I know that blogs are sometimes prone to giving off the wrong impression of life. Sometimes they add a little coating and make things a bit glossier and unrealistic. They show off smiling faces, colourful and beautiful pictures and give off the impression of a happy perfect life.
Readers of my blog will know that we’ve been going through a lot of life changes lately. But whilst the high quality pictures are still filling up my Instagram, and the exciting posts about our adventures are still going live, there is a reason why my blog isn’t changing.
The things I post here are the moments that I want to remember. Todays post features pictures of our recent beautiful walk to ‘Hells Mouth’ in our home town, Hayle. Evie was happy, I was happy. The sun was shining and it was so warm and breathtakingly beautiful.
These are the moments that fill the void of not seeing Evie for a few days a week. These are the moments that I want to write about because they fill me with so much joy and make the rest of it all seem ok.
But the reality is, behind the pictures and the posts, things are hard at the moment.
You see, since Jamie and I have separated we made the decision to co-parent. For us, this means that Evie spends part of her time at Jamie’s and the rest with me.
It makes sense to do this as we are both working and I am also trying to launch my business. But, the reality is, co-parenting is hard.
I work a part time evening job on the weekends, and on top of that I also work 40 hours around Evie building on my freelance work. Jamie is a chef and is committed to doing 60 plus hours a week. His rota changes every week.
With Jamie working full time and me having two jobs, we’re finding more and more that quality time with Evie is so precious. Especially as neither of us work in jobs with predictable hours and set times.
Fitting a child into this mix was hard before. But as we were together it was a lot easier to navigate the ‘who is having her where’.
Despite trying to squeeze parenting into our working lives, the hardest part about this whole situation is being separated from Evie for such a long amount of time.
Having to say goodbye to your child is heart breaking. Having to sit down every week and decide which hours she is mine and which hours she isn’t is so incredibly painful.
And then there is watching her go and realising that she isn’t coming back for a couple of days.
It makes you feel empty inside.
I know I’m not alone in this. Her dad feels exactly the same. Not getting to come home from work everyday and be there for her is torture for him. To not have those daily moments with her in the morning before work is equally unbearable.
The first time she left me and went for two days, the silence at home was amplified. I was walking around my house and I felt lost.
Every room was so full of her things, but so empty of life.
Luckily I was busy. I had work to do, I could easily fill my time and it was actually helpful to have that time because it meant that I’d have more quality time with Evie when she was back. But I still couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing, that Evie was missing.
And for the first time since I’ve become her mum, I’ve gotten a window into what it’s like to not have a child at all anymore.
You always wonder post baby, about what your life was like before.
It made me realise how incredible it is to be a mother, how lucky we are to get to watch our children grow before our eyes, to hear them laugh, to see them smile, to being there for them when they cry.
That is the only part of this that is helping me to get through it. Knowing that at some point in the week I will be lucky enough to be with Evie, lucky enough to cuddle her and to kiss her, to play with her, feed her, take her on adventures and kiss her goodnight.
It also made me wonder what I actually used to do with my time before Evie. I seem to be getting my work done and still finding empty time.
Empty time when you have a child, as you probably know, is incredibly rare. That first week the empty time wasn’t welcome. I didn’t know where to put myself. I felt lonely and I felt like I was in mourning. I ended up caving and asking to pop around and see her.
A parent shouldn’t be away from a child. It doesn’t feel natural. It doesn’t feel right.
As a parent you’re naturally drawn to being with your child. When they leave you, even for a night away, there is a void.
The first night away from her was the hardest. I kept waking up thinking that I’d heard her stirring in her room, only to realise that she wasn’t there. I felt so lonely and there was a pit in my stomach. I wondered if she was ok, if she was sleeping ok, if she was missing me, if she’d wake up and realise I wasn’t there.
I’ve decided to use this time away from her to focus on building our future, so that those moments when she is back, I can spend some real quality time with her and won’t have to work so much. I can go on walks like this, take her on adventures and be there as much as I can, one on one with her.
The only thing I can do at the moment is to keep going, because I fear that if I stop I will crumble. But, for our daughters sake we both need to appear strong. I need to focus on the future and I need to focus on what I really want. So does Jamie.
Eventually we will get the balance right and this will become normal.
All that matters to me is that Evie is surrounded by so many people that love her so intensely and that she knows it. And luckily she is so aware of it and that is all I have ever wanted for her.
I think that as long as we both understand that Evie’s needs comes first, and as long as we as parents understand that she needs us both and she needs us both to be happy and to be there for her, that she’ll be ok.
Evie turned two last week and we were lucky enough to be able to spend it all together as a family unit. But I know in the future, dependent on who we meet and the lives we create, this might get a bit more difficult.
I know that Christmas is going to be hard, holidays are going to be hard. That there are always going to be compromises. That she is always going to be shared.
We both want to be there for her and neither of us want to miss out. But the reality of being separated means that there are going to be times when we miss a Christmas morning, or times when she’s going to be away from each of us for longer than we like.
We’re so incredibly fortunate that we still get along and that we are still the best of friends. I hope that this will help us to stay a strong family unit for Evie. That we can look back in ten or twenty years time and say that we did it in the best way that we could and that we are all happy.
Someone said to me yesterday:
‘Know who you are and who you want to be.’
It hit me a lot more that I thought.
I may miss Evie while she’s gone, but in those moments when I am alone, I need to use that time to work on me, to work on who I am and to find out who I’m going to be. Then, in the moments when she’s back, I can be the best parent I can possibly be for her.
It’s going to be a rocky road, but we are lucky. We’re lucky to have such a beautiful little girl in our lives. We are lucky to still be so close and we are lucky to have such a supportive family and friend network around us. We’re lucky to get to go on adventures like above with Evie, to enjoy her, to enjoy our surroundings and to lead such an amazing life with her.
These are the moments to hold onto.
Have you separated from your partner after having children? Do you co-parent? What advice would you give to people in a similar situation?