One of the hardest things I experienced in my divorce was dealing with my daughters and my emotions, as they transitioned living from one parents house to another.

My ex was adamant about sharing our children equally so we agreed that the girls  would live with me for one week and with him for the other.  We both had homes with bedrooms set up for the girls.  They had two sets of clothing and everything they needed at both houses and really only needed to bring their school books and computers from house to house.  This all worked well on paper when we first agreed to it in our separation agreement, until my ex had his new girlfriend move in with him.

Every week that it was their turn to go live with their dad, they would experience a host of emotions, including resistance, reluctance and sadness about leaving me for a whole week.  The transition was extremely difficult for them (and me)  and I knew that they didn’t like spending time with his new girlfriend and were sad and concerned about leaving me alone for the week.

As hard as it was for all to deal with this transition, I made the decision to not show my own emotions, and to support the children’s transitions between our two homes. I worked to remain conscious of my own feelings, to make sure they didn’t pick up on any of my own sadness and missing them while they were away.  I always made sure to reassure them and let them know what I would be doing in my own life while they were at their dads, to make sure they knew I would be okay and to set them at ease.

At their age (My girls are 9 and 11 years old)  spending regular time with both parents is important for their development (even if they didn’t like his new partner).   The truth is that It is never easy to manage things perfectly, especially with divorce and children.  Just when you think you have an understanding and a handle on navigating your divorce,  an issue arises that throws everything off course.  

In this situation, the most important thing I could do for my girls was to be a good role model, no matter how difficult the situation was, and put their feelings first when it came to dealing with separation, divorce and their Dad. 

 I am hoping that one day, this won’t feel so big for all of us, and that insisting that they stay at their Dad’s every other week will keep their father/daughter relationship  strong and remain an integral part of both their lives.

Joanne, 43

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