It’s early August and school will be starting soon (it has actually already started for our son). The kids will have practice or lessons after school, and they may be juggling their stuff between two households.
I know there are worse things in life than heading out the door and having Joey or Susie say, “I left my trumpet at Mom’s (or Dad’s) house.”
But the morning that happens…well, it doesn’t seem like things could be much worse.
Here’s the deal…
I’ve been there.
I’ve done this.
I’ve LIVED this.
The tension in these situations is REAL.
But there IS hope. The back and forth between households was a problem my husband and I wanted to tackle. We wanted the transition between homes to be as smooth and stress-free as possible.
We came up with three important strategies that worked for us.
Maybe they will help you navigate your “between-home waters” this school year.
- Limit trivial conversations. We made the kids take responsibility for books, uniforms, band instruments, whatever to avoid multiple trips between houses. We reduced our interaction over trivial matters with the exes to devote our energies to peaceful conversations on things that mattered most.
- Limit unnecessary interactions. As stepparents, we didn’t attend every event for every child. If the other biological parent was going to be there, there was no reason to always put ourselves through an uncomfortable situation with an ex-spouse just a few rows over. Attend the important stuff, show your support, but choose wisely when the situation allows for a choice.
- Limit family activities and expectations. Do everyone a favor on transition day and limit your activities. There is enough emotional turmoil in the child’s life without adding extra things to do.
What do you do to lessen the “between household” tension?
This is a revision of an article I originally wrote for Focus on the Family. You can read the original article here.