For the last six years, I've
been a stay-at-home parent. I've worked out of my house, bringing my kids with
me to my photo studio, to my shoots and to most of my meetings. My almost ex-husband started a job that made
it possible for him to work from home, so we've all been used to the four of us
constantly sharing space and being together.
We are all best friends and
prefer each other's company to anyone else's. But everything has changed since my
children's father and I have decided to divorce and become co-parents.
theory, the way we planned out the living arrangements seemed easy and perfect
for our needs. We sat together many nights mapping out how we would do things,
how we could have equal amounts of time, and we felt confident. We assumed we
were prepared, proud of how we worked through all the "technical stuff." The
kids would stay in the house, while we took turns throughout the week being
there, swapping weekends. We would still do family dinners and movie nights. It
The first few weeks I called every morning they weren't with me to see if they got to school on time, if they had brushed their teeth and asked if they had dressed themselves.
A few months ago I moved into my new place and that first weekend
away from my kids felt like it would kill me. I wasn't prepared. I don't even think
I was ready. But I don't know if I would ever be ready to give up parenting
full time. I had spent countless weekends away from the kids, when I traveled or
when they'd go to their grandparents. Yet,
driving away from my children during the week or on weekends hurts every single
time. I find myself leaving my house and thinking that I've forgotten my kids, only to come to the realization that
it's their day/night with their dad.
Divorce and all that comes with it made me realize I wasn't prepared for it. I'm aware that it happens, but it
wasn't supposed to happen to me or my family. During our early conversations
about separating, we knew we weren't going to be the couple that stayed
together for our kids. We understood why people do that, but our policy has
always been complete honesty with each other.
So while doing our bedtime routine one night, we had a conversation
about what divorce is and why Mommy and Daddy were having one. Instantly, my
daughter's face fell, and she curled up into a corner saying, "You were suppose
to be married forever. I didn't want to be one of those kids whose parents are
My son climbed into my lap,
simply burying his face into my shoulder, and all I could think was, "What have
we done? How do parents get through this? How do parents watch their kids go
The night ended with the children telling us they loved us,
that they just wanted us to be happy, and that they were happy we were still
going to be a family. I couldn't sleep
that night, my heart was breaking all over again. The same way it broke when we
came to the decision that a divorce would be best for us. That night was just
the beginning of a very long journey, one that is far from over.
This adjustment is taking longer than I was hoping it would.
Last night was the first time my son
spent the night at my place while my daughter stayed with her dad. It was
heartbreaking for me to only be able to take one of them, to have them
separated. There were tears, and they
both proceeded to spend a good portion of the night texting back and forth to
each other. Waking up next to my son like I'm used to made so many things feel
right, in a way they hadn't. I wish I could be with them every morning like it
had been, but splitting time between their dad and me makes it so it isn't
possible. The first few weeks I called
every morning they weren't with me to see if they got to school on time, if
they had brushed their teeth and asked if they had dressed themselves. I would
text to see if they needed me, hoping that they would, but also hoping they
were just fine without me.
Most of the time it's the latter. I try to give them
and their dad the space they need when we're apart, but it doesn't stop me from
It's disheartening to look at your life
and realize it looks nothing like what you had imagined or, as the theme of this
post seems to be, nothing like you planned. This isn't to say that I'm not
happy with my life or where it's headed. I am. But alongside that happiness is
fear and heartbreak. They are currently existing together. A lot of days it's
really difficult for me to sort out—how this decision has made my life better
in certain ways but a lot harder in others. I miss my kids constantly when
Some people tell me it gets easier over time, while others say it doesn't, and they continue dread when their days come to an
end and it's the other parent's turn. This adjustment is taking longer than I was hoping it would. I feel as
if my balance has been thrown off, and I'm grasping to make sense of where and
how I've been left standing. Time is beautiful because it'll help bring
everything back into balance.
I'm grateful that, amidst all of this, we are striving to stay a family.
I would love to be told that we will
get a rhythm down. That we will get through this. If someone could just confirm
that, that would be grand. Some days I even long for how things were, when we
all existed under the same roof. Seeing each other didn't take numerous
texts/phone calls and comparing calendars. We were just there. Together. Now we
are in different spaces, still attempting to be together.
The other side of all of this is this new appreciation for
each other. All four of us are cherishing our time together in a way we
didn't before. I don't think we understood how to then. So while we may be
trying to learn how to navigate through divorce and separate homes, we are
learning new ways to love each other. Our moments have become more sacred, even
more "I love yous" than before.
My daughter mentioned the other day, "I like
that we will always be a family. No matter what happens." I'm grateful that, amidst all of this, we are
striving to stay a family. Obviously not in the traditional sense but as
people that love and take care of each other, that show up for each other and are
I never wanted to be a divorced mother at 27. But I'm here and, even though it feels like I've lost apart of myself, even though there are
nights I can't sleep because I can't hear my kids softly snoring and even
though I have to learn so many things over again, I'm confident that the
family I did create, will continue to be just that. My family.