The Holidays

It’s amazing the amount of stuff you find out when you become a single parent. Today’s thought provoking help is about the holidays. Of course, I mean School holidays and how incredibly complcated they become.

Remember when you were a couple? School holidays were fun, quite long in some cases (Summer) and usually involved day trips and Christmas. Well, if you’re in the infancy of your new situation, right about now you’ll be buying a calendar, checking school terms, checking bank holidays and possibly experiencing your first breakdown.

Why?

Because every school holiday now has to be divided into two.

That’s right. With your new situation comes an ‘agreement’ that you’ll be sharing school holidays, Christmas and any other occasion you can find.

What’s the trick? How do you get through these times and how do you barter with the one person you don’t want to enter into conversations with?

The Answer: Email.

The next Answer: Stick to the facts.

and finally: Keep it simple and don’t get involved in haggling for time.

My best advice is to stay one step ahead. Know when all of the school holidays are, mark Christmas into your calendar…and Easter…and Half Terms. Get in touch a month (or more) before each holiday and suggest the way it’s split.

e.g

Dear XXX

Easter is coming up and I suggest that you have the first week and I take the second. If I don’t hear from you, I’ll assume that this is suitable.

No haggling. More like a solution presented and you aware waiting for a yes…or worse NO.

Christmas is the difficult one. Both sides will want Christmas morning because that is the good bit – Santa, Reindeer and snow. But you just have to accept that you’ll probably need to alternate each year.

The good part of this all, is that (hopefully) both sides will use the holiday time better. Both will focus on the child and making sure they have a great time and therefore, the child is the winner. If…and only if, there are no silly games (gameplay), you’ll find that after a year you’ll have done all the holiday experiences, had all the arguments about dates and the following year, it will all be much easier. NOT!

I’m joking. But just remember that it’s not longer a conversation, it’s more like a mission where you need to state what is being asked and you want answers. Sorry to say, but in the first few years you’re not likely to be best pals, so it’s a question of using as little energy as possible to finalise plans.

Let me know if you’ve found any problems/solutions etc. I’d love to hear some other stories…ciao!

Game players

Happy Sunday dear friends. How are we all doing?

The worst kind of person is someone who looks like a grown-up, but thinks like a child. My ex is a lot like that.

For my ex, child parenting isn’t a luxury, it’s a battlefield. It’s a strategic plan, where you never show weakness, you never apologise and you always try to remain two things:

  1. Frustrating
  2. Confusing

If you’re an ex and required to set a time, a date etc to collect a child you wait until the last moment. If you are supposed to return some clothes, you forget one item and if you supposed to return said child after a weekend together or a shared holiday, you always, always, always over run by a minimum of 30 minutes or a maximum or an hour and a half. Those are the frustration builders. In a war, they’d be called ‘Manoeuvres’ – you imagine a plan on the back of a bedroom, which reads ‘Make him suffer’ at the top and a series of key dates throughout the year, which are marked with different colours to signify the level of either 1. or 2. (above) to which you are going to inflict.

So why does this need to happen? well, the ex in my case has lost the battle (my son lives with me), but fully intends to win the war. Every day, a game presents itself and every day, I must put my flack jacket on and see if I can weather the storm. In my case, I’m learning how to change my reactions so that i don’t even show that I am weathering any storm. I don’t give away any personal information anymore, I don’t show emotion and I demand answers only if it relates to my son.

I really hate that I have to do this, but she used to scare the hell out of me. It become a part of my life that I had to adopt.

Just remember, these are the people we wanted to spend a life with once. Now they have become figures of hate; people to despise and stand up to. People who will sell your soul to gain a moments advantage and people who are probably slagging you off behind your back, with that ever so well practiced ‘I am the innocent one, please feel sorry for me’ speech.

From loved one, to game player in one simple act – The loss of a child.

The confusion actually begins and ends when they act as though they are playing ball. Compliant for a moment and it’s such a relief to think the corner has been turned. They’ve finally accepted things for what they really are.

But do you really think that’s true?

Of course not. Everything is now a game and if you believe that someone has rolled onto their back, so that you can tickle their tummy; you’re wrong. It’s just another part of the game. What do they want? or what are they about to ask you that means they need you on side for 5 minutes?

