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Treading Water

September 20, 2010

School’s been in session for a full week here, now, and I think we’re doing pretty well, all four of us. We’ve gotten the kids there on time with the correct lunch items in their respective lunchboxes each day, our older one has figured out that we’re unwilling to participate in any “oops, I left my homework at Dad’s” scenarios, and we’ve only had two “the kids said that you’re doing the exact thing we agreed we wouldn’t do” misunderstandings.

I am just so glad that we are sharing custody now. Last year I had them every weekday morning, so I did drop-off every day. Two different schools in different parts of the city. 105 minutes (on the subway and walking) from the time we left the apartment to when I got to my desk at work.

It wore me out. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally.

When we negotiated custody originally, we decided that the kids needed a primary home, that they would live with me and visit with their dad. And logically that made sense. But the day-to-day routine almost killed me, and that was really not good for the kids. (A lot of the stress is the logistics of living in NYC, which is its own story.)

I can’t speak to how LOD felt on a daily basis when the kids lived with me and visited him. I do know that it has gotten radically easier for me since we’ve been really sharing the parenting, and it’s easier to give him the benefit of the doubt. It feels to me like he’s being kinder to me, too.

It’s not that we’re not stressed now–I know I am just by all the effluvia of modern life. But it feels really good not to be white-knuckling every day anymore.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. Julie permalink
    September 20, 2010 9:43 am

    I think I would have dropped dead after a week of that routine. Definitely helpful that you can both shoulder those crazy logistics.

    • askmoxie permalink*
      September 20, 2010 4:10 pm

      Julie, the worst day was when my younger one and I ended up in the middle of a knife fight on the subway.

      • September 21, 2010 4:34 pm

        Why were you fighting your kid with a knife? Har.

  2. Dana permalink
    September 20, 2010 4:28 pm

    So what exactly is your sharing routine between you and LOD with how you juggle getting the kids to school each day? I know that you mentioned before that you have the kids 3 days, he has them 3 days and then you rotate the other day. But do you still have to do this crazy 105 min commute each day when you do have the kids? That still sounds crazy and exhausting.

    • askmoxie permalink*
      September 20, 2010 4:41 pm

      Both kids are in the same school! Finally. So I’m down to about 75 minutes from my place to work. 2-3 days a week that’s a breeze.

      One of us has them Sunday through drop-off on Wednesday, then the other has them pick-up on Wednesday through Saturday, and we swing Saturday night.

      • LOD permalink*
        September 20, 2010 5:38 pm

        Yeah, baby. We’re a pair of Saturday-night swingers.

      • askmoxie permalink*
        September 20, 2010 6:03 pm

        No. No no no no no. Also: no.

      • Dana permalink
        September 21, 2010 5:24 pm

        I actually have an oddball work schedule. I work two jobs and work nights as well (gotta make ends meet)…so something is going to have to give to make something work. I haven’t figured out the solution to seeing my son between my crazy work hours. Weekends only isn’t going to cut it for me. In this terrible economy where so many are out of work, looking for a new job (one job only) with normal work hours isn’t a viable option either.

  3. Barbara from Dorchester permalink
    September 20, 2010 8:15 pm

    Hmmm. I’m guessing one of the things you two didn’t share was the same sense of humor? People often think I tell puns because of my husband. In fact one of the reasons he is my husband is that my father and I shared a love of puns and I couldn’t imagine living with someone who didn’t love them as well. We crack each other up, a lot.

  4. Heather permalink
    September 20, 2010 8:55 pm

    My husband and I just separated and school started 1 week ago….every day we are missing vital items, ie: socks, underwear, shoes, homework, lunch stuff, etc. I just started a new job the same day they started school. Am I a bad mom that I am so grateful for the days he has them? I miss them, but am so glad to have time to breathe! This blog is really a life saver for me!

  5. September 21, 2010 10:21 am

    I can identify with the 105 minutes bit…we chose schools for this fall last January when we put the house on the market, based on where we wanted to live instead of where we currently live. Then, said house refused to sell. Now, we get to spend about 3hrs in the car each day taking the two in school to their respective schools (I take the afternoons; she takes the mornings). Glad y’all are balancing things out such that this time suck is not as bad any more!

  6. September 22, 2010 5:43 am

    In my situation, I have the kids 6 nts/week and my ex has them one. (He runs a restaurant so his schedule is crazy.)

    Before I got remarried and was doing everything solo, it was tough wrangling 3 kids to/from school and daycare, but there was no alternative. I had to lean on a lot of before/after school daycare, which was expensive, but it was the only way I could operate. Plus, he pays me child support – which helped with the daycare expenses. If we were to share them 50/50, I wouldn’t get any financial support.

    Aside from the mental stress and strain, I think the finanical impact of splitting a household can be crushing. It was for me. When my ex told me he was leaving and taking an apartment, one of my first thoughts (even before ‘holy sh–, my marriage is over) was ‘how on earth do you think we can afford two residences?!?’

  7. Terri permalink
    September 23, 2010 12:22 am

    Love this blog. My ex- and I share 50-50, now starting our third year. The sharing makes it so much easier for me to be fully present. I decline all invitations (work, volunteer or social) on my nights (Sunday, Monday and Thursday) and I plan everything personal including a regular yoga class on his nights (Tuesday, Wednesdays and Fridays). We do end up working together most nights during sports seasons as the boys split to go to practices but are very respectful of personal things on our “off-nights” and work to make sure each of us keep those commitments too.

    The worst part of Fall? When the weather changes overnight and one house or the other doesn’t have long pants and jackets! (Oh and when one house gets all of the cleats and none of the regular shoes.) Alas.

    We swing Saturdays, too. 😉

    • Trace_NY permalink
      September 27, 2010 3:25 pm

      I just found this blog a week ago and its been interesting. I haven’t met too many people who are splitting the duties of parenting. Thanks for putting words to a lot of feelings i’ve had.

      Terri – I have found the changing of the seasons to be be tough also, but it has gotten easier with talking with my ex weeks before the cold or hot hits AND duplicates… we only have 1 child but she has enough clothes that the store clerk often asks how many children do I have. Its been an expensive solution, but making sure my 1 daughter has enough clothes for 1 1/2 children has made sure that “most times” one side didn’t get “all the summer dresses last week” or the other isn’t “Hogging all of the sweaters”.

      It isn’t a perfect solution and things do still get “out of balance” from time to time, but it has eased a lot of tensions over one side not having enough of something.

      Oh, and we are 1 on, 1 off with room to be flexible as needed.

  8. Jen permalink
    September 23, 2010 10:53 pm

    This post is so timely for me. I’m coming to the end of an 8-day stretch with my girls (6 and 9) as their dad’s been out of town. We usually do a 2-2-5-5 schedule, so I never have to make five lunches in a row, cook a week’s worth of dinners, AND in between get them to school and myself to work and also put in a full day. When the week started, I was worried how I’d manage; but two days in, I realized I’d be fine. It was so satisfying, really. I was chuffed to see that I could do it, because, while I take my hat off to myself all the time for managing on my own, (blah, blah, blah) I fully realize that I do get a regular break from being so “on”, and so, really, is my life that much harder than my married friend with the two school-age children who also works full-time? I wonder sometimes about this: I have to do twice the parenting, half the time. How does that total compare to what the still-married parents put in? Who knows, it’s just different, right? Everyone’s life is different. Everyone treads water to a certain extent.

    BTW, it was life-changing, and I’m not exaggerating, when my kids were finally at the same school, it shaved 90 minutes of logistical BS from every day.


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