24 April 2014

Surviving Long-Distance Marriage, Part 4

Welcome back to my marriage series on surviving a long-distance marriage. This is part 4 of the series. Other posts in this series can be found here. To find out more about how we ended up in a long-distance marriage, click here

How do you parent from a distance? This is something that has been hard to tackle. Upon Hector's deportation, all of a sudden, I went from stay-at-home-home married mom, to single-but-not-single mom. I told Hector in his first phone call to me, that I was going to keep the kids' lives as normal as possible; how do you do that when their dad has been ripped from them? This stuck with me as my mission, and one that I may have spent too much money on. I took the kids to the zoo. I signed Cecilia up for all kinds of extracurricular activities. I made us into a busy family. Cecilia started school. We had birthday parties. We did all of this, and I left out Hector, because I was selfish. I wanted to be supermom who had it all handled. 

All I did was teach my kids to value things more than family and that they are too busy to pay attention to their dad. We numbed Hector's absence with activity, all while neglecting that Hector still wanted to "dad" them. How to remedy the damage I did?

  1. Have the kids ask their dad for permission: A sleepover at a friend's house? Going to the grocery store with Grandma? These are all things I can yea or nay myself, but I have Cecilia ask her dad for his permission. I want her to know that he is still in charge, even if he isn't physically here with us.
  2. Skype: Cecilia and her dad play a game that they call "Question Time". It's kind of like 20 questions, but Hector types out the questions and makes her read them to practice her reading, and he gets to know about how her day went, what she likes, ect. They get to know each other that way.
  3. Discipline together: I am a screamer. I'm not proud of it, but I tend to yell at my kids and freak out more than I'd ever like to admit. If Cecilia needs a talking to, I have her dad do it. He can communicate a lot more calmly with her than I can, and if he decides on a punishment, I can carry it out for him. If I need to I can put her in time out, but she'll just cry and whine. If Dad also decides she needs a time-out, then she goes and pouts in the corner. This lets her know that Dad and I are still a united team.

These simple little steps have helped tremendously. Not only does it help Hector stay involved in the kids' lives, but it gives me a break from having all of the pressure on me. The more decisions he can make for the kids, the less I have to make, so I can concentrate on working and taking care of the physical needs of the children and household. When I was trying to make all of the decisions, I was stressed, unhappy, and I yelled, even more than I do now. I had to give up some of the control, and my life with my husband and my children, even separated like we are, is much happier.

How do you split parenting in your house? Does one person make all of the decisions or is everything equally split? How do you decide who is in charge of what? What effects does that have on your family dynamic? Please share in the comments below!

P.S.- I'm linking this post up over at Lewis Lane Designs Tuned In Thursday Link-Up. Thanks for stopping by!
Lewis Lane

3 comments:

  1. I love that you and your husband work so well together to make it work, even if you're miles apart. Love, too, the questions game your kids play with poppa. Sweet and keeps everyone in the know :)

    Thanks for stopping by so I could find you here!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! Would love if you hung around awhile :)

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  2. Thank you so much for linking up :) Great post!

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