When you’re raising children in different households after a New Mexico divorce or separation, the scope of work for each parent usually expands immediately. As your children move between you and your co-parent’s homes, the physical responsibilities of raising them go from one parent to the other. This ends up contracting and expanding the responsibilities each parent has based on where the kids are at any given moment.
Bedtime routines, extracurricular activities, play dates and more can impact your household routine as the parenting time moves between the two homes. On top of that, the exact same thing can happen in reverse when your children go to their co-parent’s house, leaving your home a bit quieter. While you likely understand and fully accept these responsibilities and tasks for the sake of your children, it still can seem like a lot in a single-parent home. When you find your routine changing along with your parenting time, try these three tips to help handle the transition to being the sole parent in your home.
Re-commit to your parenting time
Having an “empty nest” become a full house is a pretty big dynamic switch, and it can feel a little overwhelming when you’re easing into a shared parenting routine. Committing and accepting these household dynamic ebbs and flows is the best course of action. Make sure you place your children’s needs and their routines over your own routine. This may mean having to do things like recording your favorite show for other nights so you can watch more family-friendly programs when your kids are there and making plans with friends on dates when the children are with your co-parent, but it is worth it.
Accept your work scope during your parenting time without bitterness. This won’t be easy at first because this is not a simple transition by any means, but you’ll feel less stressed and upset if you work toward accepting your new dynamic at home.
Talk about your children’s needs
While your work scope in a one-parent household might feel daunting, working together with your co-parent can make it more manageable. Keep an open dialogue with your co-parent when it comes to your children’s needs. Keep each other prepared about surprise factors or issues related to your child. Not only can this help reduce your work scope at home, but it will also help keep things running more smoothly for your children. When you and your co-parent share all the details that can help both of you keep a healthy and peaceful environment for your children no matter where they are, everyone will benefit. Create a system so the information is easily accessible and organized when you need to access it.
Don’t forget you have needs of your own
You may always want your children with you, but that’s not how shared parenting works. Use the time you’re alone to take better care of yourself. Go out with friends, take a trip and do all the other things you want to do that don’t involve your children. Get things done around the house that are easier to do when the kids aren’t around and handle your personal appointments. When you reduce the amount of work outside of parenting, you’ll have more time and energy to focus on your children when they’re at your home.
Parenting is work to begin with, and this work is magnified when you’re the only parent in your home. Use the tips above to make the shared parenting time you have run as smoothly as possible and to help narrow the scope of work you have in your single-parent household.