From that night life totally changed….
I was unable to drive after the verdict, so my dad took the wheel. We drove to collect the children from nursery and school club… My head was all over.
How would they cope? How do I tell them? Will they resent me? How can I still provide home for them?
That week I was leaving my full time secure job to start my own business with only 1 part time paying place taken. Was the jump all too soon….
How would I financially provide for them, keep the house going and food to eat… At that point I was relying only on my wages and tax credits, which would soon change as no longer employed…. I spent the 30mins drive crying…panicking but at same time trying to calm enought to collect them and look as nothing had happened..but how wrong was I….
I walked into the nursery and as employer there my colleagues ask and the water works were back out… They were all in shock and too could not understand.
The children were excited as we were having a grandparent weekend. If is was not for my mam and dads support that weekend I’m not sure how I would cope.
My anxiety was sky high, all I felt I wanted to do was escape with the children and return back to the North East with my family. That may never happen now.
My mam helped me to explain to them what was going to happen from the following week. Was was a bit too young to really understand, however Ava-May was 4 had a lot of questions… Why do we have to? Can we come back here to sleep? Where will be be? Will I still be here? Many I could not answer.
I still had things to sort with their dad but that had to wait as I needed that weekend with the family to focus on quality time with them.
The following week emails were back and forward with my ex to sort finer details, when handover will be, times, birthdays, Christmas etc. all this was not decided within the order and left for us to control… Which was great but still now 4years on some things can still be a real struggle.
The last thing in remember from court was “the children are resilient, I see no reason why this will not work or have adverse effects on them…” Oh how I now wish that they could actually see the impacts of this on the children especially oldest.
The first few months was vile… Especially now I was gaining increasing business and services the school my two attended.
My ex had taken the court order into the school and made sure that all teaching staff knew who they children were with….this made me feel sick as 1 the school denied they were meeting him even tho I knew about it, 2nd my ex also felt I was not needed to be at the meeting… I was horrified, there was for no reason that I was not allowed to see the children during their time with there Dad.
Joint parenting which out discussions jointly, was not joint parenting in my eyes.
I remember one night their Granddad wanted me to collect Avamay from her class door and bring her to me (she asked for this in the morning), we agreed as felt better for avamay to be able to have a little time with me before going… I mentioned this to teacher in morning, upon collection Ava was sent out to me and when ready we went to leave… Oh how simple it sounded until a teacher came after me and asked where I was taken her. I discussed plan with teacher who didn’t get the message in morning.
Oh how I was stopped…. I was told I was not allowed to take my own daughter from top gate to the car park less than 2minute walk along side of school. Avamay was taken off me, crying asking for me. She was taken back into the school. I left the playground (upset too) I saw the grandad who was then concerned where she was due to being planned between us I the morning, he was not happy either.all I remember then was my anxitety going into over drive I was shaking a friend supported me while the issues was sorted with the teachers… To my luck my son was given me cuddles too… Avamay was brough out and gave me cuddles.. I helped them both to car all still a bit upset…
This court order was stupid…there was no reasons as to why I could not see the children. All the order stipulated was who the children reside with upon which week. However due to school and ex had further things must been discussed without my knowledge. I felt like life was crash around me….was I really such a bad mum…that I couldn’t see them..t
Many a night I would collected minding children and have my two running to me too, only to have to say to them they need to go with dad or alternate collector. It was and still sometimes really hard. To have to tell your own child they can not come home with you.
I remember a few occasions Ava-May screaming to come home with me, clinging and refusing to go…. Having to get friends to help me out… Still makes me feel sick to this day having to tell them they can’t and have to go…what had I done so wrong that the courts felt this was right for them…
After a few months, I was in a constant battle with myself. My childminding was really taken off… I was in demand. But was I doing the right thing daily by working this way, servicing the school and nursery where my children attended… Should I quiet working as a childminder, so I would not see the children when was their week with there dad. Should I stop servicing the school. Would I be better going back to employed work and not see them as much, not be able to take and collect the children from school when was my week. After talking with my parents going back into full time work was not a option, I have less time woth Ava-May and Ryin due to the court order never mind not being able to be there for them when I needed to be.
After a few more discussion with their Dad, it was agreed that if the children wanted to, they could meet me at school and go in and out with me…. This was a good send as just a simple fast that Ava-May wanted, which then impacted her to be more settled with the transactions. This also meant that I could carry out my work a lot easier and not feel so guilty as to why other children could spend time with me but my own children couldn’t.
Three year on and we still sometimes do struggle, my ex and I sometimes don’t agree on things (behaviour management etc) or resolving changes, weekend swaps etc seem to be long winded…
However, we are slowly getting there. There will still be a lot of hurdles I expect to overcome… when these things happen.
The main thing I try to keep open is methods of communication, due to a week here and week there access. This is key to making things easier.
I will say it’s not easy at all. But little changes have helped e.g. Listening to what the children want, even at young age.
Lessons I have learnt and still learning.
We may never be one the same page regarding the children. However trying to be on the makes easier.
Keet communication open within the best method. For us emails and verbal chats when needed.
Behaviour will/may become challenging from the children. But stay consistent. Try talk and do same positive reinforcements with both houses, same methods. Setting same expectations within two houses. Also keep similar routines, as this can have impact on behaviour.
Reinforce that children are still loved by each parent, just the parents needed to live apart. Be as truthful and age appropriate over the situation.
I have found as I’m along getting the children help out around house helps me a lot. Little chores for them e.g. Putting their clothes away, tidying their room etc.
Split parenting is hard…I will not lie it’s really hard, I think harder as was court decision. It takes work and persistence…