Sunday, May 08, 2016

Agony of being a 50/50 mum

The London Daily Mail reports:
Agony of being a 50/50 mum: Women once held the upper hand in custody battles. Now fathers are winning EQUAL access... and mothers are struggling to cope

* Nicola Hewitt, 42, an office manager from Kenley, Surrey, faces the trauma of being without her children Devon, 10, and Sonny, eight, every weekend
* Veronica Sweeney-Bird, a 33-year-old bar worker from Tunbridge Wells, a week-on, week-off shared care arrangement for her two daughters
* Mothers are having to divide time with their children equally with their exes

Every mother lives for those small, joyful moments when her child masters something new - a book once too challenging, the telling of a joke previously stumbled over, a food devoured that had formerly been rejected.

For it's in the gentle minutiae of a little one's life that you really see their budding personality grow.

Imagine, then, the agonising pain of being privy to your child's life for only half the time. The milestones missed. The lost cuddles before bedtime. The long nights spent wondering if they are sleeping sweetly or crying out for Mummy.

This is the reality for Britain's growing legion of 50/50 mothers, who divide their time with the children equally with their exes. It's a growing phenomenon that - on the surface - might seem the fairest way for separated parents to organise their lives.

But it comes at an emotional price for the mothers involved - and the consequences for children are as yet untold.

Veronica Sweeney-Bird is one such mother who wishes more than anything that her two little girls were having a more relaxed, stable childhood. Instead, every other Thursday, she drops one off at nursery and one at primary school, full of foreboding as she kisses them goodbye.

A week-on, week-off shared care arrangement with her ex-husband is the high price Veronica has to pay for her broken marriage. And two years on from the split, she still struggles to cope with the moment she says goodbye to her girls for seven long days.

'I so hate being a 50/50 mother,' says the 33-year-old bar worker from Tunbridge Wells, who was married for seven years.

'When it's not my week to have the children, I have to try to switch off from being a mum and it's so very hard.
So what do they want? No-fault divorce, full child custody rights, alimony, child support, public respectability, and what else? Maybe some free government day care services as well?

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