Sunday, March 30, 2014

They Nest No More

For the last four years, my children have "nested." When my co-parent and I divorced we kept the kids stable in a home and we moved in and out.  So, during a time of great transition my kids maintained much of their lives including home, neighborhood, friends, schools, and even the bus stop.  While rare, I have heard of a few other nests and actually know of another one starting here in my town.

But now, our nest is coming to an end.  My co-parent is moving into his own space and I will be in the house full-time.

Why did I want to nest my children?  It is no secret that divorce is a great time of transition for children.  Often they believe everything is fine and are shocked to find out their parents are not actually happy.  They also are wondering about new living arrangements, how schedules are going to work, how often they will get to see their parents, as well as a myriad of other concerns.  A nest takes some of that confusion away for them.  While schedules do change there is consistency in their lives.

This consistency also includes having all of their "stuff" in one place.  When we started the nest my middle daughter liked to sleep with her favorite blanket ("woobie").  I didn't ever want woobie to be forgotten, along with swim bags, musical instruments, favorite shoes, or a homework assignment.  My children were young and I saw all of that packing as a bit overwhelming on them.

What are the con's?  Mostly, the cons fall on the parent side of the nest.  As an adult, you are not living in one location all of the time.  My "stuff" had a central location at the nest but when I wasn't with my kids I was packing and going elsewhere.  It was hard to know what I was going to be doing and what I needed each week.  It got  bit cumbersome in the winter with snowboots, sweaters, and such.   Parents  also need another place to stay when they are not with their children - like an apartment, and this can be expensive.  You can live with a significant other, your own parents, or friends.  All options are accompanied with a financial commitment and some awkwardness.

And, as adults, you need to be aware that as you move on with your life, well, to others it will look weird.  Your new significant others will need to understand the nest, and that you may not have a place to share with them.  There is one con on the kids side which I was recently shocked to learn about from my own daughter.  Your kids may feel really awkward about the nest.  In an age with 50% of all children living between two homes, my kids have reported this situation was weird to explain.  A few nosy people would question my kids wondering how it all worked.

So besides a pile of money you also need to be aware that you will be sharing a house with your former significant other.  Someone is going to have to own the house or you will have to have a co-ownership agreement in place.  This could all get fairly awkward considering the fact that your relationship didn't work out when you were a couple.  You will also be seeing each other often.  If you do not get along, this can get awkward as well.  Given that you will have bills to be paid on the nest, a very clear financial agreement is going to have to be in place.

As our time nesting comes to a close I am thrilled we were able to maintain it for so long.  Our daughters are old enough now to start to move back and forth and have told us they are ready.  I think in a way they want their parents settled.

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