I solidly think of myself as being a single parent, BUT, my kids hate that term. They have a hard time wrapping their heads around that because as far as they are concerned, they have TWO parents, so how could I be a single parent. At the same time, I think of myself as supporting my kids and supporting a household, but they really have two parents and two households and rightfully feel as though they are being cared for and supported by both. Over the years, I’ve had to learn how to separate my own identity and ideas about being a single parent from my children’s. I’ve had to learn that while I have one house and one family, in some ways, they actually have two.
I think we can create a great deal of peace and understanding for our children if we are able to see that they are really living in two worlds. The more we can help bring those worlds together into one cohesive whole, the better off our kids will be. While I may think of my house as “home” and the other house as my kids’ “dad’s house”–they really think of both of them as home and that is how it should be.
I’m the first person to admit how incredibly hard it can be to see things from our children’s perspective when we’re trying so hard to reorganize our own understanding of what it means to be a family after a divorce. I definitely felt an urge to “claim” my children and in my attempts to recreate stability and belonging, I had to really struggle with making room for the “other house” in my post-divorce world. But, for the sake of my kids, I could see that they needed both houses to be home and for us to find a way to be a family even if we weren’t all together in the “traditional” way.