Thanks so much for coming by to check out Episode 93 of The New Family Podcast where my guest shares her unique approach to co-parenting through separation and divorce.
We’re joined for this episode by journalist and mom of two Jaimie Seaton. She recently wrote a story about her family for the Washington Post’s On Parenting section and it went crazy viral. The piece was titled, Daddy’s home: Why I let my ex live with us on weekends. Jaimie speaks candidly about the shocking way her marriage ended and the rocky emotional terrain she’s had to navigate through the divorce process. She shares how she’s been able to manage the pain, confusion and rage she felt when her world was turned upside down in order to co-parent so remarkably that her ex is able to stay with her and their teenage children on weekends.
Here are some great resources related to my discussion with Jaimie.
Jaimie’s Advice to People Embarking on Separation and Divorce
“I would say get ready for a very long, painful process. And whatever you think now will most likely evolve. Take it day by day and as much as possible, try to put your hurt and anger aside for your children. Try to imagine their pain. How hard it is to see their parents separating and to remember that they’re terrified because we’re the ones who keep them safe. I think it’s really important to try to demonstrate to them that the world has not stopped spinning. They will be okay. If you just can’t bear to be in the same room as your partner, and you’re so bad, just leave the room. Try to keep your kids shielded from it. But there’s also a caveat to that. It can be a teaching moment that, yeah, these things happen and this is how we deal with them. That was also part of my thinking with my kids, that I would teach them that horrible things happen but we have to stand up. We can’t lie in for years on end like a lot of people do and like I really wanted to. And for other advice, get as much support as you possibly can. If you can afford it go to a therapist but at least gather your friends around you.”
Jaimie’s Favourite Parenting Advice
“I thought about this and I wish I had something that was really profound but the piece of advice that sticks in my mind came from my mother when my daughter was a baby. I had just moved back from South Africa and trying to write and my husband was off working. And I was constantly worrying about making the house clean, making it look good, being the perfect mother. And my own mother said, ‘Do you ever get down on the floor and play with her?’ and I said, ‘No, I don’t have time for that; I have to do all of this…’ And she said, ‘You honestly should just let the house go because she doesn’t care and just get down on the floor and play with her.’ I’m sad to say that I ignored that advice and I think about it all the time. I should have forgotten about the house and gotten down on the floor with my daughter because I was never very good at playing with her. If I could do it again and go back to when they were toddlers I would focus not so much on what my house looked like or what my family looked like on the outside but just connecting with my children more on their level. But I’m learning! They’re trying to help me.”
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Photo: Jaimie and her husband in Singapore in 2011.
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