One of the many things divorced parents tell their kids to make them feel normal about their lives is that now they have two homes — one with their mom, another with their dad. That’s a sweet idea, but it’s a lie.
I roughly follow Penelope Trunk, a blogger who is equal parts brilliant and insane (her essay about what it’s like to have sex with someone with Asperger’s is beyond compelling). She is a remarried mom, yet takes a staunch stance against divorce in most cases — and I have to say that I agree with a lot what she writes in Divorce is immature and selfish. Don’t do it.
That said, I’m divorced and you probably are, too. And we’re here to make the best of things. Which leads me to this of Penelope’s arguments:
The most damaging thing about divorce is that the kids don’t have a home; to say a kid has two homes is the same as saying the kid has no home. Because a home is your basecamp. If you have two basecamps you don’t have a home.
I don’t think it works that way. Regardless of how much time the kids spend at any one house, one address prevails as home — maybe it is because that place now has a stepparent and additional siblings, one parent is has a disproportionate share of time with the kid, or the child simply feels more at home at one place over another. That inevitably hurts one parent, and that is one of the very tragic fallouts of divorce that you can’t do much about.
But you can stop lying to your kids that they have two equal homes. Because they don’t. Yet parents insist this is true because you feel guilty for the divorce and its affect on the kids. You want to minimize their pain and make them feel normal, which is a very human desire. But when you insist your kids have two equal homes it dismisses their very deep, ancient need for home — and the very deep, real pain and confusion that comes with divorce.
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