How Flexible Are You?
Summer is especially crazy for many families as we try to schedule camps, visiting grand-parents, visiting friends, sleepovers, swimming lessons, vacations and all the other common summer activities. When you get divorced, this can be even more difficult.
Here’s the situation in my family. My parents are divorced and my father is remarried. I’m divorced and my ex-husband is remarried. They have two children of their own (half-siblings to my daughter). So my daughter has four grand-mothers and two grand-fathers, whom she all loves and who all adore her. None of them live in the same city we live in (yet). Of course they all love to spend time with her. So every time she has a break from school (like now), we’re trying to figure out who’s coming to visit or where we’re going.
It can be a little stressful and challenging. But don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled that my daughter has so many wonderful adults in her life who care about her.
The thing is, this would never work if her father and I weren’t willing to be flexible and reasonable, and regularly discuss our calendars. We share physical custody 50-50, so we have our “normal” schedule which includes every other weekend and half of the weekdays that she’s with each parent. But things come up. That’s just life. So we change it sometimes. We talk about it and we change it when it makes sense.
I don’t want to keep my daughter from spending time with her other grandparents, so if they happen to be visiting on a weekend she’s “supposed to” be with me, we mix it up. Maybe she spends half of the weekend with them, or maybe we swap weekends. For July 4th, we all went to the fireworks together.
Be as open and flexible as you can, while still maintaining some routine for your kids. It makes a big difference, particularly as your children get older and care more about attending certain activities with their friends. Don’t prevent them from going to a birthday party or attending a school function just because it’s “your weekend”. There may be times when this does make the most sense, but don’t make it a habit. You don’t want your children equating going to your house with missing out on things they enjoy.
It’s important to figure out a method that works best for you to keep track of all the events and activities that your kids are involved in, as well as your own schedules. Some parents are comfortable picking up the phone and talking about it, or getting together in person with calendars in hand. Other people prefer to communicate via email. Another option is to create a calendar online (Google calendar is one) that you can both view and update. Just make sure you both know what’s going on and be flexible.