PARENTING AFTER SEPARATION

PARENTING AFTER SEPARATION

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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?

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29 Comments

  1. April 5, 2016 / 3:43 pm

    I can’t imagine how difficult this must be. I feel bad enough when I’m at work, wondering how many smiles, chuckles, tears and milestones I’m missing. It sounds like you’re both doing an incredible job though. Evie’s a lucky girl to have such loving and caring parents:)

  2. Suzi
    April 5, 2016 / 5:56 pm

    Must be really tough being without your little one for all that time, but it sounds like you are making it into a positive by concentrating on you and what you can do. Wishing you all the best, stay strong x

  3. April 5, 2016 / 8:45 pm

    Chloe, I cried my way through this. I admire you and Jamie so much. I hope I never have to go through it but you have dealt with it so well. Knowing Jamie has her best interests at heart should always fill you with confidence. I cant talk from experience but I imagine it isn’t easy. You’re doing a bloody good job so far though. Evie will definitely feel love from all angles xx

  4. April 6, 2016 / 7:43 am

    I can’t begin to imagine how you all feel; it must be so, so hard. But by remaining friends and knowing that you both have Evie’s best interests at heart you are definitely giving her the very best chance of happiness and security. This must have been a very difficult post for you to approach and write. Well done on all fronts.

  5. April 6, 2016 / 8:16 am

    My kids never see their dad so I don’t have that wrench. They do sometimes stay with my parents and it all seems very quiet… Hope that you adjust to the way things now are c

  6. April 6, 2016 / 8:20 am

    Like the others who have commented before me, I cannot imagine how you all feel, but you seem to have a good mindset at the moment, dedicating time for you whilst Evie is at Jamie’s and being the best parent you can be when she spends time with you. It will certainly be a learning curve for both you and Jamie and I am very pleased to hear you are remaining friends. Surrounding Evie by love and positivity will help shape her into a remarkable little person. Thank you for sharing xx
    Sophie

  7. April 6, 2016 / 9:05 am

    Your post made me cry Chloe. I wish you, Jamie and of course Evie all the best x

  8. April 6, 2016 / 9:49 am

    You are so right – we all sugar coat things, especially through social media. You seem to be coping in a very hard situation, good luck with everything you do. Sarah xx

  9. April 6, 2016 / 10:56 am

    I was holding back the tears reading this. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you all. It sounds like you are both doing an amazing job for your little girl and that is a credit to you. Sending hugs x

  10. April 6, 2016 / 11:13 am

    I can’t imagine how difficult life must be for you all at the moment. You sound like you are an incredibly strong person! It is great that you still get on with Chloe’s Dad and as a result are able to try and work out your new family dynamics to the best for everyone. A really heartbreaking post to read and I really hope that life gets a bit easier for you all soon. Big hugs #whatevertheweather

  11. April 6, 2016 / 1:04 pm

    Made me cry 🙁
    I’m separated from my husband too, he left six months ago. We still get on ok and he sees the kids regularly, so I can relate to much of your post. It’s hard, it hurts, the “Hallmark” occasions are the worst. But it gets a little easier over time, you find a new normal.
    Thanks for sharing x

  12. April 6, 2016 / 3:13 pm

    It must be so hard to try and fit everything in and to say goodbye when you have to. I cannot imagine how you must feel. Just wanted to give you a hug xxx

  13. April 6, 2016 / 3:28 pm

    I felt emotional reading your post! It must be difficult for both of you. I don’t think I can cope if this will happen to me, you’re such a brave woman for staying strong especially for Evie. Anyhow, your photos are so beautiful… #WhateverTheWeather

  14. April 6, 2016 / 5:05 pm

    Such a heartfelt post. I can’t imagine how hard it is for you, my friend is going through a similar thing but the difference is she doesn’t get on with her ex. It is so good that you and Jamie are on good terms it will make such a difference going forward. Sending love x

  15. April 6, 2016 / 5:24 pm

    Good luck with the transition. I am helping a friend through the same situation right now. It is still hard but is getting easier. She is finally spending time with friends on some of the nights her daughter is away and that seems to help.

