Archive for the ‘co-parenting’ Category

This morning, in the chaos that is this week, located in the chaos that is this month/year, I received a tearful, panicked call at work from my 8yr old informing me that he had been left at home alone. His father had collected his sister for an appointment but had somehow left him behind, assuming that my fiance would be there. It is the kind of misunderstanding that occurs easily with co-parenting, and particularly so with rather uncommunicative exes.

While my fiance was driving back to my son, something my fiance could do because he is off work recovering from surgery, I promised to stay on the line with my son until they were reunited. But because I was also chairing a meeting at work, I had to put my phone on ‘speaker’ and place it beside me on the boardroom table. My son, still gulping back worried little tears, listened to my voice in the interim for comfort and safety.

I moved the team through the agenda seamlessly, pausing briefly to whisper ‘I love you’ and sign off, when I heard my son being greeted and comforted by my fiance in the background. No-one noticed and I continued on with the current crises at work.

It struck me as this sad little absurd moment of multi-tasking, work-life balancing, women can have it all-ing – all the more poignant because no-one realised.

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Years ago there was this silly British comedy film made by the Monty Python team called Erik the Viking. There’s a scene in it where the vikings have set off on a terrifying quest to the edge of their world. One of the vikings has anxiety and has never fit in properly with the others. As the quest becomes more challenging the vikings begin talking about these horrible unfamiliar sensations they are experiencing – queasiness, heart-racing etc. “That’s fear”, says the anxious viking. “You’re feeling fear. That’s what I feel all the time”, he says delightedly.

Just as these vikings were culturally inexperienced with fear, so too my boyfriend seems culturally unaccustomed to anger. It’s been a curious experience for me to observe someone so, apparently, peaceful. Because I come from a family almost proudly angry. Artist parents get quite angry and there is little effort made to contain it. It just erupts and recedes. Not all of it is productive anger but neither is all of it seen as destructive.

Besides, anger happens regardless of how comfortable you are with expressing it. And seems particularly inevitable when you are juggling work, study, co-parenting, step-parenting and new relationships, as Seth is.

Lately I have been teasing him when I see him tense up. “That’s anger. You’re feeling angry. That’s what I feel all the time,” I say.

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1. Went to the art gallery the other day with my kids and I kicked it off with a joyful little sermon before leaving about how I would not be buying any food at exorbitant gallery prices and that we would be there for the long haul, touring two galleries and to take some responsibility for themselves because enough already. And you know what? They then cooked and prepared their own picnic of healthy snacks to take with them and were the talk of effing Gallery of Modern Art with their little check-in bento stack. And if I then did not bask in parental pride like I was the goddamn business.

2. Cormac, aged 6yrs: Mum are you broke at the moment?
Me: A bit, yes.
Cormac: That’s a bit suspicious, isn’t it?
Me: Why?
Cormac (smirking): I think you bought the Santa presents.

3. Oh the serenity in the evening of kids restrained from computers, suddenly let loose on screens.

4. Beautiful observation from Lauca, my 10 yr old daughter who lives half time at her dad’s house which is multi-generational and includes her 98 yr old grandmother – “She doesn’t really keep time with time anymore”.

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