Meet Marja-Leena Toseland, editor of the beautifully named “darling magazine” (yes with a small d).
We just met this morning while I was out at a networking event held by Athena Women’s network. It was a wonderful meeting made all the more so through my discussion with Marja-Leena.
You see Marja-Leena is recently divorced after 20 years of marriage with 3 children aged between 9 – 16 years old. It was not an easy divorce by all means but here she is a couple of years on, happy and getting on with her life while looking gorgeous.
What warmed my heart was that she and her husband did and still do have their arguments and disagreements but “never about the children.”
When they divorced they, despite how they felt about each other and the usual negative emotions and thoughts that they each had about the other, they managed to keep the children in focus so much so that today, they still don’t have a written co-parenting plan.
“It was just agreed that they would live with me and see their father whenever they wanted to and that they would have overnights there too and that’s exactly how it is.”
It is so rare that a couple would have a successful non-written co-parenting plan that would last and work for them. Rare but not impossible. Most couples will want to create their own co-parenting plan, get it legalised and stick to it. These plans usually involve a section that covers co-parenting during the holidays.
So summer is coming and you need to agree on who’s going to be with the children and when.
You don’t want them to go with him/her.
Well meet Juliet – a mother at my daughter’s school (name changed and all that) who is going to be experiencing her first summer holidays without her daughters.
She is nervous because he is taking them away for 10 days. She worries that he might not be able to cope and do what is right for them and by them.
But under the same breath, Juliet says, “he is their father and it’s not because we’re going through a truly bloody divorce that he has suddenly turned into this incapable monster. I need to remember he was a good enough dad yesterday and he will be today and tomorrow. Horrible husband and friend, yes but a good dad who has love for his children and they for him. What they do during the holidays is none of my business but theirs.”
So during the 10 days that the children are away, Juliet is making plans on what she can do to occupy herself and beginning to manage her co-parenting during the holidays life.
She admits that she will throw herself into her work, “but my sister and mum, have insisted that I go away with them on holiday so I might just do that then.”
If this is going to be your first holiday away from the children then please do remember two things:
– they will survive and so will you
– this is the shape of things to come so accept and make the most of it
I love my children dearly, dearly and they know that, but I have to admit that I do look forward to the weekends where I have time to myself. And if I miss them terribly, all I have to do is skype with them sometimes for 5 mins, sometimes for 30 or more depending on what they have to tell me.
At times they initiate the skype calls or phone calls, sometimes I do but not without checking with their dad first as it is after all, their time together.
If you and your partner are stuck on your co-parenting plans, please do give me a call or see a family mediator who will be able to help you sort this out.
Do have a lovely summer by looking after yourself.
“You don’t want to turn this over to the courts. You don’t want to go in there and file a motion and turn the destiny of your family over to a stranger. You want to work this out yourselves if you can.”