By Chantel from @chantel.and.co
When you’re a fresh first-time mum you are bombarded with advice and opinions that can send you into a spin. You find yourself having to wade through it all, embracing what fits you. As for the rest you nod your head, smile and say “oh wow, that sounds great, thanks for sharing” and go on your way. One piece that always stuck with me is that parenthood is one of the most challenging, yet most rewarding things you’ll ever do in life. But no one ever warns you of the challenges you may face if everything doesn’t work out; if you find yourself, like the 30 odd percent of marriages in Australia, separated and splitting your home in two.
I’ll fast forward past the roller coaster of emotions and heated negotiations (all the while trying to limit the exposure and affect on the child/ren) to where I am now. I am fortunate enough to manage a reasonably amicable relationship with my ex-husband, with a shared objective of making Henley’s life between his two homes as consistent and seamless as possible. We regularly discuss things like behaviour, routine, development, discipline and parenting strategies so we’re all on the same page.
We share custody 50/50, but believe Henley isn’t quite old enough to go a full week without one parent yet so we’ve landed on a 5-2-2-5 routine that suits us. To break that down - I always have Henley on Monday and Tuesday nights, he’s with his dad every Wednesday and Thursday night, and then we rotate the three nights of the weekend each week. It sounds complex, and it kind of is, so I have Henley’s routine in my calendar on my phone so I can keep on top of it. But that isn’t much help for the little person in the middle of this who it affects the most. I started to get anxious questions from Henley about who was picking him up from kindy each day (kindy is our drop off/pick up transfer – one parent will drop off in the morning and the other will pick up in the afternoon on swap over days); so when I saw the Little Agenda and Co-Parenting tile packs from Second Scout I thought that would be the perfect tool for Henley to keep on top of his routine and ease his anxiety.
Not only are they aesthetically beautiful and match our décor brilliantly, but the pictures are so easy for young ones to interpret, and the magnetic tiles are great for little fingers. Now Henley and I sit down and plan his week together. He’s part of the process and the routine resonates with him as he puts the tiles on each day. I also give him some ownership by letting him pick which days we go to the park or walk the dog for example. Now he comes out into the kitchen each morning and looks for himself what his day brings or counts how many sleeps until he changes homes. We’ve also recently introduced some age-appropriate chores for Henley so the Routine Helper sets clear expectations on his agenda and responsibilities; and as he has started using the Second Scout tools at his Dads house too we can continue to have a consistent approach between the two homes.
I’m not going to lie, Co-parenting can be hard work both mentally and emotionally, but the Second Scout Little Agenda with Co-Parenting tile pack and Routine Helper are great tools to support your little ones and make the transition that bit easier for everyone.
Find Chantel at https://www.instagram.com/chantel.and.co/