If I could give a new mom any piece of advice to make her life easier it would be: ROUTINE.
I have always been structured, even when my life was chaos I knew what was next and was quiet predictable for the most part. Thankfully this set an expectation for Holden from pregnancy. I am convinced he knew my predictable self from mealtimes, work schedules to bedtimes. I know this doesn't come naturally for everyone. I am thankful to be blessed with this natural capability. Now, when Holden's dad finally decided to come into his life we faced a great deal of sleep and behavioral issues.
Holden has always thrived in a structured environment. His dad does not live that type of lifestyle. I had initially created this for Holden to remind him what was next at an early age. Visuals help the little guys before they can talk. I have changed this a few times since initial creation to suit the changes Holden has needed. I also sent this with his dad in hopes of finding some equal ground on maintaining structure. Does it get followed? Probably not, but I tried. I always want to try to do what's in the best interest of Holden developmentally.
Five reasons why children need routine:
Now, even though I do my best to relay the most important information to Holden's dad in the brief 5 seconds I have with him before he takes Holden and leaves. I know it is likely everything I can relay in that short period is lost. Since his dad does not inquire with his school, daycare or even try to contact Holden out of his fly by the seat of his pants arrivals to see Holden I can't imagine he knows much about Holden's needs developmentally. Eric and I have tried our best attempt co-parenting to recreate the type of home we run when he goes to his dads. The value goes unseen.
Now, we focus on creating security around Holden's leaving and coming home. We ensure Holden knows the routine before he leaves. He knows the routine when he returns. He knows we come back on Sunday at 5:30pm not a second earlier, not a second later. He knows whether his dad shows up or not we are there and whatever was planned for after doesn't matter. Holden has priority. He knows his home family is predictable and safe.