Ever since we divorced in 2014, my ex and I and our three kids have been nesting – the type of co-parenting, also known as birdnesting, in which the kids stay in the family home and the parents move in and out to take care of them.
Our children were 12, nine, and five when we divorced. At the time they were a 7th grader and a 3rd grader and the youngest was in pre-K. Now the oldest is a junior in college, the middle is a junior in high school, and the youngest is in 7th grade.
That passage of time has encompassed loads of development and changes and growth in their lives. And yet, here we are after all this time, still nesting. Our kids still call the same place “home.”
When the situation was new, I checked in with them frequently. Even though their home life and routine hadn’t really changed much, it was important to me to stay in touch with how they were adapting to the situation of their parents being divorced. But after a few years, that concern fell by the wayside. It was obvious our divorce just wasn’t a big issue for them, and I think that’s primarily because it didn’t really impact their individual lives.
Here’s What My Kids Think About Nesting
I’ve lately been wondering how they feel about it now that they are older. At a recent Sunday evening dinner – the oldest was home from college for Thanksgiving break and their dad was joining us for dinner, as he often does – I asked: “So, how do you each feel about this nesting thing we’ve been doing for a while?”
The oldest looked momentarily confused – like, “what the heck is mom talking about?” – then he laughed and said, “No offense, but I don’t really even think about it. It’s just the way it is. I’ve never felt any different from the so-called ‘normal’ families of my friends.”
The high schooler said, “I see my friends who have to go between two houses and they are constantly forgetting homework or other stuff at the other parent’s house. I like our way better. It’s stressful for them – my friends who have divorced parents.”
The oldest said teasingly, “We have divorced parents, doofus. Just not DIVORCED, divorced….”
The youngest was pensive as his brothers spoke, then said, “I like that we’ve never had to move out of our home. Everything is familiar and comfortable here, just like it’s always been.”
“That’s the whole point, honey,” I said smiling and feeling warm in my heart.
“Though I wouldn’t mind those two Christmases that other divorced kids get!” he exclaimed.
They all laughed and agreed.
Their dad and I just rolled our eyes and shook our heads at each other. “Kids.”
But he and I have said many times, whether our children acknowledge our efforts or not, we wouldn’t have done it any other way.
To learn more about Beth’s family’s story and nesting co-parenting, please visit familynesting.org.