I’ve put off writing this post for so long. I’ve previously talked about my daughter going to her dad’s house, but I haven’t really gone into too much detail about how it actually feels to share your child with an ex partner.
Going in to this, I’m aware that there are so many different situations out there when it comes to separated and divorced families, and I am by no means saying that my experience is ‘typical’. I also have a lot of respect for my ex partner, and his girlfriend, who do an excellent job of raising my daughter alongside myself and Ed. This is not a negative post towards them at all.
The truth is, a relationship ending is not a nice thing, no matter the situation, no matter what the reason or the details. No matter if you are lucky enough to find love again soon after or not. When children are involved, it’s even more complex, even harder to work out the logistics. You can’t simply cut that person out of your life, as you would usually, you have to stay in constant contact, and that’s bound to be tough.
The main thing to remember, when you split from the father of your child, is that the child didn’t split from them, the child didn’t fall out of love with their parent, and their parent didn’t fall out of love with them. So you make it work, because you have to, because you need to, for the sake of your child, or children.
I’m not getting into the ins and outs here, for various reasons, but this post is centred around my daughter, rather than my eldest son. The current arrangement is that she goes to her dad’s house on a Thursday after school, and she comes back to us late afternoon on Saturday. Every week.
This is more than I necessarily would like, but it is what it is. I have no intention of ever stopping contact between Carly and her dad. Despite the issues we’ve had in the past, he is a good dad, and they love each other very much. I also don’t agree that mothers should have the power to simply stop contact just because they want to. That doesn’t stop it being incredibly hard to say goodbye to her each and every week.
Having just started school, Carly’s gone through a lot in the last few weeks, and she does get tearful when I drop her to school on the Thursday. It’s incredibly difficult to leave my daughter, who is crying, knowing I won’t see her at the end of the school day. My heart feels like it’s missing a piece all the time Carly is away from me.
Having three children, I try not to show any favouritism towards any one child, but it’s very difficult not to feel something a little more towards a child who is away from me each week. I find myself trying to make up for lost time when she gets back, and before she leaves. I hug her a little tighter, I kiss her a few times more. I try and plan quality time with her during ‘my days’ with her.
Carly has siblings at both houses, which means it’s not just about us anymore, it’s about her families. I know she has a fantastic time when she is with her dad, I know she does, but it’s still hard to feel like a part of our family is missing every time she is there and I’m sure they feel the same way when Carly is with us.
This year I will only see her briefly on the morning of her birthday and then not again until 2 days later. That’s hard. Nobody ever expects or wants this situation, it just happens, and when it does, you make it work in whatever way possible.
I try and remain as friendly as possible with Carly’s Dad and his girlfriend. We’ve had times when this hasn’t been the case, and it definitely affects Carly negatively so I make the conscious effort to be friendly, to show her everything is absolutely fine. It makes life easier for everyone and ultimately it’s what’s best for Carly, and that’s what matters.
As the older children both go to the same school, it’s inevitable that I will see Carly, when she is with her dad and/or his girlfriend, whilst on the school run. This is a weird scenario, to see your child but whilst they aren’t in your care. I never know quite what to do. I don’t want to tread on toes but I also don’t want to not speak to my daughter. It’s definitely something that I think will become easier as time goes by.
I’ve found that putting myself into the other person’s shoes makes things a little easier. Feeling empathy is something which helps me. We will settle more into this new routine, and we will make it work, as we always do.
For the time being, I will continue to miss my daughter when she isn’t around, but I will do so safe in the knowledge that she is with her dad, who loves her. A relationship with both parents is so important, and I respect that. Carly has two parents who would do anything for her. That can’t be a bad thing.