separation

So, hello blog. It’s been awhile, I know.

I’ve mentioned that some unbloggable stuff has been going on, and frankly, that stuff has been so overwhelming in my life that I haven’t been able to concentrate on any other kind of mom-blogging. But it’s out in the world now, and therefore bloggable again.

Landisdad and I, after 17 years together and 12 years married, have decided to separate. We both grew up in households where our parents stayed together longer than they should’ve, and we are trying very hard (and I think succeeding, at least so far) to have an amicable separation. At the end of the day, our decision to separate has more to do that we have just grown apart over the years–it’s not like there was one fatal incident that caused us to make this move.

As regular readers know, I have a demanding job with a frequent travel schedule, and landisdad has been the primary caregiver for our children for the past several years. One of the most wrenching parts of this decision, for me, has been the realization that I will be the person to move out, while landisdad stays in the house, with the kids.

It makes me feel like a failure as a woman, to be honest.

I don’t believe that we’re making the wrong decision. I think it’s right for the kids to stay in their home, surrounded by their friends, to keep attending the same schools. It’s not impossible to imagine that I might keep them with me, but it would require all of us moving a significant distance away, and them being totally uprooted to a new place. While I know that is a thing kids can get over, just like they can get over their parents being separated, I also know that I want this to be as easy for them as possible (not that it can be really easy).

So I will move, and we will try to maintain some normalcy for them.

As we’ve been going through this process, I looked around the web and didn’t find a ton of blogs by moms who don’t live with their kids*. I thought about not blogging about it at all–but in the end, I decided that blogging has always helped me work through difficult things about parenting in my own head, and it was important for my sanity to be able to continue. I also think it’s potentially helpful for other women in a similar situation–blogging has also been about community, for me, and a place to find a community of people who are like-minded and/or in similar circumstances, but maybe not geographically close.

The focus of this blog will shift, obviously. It’s going to be more about the experience of a non-custodial parent (that’s not even the right way to describe it–we will share custody, but I will have them with me for less time–secondary custody? naming suggestions welcome) than about a mom who lives day-to-day with her kids.

*and if you know of any, please send them my way!!

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January 14, 2011. thoughtful parenting.

16 Comments

  1. chichimama replied:

    I wish you and landisdad and the kids the best as you work your way through this. Many, many virtual hugs.

    My SIL and her husband just separated as well, and the children spend more time with him than her. It seems to be an evolving schedule, but they are making it work and everyone seems to be doing well. I would point you in her direction, but she doesn’t blog.

  2. Susan replied:

    I wish you and the rest of your family lots of grace and patience–and I hope that the next phase of all your lives will be a good one. Change is hard. I hope the invisible friends in the computer are a small piece of what helps you navigate it all.

  3. Susan replied:

    p.s.: http://anoncustodialmother.blogspot.com/

  4. Jody replied:

    My sympathies and encouragement to all of you, but especially you — this is hard stuff, and hopefully the hardest stages will be in the past as soon as possible.

    There were a slew of divorces in my family in the past year, and all of them involved the mom moving out of the house. The kids seem to have adapted well, it’s the moms who struggle sometimes. One thing I learned as a child of divorce is that custody evolves, and it’s pretty likely that you’ll have several different configurations over the years. Trust your instincts and do what seems right in the moment — at least, that’s what I’d want to hear myself.

    Good luck, and courage. Everything is going to be OK.

  5. Jackie replied:

    Wishing you the best possible everything, dear landismom, courage and grace and love and more.

    As far as blogging, I know I have been greatly shaped by the honest and true stories of parenting I have found on the internet, so I have no doubt that your story will be a lifeline for someone else, just as the act of writing it down may be a lifeline for you.

  6. Library Lady replied:

    I am so sorry to hear about all of you going through this, but I admire you so much for putting your kids needs first.
    If the two of you continue to parent together with that as your first priority, I know that you will be able to deal with whatever comes.

    I’m thinking about you and I’ll be watching you here, however the blog redevelops.

  7. Elizabeth replied:

    Sorry to hear that. I know if my husband and I split, the boys would probably stay with him, too. I look forward to reading your posts as you figure your way through this reconfigured life. And yes, I’m sure it will be harder on you than on the kids.

    There was a Brain Child essay a while back that you might find interesting: http://www.brainchildmag.com/essays/spring2009_read.asp

    Hugs

  8. Jennifer replied:

    I’m sorry to hear that landismom. I’m sure it must have been hard to get to this point. Like Elizabeth, if we split, the boys would stay with my husband, and I know that would be really hard to deal with.

    Best of luck with everything, and I hope you find some other bloggers out there. Its not exactly the same, but laid off dad and ask moxie have started a joint blog about their shared post separation parenting experiences, that looks good.

  9. jo(e) replied:

    These are tough decisions to make. Sending you a virtual hug.

  10. Library Lady replied:

    One more very important thing. You are not, not, NOT a “failure as a woman”. Again, you are putting your children’s interests first, which is the most important thing a mother can do.

    I have two sister-in-laws who were the custodial parents. My brother-in-laws could have done an equally good–or better job–as custodial parents. Instead, both did their darndest to cut the fathers out of the picture. They suffered and so have the kids.

    You’ve made a hard painful but you made it with love. And that’s being a GOOD mother!

  11. Jeff replied:

    This is heartbreaking news. I’m so sorry things between your husband and yourself have gotten to this point after so many years. You are totally not a failure for arriving at this decision, quite the opposite in all likelihood. To stay together, as it sounds like your folks did, and raise children in the shadow of an obviously unhealthy marriage could be far more detrimental (long term) to the well-being of the Bee and Sweet Potato.

    All the best going forward for you, LandisDad and the kids. Selfishly, I do look forward to the shift in focus to learn more about the pain/joy/overall experience of a parent in your new situation.

  12. Jennifer replied:

    Your blog helped me when I was a young parent, and I’m sure it will continue to help others.

    What a hard road! I’m sending positive vibes your way.

  13. Thordora replied:

    Fuck, shit happens when I’m busy and not reading. First, I’m so sorry. I know how it sucks.

    And I’m currently pondering moving out, giving the ex house and kids. And trying to figure out why men do it all the time with no guilt. We aren’t bad moms, but I am beginning to feel it.

    Ear is here should you need one. I read my email at least. :p

  14. Sophia replied:

    You are being very brave. The hardest choices we make are the ones that are for our children, even when it’s not what we might want ourselves… “the capacity to sacrifice is the soul of being a parent”. You are not less of a woman or less of a mother. You are strong and honest. Try to remember that : )

    Sophia

  15. Lee replied:

    Hi, I found you through another blog. I am writing an article on non custodial moms to help dispel the negative myths that surround those mothers that put their children’s needs first during or after divorce. I would love to talk with you. If you are interested, you can email me from above! Thanks!

    Lee

  16. Trasherati replied:

    Hi there, haven’t been over in a while – sending good thoughts your way.
    Laid off Dad (Doug French) and his ex are co-blogging about their co-parenting experience at http://whentheflamesgoup.com/

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