Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Summer Holiday Challenges When Co-Parenting

I've just spent a week away with my girls and today I am sitting here feeling something is missing. This morning I left my eldest daughter with her Dad for a few days and I hate that I can't share the last week of Summer holidays with her. That's the problem with co-parenting; you have to share your child.

Underwater photograph of my big girl and me pulling faces in a swimming pool

Today my daughter went somewhere special with her Dad. It's somewhere we have been before and we had a great time. They are staying in a better place and all the attention will be on her rather than shared with her little sister so this visit should be even more fun.

All day I have been imagining what she might be getting up to, how much fun she might be having and hoping that her Dad knows all the best bits to go too. I have to imagine because when M is with her Dad I hear nothing about what they get up to. No photo's and only minimal responses to texts. To be fair I rarely send updates to her Dad while she is with me, but when I do he shows no interest so it doesn’t encourage me.

I've written before about missing out on special moments when co-parenting and it doesn't really get easier. Yes there are times it's more simple (and quieter) to only have one child around, but it hurts that there are amazing memories from her childhood that I won't be a part of.

It doesn’t help that I’m a snap happy mum. There are gaps in my records of our adventures as a family. Taking pictures of just me, my partner and my youngest feels wrong because a family photo with part of my family missing just isn't the same. Every time I looked at it I would be mentally photoshopping my big girl in. Having weekends when I don’t take photographs only highlights the loss I feel.

Now parents everywhere are talking about the end of the six week school holidays. Many are relieved that school is about to start and they will get a break, but I don't feel I've had nearly enough time with my girls this summer. Of the three weeks Big Sister has been with us we have been away for two. We haven't had enough time to meet up with friends, to go on days out locally or just to chill at home. If I had made a list of all the things I would have loved to have done together this summer most would remain unticked. 

It's not that every moment together is magical. We have arguments, sulking and tantrums just like every family. There have been plenty of times that I have wanted to throw my eldest in the car, drive her to her Dad's house and dump her on the doorstep. The pressure to make the most of our time together can get too much. Our time is too short and I can feel the constant presence of dark clouds heralding the time to separate rolling in.

Today I don't feel like parenting the daughter I have with me because I miss her Big Sister.  I hope she has a great week and that she doesn’t miss me like I miss her. Tomorrow will be easier, the contributing post-holiday blues will fade, but today? Today something is missing. 
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