A little girl stuffs the next few days worth of clothes into a small backpack and waits for her mom to pick her up. Her mom adores her and she adores her mom. She looks forward to this day each and every week and can’t wait to spend the next few days with her mom.
When she gets to her mom’s house she sets aside her backpack, careful to make sure whatever comes out of it is washed, neatly folded, and returns with her to her other house. She’s silently taking inventory so neither parent is upset if clothes that might be accidentally taken to the other house don’t make it back. Over and over she’s heard her items refereed to as “mom’s stuff” or dad’s stuff,” even though she’s the one who wears them.
The older she gets the more she feels the divide between her homes. The older she gets the line becomes thicker and darker.
Unintentionally, her parents have made her feel like a visitor in her own home.
Unintentionally, her parents have divided her into two different people.
Co-parenting can be tricky and because we are busy struggling with the big details, we often overlook the small ones.
It’s a balancing act. It’s hard work. It’s extremely sensitive.
One thing we can do for our kids who glide between two parents in two different homes is to not make them pack a bag. It tends to make them feel like a visitor, like when we arrive at a hotel pulling our luggage behind us. It never feels permanent.
Don’t pack a bag.
Whether it’s their own room or their own drawer, give them the security to know that, even when they aren’t there, there is still a place for them. Have everything they need for their time at your home. Don’t make them pack a bag. Don’t fight over whose clothes they are. No matter who purchased them, they’re her clothes. Give her the freedom.
Co-parenting can be brutal, but one simple and easy act can minimize some of the stress for the child. A drawer full of clothes, a tooth-brush, her own hair brush, and an extra pair of shoes can give her a sense of security.
It can also eliminate some pointless arguments when an article of clothing doesn’t make it back to its original home. It’s one less thing that stands in the way of finding a way to healthy co-parenting. There are already enough things to navigate through, remove this one.
A little girl gets dressed, brushes her hair, and waits for her mom to pick her up. Her mom adores her and she adores her mom. She looks forward to this day each and every week and can’t wait to spend the next few days with her mom.
When she gets to her mom’s house she grabs her pajamas out of her special drawer and cuddles up on the couch with her mom, settled in for movie night. She’s thankful to freely spend time with her mom. Over and over she’s heard her parents remind her that both homes are hers and she is safe and wanted in each. She doesn’t even think about what clothes belong at which home, they’re her clothes and she knows her parents allow her to have her space and her things.
Intentionally her parents have made sure that both of their homes are hers and a place she belongs.
Intentionally her parents have found a way to be one united front so their little girl doesn’t have to stress over little details of two different homes.
Intentionally her parents are working their way towards healthy co-parenting for the sake of their daughter.