As a blogger, I see a lot of other blogs detailing happy, shiny, perfect-looking family lives with 2.2 kids, a wonderfully supportive husband and happy, breastfed, home-schooled kids playing outside in the fresh air. Okay, I’m generalising a bit but you get the point. But what about the families that don’t fit into this mold? Where are the blogs that represent them? I definitely fit into this category.
This week, I drove my ten year old son 200 miles to a service station where I met his father and my ex-husband. We exchanged a few tensely polite, absolutely necessary sentences with one another, I kissed Zak goodbye and watched him drive off for a week with his father. I sat and cried in Costa coffee as I do about three times a year (if we’re lucky) wishing that things had turned out differently and that my darling boy didn’t have to spend his holidays being ferried around between different houses. I know how anxious he gets on the run up to seeing his father. A mixture of nerves, excitement and homesickness which just breaks my heart. I let him go because for him, it’s the right thing to do and if I’m totally honest I still feel guilty that he doesn’t have a “perfect” family of his own. He loves his father and he wants to see him and that’s enough for me. Anyway, I digress. As I looked around that miserable, overpriced Costa coffee I realised that there were other broken families making the exact same, semi-silent, emotional exchange with their precious little ones. How had I not noticed this before? Do we all sit there feeling sorry for ourselves, crying into our lattes and wishing we had a more traditional setup?
Divorce is mostly a messy business and usually the children take the brunt of it. I speak from experience. An experience that very nearly broke me and my boy. I expect that is where a lot of my guilt and sadness stem from but six or more years on we are mostly healed and are part of a new family. For Zak, that means step brothers, a step father and a half sister as well as a whole host of extra Easter eggs from this new, extended family. We share a lot of love, we laugh, we fight and we make up just like anybody else. Families these days are diverse and colourful and can be made up of much more than just blood. They also come with their own unique set of challenges. So come on, lets see more blogs about this – I want to read about the ups and downs of single parents, of the challenges faced co-parenting through divorce, what it’s really like to raise kids as a gay couple and all of the other varied family set ups out there. I don’t want to feel like the only one who doesn’t have a traditional, shiny “perfect” family when I know I’m not.