A personal blog….but so relevant to all of those parents amongst us.
As I looked over at this one yesterday morning, aside from the usual “ow, that fist in the face really hurt” or “she’s snoring like a baby hippo” thoughts…I thought how proud I am.
- Proud of the 5 year old that has dealt with more in her very short life so far, than many of us will deal with in a whole lifetime - ill as a baby, mummy with PND for 15months, both parents leaving her for work at a young age, full time childcare, mummy and daddy separating at under 3years old, leaving and relocating from her hometown and friends, mummy and daddy having new partners, 5 house moves in just over 12months, her 2nd mummy (Suzi, our lovely nanny) leaving to have her own baby, school starting, and her mummy disappearing for weeks after an accident that she didn't really know about..returning but never as she was previously, no proper cuddles with mummy for nearly 3 months during this period.
- Proud of how strong this little monkey really is….even with all of the above, play therapy, child behaviour specialists, educational psychologists, auditory specialists, severe anxiety and phobia regarding the weather for well over a year now, sensory issues with noise, and just general issues with being “full” emotionally…she still smiles and laughs all the time (well - most of it!)...and she makes us smile and laugh every day too!
There are loads of things I’m proud of Izzy for, and I could go on like any parent could….but most of all, I’m actually REALLY proud of how her daddy and I have dealt with our divorce and the impact that certain behaviours can have on a child going through the separation of his/her parents.
I recently attended a Cafcass Separated Parenting course, and I was really impressed with it. Honestly, I thought it was going to be a few hours never to be seen again...but it was far from this. I met some great people, and we all learnt a lot...both from the course, and from each other.
It highlighted to me the journey that we have been on, and are still on as parents. And it made me reflect on things, and what we have done well so far (as well as not so well). We should take time to give ourselves a pat on the back sometimes...it's a rare occurrence as a parent!
- Izzy has not once heard an argument, or even a cross word between us
- She has never had either of us bad mouth the other in front of her, or to her
- She has never heard any blame from either of us re the other parent
- She has always had access to both of us whenever she's wanted it - she has routine and boundaries, but has always been able to call/text/facetime the other parent
- She is encouraged to spend time with both parents and to have fun and enjoy herself
- We have always let her take things between her 2 homes and not worry about bringing them back
- We have never involved her in adult discussions
- We work together fully on decisions and events that impact her
- She sees her mummy and daddy show up together for all school events
- Mummy and daddy both take part actively in school activities - together
- She sees mummy and daddy being nice to each other and respecting one another
- She knows that mummy and daddy talk about things that involve her, together
- She absolutely knows that although mummy and daddy do not love each other, we will always love her and this will never change
- Playdates happen at either house…irrespective of which friends..they are all joint
And the list goes on...
Don’t get me wrong…it’s hard…really bl**dy hard sometimes. I’m sure that Izzy's daddy would say the same. And sometimes you want to throttle each other….but I can honestly say that Izzy has NEVER seen or heard anything that even gives a sniff of this.
I don’t generally declare that I’m proud of things, but this I am.
I cannot emphasise enough how important it is that we do the right thing for our children - which I know we are all trying to do every minute of every day. But this is not always what we think at the time. Our emotions get involved when we are separating, and for years afterwards. Tensions can run high, even when we think they are not.
Listen if friends or relatives are trying to suggest other ways.
Seek opinions and advice…you don’t have to take it all.
Take your time over communications and decisions.
Take time out when you need to cool down.
Separate your feelings towards your ex from that of your parenting thoughts and ability.
A child deserves to be able to love both of their parents….equally, and openly.
And they look to us (invisibly sometimes) to give them permission for this.
They HATE to see either parent stressed or upset….and if they are aware that is down to something to do with the other parent, then they can feel guilty for loving them.
It’s not fair on them to be exposed to this and other elements of our choices regarding separation/divorce. They didn't choose for this to happen...they're just stuck in the middle. And they just want to live their lives as children.
I feel so passionately about this, and clients will say the same after working with me.
Emotions are still very strong and involved with regard to an ex spouse/partner when you are going through separation/divorce (and can continue in this way). Decisions can become impaired, and judgement clouded.
Always get an outside viewpoint…and be prepared to listen.
And remember - it takes strength to ask for help.
Always here to chat things through - firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 07814009408