Is it just me that goes through this as a parent?
I never planned to get divorced. The same way I never planned on having kids and not living with them. Unfortunately life had different plans and with four kids aged 7 and under, my then-wife and I split and I moved out.
We’ve remained on fairly good terms ever since, and although the first few months of not living with the kids was horrendously hard, it’s unfortunate that I’m now used to it.
I see them often. They spend every other weekend with me, and I’m only down the road too. The eldest two, aged 14 and 12, have their own keys to my place and pretty much come and go when they see fit.
I also have the kids for a full week every year, and I’m just coming to the end of that week now.
It’s always a stressful time. Having four kids running riot in a small flat isn’t ideal by any stretch of the imagination. When you throw in time restrictions, such as having to get ready to go to school, as well as the hormones that are present in everyone, not least of all teenagers (and pre-teens, judging by my lot.) it’s even worse.
This year has been a little different from normal though. This year has seen the eldest two spend a lot more time with their friends, and less time with me.
It’s sad in a way. I miss not spending time with them – at least, as much time as I used to – but I’m also happy that they are out with friends and enjoying themselves.
There are still times that they get told they have to do certain things. Namely cleaning up, or going to visit people that they don’t want to see, but overall we seem to get by without too much hassle.
I grew up as an only child and I think the thing that shocks me most about all four of mine is how outgoing they are. They aren’t afraid of sticking up for themselves – or others – which is a fantastic trait to have, but it also means that we have scenes akin to World War 3 on an almost daily basis when one considers that another has slighted them.
I try and act as referee, but ultimately this just leads to even more fighting at even louder levels than before.
There isn’t a door that remains unslammed in the flat, nor a piece of flooring that hasn’t been grumpily stomped across in temper.
Yet despite all this, I’m going to miss them when they go back to their mum’s house. I know I’ll see them again next weekend. I also know that we’re likely to have our first argument before we reach the end of the road, but that’s just an age thing, right?
Tell me: is it just me that goes through this as a parent?