Posted in Brief updates, Dads Journey

Co-Parenting

Today’s topic of conversation is co-parenting. I wanted to do some research into the types of co-parenting, purely to make sure William’s dad and I are doing it right and hopefully improve upon it if necessary or make sure we are at least heading in the right direction.

There are 3 types of coparenting.

High conflict co-parenting

High conflict parenting is exactly as it sounds, it’s difficult for some to put personal reasons aside and focus on what’s best for the child. This is often the style used in the aftermath of a separation. This style of parenting can be detrimental to the child and makes it almost impossible for both parents to have equal say in the way in which a child is raised. Usually in high conflict parenting relationships one parents tries to maintain control of the child and their Ex, often being unable to make a courteous, decent, or even ethical choice for their child.
I read an article recently about the signs of High conflict parents and it is usually because one or both parents are narcissists, but this article was very informative on spotting the traits of the high conflict parent.

  • The blame is always on the other person, they themselves can do no wrong and often portray themselves as the victim.
  • They lie, they often don’t think of any repercussions or simply don’t care.
  • They seem to enjoy the conflict, relishing in the attention it brings them. Their behaviour can be classed as gaslighting, using your natural emotions against you to cause a reaction. It often means its their way or no way.
  • They use your child against you, refusing or restricting access. This may also include speaking poorly of the other parent in front of the child.

Parallel co-parenting

The most common type of coparenting is Parallel Co-parenting, this is usually when two parents are unable to communicate with each other but have learned to tolerate one and other but lead two separate parenting strategies with little to no discussion. It is possible to transition from high conflict to parallel co-parenting but can take lots of work from both parties and may result in legal mediation or court ordered access rules restricting the need for the parents to communicate.

Cooperative and collaborative co-parenting

Finally, we have the category that William’s dad and I seem to fall into. Learning how to co-parent is difficult but I don’t think we really had a choice, because of Williams additional needs, we had to make sure we were on the ball with it and singing from the same hymn sheet so to speak. This is the pinnacle of co-parenting and what all parents that are separated such be aiming towards. It’s kind of weird how when we were married, we couldn’t communicate but now we do it easily and without thinking. I would even say we have a sort of friendship (we won’t be having movie nights and braiding each others hair though 🤣) Our conversations are mainly about William but we can also ask how one and other are. He even went out of the way to have William so that I could recover from my shoulder injury and the flu. Don’t get me wrong both David and I would probably agree that it wasn’t easy to begin with but just short of a year on we have it running like clockwork. 🕒

I think with the way our marriage crashed and burned that it would have been easier to slip into high conflict and then just coast through parallel co-parenting, but we persevered, and it’s paid off because it was the right thing to do.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that despite the past and any hurt, that we both consistently put William first, as any parent should, and I am grateful that we are able to do that. I remember my post announcing our split and how I wrote that we would be co-parenting, and that Williams dad would be involved in all decisions etc, but I don’t think I believed it at the time. Maybe writing it was a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Needless to say, I believe and always have done that both parents should have an equal say, rights and access to a child they helped produce and I am very proud of both myself and David for putting everything aside and working together to ensure Williams best interests are upheld and I hope we can continue to do so no matter what the future holds.

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Posted in Emotions

Non-Starter

Let’s have a moment of silence for all those moms that expected this week to be something it isn’t…

Let’s think of those parents whose children are starting mainstream schools; those parents who are scared that this isn’t the right environment for their child and the parents who know it isn’t the right environment for their child but whose hands were forced.

Let’s think of the parents like myself whose children are yet to be allocated a suitable school. Whose children are getting left behind.

But let’s also celebrate the parents of all the four-year-olds out there who are happily and successfully starting their school journey. I will like their first day pictures on Facebook and comment about how adorable and grown up they look, but it’s tinged with sadness on my part.

We are back at the stage of jealousy for me, the green-eyed monster has reared its ugly head…
‘Why isn’t that my child?’
‘Why do that child’s parents get all these experiences that I once dreamed of?’
‘What did I do wrong, and they do right?’

Its stupid to think that way and usually its easy to swat away those thoughts like flies but right now its hard. I think that’s because its everywhere, social media, supermarkets, TV. There is no escape from what this week is. Its the start of the school year! Whoop de fucking whoop!

I wanted to photograph William in my street as me and H were outside my mom’s, I wanted to take photos with next doors youngest girl as she is starting secondary school, both in their slightly big but immaculate uniforms on their first days…but that isn’t happening.