  16. April 6, 2016 / 7:21 pm

    It must be really hard. My close friend separated from her husband when her baby was 8 months old and I know how tough she found it. She says the hardest time is the significant events like christmas, the tooth fairy and during week long holidays. However, over time, it has got easier for her and her child, it becomes the norm and she learnt how to adapt to a new life. I hope things get easier for you soon, good luck xx

  17. April 6, 2016 / 7:32 pm

    She sounds like she has loving parents and that you are both doing the best for her xx it must be hard but it will hopefully get easier for everyone xx #Whatevertheweather

  18. April 6, 2016 / 7:38 pm

    I can’t even begin to imagine what you’re going through at the moment and I can only think this must have been really tough to write, but I hope it helps to share. I’m glad you’re still able to get out with Evie for lots of lovely days out though, looks like you had a wonderful walk together at ‘Hells Mouth’ it looks like a stunning spot. Thanks for hosting #whatevertheweather x

  19. April 6, 2016 / 8:26 pm

    You hit the nail on the head with this comment
    “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”. It is great that you and Jamie are working together on this as so many use their child as a weapon to hurt the other – I speak from personal experience of when mine split up. I am now in a relationship where I am step-mum (I have been for the last 10 years). We have always put Emily at the heart of everything and I have worked hard on my relationship with her Mum. It hasn’t always been easy but it has paid off. It is possible. We all spend birthday’s, Xmas’s and even the odd day out together. I class her mum as one of my friends. I hope that gives you hope that although not the way you planned your family to be, “family” can take many forms. #whatevertheweather

  20. April 6, 2016 / 8:27 pm

    You write with such honesty about what must be a very difficult subject. This post was so poignant, it made me feel quite emotional, I can’t even imagine how you feel.Your strength shines through, I hope it gets easier and as someone said above, you will find a new normal. #whatevertheweather

  21. April 6, 2016 / 9:33 pm

    Oh Chloe, this is so heartbreaking to read, I can;t even imagine how hard it is for you all. But it sounds like you are handling it really well and that you are doing the best thing for Evie. x #WhateverTheWeather

  22. April 7, 2016 / 6:53 am

    Oh Chloë this must be so hard. I would hate it & cannot imagine. But I think you are going about it in the right way & are being the very best mum you can be xx

  23. April 7, 2016 / 11:39 am

    Oh bless you! Honestly, it will get easier and you will start enjoying the time away. The first few months my eldest was going to her Dad’s I was lost, I didn’t know what to do with myself and got upset so many times. Don’t get me wrong I still get emotional now too 5-6 years on but I do make the most of the small break x

  24. Fran Back With A Bump
    April 7, 2016 / 4:54 pm

    What a tough time. I split with my daughters dad when she was 3 but to be honest had been doing it singlehandedly for a long time. Getting out and spending quality time works wonders.
    Hope things calm down soon. #whatevertheweather

  25. April 8, 2016 / 1:56 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about you and Jamie… this must be an incredibly hard situation but sounds like you are handling it incredibly well! I know when my daughter is out and I am alone in the house it feels really strange and although it’s a pleasant enough for a bit…it gets lonely…keeping busy definitely helps. I love your honesty and both of you will, of course, do what is best for Evie. I love that quote…working on ourselves is so important… even though we are already pretty fab. ; )

  26. Giselle
    April 8, 2016 / 8:45 pm

    I am in your exact same shoes. It’s Friday night and my LO is with his dad. I miss having him around just to hug him (although I was able to take a 20 minute shower and wash my hair!) It is really hard and the emptiness is very loud. We’re only just finding our feet too so I fill my ‘free time’ with work mainly – though I’m also trying to revive my social life because life does go on.

  27. April 11, 2016 / 11:08 am

    Oh Chloe, I’m sorry to hear how things are, I know it must be hard, but never properly thought about it. I can’t imagine having my boys for just some of the week, that must be heart breaking. I hope things get easier for you and good luck with the business.

  28. April 11, 2016 / 10:15 pm

    I am very sorry that you are going through this, it must be so difficult. I was emotional reading this and appreciate your honesty in sharing such a heartfelt post. It sounds like you and Jamie are handling it very well though and are considerate of each other and always doing the best for Evie. Wishing you the best x

  29. April 12, 2016 / 10:34 am

    I missed a LOT of your post due to us moving house and trying to fit in everything. I need to catch up. I am sorry, you are going through this and I am sorry that I don’t know what to say. You made me cry.:( Hugs to you and Evie and best of luck for the business, Chloe.

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