The children have adapted well to the new arrangements and I think this is helped by the fact that their dad and I communicate well.
I've been asked by some other single parents how I've managed this, and I'm not sure there is a secret to share. I guess a lot of it comes down to our personalities - I think I'm a relatively laid back person (do let me know if you disagree!). I'm very proud of myself with how I've dealt with the situation over the past 2 years or so.
Littlest as a baby :)
Immediately after the split I had the children 6 nights a week as he had moved back into his parents house and he wasn't able to take them any more than that. Once he moved into his own rented house, he increased the number of nights and we're now at a 50/50 split. I certainly would never try and stop him seeing the children, which I've heard happen in some cases. He's their father and I'm very happy that he's playing an active role in their upbringing.
The arrangement for the weekends isn't ideal and we both know this will need to change before August when our son starts school. At the moment the kids are with their dad 6 out of every 8 weekend days. The reason for this is that I'm off work on a Thursday and Friday so I spend all day with them then (although it's mainly spent going to classes, swimming lessons, nursery drop-offs/pick-ups etc). I'm hoping that we can move to an even split soon and this is under discussion.
Outside of the day-to-day arrangements, we have shared birthday parties for the kids where my family and his will get together to celebrate, eat cake etc. We're currently in the process of organising a party for the littlest who turns 3 in April.
I was at his house on Christmas morning to see the kids open their presents from Santa.
Christmas morning 2013
When he picks the kids up, or vice versa, we'll sometimes have a quick cup of tea or whatever and catch up.
Initially I was of the opinion that doing things just the four of us was confusing for the kids, but I'm now glad that we did and I do think it is in their best interests that we can do things together.
I've just recently set up a shared calendar to allow us to view appointments, school holidays etc. This was suggested to me by another single mum and I'm hoping that it will further improve our communication.
I'm learning that if I'm not happy with something, rather than bottling it up I will make a telephone call to their dad to discuss. Likewise, I think he'd do the same.
We had a chat over the phone before R met the kids. We didn't agree, but we at least discussed it.
I personally prefer email as a means of communication. It allows me to consider my words carefully, and I can walk away and come back to it prior to sending if need be. But the negative point is that emails and texts may be taken the wrong way. (I personally tend to read out emails in my head prior to sending them to make sure they read ok).
What's difficult is dealing with questions from the kids, and my son who is now 4.5 years old is now asking why his mum and dad live in different houses whereas his other friends have a mummy and daddy in the same house. Whereas previously it was just accepted.
I replied and said that some mummies and daddies live together and some live separately, and that both was ok. I also texted their dad to tell him about this because then if he gets the same questions he'll know how I responded.
What are your thoughts, and do you have any tips for amicable co-parenting?