Shared parenting, co parenting, separate parents…So many words and so many feelings.
Two days a fortnight.
Friends urge me to drink copious amounts of wine when my little boy visits his dad. Mummy can go to the cinema, or to the pub; on a weekday. I went to bed at eleven last night and slept ALL night. I will not lie and say that the freedom to put on makeup and go to work without porridge in my hair isn’t nice. Things are peaceful and relaxed, and god do I need a rest. Parenting is challenging and exhausting.
BUT I am not the person I was before mummy hood. Who had hour long bubble baths and could watch an entire Netflix series in a night. Pre-parent you do not appreciate the freedom of time. It goes so slowly and smoothly. Not in an endless battle to put on shoes or eat peas.
Yet, without my son, whilst I relish this ‘me’ time. I find myself glancing at the clock and wondering how long it will be until he is home. Yes, I am also happy; getting to spend some much needed and enjoyed time with my other half. We eat food that is not beige. But there is an empty space in the house, a shouty, cape-wearing three foot hole. Should I call every hour to check he is happy and safe?
I worry constantly and quietly to myself.
Motherhood is not part time, it is always. I cant turn my heart off.
There is an invisible something between he and I. Which stretches across distance. Sometimes it pulls at me so hard I feel the need to go and clasp my son’s teddy tight. I have learnt to turn my control freak button on off. Let it go, the world is not going to end if at daddy’s he watches an extra hour more TV than I would allow.
There is a little voice in my head. A dark spiky voice that worries he will enjoy being with his dad more. I have to put my jealousy, envy and ego in a box. I also put away my guilt that little boy has to be in a shared parenting situation.
He is not just my son but ours and has enough love for both his parents and we are both important.
But what’s more important than a mother little voice says? He needs us both I say back; you don’t need a parental crown. My dad was absent in my life, perhaps that colours my anxiety.
I do not have a template for a ‘good’ dad.
Then I think of my grandfather, my partner. Their quiet constancy and I know that having supportive, loving male role models DO matter Many dads successfully share custody and are tuned into their children’s lives and needs. Children live solely with their loving, dedicated fathers. And others desperately want to see their children more but cant.
I advocate for equality but inside my own family know I can be biased and short-sighted. Which is sometimes unfair and unhelpful. That said, my concerns are founded in empty promises, my son’s behaviour on his return, his cries as he goes at the door. It is difficult.
We work hard to provide reassurance. To talk positively. To write ‘to do’ lists about what little boy wants to do with daddy.
If he sees his dad as the ‘fun one’ and am the boring ‘everything else’ parent I can live with that.
I want them to create positive moments. It is both of their right, and I am glad he has the opportunity.
Mummy and daddy are both ‘y’ words.
This is NOT about mums vs. dads, men vs. women. It is about my boy, his needs and my clumsy uphill struggle to be as best a parent as I can.
You are doing the right thing in every sense.
I am saying this through personal experience.
I come from a broken family and my mother has tried to keep me from seeing my dad and to this day I still resent her.
It might feel awful at this moment but your son will love even more for what you are doing.
Thank you for such an honest and heartfelt comment, I am sorry for what you have experienced and your words really help me in putting my sons need first even when its hard for me xx
What a heartfelt post, so many things I don’t think about and don’t contemplate. I’m so full of admiration for you, how strong you are and how lucky your son is to have two parents who care so so so much for him. I completely understand when you say you long for him and cuddle his teddy, you wonder if he’s ok and want to phone every hour. A brilliant post, thanks for sharing on #KCACOLS with Franca hope you can link up on Sunday too x
I know this feeling, I wrote about it recently actually after splitting with my ex coming up four years now…wow. My daughter wasn’t even two when I left him…for very, very good reason. But she still sees him and his family. In fact in August she goes for two weeks. It is the strangest two weeks of my life. But I’m no longer a stranger to it. And this year I’m going on holiday with my partner whilst she’s away. I might as well! It doesn’t really get easier, you just get used to it. And you plan around it. I have gone back to hour long baths, more makeup, more pampering, nicer food and more time just me and my partner though. Which I am very glad I get to do still. #kcacols
This is such a lovely comment, it is so good to have someone who understands. It is good that you have that time to yourself, I am slowly starting to enjoy it without feeling guilty and have some time for me and my partner! xx
a lovely post. I can’t imagine how hard it is to let him go and how much you miss him. Parenting is tough, tougher than anyone could ever imagine. But also indescribably rewarding #KCACOLS
What a fab comment thank you, parenting is definitely tough, I think you describe it beautifully, x
Gorgeously written and very honest post. Thank you for sharing – I can’t imagine how you must feel, but you are so strong. #KCACOLS
Parenting has its challenges for everyone we all need to be super strong, though sometimes I dont feel it, just doing the best I can. Thank you xx
This is an absolutely gorgeous post – so emotional, so raw and so touching. I had goosebumps just reading and I could feel your love for your child. It must be so hard to let him go, even to go to his father. I can only imagine what you must go through everytime he goes. But you recognise that it is not a competition and rightly so and that will help get through these times.
