Adult children of divorce

As I have mentioned before, my parents divorced when I was young. There is no doubt in my mind that it was the best decision for both of them. There is also no doubt in my mind that it was a hard decision for them to make.

I was one of the only children of divorce in my Catholic school (no surprises there), but as I reached high school, I realized that I had a lot of company. I met a lot of children of divorced parents, each with differing custody arrangements. Most of them were in their mom's full custody and got to see their fathers on Wednesdays and every other weekend. Others spent summers with their other parent.

And now, we are all grown up and talking about it. Which is a good thing. Because we are being honest with what we wanted as children. All that honesty is helping out our modern-day counterparts. A group of studies reveals that what children of divorced parents really want is open access to both their parents. The studies found that the parents who didn't have full custody wanted more time with their children. The studies also reveal that children wanted more everyday moments (bedtime routines, days at the park and eating meals together) with both parents.

And of course, more time with both parents, was seen as a huge benefit to children. Moms and Dads bring different skill sets and dynamics to their relationships with their children. Allowing a child to experience those differences, even if their parents don't get along, made children the happiest. 

What did you want more of from your parents when you were younger? Tell me in the comments.

Working out a workout schedule - for dads

Before my husband and I were married, we would go to the gym together. We would get home from work around the same time, change clothes and hit the gym. It was nice to work out together because we could motivate each other and still spend time together.

Fast forward to today. I run, but at 5 am when no one else in my family is awake. My husband and I talk to our son about exercise when we play in the yard or ride bikes on weekends, but it never feels like it is enough - I want to show our son what exercise is like, not just talk to him about it.

For all my talk about exercise, there is one person I've neglected: My husband. (Sorry, Honey!) And, if he is anything like a lot of other men, he may be finding it hard to balance time for exercise with work and other responsibilities.

A recent study published in BioMed Central Public Health takes a look at the struggle many dads go through when trying to find the time to exercise. The men in the study reported thinking that it was "selfish" to carve time out of their already packed schedules to exercise, choosing to spend that time with their wives or children instead.

I already know that my husband isn't interested in running with me at 5 am (for many reasons). But I would like him to know that if he wants to work out during the day, then I am happy to have the conversation with him. Maybe I'll take over end-of-day bath duties a few times a week or make sure he has the time he needs on the weekends. 

After all, having mom and dad healthy benefits the entire family. 

When do the people in your family exercise? Share the schedule with me in the comments.

Creating an exit strategy

My son wants to live with the firefighters. He has told me numerous times about his plans to live at the fire station and be in charge of fixing the trucks with special tools. He told me he doesn't want to fight the fires, but he does want to be able to slide down the pole.

We talk about how firefighters are heroes, we visit our fire station on its open house days and he's been a fireman for Halloween (twice!). We've even covered Stop, Drop and Roll basics. But we've never talked about the escape plan for our home should we have a fire.

And that is a huge miss on my part that I have no excuse for. When I was young our house actually did catch fire, and we had to evacuate. My Mom, who was the only one home with me at the time, was very calm, so I stayed calm, too. (Thanks, Mom!) You would think that I would have made fire evacuation plans a priority as a parent, but so far, no.

The Red Cross recently released poll results showing that less than one in five families have practiced an escape plan, and only one third have identified a safe place to meet outside the home. 

So, that is something to work on. I want my son to know the basics - how to stay low and how to get out of the house, but I don't want to scare him. And I'm pretty sure that is a fine line.

Does your household have safety drills? If so, how do you explain them to your children without creating unwarranted fears? Share with me in the comments.

Can I please just drive?

My son and I are on the way to the grocery store and my phone dings. I ignore it. It dings again. Then my phone rings. Normally, I have Bluetooth enabled in my car, but it is off right now, so I don't answer the phone. My son asks me why I don't answer the phone and my answer is, "Because I'm driving and people can wait."

I've written about distracted driving before, but technology has changed since then. And it turns out that even though we have new technology to help us go hands free, it may actually be making us more distracted. Instead of just hands-free, what we really need is mental-free.

Let me explain: When I first got Siri on my phone, I would ask her for information or to read my texts to me, but I found that she didn't always understand what I wanted. So, I would spend more time talking to her, slowing down the way I speak or talking louder - all of which was distracting me from the road. My concentration was definitely on my device and not where it should have been.

And suddenly I would look up from these activities and realize I hadn't really been paying attention. And that is a very scary place to be.

My phone wants my attention, but it can't have it. I need to get somewhere safely.

But, wait...there's more. You see, that link above isn't the only study about this issue. There have been several. The ones on that link actually take a look at the technology built into cars, asking participants to perform a number of activities including dialing a phone number and playing music. And, overall, the results don't look good.

Do you go hands-free with your devices in the car? Do you feel like it is more or less distracting? Share with me in the comments.