parent opinion

'I'm going through a divorce and can’t wait to have 50/50 care of my kids.'

It’s something I always used to joke about when my kids are playing up.

“We should just get divorced,” I’d say.

“Then we each would only need to deal with this shit 50 per cent of the time.”

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This was cute and funny when it was a joke, but now that this scenario is actually about to happen, I’m kind of surprised to discover that maybe I wasn’t actually joking.

Although COVID-19 still has us in the same house together, the plan is that once we can, my husband and I will be moving and making it a straight 50/50 split by way of custody. Neither of us is contesting this arrangement.

It has me wondering if maybe I am a bit of an uncaring monster, because I’ve read several posts on social media and in parent advice forums where a mum (usually) will be asking for advice on 50/50 custody and feeling that it’s unfair and that they will struggle being apart from their kids on their “off” days.

Often even when the mum has the majority of care, she will still lament the days she doesn’t have her kids and doesn’t know what to do during that time, except sit and mourn the time away.

But me, I know exactly what I’ll do with my “week off”. I mean, obviously a lot of it will be spent working, but in the rest of the time, I’ll be… doing whatever I want (within the limits of the law of course).

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Doesn’t that sound just glorious? Of course I’ll miss my kids, but I’ll know that they’re safe and happy with their dad and free to contact me, or me them, at any time so I’m not going to be wasting time fretting over it.

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Imagine the possibilities: spontaneous after work drinks, meeting a friend for dinner, going to a movie alone and eating popcorn and Maltesers for dinner.

Or just having a shower and sitting on the edge of my bed in a towel staring at the wall for two hours. Obviously I hope I’ll be using some of the time productively and bettering myself, but that isn’t the point. The point is, that time is mine.

Mostly though, I hope that having that time to recharge and work on the version of me that exists outside of being ‘Mum’ helps me to be a better, more present parent during the time I am with my kids.

I’m sure many parents can relate to the feeling of getting into a rut with the day-in, day-out drudgery of it all, and just trying to make it through the hours between waking and going back to bed.

Even if you do think I’m a bit of a monster for putting this into words and admitting these feelings very publicly, I think most would agree that quality time is more important than quantity.

And if I’m honest (the insanity of the present COVID-19 working at home plus homeschooling plus parenting plus studying situation aside), lately it’s been all quantity and not a great deal of quality for me, and feeling like you’re constantly giving everything a half-arsed effort isn’t good for anyone.

For now, the thought of this respite will hopefully be enough light at the end of the tunnel to get through the rest of this rather bleak period.

Feature Image: Getty.


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