actually i have no idea how to quantify it, but there is some wonderful change-for-the-better in the works in coparenting land. as mentioned, there have been quite a few changes lately in our lives, and lately the daily transition times (change is our theme!) have been a bit more bumpy. since quinn was around 2, we have had multiple transitions a day between mama and dada. starting out, we had mama droppping off on work days, then stopping in to nurse down for naptime, then picking up at 5pm, 5 days a week, and a sunday evening drop off and pick up for dada time. we reduced my work schedule to four ten hour days a week when quinn was around 3, and sometime after that my presence at lunch/naptime was no longer needed. still, right up until this week there were transitions twice a day, six days a week. lately, wherever quinn is, or whoever he is with, is where/whom he doesn’t want to leave, and there has been a lot of resistance and some rugged, drawn out, pick ups and drop offs.
we’ve also been talking about re-initiating more overnights with dada. we did have a once-every-other-week thing going for a while, but that waned to nearly zero since my ten day research trip in june. summer is like that, it gets hectic. so overnights work into the new plan as well.
i was hesitant to introduce more change at this time, but i think it actually amounts to greater stability for quinn and in the bigger picture, results in less change to deal with on a daily basis. since it seems he has been experiencing the daily change as upheaval to some extent, this seems like a good time to alleviate some of that.
so, we just went from twelve transitions a week…. to FOUR. (66% higher quality of life, shazam!) quinn will have 2 overnights per week with dada, and we’ve scootched his normal evening times with dada (on some of mama’s non-work days) over to the days he’s already with dada. so he will have longer continuous stretches with both of us, without changing how much waking time he has already been spending apiece. he’ll now have two stretches with each of us per week, rather than two per day. and i will only have to see coparent 4 times in a week, and if you’ve been following along, you probably understand that that is a happy thing for me.
not least of the benefits, is that i will have one night a week now (thursday) where i have alone time when there are things i can participate in as if i have a social life. things like yoga class, music jam at the barn, and i think there might even be a tai chi class on thursdays, something i’ve been wanting to check out. my evenings alone up until now have been wednesday and sunday, which for whatever reason, happen to both be nights when all the sidewalks are rolled up in newport. not that thursday has some amazing rocking scene going on, but at least there’s yoga.
i find it interesting to note the feedback i’ve received on our new schedule. most of it is congratulatory, of course, but so many responses seem to fall into either the “tripping on the past” or “future tripping” categories. i have been feeling so “in the flow” and frankly, brilliant, coming up with this schedule that keeps so much the same for quinn yet is fundamentally better for all involved. and hearing things about how it would have been great if i’d come up with it sooner, or hopes that i’ve covered with coparent that it’s not just for while he has a girlfriend, and other sorts of what-if future scenarios, is sort of a bummer. when i analyze it for myself, it is happening at just the right time and season of our lives. yes, it’s true, this does simplify coparent’s life in a way that might grant him longer chunks of quality time with gf, but i think he’s pretty clear that i’m trying to simplify my own and quinn’s life as my main motivating factors. and if gf time is one of coparent’s motivating factors, then, well, that makes sense. but he has also expressed feeling bad that i have to do all the driving (wanting to reduce that burden) and also has quinn’s best interest at heart. he can see the struggle it has been for quinn, and quinn’s parents, at all the pick ups and drop offs, and he can see how this is going to relieve so much of that. and as for “why didn’t i think of this sooner?” up until this age, i’ve felt pretty strongly that seeing both of his parents on most days was highly beneficial for 2 and 3 year old quinn, in developing his attachment relationships with each of us. now that he is four and a half, he has a little more of a grasp of the days of the week and also a firmly established trust in the fact that mama always comes back, and that he will see dada again very soon. this is the right time, but not before. (for us. with all of this, i would never want anyone else to think they should be doing coparenting the way we are, if it doesn’t feel right… wee disclaimer there.)
i said in that recent coparenting post that we are writing our own manual… to be sure, standard “dissolution with children” legal scenarios offer guidelines for how to adjust parenting time schedules as the child reaches certain ages and milestones, so i’m not completely reinventing the wheel here. i appreciate our way, because we are able to lovingly personalize it to quinn’s unique timing and personality and milestones, rather than a format prepared by legal minds based on average families. and the fact that we are able to cooperatively come up with win-win solutions between two people between whom “it didn’t go so well” (as my therapist would say with a wry smirk) and leave all the legal adversarial stuff out of it, is where i think we’re deviating from the norm and forging ahead through uncharted territory.