Are you considering family nesting as a way to co-parent after divorce? From my family’s experience, nesting has minimized the traumatic impact of divorce on my kids’ lives. My ex and I and our three boys are definitely fans of this approach!
Wondering where to begin? Here are what I consider the top 5 questions to ask yourself as you decide if nesting is right for your family.
- Open Communication
Are we both willing to try nesting?
Being able to communicate properly with each other is the foundation for family nesting. I know that during divorce feelings like anger, confusion, and hurt will naturally occur. While this is normal, but ask yourself if you can set those feeling aside – at least some of the time – to work together to make the kids’ well-being the priority. Can you? Both of you? If this is a mutual “yes,” great! Keep talking!
- Living Situation
Can we figure out a place for each of us to live when not in the nest?
This is your chance to think creatively. And keep in mind that the initial solution doesn’t have to be a long-term approach, so toss around a few ideas. Options could be: a friend’s couch, a family member’s spare room, an extended-stay hotel, a shared apartment, your own apartment, or even the spare room in the house. (Set very clear rules and boundaries if you’re going to continue to live together in the same house – you both need space and time to figure out your individual paths forward.)
Can we be open with each other about finances?
It’s important to figure out together how keeping the kids in the family home will work for your family. Being clear about financial obligations will help you decide on the nesting options that could work for you. Beyond the costs of housing and the basics of raising kids, consider other costs that contribute to the happiness of your kids: traditions like family trips or how birthdays and holidays are celebrated. Traditions create strong family ties, which helps build strong adults. As above, creative thinking is important. Every line item in the budget probably won’t stay the same as before; but if nesting is the priority, the possible changes to your old lifestyle will be more than worth it in the long run.
- Individual Parenting Duties
Can we each manage caring for the kids on our own?
You’ll probably have to take on some new responsibilities. I had to show my ex, Bill, how to keep track of which clean clothes go to which boy and how to work the washer and dryer (yeah, I know, right? SMH). But now he’s a get-that-laundry-done machine! Keep in mind that your new “skill-set” benefits the kids. And you’re setting a good example of cooperation, even under difficult circumstances. Adding more to your already lengthy to-do list may stink like dirty gym socks at first, but the kids are the priority (and pretty soon it will be no big deal.)
- Care of the Nest
Can we each manage caring for the nest on our own?
Again, there will likely be some new responsibilities on your plate. Bill had to show me how to change the AC air filters (yep… handled that like a boss!); and teach me how to monitor the pool chemicals (so much for my plan to hire a hot pool guy!). Again, keep in mind that your new and growing “skill-set” benefits the nest – which, ultimately, benefits the kids.
I hope this helps! These are great conversation starters – and don’t get discouraged if finding the answers takes a little time. It will be worth the work and the benefits to your kids are truly priceless.
Feel free to message me and let me know how things are going! Good luck and Happy Nesting!