Tuesday, 14 May 2013

When Bairns Come Last

Woman On Bus (sulkily): Why don't you like staying at my flat? No internet? No telly? No three tellies?

Little Girl (quietly): I got used to sleeping at the old place.

Stranger Lady in Front of Them (thinking furiously): Here's a modest proposal. Why don't divorced/split-up parents let the children live in their old home, and they shuttle back and forth to the children's home, instead of forcing their children to shuttle back and forth between Mum's Place and Dad's Place? If the parents can't afford a bachelor pad each plus their old home, why don't they time-share a flat? Mummy gets the bachelor pad on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (date night!), and Dad gets it Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays (date night!). They can alternate on the Sundays.  That way the completely powerless children, who did not choose for their parents to split-up, don't have to suffer all the instability of shuttling back and forth. The parents do. And then there will be no more snarky "What? My flat's not good enough for you?" remarks from sadly immature adults to their sadly mature children on the bus.

Neighbours. Not actually deaf.


MaryJane said...

This is an excellent suggestion. It was also made in the book "Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce" - a great read on this topic.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher I saw many sad examples of kids caught in the middle of their parent's divorce - parents who acted like children around each other, books and instruments left at the wrong house, parents stopping kids from participating in activities because it was "their time" with the kids etc.
There was one family I knew who did just what you suggested above. While it was not a perfect situation, gosh were those kids happy. It was also a delight to see both parents come to concerts etc and be friendly with each other! They had clearly decided that their children were not going to pay the price for their marriage breakup and I must say, I admired them for it.

Aussie Girl in NZ

Anonymous said...

While this idea is nice in theory, I can't see this work in most divorce cases. For starters, both have to be, well, kind people. They both have to care more about their kids than they care about themselves. And they should still get along pretty well. If these three conditions are met, it could work, but then I don’t really see why they should get a divorce in the first place.
While I understand where you’re coming from, your post is quite hurtful to people who got a divorce because they had no choice. Like a friend who finally decided to fled her abusive husband when she got a baby. Or my mother who got a divorce from a psychopath so my brother wouldn’t grow up in an environment where humiliation and verbal abuse are the norm. Or the woman who got dumped by her husband for his much, much younger colleague (should he bring her with him when they stay at the house?). And yes, all these men have joint custody of their children.

Seraphic said...

I was thinking of parents and children in the same circumstances as the woman and child behind me on the bus seemed to be.

As someone who went through a divorce herself, I know perfectly well how nasty divorce can be. And I remember that one of my readers mentioned that she and her sibling begged her mother to get a divorce from their abusive father. That's not the situation I was thinking of.

Meanwhile, I cannot imagine why judges ever thought shuttling a child between two homes, so that--as a norm--he or she never has one home to call his or her own, was a good idea.

My reaction was entirely based on the eyebrow-raising conversation behind me.