See the look on that boy’s face?  Here he is acting silly 

w/his sister and step-sister.

When I married Clark’s father, I didn’t know two things:

1.  He had ADHD

2.  Our marriage would end after 12 years

I’m not sure what impact foreknowledge of either fact would have exerted on my choices in 1992, the year we married, but the fact is marriage and parenthood involve lots of “future unknown” moments.

It is 2010 now, and the past is certain.  I had a beautiful son, Clark, in 1995, known to many of you that read {a mom’s view of ADHD} or “Road to Joy“.  Clark has ADHD.  Clark’s father and I split up nearly six years ago.  Since then, Clark’s dad and I have attempted, as best we could, to split parenting time and duties equally.  I think this makes us somewhat unique.  So unique that we confused our attorneys and judge.  But we wanted to send a clear signal to the kids that we loved them equally and believed in the other parent’s abilities.

How did this custody arrangement work in practice?  For starters, it required us to live within walking distance of each other.  This is not a divorce blog, so I won’t bore you with the mundane issues, like “I preferred never to see this person again so why do I run into him at the Kroger grocery store every week?”  Kidding.  Sort of.

As to custody, for our neuro-typical daughter, the arrangement works fine.  She’s organized and navigates the weekly transitions with ease, if not always with a perfect attitude.  “I don’t want to go back and forth,” she whines some weeks.  I’m lucky, though.  Even when it isn’t my week, she comes over after school and bothers me while I try to finish my work day, until her father is through with his and comes to pick her up.  The blessing and the curse of a home office!  (I love it)

The arrangement doesn’t work as well for Clark.  We’ve known this for a long time.  Clark has enough trouble organizing himself in one space.  Transitioning week by week is hard for him.  We tried to set up environments requiring him to tote as little as possible back and forth. But the stuff that trips him up can’t be duplicated.  Does he have his worksheet from Algebra?  Today is a debate tournament — did he leave his suit at the other house?  It was clear the strain of preparing to transition, transitioning, and failing in the transition stressed him out.

From day one, I have asked/offered his father a primary space for Clark at my house.  His dad, understandably, didn’t want to give up the time with him.  Until recently.

Last month, Clark’s dad, tears rolling down his face, told me the time had come to let Clark maintain primary residence at my house and see his father every other weekend.  It hurts me on behalf of his dad to even type this.  I know how much he hated making this decision, but HE DID IT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF HIS CHILD.  Thank God. Clark needed it.  And, as his dad explained to Clark and me, he has ADHD, too, and he was not the better parent/household for Clark.  Which is not to say he wasn’t great, he was and is.  He simply concluded that he could do BEST for Clark by giving him stability and stillness at La Hacienda de Hutchins.

Clark was elated.  He adores his father, but he hated the stress.

So, how’s it going so far?  Well, awesome, really.  Clark is still Clark, and he still has ADHD.  But our collective stress level has plummeted.  We have far fewer fire drills, running back and forth between houses, unable to determine at which one he left/lost what — usually his meds.  He does his work in the same place at the same time with the same rules and same supervision every day.  He suffers under the eagle eye of his VERY non-ADHD momma 🙂 which means an endless stream of prompts.  As in, “So Clark, what do you think you should do next?  And then?  And how about now?  Did you write it down?  Could you write it down?  If I begged you on bended knee would you consider writing it down?  Would you just pretend to write it down so I could have a moment of peace?  Thanks.”

I’m very happy.

How about you guys?  Do you any of you parent from split households?  How do you handle it?  How does it work for your neuro-atypical kid(s)?  Your neuro-typical kid(s)?

Until next time,

Pamelot

Please follow and like us: