In the event of a divorce or separation, we all experience a wave of emotions, for a range of reasons. For those who have children, often the children are overlooked in terms of their needs, and are seen rather in the ‘needs & wants’ of the parents themselves.
Be it what ‘suits’ each party, or in cases of non-amicable breakups, to use the children as ‘pawns’ in the game of vindictive behaviour – warranted or not – it needs to be remembered who the most important people in the process are – our children.
As a parent, separated or not, we have a responsibility to keep our children safe, fed, educated and emotionally supported. While going through a separation is never easy, it is of paramount importance that our children are taken care of. It’s about what’s in the children’s best interests, not ours.
A key tool and relief of a pain point to separation is a calendar for parenting. As the name suggests, it is a calendar with all the children’s requirements, mapped out and visual, so you and your former partner can work together to provide the best out of the situation for your children.
Thanks to technology, there are a wide range of apps available, such as SharedCare, Parentship and FamCal, that provide a collaborative and digital approach to managing children and getting your life back on track.
A calendar can be a visual depiction of a custody schedule.
But it isn’t just about the technology – which I will discuss in a further article – it is about creating a visual depiction of either a written or verbally agreed on custody schedule. By doing this – with or without the use of an app – it provides complete transparency and accountability for both parties. In addition, if mediators, lawyers and judges are involved in the custody, it allows them to easily ensure that the rulings are being enacted in a fair and equitable way.
From a parent’s point of view, adjusting to the new life without fulltime custody of your children can be difficult. There is the daily hustle and bustle of work, family, social and wellbeing commitments that we all engage in on a day-to-day basis, some regular and structured, others not so much.
With a calendar in place, parents can ensure they are committing to activities that is within the scope of their parenting plan or agreement. Or, should the relationship be at such a stage, work with the former partner/other parent at seeking a swap or alternative arrangement.
By introducing a calendar for parenting into a newly separated family life, your responsibilities can be fulfilled; while you personally can get your life back onto the path you wish it to take – new job, new partner, new life. All this can be achieved, without negating what should be the most important thing in your life, your children.
Sadly, there are countless stories of custody battles, one parent negating their responsibilities or failing to collect children – leaving them vulnerable in public places as it “wasn’t my day to pick them up”. Don’t let that happen to your your little ones, as tough as it may be at first to work out and work through, a calendar for parenting in the long run will benefit you, your former partner and your little people.