Like most divorced parents, my kids have become rather like human ping-pong balls. Every 3-4 days they switch between their Mom’s house and my house, then back. Kind of like the modern version of If It’s Tuesday, This Must be Belgium. Usually it runs pretty smooth and the kids are good at knowing where they’ll end up on a given day.
Sometimes there are complications, however, and that’s what I want to talk about here. In particular, as parents, we have a tendency to assume that on a school day the kids are all going to be at school, so from 8-3 or so, we have the time to ourselves. That means trips afield, meetings or appointments that can include turning off cellphones (like massages, etc). Good idea, or potentially dangerous?
Last week on a day that the kids were all with Linda, she had planned some meetings and was unavailable from drop-off until pickup. Not unusual, I do it too.
Until our 11yo son G- got sick at school around 11am.
What to do? He called his Mom, she had her phone turned off. He called her boyfriend, but he was in class and wasn’t answering his phone either.
So he called me and asked me to come pick him up.
I was rather stuck on what to do, frankly. I didn’t want to muddy the water of parental responsibility: it was definitely Linda’s day to take care of the children and be responsible for them, but at the same time I had a sick child in school who needed to not sit in the office for the next four hours.
I texted Linda but her phone was off, so…
So I decided to break with protocol and pick him up. After all, the ultimate issue is the welfare of the child over everything else, right? We went back to my place and my son basically collapsed on the couch for the afternoon. When it was 3pm I took him to his Mom’s house and dropped him off.
Now, do you think I handled that properly, or should I have simply said “not my day, honey, sorry, you’ll have to wait until your Mom resurfaces”?