoever! While for many years this bothered me, hurt me – because I knew how the kids hurt- I was angry, resentful… Until there came a point when I decided- he was the one missing out! There was only such much of my energy I could put into trying to make this work for him- if he didn’t want it- what more could I do?
    So I succumbed to being a full time single parent with no input whatsoever from their father!
    Which also meant- no every second weekend break, or school holiday break from my children!
    All I could rely on was my mum to have my kids if I needed a break… And the guilt from this has always been tough!
    I feel guilty or a ‘bad mother’ if I want to send my kids off to nans so I can get some ‘me’ time! Even now my two daughters are older- I think I feel more guilt sending my 11year old son to nans so I can have time out!
    But boy…. It is needed and I know I shouldn’t feel guilty.. But it’s so hard to have your children 24/7 and then try and justify yourself to them that you need time out.

    1. You are so right. Yours is the flip side of my situation – I am really lucky to have a co-parent who is keen to be involved in the kid’s lives. I can’t even imagine having to negotiate the last decade on my own. I have the highest regard for single parents – you do an amazing job. But try not to feel too guilty about ‘me time’ – cos happy mums mean happy kids 🙂

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