Having divorced parents is nothing to be ashamed of. It's 2018. Having divorced parents these days has become a normal part of modern day family life.
My parents have been divorced since I was 3-4 years old (to be honest, I don't know exactly when). But I have never known a life when my mother and father happily lived in the same home. And I'm okay with that. My whole childhood was based on scheduling when my sisters and I were to be with Mom and when to be with Dad. Having divorced parents is the only life I know, and I don't care. Two homes did not destroy me, nor did it affect my ability to be the individual I want to be.
If you have a similar story to mine, or recently going through the struggle of your parents' divorce, you'll know what these few things are like in your everyday life.
1. The every-other weekend schedule
The first weekend of the month is with dad. Second with mom. Third with dad, and so forth. You get it. And it repeats all over again with the start of each month. You get in the habit of packing your Vera Bradley bag to bring to dad's every other weekend and tugging it along to elementary school for the day. Then having to explain why you can't hang out with a friend that weekend because you'll be at another parent's house.
2. That feeling when you forget something at the other parent's house
For me, it was an item within the school's required uniform that I had to have every day. Like my sweater vest (dark times) at my mom's when I needed it the next day but I was staying with my dad who lives quite a distance from mom. That became a sticky situation when I had to suck it up and go to school without it then continue to explain to everyone why I didn't have the sweater vest... *sigh* Or even worse — the phone charger!
3. Your parents are constantly bickering with each other
If your parents are anything like mine, they bicker A LOT. Constantly complaining about the other, putting you in an awkward position. And then you and your siblings become the middle-men between the two parents because they can't speak to one another civilly.
4. Then you may feel like you have to chose sides
When one parent is complaining about the other, and you have to sit there quietly and agree. Then when you're back with the opposite, you agree with whatever trash-talking they're saying now. Again, you're in an awkward position, being flippant in which side to be on just to please your parents.
5. "Ask your mom." and "Ask your dad."
Ah, that moment when you need to buy something for school (i.e. knee high socks) and they reply with this comment. Or worse when they both respond with it! Or that time I needed to sell some Girl Scout Cookies, who would help young little girl me go door to door begging strangers to buy cookies from children? Dividing up responsibilities became an interesting game.
6. On that note, dividing up EVERYTHING
Holidays and important events. Halloween with Dad, Thanksgiving with Mom, Christmas Eve with Mom, Christmas Day with Dad, New Years with Mom — wow, I'm getting whiplash! Consistency during this time is almost impossible. You're switching back and forth as a young child; you can hardly keep multiplication straight — how are you expected to keep your schedule straight?!
7. And birthday's for that matter
For my siblings and I, that is always a fun game of who, what, where, and how. So keep up with me here: I'm a twin and we have a younger sister. Two birthdays to sort out. Younger sister in May and us in June. OK, seems like we can sort something out... Think again! My twin and I share a birthday with our dad! Now what? So we have to decide if we are spending our birthday with the mother that gave us life or the person we share a birthday with. To be honest, still to this day I don't know how we get anything sorted out.
8. Big events and where to seat them
So, we've all had those silly school plays where we dress up as a tree and our parents come support us while we shine in the spotlight. However, do they sit together and who do you see afterward? For me, I still struggle with this question. From graduation to a performance with my sorority, where do I put them without them ripping each other's heads off? Baylor has this traditional homecoming show called Pigskin — tickets sell FAST. And it's not something you can be picky about. This year, I'm a dancing yellow flower (I swear, this is college). So I had to buy a set of tickets together — as again beggars can't be choosers. Three seats. Two divorced parents. One younger sister. How do we arrange that? Mom, Sister, Dad. Let's keep the bickering to a minimum and be here for the love of the daughter.
9. Friends with married parents just don't quite understand
Yeah, all parents fight. Every household is unique. But when your friends have happily married parents, they don't get what it's like growing up in a split household. It's a completely different style of childhood. There's some drama and a lot of confusion. Sometimes explaining how your life works hurts their head — hurts mine too at times. It's so much more complex to be on sides of parents and scheduling time to see your parent. It's not an easy lifestyle. But it wasn't our choice. It's just not the same life as your friend with coupled parents.
10. Everything happens for a reason
It wasn't the choice of the children for the parents to divorce, but that doesn't change that fact that it happened. We have to accept this lifestyle and embrace our unique situation. Maybe our lives would have been totally different if our parents stayed together. But guess what: who cares? Because of their divorce, we are presented with so many other opportunities in life. We can appreciate love and value the inner working of family. The divorce happened for a reason and there's nothing wrong with that. It's called life.