Divorce is not my favorite topic. It’s a long and winding road that I don’t particularly recommend. However, I went through my own struggle and rebuilding about six years ago and gathered enough experience through that process to have some tools, tips, and advice for parents who may have to endure it. There are a few questions I’ve been asked often, so I thought it could be helpful to jot down a few.
Determining the “Schedule” :: How you Divide your Time with Your Children
Quite frankly, this part sucks the most. It’s the hardest thing to adjust to, and the most sorrowful part of healing, in my opinion. Families have all types of situations but our co-parenting decision was to split time 50/50. It starts off gut-wrenching, truly. But somehow, in some ways, things tend to fit into “their new normal” (a term I grew to hate). This post isn’t about the heartache and the stress: it’s about solutions. So, you have a few options:
The one-week-on and one-week-off schedule tends to work well with two-family households that have older children. The longer stretches can help with after-school activities and with maintaining a weekly routine.
The 2-2-3 rotating schedule goes something like this: Dad gets Monday and Tuesday, Mom gets Wednesday and Thursday, and Dad gets Weekend 1 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). Then the next week flip-flops in the opposite fashion. This method is easier for littles because they still see each parent 4-5 days per week and weekends are shared.
The modified 2-2-3 goes like this: Dad gets every Monday and Tuesday. Mom gets every Wednesday and Thursday and just the weekends rotate. (Mom – weekend 1, Dad – weekend 2, etc.) This helps with week-day activities if one parent has an extracurricular activity closer to home or some other day-specific reason. The routine of “every Wednesday goes like this…” can also be helpful for kids.
Whatever method you select, one thing is for sure: children are very resilient and can feel comfortable as long as they know what to expect.
Setting Boundaries :: Learning to Detach
With every change in life and in relationships, certain areas will pop up where boundaries will need to be set. These can be hard and can hurt a lot at the moment. You tend to find which conversations aren’t worth having or are too painful to re-hash. You find what you do and don’t feel comfortable talking with the other co-parent about or to your children about. You learn to accept new people entering your children’s lives and find some level of peace about the things you can’t control or always be part of. There is often a detachment process that must occur for health and happiness and ultimately, for the good of your children’s wellbeing.
Deliver :: Find the Ways
In all things, you can find ways to show up! You find your own course of healing (friends, counseling, journaling, whatever!) and you decide which ways you can be the most present and most joyous during the time that you do have with your children. Sometimes, this means that chores can wait. Or that it’s a great morning for a special breakfast! We find ways to create fun moments, great times together, and silly mementos to treasure. Then you recharge when you have downtime and make sure you can show up the very best you can when you have your quality time!
Other common questions I get asked:
How do you know when it’s time to date after a divorce?
When is it appropriate to introduce your kids to someone new?
How do you handle disagreements in co-parenting?
What do you say when your kids ask why you got divorced?
Please comment on other difficult divorce topics if you’d like to hear more! We might as well learn from our journeys and share our experiences to help others along the way.