I am so grateful for such a wonderful comment. It is tricky and I know at times I need to be better, but I am trying and that is important, made all the better by such lovely supportive people like yourself x
I’ve never really thought about this before. My parents split when I was 15 and we’d go and spend holidays with dad. It must have been so hard on her I a empty house all alone. I think I’ll text her a hug message when done here. You are N amazing Mum for your little man x
It must be so hard saying bye bye to your little one but you’re an amazing mum for keeping in mind that it’s what’s best for your little one that’s important. I’ve seen so many parents turn nasty towards each other and use their child against one another, your doing a great job and your little one is lucky to have a mummy that knows daddy is an important part of his life and doesn’t want to ruin that for him, if only more people thought the same x #Passthesauce
You are obviously an amazing Mummy and it is so clear that your little man is and always will be at the heart of your actions. I can only imagine how hard it must be to have to hand him over and to not have him with you every day, but you seem to have worked it out with his best interests in mind. Thanks for sharing your story with #passthesauce x
I totally get how you feel – 3 out of 4 weekends off my lil G goes and though I need the break I too feel empty and lost when she is not around. I get anxious and wonder what she’s eating/ doing – hope she’s happy but secretly hoping she’s missing me and wants to come home! Not that I want a distressed child it’s the longing for her as she is with me mostly. A great post honest post, I can totally connect with it xx
I am a single mom as well and in a good co-parenting situation. Like you, I didn’t grow up with a dad. I didn’t have any positive male role models growing so I had no template for what a good dad was except what was in my imagination but once my children were born I knew I wanted their dad to be in the picture but I also had to accept that he loved them as much as I did. That was the thing I struggled with the most. In my life before my ex, fathers didn’t love their kids enough, or at all, so accepting that I wasn’t the only parent who loved them beyond all measure was hard but once I did accept that, and that dad does do things differently, it was easier on me as a parent because I no longer felt alone in my parenting journey. As for getting my time alone. That doesn’t happen often because my ex has had to bounce around from family member to family member since out split so when he sees them, he sees them at my place. Thankfully, we now get along so it’s not too awkward but my kids are also older (14 and 9) so leaving them with their dad is easy for me to do. Every now and then I will get a paranoid thought in my head about what if something happens and I’m not there to protect them but I have learned to cope with that and enjoy my me time more. Love this post! Popping over from #passthesauce
I cant create a long enough post for how much this lovely and heartfelt reply meant to me, thank you so much. You sound like an amazing mummy and an amazing woman xxx
Thank you! I loved your post:-)
Beautifully written post. It must be very tough sharing your son with your ex. I only have experience from a child’s perspective, but I always remember really missing my Mom whenever I was at my Dad’s house! I did experience having some ‘me time’ the other weekend for the first time and I actually cried for about 10 minutes and envisioned him going off to college. Oh the double edge sword. Thanks for sharing with #StayClassy, I’m loving your blog!
Thank you so much, I am glad you are enjoying the read! Haha I cannot envisage college…my LO told me yesterday that he is living with me forever..I was half happy half horrified..48 and living with mum!xx
I know how you feel. It is incredibly tough. I separated from my ‘delightful’ ex when my son was 5 months old. He is now 20 months old and co-parenting is as tough now as it ever was. The challenges don’t ease they just change. My son is with his Dad 4 nights out of 14 which is a lot. It breaks my heart when Cygnet watches him go from the window and I can see him longing for his dad to come back. It also pisses me off when I am asked to change the schedule again so that his Dad can go on a Golf weekend but still see Cygnet 4 nights out of 14. It is my life that suffers so that his Dad can have his social life…his dad has a temper and I can’t face the anger.