I was naive and booked this week off work, I’m not so why as we were no closer to William securing a suitable setting but I guess I will still hopeful (or still had my head in the sand who knows 🤷‍♀️) I envisioned walking him to school and meeting other parents, talking about how big our kids are and how they’ve grown up so fast, how it was only yesterday when they were still in nappies and toddling around. I feel hard done to, and I know how bad that sounds as William is such a beautiful child and I wouldn’t change him for the world, but right now I feel robbed. Robbed of the firsts in which I expected. Every day with William is wonderful but as his peers are growing up and moving on, he just isn’t. We are in the same place we were 2 years ago, nursery, nappies, messy mealtimes… don’t get me wrong, I do know and fully appreciate how far he has come in those two years but this week its hard.

My week off will now be dedicated to decorating, continuing the journey of turning my house into a home, something to keep me busy and my mind occupied as we follow the same routine we have for years. I’m so grateful that William’s nursery said they would keep him as long as possible, but that journey should have naturally ended now, and it hasn’t.

So again, let’s just take a moment for those moms whose week isn’t as expected, those who instead feel angry about it, disappointed, upset. Those moms who may spend this morning crying into their coffee, writing angrily at a laptop or smiling through the heartache or in some cases all three.

All my love to all moms out there, no matter the situation you are in this week 😘 M. x

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Posted in Brief updates

Last night they heard the screaming

Then a silence that chilled my soul.
The type of silence that comes when the tears dont stop but you can’t breathe enough to make noise… I know this song is about domestic violence but I felt it was an accurate (even though edited) lyric to describe my emotions yesterday.

I’m not sure if I mentioned this previous but I had invoked my right of access in accordance with the GDPR act 2018, requesting the local authority send me all information in relation to educational matters for William… if anyone reading this is going through something similar; I have an amazing template that another mom sent me 🙂

Lets just throw out there that I have had an amazing week in relation to William, he was at his dads so I had chance to plan my next venture into decorating but I received Williams blue badge which give us the right to park in a disabled bay (I don’t drive but will come in very handy when we are in someone else’s car) and I spoke to the nursery who have advised I no longer have to pay for William to attend and only pay for his meals, well I am in credit so I won’t have to pay anything right up until he leaves next Easter.

The right of access is also known as a subject access request was received today, and it’s made me so angry and upset that I needed to lock myself in the bathroom (The MR was here and he isn’t ready to see this side of me yet or maybe I’m just not ready to show him🤨) but I angry cried, you know the type; loud and messy. Smacking my fists on the floor feeling like my rage would destroy the concrete and not my hands. My neighbours must have heard me and I’m pretty sure I made noises only dogs could hear but I needed to let it out but I was so worked up that I couldn’t breathe and the angry tears became silent ones that I had even less control over.
The reason I had done a S.A.R was to catch them out in lies to back up the potential tribunal but I didn’t realise that it would reopen old wounds 🤕

I remember special school allocations like it was yesterday, it was another couldn’t breathe moment. It was February 15th. check out the post School allocations, if you cant remember.
July 2020 we were told he was going to considered for place… There isn’t a single document in the full S.A.R relating to any conversations in regard to this! not one! meaning that when I said the whole thing was all fucking lies, I was in fact correct. It was all fucking lies!

There are lots of missing sections, specifically relating to meetings, discussions and referrals in which I took our senco’s word for and apparently haven’t happened. I believe there is another child’s information in there too (How many times is the L.A going to breech GDPR? actually don’t answer that since they are still referring to the 1998 DPA act in their emails)

I’m angry at myself for being so upset, especially when its just confirming what I already knew, I only wanted the documentation to back up my claims with the solicitor and hadn’t even considered how it would make me feel 🙄

There was something else in there that I have great concern with but am awaiting clarification on its meaning before I comment on it but if what I think I am reading is correct then the whole fucking authority is morally wrong and incapable of putting children above themselves.

Stay tuned in by subscribing so you don’t miss out on the instalment of ‘how the local authority fuck us over’

Much love, M.x

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Posted in Brief updates

Where do we go from here?

The battles done and we kind of won, so we sound our victory cheer… where do we go from here?’🎶

If you recognise the above Lyrics then you are as much of a nerd as I am, but I though it was very apt to describe our current situation. If you don’t follow our journey on social media, then you won’t be aware that William’s final EHCP has arrived! After what I believe has been 44 weeks. 24 weeks over the legal deadline.

The EHCP specifically states that William will be attending a special school as soon as a suitable provision becomes available, it backs up what the case worker (the illusive Richard Day) told us over the phone which means they can not back out of it.
Although the lyric states the battle is done, the war isn’t over, and this was just a small part of our journey. There is still the fight for a school and ensuring it is the best setting possible for him and then once he is in a school ensuring they stick to the plan and that it adapts and changes as he needs it to.

