Everyone talks about how terrible divorce is, how hard it is on the kids, and how much it sucks to split child custody.
It’s true, splitting custody with another parent is tough. As I begin to wrap my head around this whole no-longer-married-live-alone-share-kids life that i’m living, I realize that there are actually a few good things to say about the whole ordeal. Sure, I would prefer living a normal family life, with a husband and kids under one roof. When there’s no other choice, take a minute to acclimate yourself and find a bright side to the storm.
5 Good Things About Joint Child Custody
1. A realistic shared parenting experience – Normally, one would think that a married couple, with children, or a dual-parent household, would be helpful with splitting responsibilities and running it together. Two is always better than one, right? Well, in my case, there was only one person who did the day to day. I’m talking cooking, vacuuming, mopping, laundry, grocery shopping, repairs/maintenance, purchasing of clothing and shoes, finances, carting of kids to/from school, practices, events, bathing of kids, bed time stories, putting kids to bed, all other child rearing duties from infant on up, and whatever I left out (phew!). I can firmly say that I took care of 80% of it. I’d get home from work, which, by the way, was inhabited by 1.5 adults all day long (one was my mother in law, the other half was my husband, he worked part time from home), and still have every single duty to take care of. While before, most of it was considered my responsibility, now I can say, “you figure it out”.
2. Closer, more meaningful interactions – Now that I have less time with my kids, I make sure to be 100% involved and present when they’re with me. I miss them so much after not having them with me for a week, so I am all in. I put my work aside, set my phone down, and make myself fully available. We have playing at the park until the sun goes down, taking nature walks outside, reading, playing games, making bracelets on the Rainbow Loom, and taking short family trips, Disneyland was the most recent. Quality time with my children is priceless.
3. My child-rearing temper has chilled – There are so many times where I have been close to losing it, blowing up, exploding, you know that deal. When I was stressed in my marriage, everything was a trigger. Unfortunately, it would trickle down to the kids, where if I had to ask them to do something more than once, all hell would break loose. I’d go off on them, yell my lungs out, and feel like there were fumes coming from my ears. I’d catch myself, and feel oh so terrible about it. Now, my patience has been restored. None of the little crap bothers me. Spilled something? Oops, let’s clean it up. Didn’t listen to me the first five or so times? Still not ok, but there are no fumes.
4. A little ME time – Taking time to do something for myself was very far, few and between, until now. I had two jobs, two kids, a husband and a household to manage, it was a lot of work! Now that I have a smaller home and two kids, but only serve as a part-time mom, I have more time to figure out what I want to do for myself. I’m still busy, don’t get me wrong, but it does take a load off. It feels good to have a night where I don’t have to quickly get dinner on the table, the kids bathed, homework done, and off to bed, before I can actually breathe. I can watch tv. I can reinvent my social life.
5. Everyone is generally HAPPY – No more arguments, no more split family trips. No more bad vibes. Instead of the unhappiness, instead of trying to keep the family together for the sake of, what I thought was, a complete household, we’re now full of positive. The negativity has been released and we are all set free! A weight is lifted off of my shoulders, the dark feeling I had inside is beginning to subside. My kids enjoy seeing both mom and dad, it’s becoming a known routine. And were HAPPY with it. *cue Pharrell’s ‘Happy’ song*
I am so happy that I am able to continue a strong relationship with both of my kids. I I also think that it helps the relationship I have with their father, we are forced to communicate no matter what. Holidays will be another story, hope all goes well. Thank goodness for silver linings.
How do you deal with joint child custody?