It’s officially happened.

Noah’s mom and I have reached the first point in our co-parenting relationship where we have to drastically alter the way we are able to share custody of Noah.

Kindergarten is coming up in the fall, and that means Noah can’t switch back and forth as often as he has been. We’ve learned in his two years of preschool that it’s very difficult for him to focus on school, homework, and whatnot when he’s going back and forth between houses every day. Information gets lost in the shuffle. Important things don’t always get shared with both parents. And even at such a young age it just doesn’t work. I can only imagine it will get worse as he gets older.

The hard reality is that one of us has to give up some of our time with him so that he can have the stability of one house during the school week.

The problem… Neither one of us wanted to be the parent that gave that up. Some of the only arguments we’ve had in the past were times when we both wanted to make sure we were getting our fair share with our son. It’s hard enough for both of us to be without him half the time. Take him away more than that and it seems like a straight-up tragedy.

We went back and forth for several days for a lot of hours trying to work this one out.

And in the end, parents who really love their kids do what’s best for their kids, no matter how bad it sucks for themselves.

And so was the case with Noah.

When it boils down to it, and as much as I don’t want to admit it, his other home probably is a better place for him to spend the school week. His mom is a stay at home mom, and she doesn’t have to worry about bringing in an income. She doesn’t have to travel as much as I do. She’ll be able to help him with his homework, help out in his classroom, and be there for him more than I will if I have to bring in a living in-between it all.

I argued about all that. I wanted to be the stay at home dad once school starts. I wanted to be the one that took him to school and picked him up again. I wanted to be the one who got to see all his school projects first. I wanted to be the one who he first tells about his schoolyard adventures and struggles every afternoon.

But in the end, parents who really love their kids do what’s best for their kids, no matter how bad it sucks for themselves.

Of course, there was the argument that really frustrated me more than anything. The “it’s better for him to have a complete family the majority of the time” argument. At his other home he has a mom, a dad, a big sister, and a little brother. At our house he has a dad.

Was I selfish in believing and arguing that the different family dynamics didn’t matter? In saying that he doesn’t need to be with his baby brother as often as his mom believes he does? In declaring that having me the majority of the time is just as important as having any of them?

I don’t know.

But in the end, parents who really love their kids do what’s best for their kids, no matter how bad it sucks for themselves.

Sigh.

It’s times like this that the suckiness of divorce really hits home. Times when, because you do love your kid, you end up getting to see a lot less of him.

I just have to have faith that two things are true.

First, we’re dealing with now, not forever. As he grows and ages, things might change and it might be better for him to be with me during the school week.

Second, seeing less of him doesn’t mean that things are all that different from how they necessarily would be. I mean, they may be at first, but as kids age the truth is that they need their parents less and less. Friends become a big part of their life. They start doing the majority of their schoolwork on their own. They get their own extracurricular time-consuming activities. And, they become more or less independent.

I just don’t know if I’m ready to concede to it all. I don’t know if I’m ready for life to change on me.

I don’t know if I’m ready for my kid to grow up just yet.

I don’t know if I’m ready for my kid not to need me the way he always has.

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

PS. Has school starting been difficult for any of you as parents? How have you worked it out? Have you felt trapped between what you want and what you feel is best for your kid?

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Dan Pearce is an American-born author, app developer, photographer, and artist. This blog, Single Dad Laughing, is what he's most known for, with more than 1.4 million daily subscribers as of 2017. Pearce writes mostly humorous and introspective works, as well as his musings which span from fatherhood, to dating, to life, to the people and dynamics of society. Single Dad Laughing is much more than a blog. It's an incredible community of people just being real and awesome together!