That is just the education side of things, there are so many other area’s that require a fight, accessibility, mobility and many more. I feel like every battle is going to be uphill but right now I am relishing in this one. There were tears from myself, Williams dad and family members who had all been in the with us. Happy tears for a change.

At the height of the pandemic Gavin Williamson announced that there would be flexibility over timescales in relation to plans; I remember writing about it at the time and being assured by the Local Authority that this wouldn’t affect William… 🙄 I don’t think there is a big enough eye roll emoji to insert here. Is 24 weeks classing a flexible or absurd?

In 2019 Gavin announced they were conducting a SEND review which has as you can imagine been postponed as with everything else the authorities have been doing, my concern is that Gavin seems to want to abolish the EHCP claiming parents should be able to get their child what they need without one however this massively worries me. I know that more and more requests for EHCP’s are being declined but approved upon parents taking it to appeal. Not having an EHCP creates so many barriers and I worry if these are no longer going to be available then it won’t make it easier for children to access the education they need but would make it near on impossible.
I found it so hard to even get the request for the EHCP let alone going through the motions on ensuing it was done and watching our timeframe more than double. How can parents help their children without a set timescale and document to ensure the local authorities stick to it? Will it just be a verbal agreement between schools and parents? There would be no ramifications if it isn’t upheld? I’m frightened for those who don’t yet have one, or don’t know they need one. And for those of us that after blood sweat and lots of tears (and coffee and therapy) finally have one that may become null and void.

I guess time will only tell, much love M 😘

Posted in Emotions

Panic! at the play date

I have come to realise that I’m a bit of an introvert, it sounds silly as I come on here and share so much information but in real life I shy away from people, I avoid activities and places that I am uncomfortable with, and I want to keep myself away from people who may judge me as a mother or William as a child. I am now at the point in which I don’t know if what I am doing is to protect myself or him. I want to tell you about my irrational fear of playdates…

I went on a playdate once, I mean there has been more than one over the years considering we have one every week minimum but this one is the most memorable, it much have been well over 2 years ago and I must say it was one of the most horrendous moments of my life.

William was definitely under the age of two as it wasn’t until his two-year check-up that I started to accept his potential problems.

Soft play! What kid doesn’t love soft play? My kid; that’s who!

I went with two friends from work who had both had their children around 5 months after I had William, please bear in mind that these two women, were women I felt comfortable with and had spent a lot of time with over the years, but I was dreading it, I remember being stood at the bus stop feeling so sick that I almost cancelled. I had already started noticing the stark differences between my child and children of his age and being around them and trying to sugar coat and deny Williams delays in development was exhausting and the more I had to do it, the less I was convincing myself.

Their children were beautiful but that wasn’t what bothered me, what bothered me was that they were so agile on their feet, they climbed and played independently, they communicated not only with each other but with their moms too whereas William just clung to me crying. He was barely walking independently and struggled to communicate non-verbally let alone with words.

The date didn’t end with soft play, we went for lunch. Their children played and independently ate and seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. William refused to eat and remained silent.

I felt like a failure, what had I done so that my child wasn’t like theirs? Was I not loving him enough? Was it because I was working and wasn’t with him all the time?

I didn’t reach out for another play date.
Was that wrong of me? I truly don’t know. I don’t actively seek out play dates with anyone, but sometimes they just happen.

We have play dates once a week with the same child and they go really well but they are often in the comfort of our home, William has familiar surroundings and can easily access his safe place. We have had a few outside the home and some have been great and others not so much, but it all depends on how William handles the situation or environment. We went into our local park once and it is truly beautiful in there, I don’t think I appreciate it enough since its on my doorstep but on this day it was busy, it was a half term of some sort and William was struggling, he wouldn’t walk and I didn’t have the stroller since we are still waiting his referral and he kept laying on the floor to the point I was peeling him off it like day old gum. Teens laughed at him and I felt myself getting more upset, William continued to shutdown… It was not a good play date, but we continue to have them, maybe it’s because I understand William more now than I did back then, I just don’t know. I don’t know why these playdates don’t bring on anxiety and sickness, but others do. Maybe it’s the unknown 🤷‍♀️

I guess I need to put myself and William out there more, but I don’t know if it is what is best, William doesn’t engage with other children at nursery so am I being unrealistic in trying to get him to engage with other children on his days off, is it fair on him? But then am I just saying that because the memory of how bad of a mother I felt back then is impacting my decisions now?

How silly is it that something so simple as meeting other parents and kids can make me feel so anxious that I am physically sick? How do I get passed this? Do I even need to?

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