Monday, March 11, 2013

F*ck F*ck F*ck Splitting

I don't know if I am going to be able to handle this.  With my move being imminent I am beginning to panic at the thought of sharing custody of Lila.  I don't want to have her half of the time.  I want her all the time. 

The idea that I will become a part time parent is soul crushing to me.  I never envisioned that my life would be like this, 35, starting all over with my kid gone half the time.  And there is no compromise.  He would be just as devastated without her.  But this means that I have to give her up HALF of the time.

I realize that I am lucky.  Her father is devoted and responsible and loves her to death.  He would take her full time if I would let him.   

Part of me thinks that this is a terrible idea.  Schlepping back and forth from mom's house to dad's house and back again will make her uneasy and she will not have a sense of "home" because her time is split.  All the things that I have been reading point to this as a possibility and I am afraid of this being too stressful an arrangement for her. 

But how do I convince her father of this?  He doesn't want to be the parent who sees her on weekends.  He doesn't want to be the parent who misses her.  He is the eternal optimist who believes that as long as we keep telling her that this is the best thing for everyone that she will not miss a beat and will be perfectly fine with the split, however we decide to do it.

I am just not convinced.  I know my kid.  I have read all the books and talked to numerous friends who have either gotten divorced or come from divorced homes.  Most agree that a kid needs a "home base" to relax and keep the majority of her stuff.  They have also reminded me that it is going to be hard on her no matter what.  And the truth is, even if I think it would be best for her to spend most of her time with one or the other of us, which is the parent who misses out?  Is it me, who is the one leaving?  Wouldn't she think I left her? 

Or do I ask him to take the back seat?  He who is the one who gets her ready for school every day and keeps her amused so that mommy can have quiet time after work? 

Part of me (the part that only wants what is best for her no matter how much it hurts) believes that if I was truly selfless I would let him take her more.  Only because I know he would never be willing to let me in any way diminish his role in her life.  And the idea of her believing I somehow bowed out and was willing to see her less than every day is agonizing for me. 

The biggest concern I have (and the thing that is going to break my heart) is her collection of 20+ stuffed kitties.  They all sleep with her every night and she refuses to sleep at anybody's house unless she can bring a number of them with her.  Where will she keep her kitties?  And how will we transport them when we hand off after school?  I am sick just thinking that this is going to stress her out.  Because I am positive that it will.

Again, I ask you for your thoughts. 

5 comments:

  1. Have the 3 or you sat down and discussed the future living arrangements? The fact that you and your husband love your daughter so much and the fact that he is willing to be so hands on is really wonderful. Keeping the lines of communication open with your daughter is what is going to be key. She has great parents. I think you should give yourself more credit. You'll make this work for her.. You will..

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  2. Unfortunately, I don't have the same perspective on this. My ex had to be browbeat into seeing our daughter. And as much as I know he loves her and misses her, he seems more intent on making sure I'm unable to move on and have even a couple of hours to myself then doing what is best for his daughter.

    That said, remember that the initial arrangement doesn't have to be the permanent one. Slowly, Caitlyn's dad has been spending more time with her. He's realized that she's the only one he's hurting and so he's made more of an effort to see her, to take her overnight, to spend a Saturday with her.

    Gradually, she will adjust and the two of you will adjust too. You will try new things and find options that work better. As for the thing with her kitties, I honestly think you can work this in your favor so that she DOES feel more like both places are home. Split them half and half. Explain to her that half her kitties need to stay with mommy and half with daddy, so that when she's not there, nobody will get lonely (neither you nor the kitties). Maybe tell her that you will be sleeping with half the kitties when she isn't there because you will miss her so much. With these kinds of things, I learned that you have to be very matter-of-fact about it. Just tell her "well, you have two houses now, and so we are going to keep some kitties here and some kitties at your other house". I try not to make things about the emotions and the split and the fact that she has to be away from her dad. It's very practical and on a level that she can understand. You have two houses, so we need to split up your kitties. Make it a fun thing for her. Which kitties are coming and which are staying? Let her pick. Don't make it emotional, just turn it into a game like anything else. Ok, let's pick 10 kitties to take to our new house! Oh, well if you are taking that kitty, we have to take this kitty too, because they are best friends. Shit like that. It's only a metaphor for her life if you let it be one. Otherwise it's just another game for a little girl to play.

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  3. Jaclyn: I LOVE the idea that I will need to keep some of them so that I dont get lonely when she isn't there. It's a great idea. Thanks.

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  4. Selena,

    Having gone through this, it is inevitable that Lila will experience stress. And your thoughts are the same thoughts that go through every parents' head that go through divorce. All you can do love your daughter and assure her at all times that her dad does too. You can't control what he says to her over the years, only what you contribute. You must be honest with her as questions arise, but a careful honesty at that. If something comes up about dad saying this or that, or acting in such a manner, you have to explain it to her in a way without bashing him, maybe looking at the situation in a form of why he did this or that for her own good...even if you may think differently.

    You will have to assure her that she has two places of sanctuary to feel at home, both with you and her dad. Someday when she gets older, you may have to give her some time in a "freezone" to express herself however she chooses without fear of retribution for language use or her thoughts- just a time to get whatever it is off her chest. I know my ex does this for our oldest son, who is now a teenager. (wow, that just made me feel old and I'm not quite 34 yet!!)

    As for your feelings of how things will go according to the books you've read and the other people you've talked to, INCLUDING ME, your situation will always be unique, juts as you are and your daughter is. You have to make your life and the environment for your daughter as you see fit, sacrificing this and taking opportunity for that. Ultimately the only things that matter are that this is the reality for you and your daughter, and same for her and her dad, and you adjust and plan and manage as you go.

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  5. Selena,

    Having gone through this, it is inevitable that Lila will experience stress. And your thoughts are the same thoughts that go through every parents' head that go through divorce. All you can do love your daughter and assure her at all times that her dad does too. You can't control what he says to her over the years, only what you contribute. You must be honest with her as questions arise, but a careful honesty at that. If something comes up about dad saying this or that, or acting in such a manner, you have to explain it to her in a way without bashing him, maybe looking at the situation in a form of why he did this or that for her own good...even if you may think differently.

    You will have to assure her that she has two places of sanctuary to feel at home, both with you and her dad. Someday when she gets older, you may have to give her some time in a "freezone" to express herself however she chooses without fear of retribution for language use or her thoughts- just a time to get whatever it is off her chest. I know my ex does this for our oldest son, who is now a teenager. (wow, that just made me feel old and I'm not quite 34 yet!!)

    As for your feelings of how things will go according to the books you've read and the other people you've talked to, INCLUDING ME, your situation will always be unique, juts as you are and your daughter is. You have to make your life and the environment for your daughter as you see fit, sacrificing this and taking opportunity for that. Ultimately the only things that matter are that this is the reality for you and your daughter, and same for her and her dad, and you adjust and plan and manage as you go.

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