Wednesday, 13 July 2016

How do we parent?

I am asked a lot, often by other single or separated parents - and usually while sitting at a playground or in playcentres - what my custody arrangement is with my ex. I'm not really sure why people ask this but i'm starting to gather that they ask for different reasons depending on whether they're a dad or a mum and what their relationship with their ex is like.

The fact is ... we don't actually have a formal arrangement.  Largely, it is very informal. Though we do try to divide the week up 50/50 (me Tue-Thur, him Sat-Mon) with one day a week the Little One staying at her grandmother's for special grandparent-y super indulgent bonding time. It also means that no one has to pay the other any kind of monetary support. That too all gets split down the middle.

Someone joked to me recently (a man, single, childless) that it sounded more like we each had a timeshare in a child. Which i thought was kind of a funny way to put it and yet weirdly kind of spot on.

I'm lucky that I (now) have a very good relationship with my ex. It wasn't always so. We've worked super hard at it and a lot of that came down to starting little family rituals together. Mandatory church on Sundays which i attend with them when I can. Roast lamb dinner once a week at our favorite nearby restaurant. Playing some kind of ball sport together in the park one a week the three of us together. And the four days a week we have 'off' to be ourselves, focus on work and re-energise for her is a massive, massive help. How do you become resentful of the other person when you have time to yourself and to actually breathe and live your life as an actual person not just a 'mum' or 'dad'?

People are coming up with all kinds of interesting parenting solutions these days. 'Birdnesting' where the kids stay in the house and the parents take turns at staying in it. Though how that works in reality i'm not too sure. It certainly wouldn't for me. I think if you do have a good relationship it pays to get a bit creative and think outside the box. For the sake of everyone's happiness!

One of the Little One's friends from playgroup/kinder also has a very similar parenting/family set-up. Although instead of being whisked away by a grandmother on the weekends it's by a nanny instead. Which just shows how normalised I guess this whole 'timesharing' thing has become. :p

No comments:

Post a Comment