Leading into this summer, and my postings on instagram, I received many questions about co-parenting, our parenting plan, and why ours is the way that it is.
If you've followed me for awhile, you'll notice my expression of these issues has changed over the years due to a very good reason. I'm happy to say that all four of us parents - Ry, me, the big kids' dad, and their step-mom - are all on great terms. In the last few years we have been able to put our differences aside and become friends. This has made everyone happier, but most importantly, the kids feel more secure.
Our summer visit is a long one - longer than most - and I'm not thrilled about it but that's the way it is.
We have had three parenting plans to date. We have adjusted and changed them as our circumstances change - i.e. us moving to Oregon. The way it currently stands, with an eight week summer visit, is to provide quality time with their Dad. He lives over 700 miles away so obviously the usual "every other weekend" thing doesn't fit for us.
Several people have said "I could never do that" in regards to this long visit.
Newsflash: I don't want to, but I don't have a choice.
This is a by product of divorce. There is no way around it. And as much as I wish I could keep them to myself, the kids still have other parents who love them and deserve to see them.
So how do I handle this extended absence? Well, I'm not great at it. I eat a lot of ice cream and I tend to gravitate towards the couch. I get emotional at night when I can't tuck them in. I often feel guilty about doing anything fun while they're gone, like they're missing out on it.
I do try to make an effort to stay distracted. I usually put together a check list, things aside from the norm, to help me stay motivated and not moping.
Boring and mundane as it is, here's my list for this summer:
- Paint the bathrooms
- Paint our bedroom
- Make a mood board for our bedroom
- Find new fixtures/mirrors for the bathrooms
- Plan the patio decor
- Organize the shed
- Pick the new flooring
- Read more
- Figure out how tf to keep a garden trimmed and...alive
I also force myself out and about. Try new coffee shops, explore downtown Portland, hit up the farmer's markets, etc.
And, of course, our parenting plan has a clause that requires FaceTime or phone calls every other day, so I am able to talk to them as much as I want.
All of this to say, it never gets easier and it's always necessary. My heart hurts, Ryan's heart hurts, Romy and Linc are missing them, and together we will count down the days until our sweet big kids are back home.
If you're divorced, separated, or have to spend any length of time without your kids, shoot me a message or leave a comment. Support!!