This post is my personal reflection on this summer, and lessons I learned planning trips. As coparents this might be harder. My friends who are married always have the wife make travel arrangements. But, this summer, I wanted to give Aaron a chance to plan and excute a travel plan.
I guess a wedding invitation was sent to Aaron. He rsvp’d. Then 2 months later he informed me of the wedding he had already responded to. He wanted to know about our kids being able to attend. (the wedding is only a month away at this point). I felt pretty frustrated. In our past he has been known to avoid making plans. Usually what I consider important falls to the waistside until there is time pressure. Unlike some of our other trips, this was an occasion. And So many questions have to be answered in regards to the children.
I had basic questions to fully understand the event and if it was appropriate for the kids (our youngest 1 yr old and nursing) to go to a family memebers once in a lifetime event.
1) Were the children invited on the invitation? (I never saw a physical invitation)
2) Where is the wedding/reception location?
3) What is your plan and support system at the wedding for our 3 yr old and 1 yr old?
4) what arrangements do I need to make?
It was about 2 weeks before the wedding when my 1st question was finally answered. And a week later question 3 was answered.
All I knew in regards to question 2 was that it was a resort in Carmel, and it would be a 1-2 night stay for wedding guests who were traveling.
Everything he told me sounded like it could work out for him to take the kids to the wedding. At that point the travel and itinerary for the day were in his hands.
So I planned clothing and supplies according to the information I was given. We had to last minute decide that I would travel with him and the kids. We would stay one night (I was not invited to the wedding, so I planned to relax and study a bit, I was pretty excited).
The day of our travel comes. As we are on the road I ask what is the name of the hotel. He admits he doesn’t know and has been trying to get in touch with his father to find out details…such as the location of the wedding and lodging.
Hello my old friend stress and anxiety.
His father finally responded when we were an hour and half on the road (He was already at the resort so understandably he was busy). Come to find out, the resort is in Carmel Valley…not by the sea. Which was absolutely okay and gorgeous…but not very conducive with the wardrobe I packed for the children and myself. The climate was polar opposite to what I packed…It was incredibly hot and humid. I packed for an ocean breeze and a cold coastal night.
I also planned for close conveniences like stores or cafe’s. However we were in forrest mountain terrain. And the cabin we stayed in was a real cabin. That I did not plan for. I was so upset that I didn’t have what I could have had to enjoy this enviornment.
I also didn’t pack wedding clothes as I wasn’t supposed to go to it. Partially to show Aaron I meant what I said about relaxation. The support person fell through right before the ceremony started.
So, terribly hot, dirty, and miserable, I stayed with the baby in the cabin during the ceremony. Aaron and our daughter went to the ceremony and then came back with a bit of food and water…which we didn’t have at all piror, because there were no stores I could walk to.
Then he took off with the kids to the wedding dinner. They had eaten a bit (mom had no dinner and no water which added to my unhappiness). He dropped the baby off with me so he and our daughter could go to the dancing and cake portion.
He came back a while later…and brought some water with him. He was then requested to go back to the reception…his family bought a birthday cake and sang happy birthday to him and his cousin (born a couple days seperate).
Memes had so much fun. The baby, not so much.
He came back a bit later with a piece of cake for me. Because that was supposed to make it all okay (he thought).
I allowed him to make me feel bad for being upset over this disastrous trip. Because it was his birthday and father’s day. But, ultimately I was just upset with myself for not being more proactive in planning.
So after this trip, I learned as a coparent, planning is harder than a typical family.
I felt I couldn’t just reach out to his family and ask questions easily. Everything that is usually my responsibility had to be entrusted to their father.
His family had no idea I was unaware of the real details. This made me feel worse as I was crying and angry in my hot cabin worrying about my children. I honestly don’t think they knew I would travel with the kids. Awkward.
The biggest lesson I learned (and want coparents to be aware of) was to always step forward and get things done. Even if the other parent makes you feel like you’re being pushy or “controlling”.
If you want your kids to go, but you aren’t getting the information you need from the other parent, reach out to a family memeber who you can trust to provide information.
The other side of your kids family should be cordial enough to help you and not make you feel uncomfortable. Your children are your priority. Go with your gut once you get a response. Sometimes people can’t accept your choices. Dealing with bitter or rude family can be stressful, but assert that You are still your children’s parent even when you are sperated and the kids are in the other parents custody. (Ultimately it is both parents responsibility to uphold this truth)
If there isn’t any family member you feel can give you information, make a verbal or contractual agreement with the other parent in regards to your kids going to age approriate events. It might look something like this: flat out – don’t go to weddings or events with children under 5. Or – only go to weddings if they are in the wedding party. Or – no over night / destination weddings without 3 months prior notice and exact details.
As coparents we can become creative in our parenting. We know our children and their temperaments and what they require. Avoid all the stress I went through worrying about your children (and all my guilt for being upset over this fiasco). Always prepare for the worst case scenario no matter what information you are given.
There will be these moments that test your coparenting relationship. Be aware that you can survive. And you have to survive for your children. I give Aaron props for holding it together for the majority of the time I was very pissed (We didn’t see each other during much of the time, so that probably helped).
Wishing you the best in your travels and planning darling.