We talk a lot about how hard it is to be a single parent, a parent in general, and how kids have it tough but they have to be responsible anyway. I know it appears as if everyone should suck it up. However, as my sister tells our friends, “Don’t let her fool you. You mess with her family and she becomes a mama bear.” She’s right. Sometimes, transitions are hard and my girls just need a damn break. This is perfectly normal and I try to give it to them. Your kids need to understand that they are understood and not in fact, surrounded by asshole adults who don’t have a clue how they are feeling. Validation is key in almost every relationship, especially with your children.
You should cut your ex and yourself some slack. Please take a moment and think about how hard this is on your kids. Now, don’t misunderstand, I don’t think having divorced parents is an excuse for bad behavior, and adults who still blame their parents failed marriage for their relationship issues, need to grow up. More than half the population is divorced, stop making excuses. You are not unique.
All that said, having two homes fucking sucks. Sure, you get two of every holiday and many times, two of everything. But they also have to constantly keep track of whose home their belongings are located. They do without things they forget. They have to remember things other kids don’t, because they can miss school deadlines if what they need is at the other house. They struggle with stability and remembering what rules apply at which home. They miss out on events depending on what weekend they fall on. Most importantly, sometimes they just want mom while at dad’s house, or vice versa.
Think about the last vacation you went on. Trying to remember what to pack and get where you needed to go. Having to stop somewhere because you forgot something and cannot be without it for the duration of the trip. The stress of being out of sorts and having to “settle in”, when you arrive. And this is for VACATION. Your children have to do this every week while attending school, meeting deadlines, practicing their instrument or sport, etc.
I am not saying that your kids don’t need to figure it out, or that they don’t need to be responsible. But remember that sometimes, they didn’t want to leave dad and that doesn’t mean they don’t love you. Sometimes, they have a bad day and wanted to sleep with their smelly, faded, well-loved, teddy bear, and they forgot it. They don’t have our adult freedoms and cannot simply go out and pick up what they forgot or feel they need. Step into their shoes and see things from their point of view. Your kids will really appreciate it and you’ll be a better parent for it.