One thing I think a lot of parents feel awkward after deciding to end the relationship is the split for the school holidays. On one hand if you are confidently co-paring and in partnership with your ex partner they can be managed really well, particularly if you’re both working parents as neither one should have to take all of their holiday or foot the bill for holiday childcare (in theory). You may have an agreement more similar to mine though where you’re not really co-parenting for many reasons due to the nature of the previous relationship or distance. For me, it’s both.
I moved back to my home town with Evangeline when I became a single parent which is around 100 miles away from her dad. So when it comes to the day to day it’s down to me to do everything, with the help of Adam of course, but before Felix came along I was clearly the parent and Adam the partner. Evie would dance off to her dads with glee at all the presents she would be given, all the sweets and sugar and fun days out. I am, as my friend Jade at The Parenting Jungle said the everyday mummy.
So in these last almost seven years the split of the school holidays has been both hard and a relief. It’s been hard because it’s more than the every other weekend which has provided me with a chance to shop in peace or go out without the need for a babysitter with Adam. It’s been hard knowing that my daughter is having fun without me and doing things that I can not provide her with as frequently. It’s knowing that every six weeks or so she has an extended break from me, from everyday mummy, from routine which means when she is home there’s another adjustment period. It’s been a relief because it’s been a bit of respite for me, it’s been a chance for me to have private time with Adam which has helped our relationship grow into the loving and strong partnership it is today. It’s given us time to get to know each other as individuals not parents. It’s given me the break that mums want from time to time to catch their breathe whilst knowing their child is being well looked after.
Things feel different now that we have another child in the home. Evangeline and Felix are really developing a bond and whilst of course I don’t want her to miss out on time with her Dad and his family, I also don’t want her to feel like she’s missing out on the things we will be doing here as a family too now that our cinema dates are going to be swapped for baby bedtime routines and soft play once again.
Our plan over the term time holidays is quite simple really. For one week half terms Evangeline is away for four nights and five days. When it comes to Christmas Evangeline either goes the day she finishes school until Boxing Day or Boxing Day until New Years Day. For the Easter break she has six nights with her dad and then amongst her weekends away over the summer holiday she also spends two weeks of the six weeks with him. In comparison, especially over the summer holidays, she is still with us the majority of the time which can be quite tough as like most parents we can’t afford to do something fun and exciting every day. We have a summer holiday booked and I’m sure we will make a few day trips but mostly Adam we will still be working, doing the usual trips to the park, seeing family and having PJ Days.
Being the ordinary parent, the basic parent, the one that meets the day to day needs, the school runs, the constant battle to tidy her room, take your plate out please, put your rubbish in the bin kind of mum I don’t really know if Evangeline enjoys her break time with me. It certainly feels like she prefers her time with her dad which is more exciting as it’s not the ordinary, the routine and the mundane. It makes seperating from her during the holidays harder because amongst missing her I feel jealous that I can’t give her more. I just hope that as she gets older she appreciates that we are doing the best we can to give her a fun, enjoyable and balanced childhood.