When Married at First Sight contestant Tracey Jewel said that she was moving from Perth to Melbourne to be with her new partner Sean Thomsen (also of the MAFS fame), without her eight-year-old daughter, Grace, people were concerned.
And by ‘concerns’ we mean Tracey was widely criticised for ‘abandoning’ her daughter in favour of her new boyfriend.
As Tracey wrote for news.com.au, “the level of vitriol against me was shocking.” And she argues, unfairly so.
The 35 year-old business woman and speaker gave us a bit of background into their family dynamics.
When Tracey and her ex-husband separated when Grace was three-years-old, her ex-husband remarried to a woman with four children – Grace’s step-siblings, who Tracey clarified she “adores.”
Eventually they realised that, “taking her away from her siblings was causing her more stress, and she was missing out on family activities that they got to experience.” As well as that, Tracey returned to work and Grace’s step-mum is a stay at home mum, so they collectively decided that Grace would live with her husband’s family.
“It made no sense for Grace to be in daycare when she could be with her siblings and step-mum,” said Tracey.
“It works with our family.
“She’s now been with this family unit longer than when we were married.
“I see Grace at least one night a week and more in school holidays, and she’s a happy, well-adjusted girl, and that’s all that matters.”
In a similar situation? When Chloe Shorten, that’s Bill Shorten’s wife, separated from her husband of ten years, with two kids in the mix, she learnt a thing or two about blending families, navigating custody, and breaking divorce to the kids. Post continues after audio.
And despite living on the other side of the Australian coast, we can be all relieved to hear that Tracey did factor in the co-parenting situation with Grace’s father, which happens to be something she’s been doing for the past five years.
“I’ll fly to Perth on lots of weekends and of course she’ll fly over to Melbourne in the school holidays,” wrote Tracey.
“We’ll get an apartment with at least two bedrooms, so Grace will have her own room there.
“And there’s no way I’ll spend any more than a month without seeing her.”
Instead Tracey compared her situation to that of fellow MAFS’ contestant Telv while he was filming, highlighting the double standard.
You see when Telv moved to Melbourne, despite the fact his children lived in Perth, you might have noticed the lack of ‘father shaming’ that happened.
As Tracey writes, “nobody is out there calling him a bad parent. It shouldn’t be any different for me.”
And we’re inclined to agree.
Did she owe us an explanation? No. Did we deserve one? Not really.
And now can we all move on and calm down, now that we can confirm that she will continue to see her daughter after her move to Melbourne, as if that wasn’t the case before?