Our co-parenting arrangements have changed. Cygnet used to spend one day each weekend with me and one day each weekend with his Daddy. We had been operating this arrangement since we separated when Cygnet was 5 months old. We have recently switched to alternate weekends whereby Cygnet spends one weekend with me and then the next weekend with his Daddy.
Really young children have short memories. When Cygnet was really young it was important to me that our co-parenting arrangements enabled Cygnet see both of his parents frequently but for shorter periods of time. There was also a bit of self preservation in this arrangement. I work full time. I get home at 6pm. Cygnet’s bedtime is 7pm and we have snatched and hurried time in the morning. I knew that on an alternate weekend schedule I would really struggle during those long stretches of twelve days if I wasn’t able to spend quality time with Cygnet.
Things are a bit easier now. I never manage to get Cygnet to bed by 7pm. Bedtime is more like 8:30pm by which time I am gasping for my wine. Although getting Cygnet into bed and asleep can be a bit of a battle we do at least get to spend some time together in the mornings before I take him to pre-school and in the evenings before he finally closes his eyes and drifts off to sleep.
I have found that the weekends without him actually pass quite quickly. I drop him off at his father’s house at 6pm on a Friday night and then I am free. There is a cocktail bar near me that does a half price glass of champagne before 8pm on a Friday night. I quite often indulge in one (or two) as I catch up on some blogging.
Then over the weekend I have the chance to do things that you just cannot do with a three year old in tow. I get my nails done. I sit in coffee bars with a book or the newspaper. Recently, I have spent my free weekends laying rubber floor tiles on my kitchen floor, or decorating my bathroom. The home improvements will finish at some point, but I reckon I have at least three months worth of decorating weekends left at the moment.
At the beginning of the year I set myself the challenge of going to the theatre once a month and I am pleased to say that I am doing really well at sticking to my resolution. I have seen some awesome plays this year – The Ferryman was outstanding and a real tear jerker. Common at The National Theatre was a little less good, but still worth it.
All in all, this co-parenting thing isn’t too bad at the moment. Our co-parenting arrangements are working. My ex and I have had our challenging times and I can honestly say that I have learned more hard lessons in patience, diplomacy, negotiation, communication and influencing through dealing with my ex than I have ever learned in my professional life. I have no doubt that there are obstacles on the road ahead, but for the moment, the journey is smooth.
P.S. If you liked this blog post you might like: Communicating with an ex as a co-parent; Co-parenting milestones – how to cope without your child and What does co-parenting success look like?