Transition for Kids With Co-Parenting
Updated: Mar 16
There is never going to be an easy way to do this. Never flawless, no matter how amicable the separation is.
My youngest, at the moment, is 3 and my oldest is 7. No matter what, it's a hard thing for them to grasp. And unfortunately my oldest found out about our separation by over hearing us argue. A thing they had grown used to, sadly.
It was heart breaking seeing him stand at the bottom of the stairs with tears in his eyes saying "Mommy you're leaving?". It still makes me cry as I write this. Of course I wasn't leaving my kids, but it made more sense for me to leave and my ex to take over the house. It needs far more work than I can handle and my ex has skills that enable him to fix the house on his own.
At that moment, I walked over to him, also with tears in my eyes, and just held him close while he sobbed. I made a horrible attempt at trying to explain it to him, but he wasn't ready for that. He just needed to cry. He was slumped over my shoulder and I looked to my ex and he just mouthed the words F@#& You! That was hands down the worst moment of my life. And I have been through A LOT!
Our children at that age will never understand the reason why nor should hear the details. I would never paint their father in a bad light or put my frustrations on them. So that conversation of WHY, is so hard. I know.
I spent a lot of time trying to sugar coat it and make it seem like it's not a big deal. But they know better. And when my 3 year old said one day "why can't you stay with us at daddy's?" I had to choke back tears and say "Well mommy and daddy need to have some space right now, but you still have us both no matter what. You just have an extra house now." I have no idea if that was the right thing to say, but trying to manage these tiny humans emotions AS WELL as my own, I did the best I could. As we all do.
Those first few drop offs and pick ups were horrible. Tears from my oldest both with leaving dad and then leaving me. It's enough to make you second guess your decision. Even though you know that was the right decision. I wanted my sons to grow up knowing a healthy relationship. Not think that what we had was acceptable.
Eventually, it did get better. They acclimated once they got used to the routine. And realising that, when we leave mommy, she'll be back in a few days. Just that reassurance of consistent structure helped them to feel secure. And I am happy to say that now they wave goodbye with smiles.
It's got to where my oldest actually grasps why we are not together. Within his own observation. I don't have any magic words of wisdom or keys to make this easier. My point is I feel you! It's hard. But there is a light on the horizon. And you can do this. Love you mama's!!