Co-parenting during lockdown for separated families

Hi everyone! So today I've managed to write this not on "the throne" but sat comfortably on my sofa whilst #TheBenji Panda scoffs down the last of his dinner - which we began to eat in our little "den/secret cinema" on our teeny patio. (why does it take so long for kids to finish a meal?)


It was a slow start today as I had a nasty migraine last night which spilled into this morning but after some breakfast, a nap and a shower (minus the hair wash) I’m feeling much better physically.


Mentally I'm starting to feel a bit navy (blue) , but I know this is a normal pattern for me once I've had a headache or migraine.


I'm thinking a lot right now and missing Shayne and Sienna (they're staying with their dad and family in East London until the end of the month).

It's the longest they've stayed with them with no interval/visit from myself. I'm just not used to it as their primary carer and I guess it's the mama panda instict to want to keep the cubs close especially during difficult / uncertain times.


I know they're safe and well looked after so I just keep repeating that to myself daily to get myself "back on track".


Benji boy has been keeping me busy - he's so funny. We always use this time when his brothers and sisters are away to bond and give him that 1 to 1 attention which is otherwise difficult to give when you have 3 children at home plus the household and work work to take care of.


I'm embracing the moment and taking on my family and friends' advice of enjoying the time and focus on Benji but what many people don't seem to understand - which I finding more and more challenging - is the change in behaviour/routine/dynamic once his siblings leave and when they return.


Right now he misses them loads and talks about them often. When he does mention them we have a nice little conversation about them and then move onto a different subject.


The atmosphere is generally calm and the days appear more manageable as I only have 1 little panda to tend to. Brilliant!

However, once the Pandas are reunited it's cuddles and smiles for maybe the first 10minutes and before you know it they're annoying each other, arguing, sometimes crying and I find I need to take more moments to pause in a separate room to give myself a breather.


Adults find it difficult to manage their emotions and what I've learnt over the past couple years expecially is that...


"If adults find it difficult to manage or understand their emotions how or why do we expect children to be any different?"


I remain patient (on the outside lol) when the kids are together or apart and always expect a period of uneasiness before and after.


I don't know many people who have a blended family like ours. Both Emil and I (Benji's parents) have 2 children (a boy and girl each) from previous relationship/marriage and so I find it difficult for friends and family to truly understand what it's like to be in our position.


We make it work despite the challenging moments and we do our upmost to make sure our kids are safe, well and happy.

I'm just curious how kids being raised in different homes truly feel and how other parents in this situation feel and cope with any kind of anxiety that comes with it.


"Stay calm and just enjoy the break" people say to me all the time...

I do my best to take this type of comment with a pinch of salt and tend to "stay calm" by cleaning and keeping the brain busy, but you know that saying "it's easier said than done" - This phrase I'm feeling more often, especially when it comes from someone who totally can't relate.


Note. This post isn't a dig in any way to all the lovely people who have shown genuine concern and love! It's just an honest feeling from a mother that is seriously trying to catch all the balls being thrown at her and avoid being smacked in the face.


Balls being hypothetical for the juggling terminology I'm getting quickly bored of...

(ahh I must be going mad)

Anyway,

Our usual arrangement for my eldest 2 is usually that they spend every other weekend with their dad and we split the holidays as equal as we can. He hadn't seen the kids for a month or so prior to lock down and with Shayne being poorly I think it would've been maybe 2 months without physically seeing them. This is why we decided that now him and his partner are working from home and can actually have the kids with them they would stay there for the majority of April.


Once I collect them I expect they would stay with me for the whole of May to avoid too much back and forth between homes during this pandemic.


But now with the prospect of lockdown being extended I wonder if anyone else is co-parenting over the lockdown period?


And if so what is your arrangement?


We haven't seen Emil's children since January and it's been super difficult.

I guess this is the plus in our relationship because we can (for the most part) see both perspectives with having children with exes.


But we've also learnt that every person is also different and so although you might be in the same position your attitude can be different.


So yah. Let me know what you are doing my fellow mothers and fathers with kids living in separate homes!


Until next blog,


Stay safe!


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