Wow, I can’t believe it’s eleven weeks since we separated. It genuinely feels like so much longer. Life as we know it has pretty much come to a halt with Covid 19 and “lockdown” and that means that “real life” co-parenting and being separated hasn’t really started yet.
So what can I tell you? Well let’s see…
Ironically, after writing part one, Ric moved out two weeks after we had separated. The kindest way to say it is that he wanted to get on with his new single life. I think it proves that we had made the right decision. He moved into his Dad’s flat that he doesn’t use because he tends to stay with his partner. His flat took a little longer than we thought so it was definitely the right decision. I felt like things were a little easier once he had moved out.
Telling the Kids
When I say “telling the kids” I actually meant Lucas. Sienna is too young to understand it all so we focused on just explaining it to him. I started by telling him that Daddy was going to live somewhere else because Mummy and Daddy were arguing a lot and not making each other happy. We made it very clear that he and Sienna were very much loved by the both of us and that wouldn’t change. it was important to make it clear we would still be a family of sorts and would still be able to spend time together for birthdays and things. Then we distracted him by talk of sleepovers at Daddy’s and what his room would be like.
I got really upset when we told him. I didn’t want to but I literally couldn’t help it. In hindsight, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I explained to him that it was sad and that’s why I was upset but we all would be happier in the future. There is a full blog post on the topic here.
A New Routine
Whilst Ric was living at his dad’s flat, he used the house as a base when he had the kids because it was the most stable thing for the children. We agreed that he would have them Sunday/Monday and do the school run on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Honestly, I found it a little suffocating. You know what it’s like when you split up with someone…you need space to collect thoughts and emotions. I didn’t feel like I was getting that because of the situation but there was nothing anyone could do about it and we had to do what was right for the kids.
It was INCREDIBLY lucky that Ric moved into his new home just before the Covid 19 pandemic began. It’s definitely made lockdown easier. With the restaurant being closed, we are sharing the kids three and a half days each which is good for a couple of reasons:
- The kids get a change of scenery and surroundings. They get different places to explore on our daily walks. I think this breaks it all up for them and stops them from getting too much like caged animals.
- Going to Daddy’s is still very much a novelty and they love it. They are so happy there and excited to go. It makes them leaving me much easier and I can relax in the knowledge that they are fully settled and happy. I think they have settled well because they have been able to spend more time there than they usually would.
- I get three and a half days of no children and no work. It’s weird. Currently, as i write this, I’m sitting in the garden with a clean house and some music on. This hasn’t happened in a long time! I’ve never had so much time on my hands but it’s nice to be able to enjoy it and not worry about the kids at all.
Lucas and Sienna have adapted to their new life with separated parents so well. It was the one thing that worried me the most. No matter how many times I told myself that children are resilient and would adapt, I was nervous. Any good parent would be!
They have outdone themselves. I actually think that Lucas has taken to it better than Sienna. I assumed that because Sienna was young she would just go with the flow and not understand. However, because she doesn’t understand, she is confused but can’t articulate it. She asks to “See Daddy now” on days she doesn’t see him and gets uoset sometimes when he drops them off.
Like anything in parenting, I’m working out how to deal with it. The best way to deal with tears at drop off is to do it quickly. No hanging around because it draws it out for her. I take her in, give her lots of cuddles and distract her. She usually stops crying by the time he’s pulled off the drive. When she asks for him, I just say he is at work or his home and tell her when she will next see him. Sienna is two (three at the time of this post being published), she has no concept of time but it seems to satisfy her!
Lucas has had no problems at all. The first couple of nights he said that he was sad that Daddy wouldn’t be living with us anymore. I reassured him, told him it was okay to be sad about it. Nine weeks on and he hasn’t mentioned a thing which is a massive relief.
On the whole, it’s not been too bad so far. Generally we agree on anything to do with the children anyway. We both have social media so see what the kids are up to when they’re not with us. I think the hardest thing I’ve found is not having as much control over what they do when they’re not with me. Ric’s an excellent dad and I don’t question that he would do anything he shouldn’t but it’s just weird not having that say! That’s just the planner in me though.
Like I said at the beginning, with the pandemic I don’t think we have seen real life yet. Once the kids are back in school/nursery and we’re back at work, the routine will be adapted slightly. Given how things have gone so far though, I’m not worried. Don’t get me wrong, Ric and I have had our moments of anger and frustration but I think that’s to be expected. Overall, I don’t think we’re doing too bad!
Written: 18th April 2020