8 Tips for non resident parenting – Here they come!
I thought I’d end the month with some posts about being a separated (or non resident) parent. In this first post I wanted to share my check-list for making sure that the boys are going to make it through the weekend alive.
1. Make the call
When I first separated four years ago I didn’t understand the importance of talking to my boys about what they wanted. Like many other newly separated parents I chose activities I thought they would enjoy without thinking to ask them A great recommendation by their mum was to have a regular call with them in between days to pick up ideas about what they were interested in doing.
2. Work from a list
As soon as I hit thirty I quickly realised that the my short term memory wasn’t up to the task for being a parent. Inside my wardrobe door is a list for practically everything. My boys weekends list starts; 1. Chocs; 2. Clean clothes; 3. Charge tablet, and so on… In addition I have a separate shopping list for days that the boys are with me to make sure I’ve got the right cereals and a ready supply of bottled drinks they can help themselves too etc.
3. Stick to the plan
Another mistake I made when I first separated was to fill every weekend with exciting activities; cinema, bowling, or something similar. It was months before I started to realise that a regular routine filled with lots of breaks to relax and chat was much better received. After all the boys only see me at weekends so they’re more interested in having time with me than racing around from one activity to the next.
4. Play dates and mates
As a separated parent it’s much to easy to ostracise yourself from other parents to avoid awkward conversations. I was lucky enough last year to have a fabulous play ground mum approach me and arrange some play dates for James. This has been really popular with James, but just as importantly gives me more time to bond with George. I can’t recommend this enough.
5. No cure like a good nights sleep
Simple as it sounds, eight hours sleep the night before can really pay dividends when you’re about to have little ones buzzing around you with a hundred and one questions. There is only so much coffee can do after all!
6. Carry out some recon
A few minutes spent on the internet the weekend before gain produce some amazing finds. Rather than rinse and repeat the same activities, you can find out about local clubs and one of festivals that are taking place nearby, and maybe even find money off entries or refreshments.
7. Become a subscriber
Following number 6, I found that if i subscribed to distribution lists for local companies I got notified of other local activities, and savings that I wouldn’t normally come across by scanning the internet. Better still many local companies reward subscribers with special members offers.
All important. Consider how far you are from payday and what’s left in the month’s budget buying those theme park tickets, or computer game.
Whether it’s the weekend or a week night you can guarantee that the you’ll always forget something, or you’ll encounter a life emergency! Hopefully something from the list above will help you out, and if so I hope you’ll feedback below.