So, Stanley and I agreed to bird's nest custody. That means that the family home has become the nest. The place where the children stay. The dog stays. The stuff that people fight over belongs to the nest. Items are not removed from the nest.
At this point the plan is that we keep the nest until the last child goes off to college. Which is 12 years. Yes, the woman just said, 12 years. But because we are realists we added to the PPP that we will re-evaluate the 'keeping of the nest' on a yearly basis. Also, Stanley and I agreed that if one of our circumstances change (like for instance a remarriage) then we can consider buying the other out of the nest or the selling of the nest and the kids will then have to shuffle.
Stanley, being sort of slow for being so brilliant, suggested that we rotate in the nest every other week. Cuckoo Momma, being me, went all up in the air flapping my wings and had to take nerve pills at the thought of not being with my baby birds for a week at a time.
This was me landing on Stanley's head
Truth be told, I am their primary caregiver, I am the one that puts them to bed most of the time, cuddles them when they need it and provide for most of their emotional support. Stanley isn't so great at emotional support no matter how well intentioned he is. Talking is just not his thing. So, I got him to agree to an 'out of the box' schedule by reminding him that he has 2 little girl birds and that they are going to need me more often than every other week when they start to become adolescent birds. Nothing snaps Stanley into shape quicker than the threat of a tampon!
Basically it works like this:
- Momma bird has baby birds Mon and Tues evenings.
- Birdy Daddy has baby birds Wed and Thurs evenings.
- Then Momma bird has the weekend, F, Sat & Sun.
- During the next week, Birdy Daddy has the babies on Mon and Tues
- Momma bird has Wed and Thurs and then Birdy Daddy has the weekend. So we have every other weekend and neither of us ever go longer than 2 nights out of the nest.
Both of us work f/t but Stanley makes more money. (Of course, pout and stamp foot!) So, it was determined that he makes 68% of our household income, I make 32%.
We determined the cost of running the nest. Mortgage, utilities, cable, groceries, kid expenses, braces, our life insurance policies, my cleaner that comes every 2 weeks, the kid's college fund contributions, etc. So, we have a joint acct and in goes his 68% and my 32% for the nest. Neither of us can make a withdrawal from that account. If we spend over $200 out of the nest account we have to consult the other one. Anything that comes up that we haven't accounted for falls under the 68/32 rule.
- We have separate spaces in the nest. He has a bedroom downstairs and I have a bedroom upstairs. We respect the privacy of the other's space. People have suggested to me locks on the doors but we are divorced. So what if he find's something or I find something that should be private. We are divorced. Respect is critical in the nest!
- Leave the nest like you found it. Now, excuse me while I try to breathe into a paper bag. The downfall of this will be that Stanley is a PIG. I leave it nice and come back to a frat house. But now I send him a text (we do our best fighting via text message) and tell him that he is a disappointment to the nest and he does better for a few days.
- No overnight guests of the opposite sex in the nest. They may visit but may not stay past bedtime. No matter how serious. NO BOOTY CALLS IN THE NEST. FORGET ABOUT DANCIN WITH NO PANTS IN THE NEST. We each have 50% of our time out of the nest to get our groove on. If someone wants to get remarried, well, that falls under the 're-evaluation' section of the PPP.
- The other parent can enter the nest at any time as long as the parent on kid duty agrees. If the parent that is 'on' asks you to leave, you leave. We have no authority in the nest unless we are on kid duty. So far, when one of us comes in to rotate and the other has no plans or wants to run off, we will ask the other if they want to eat dinner with the kids. We do this quite often and eat together, watch TV with the kids, whatever. But the parent not on is not responsible for dinner, homework, or anything in the nest if they are off. If you are off, you are off. If you want to stay and the other one doesn't mind, then by all means stay. The children love that.
Now to the naysayers in my life and people who surround themselves with negativity who feel they absolutely have to share with me how this will never work; It is working. It may not always work, but as of right this minute, it is working.
Thanks for reading and yes, this is therapeutic. But also, I really wish I had found myself on the internet 6 months ago.