I miss my little one like hell when he is with his dad and get incredibly stressed and anxious when he is late dropping him off. Even if it is only 15 minutes – I should be used to it now – it happens every week. I tell myself it will get easier. I am not convinced it will. Pen xx #stayclassy
You sound like an amazing mummy, 4 nights must feel like a lot!I struggle with 2!If you ever want a natter to a mummy who knows the struggles of it I am always around!Thank you for such a lovely and honest post my lovely xxx
It always sounds lovely doesnt it to get an evening to yourself or a weekend but I know just from sending the kids to grans for the night that I am constantly watching the clock, checking my phone or thinking about what they are doing! You are doing really well sharing your little one with his Dad and its great that you see how important it is that they enjoy each others company x #stayclassy
Hey lovely lady thank you, I try and do a good job I think it good that I can admit when I am not and that I try harder. I wish they had a parenting manual!Its funny when they are at home you want a break when your gone you want them back!x
Just popped back for #StayClassy and to tell you I think you’re awesome! Ellen x
I imagine it must be very tough. I know that when I am away with work I miss my sons terribly, even though I can sleep at night, read, eat a nice meal, etc.
It is funny how when there around you wish for peace and when they are gone you wish for chaos. Thank you for commenting!x
This is a lovely post, really insightful . It can’t be easy for you, I hope writing it down helps you untangle all the emotions. #BloggerClubUK
Thank you, writing is always a good release. I think parenting is not as easy for anyone as it says on the tin 🙂 xx
Hi Jade, gosh I remember this so well. I love the line ‘there is an invisible something between my son and I’ because I’ve always felt that and I still do. It sounds like you’re doing everything right. It does get easier I promise. xx
That is a really kind, heartfelt comment thank you. I am glad it resonates with you lovely, haha its a bond thats lasts a lifetime. I hope it does 🙂 xxx
This is such a beautiful post Jade, really eloquent and sweet, loving, perceptive and honest. I imagine your feelings and internal tussles are felt by parents in this situation the world over. How aware you are of your feelings and how to act on them externally makes me quite sure you are handling things pretty amazingly for your son…you are making sure he knows he has two points of security and love. I also very much doubt you could ever be described as boring!!
Gorgeous, heartfelt and honest post. I can only imagine how you feel but a close family member of mine has her kids go to their dad’s every other weekend, and her stepsons do the same thing – so she has one weekend with all 5 kids and one weekend just her & her hubby! I think they struggle sometimes with the demands and difficulties of a blended family but ultimately it means more people for the kids to love and be loved by, and much happier parents! Ellen xx
He lovely lady thank you for the comment 🙂 Wow I cannot imagine the difference of a house with 5 then a house with none, it feels like you are living in two different worlds and yet not quite whole in either..family life is challenging in all its forms, I think parents as a whole have to be pretty strong and manage a lot!xx
This is a lovely post Jade, really reflective. It sounds as though you are doing a fab job, even though it can be lonely sometimes. I’m lucky in that my son doesn’t have another parent for me to have to share him with, but that’s not so lucky for him as he doesn’t have a father, so advantages and disadvantages I guess!
Thank you 🙂 I used to really wish that Leo’s dad would loose interest, and sometimes he kind of did but I know that was me being selfish, you are so amazing to be completley a solo parent, total alpha mummy which does demand so much strength..so tip of that hat to you my lovely. xxx
Thanks! I wouldn’t say I’m an alpha mummy though-no more than anyone else anyway! I have a lot of support from family, and as I’m living with my mum at the moment and she looks after Piglet 3 days a week, I kind of feel as though we are like a 2 parent family where she does the traditional “mum” role and I’m the “dad.” This is compounded when I start rolling around on the floor with Piglet tickling him, or run outside and run up and down the street with him wearing my mother’s slippers (not allowed) while she is out, and she spends all day every day telling him off! Oh, and thanks for linking up to #StayClassy! xx
“I miss him. I am happy; getting to spend some much needed and enjoyed time with my other half. We eat food that is not beige. But there is an empty space in the house, a shouty, cape-wearing three foot hole.”
This is beautiful :). Really, really beautiful. x
Thank you darling, praise indeed from a wordsmith…and you did not even comment about the semi colon misuse…xxx
Oh I completely and utterly feel for you – whilst nice to have a few stolen moments of ‘you time’ this time for you is not out of choice – most of us can choose when we decide to have childfree time but for you it is different and therefore, perhaps not enjoyed in the same way that other’s would. You sound like the most amazing mummy and put away those spiky feelings – they will do nothing for you and are not true! A wonderful, heartfelt, honest post xx
Ah thank you honey, it is not always easy and I dont think I always act write but I try too and that is important! Thank you for your lovely kind words xxx