So what do you do? Well, for me, it’s a case of being civil, but not personable. I’m no longer interested in the ex’s life, or anything about them and I certainly don’t want them to know about mine. We now only share a love of one thing and if it’s not about them, it’s not necessary. Stay away from the chat, don’t be frightened to upset them if you’re unhappy about something connected to your child and forget that they exist for the rest of the time. If you’re with your child, life is good and nothing else matters.

Don’t get sucked into games. It’s a waste of time and you’ll only suffer unnecessarily. Stay strong and you’ll be fine ūüôā

The things that nobody tells you: part one.

So you think ‘I know, I’m going to ditch that miserable *insert naughty word* and I’m going to take my child to a better place, and we’re going to have a happy life’.

Easy right?

Well, possibly, but it’s also fraught and full of unseen tricks and traps, but also full of wonder and lovely fluffiness!

Today’s post is about those mysteries that you only find out along the way…

  1. Even if you and you’re ex decide that you’re still gonna be great mates, it’s not gonna happen. Trust¬†me,¬†you’ll¬†wanna¬†just¬†keep¬†it¬†to¬†minimal¬†conversations¬†and¬†hardly¬†ever¬†see¬†that¬†person¬†again. If you had a difficult time together, as I did, you’ll see and feel pain every time that you see them. Animosity, anger and all that comes with it becomes wrapped up in that persons image and you’ll want to burn your Cornea’s out first, rather than keep seeing the ex.

2. Agree contact before you split and sign it. I did this and I’m glad I did. The worst that can happen is 50/50 split between the two of you, but if your child wants to spend more time with one than the other, you can get this. Just make sure it’s agreed and written down

3. Sort the money side of things out. It’s only natural to be as amicable as possible (unless you’re my ex), but get what you are owed. If you are the resident parent i.e. your child lives with you, you may be entitled to maintainance. Log on for your Universal Credit, Childcare and any other benefits that you’re entitled to.

4. Stop engaging with the ex in conversations that don’t have anything to do with your child. Keep discussions, texts or emails brief and remove the personal elements – details become weaponised quickly and then they get thrown back at you. All very unneccesary!

5. The final tip for today. Keep your child out of it. Make sure your child is happy, healthy and blissfully unaware of any shinanigans that is happening. Keep the sniping comments and negative discussions for your friends or family, but not for your child. Trust in this tip, even if the ex is playing dirty. You wanted this, remember, so just put all of that energy into your child and making sure their life is as good as possible.

Part two coming. Possibly tomorrow! Ciao…

The beginning…

Life is not like a box of chocolates, as our dear friend Mr Gump once suggested.

To me, it’s more like a series of changing rooms – you try something on and it either fits or doesn’t fit. In this series of changing rooms, you can also made a good or bad purchases and you only realise that somewhere down the line and in life, that means time.

Forget the analogy for a moment….I’m not really that clever or even good at writing full sentences.

We all make mistakes and we’ve all found that special someone, only to find out that they are some kind of deranged, pyschopathic, terrifying She (or He) Devil that has only one purpose in life:

To make you suffer.

I’ve decided to tell you my past present and future.

About meÔĽŅ

I spent most of my life trying to find the perfect person for me. I loved my little world, went out with many girls, broke many hearts ( I’m no looker, I was just hopeless at dumping people in a cilvised way) and the short version (because it’ll come out along the way in great detail), is that I thought I’d found a great partner and we decided to have a baby.

It didn’t take me very long to realise that the wonder I thought I’d found was actually just a She-Devil hiding in plain sight. But, from that terror came the most precious and amazing thing in my life – my son.

So, despite being trapped in a pretty sad and depressing marriage; I had my son and I lived every day for him. I guess most men say this, but –

‘Who knew I’d be a much better parent than husband’?

Many years later, I still love being a parent. The only change is that my son and I live together and that is our life now. Men aren’t usually seen as the primary carer, but I’m sure there are many more men out there who are filled with just as much pride, as I am, to be acknowledged as just that.

BUT…. it has not been, and still isn’t, an easy road. This is not seen as the ‘usual’ way life continues and there are many obstacles out there to overcome.

I’ll try and put them down in the coming days….

MORE SOON!