They Never Said Parenting Would Be Easy

By Jessica S. Bullock, North Carolina Family Law Specialist, Woodruff Family Law Group 

Navigating the waters of parenting is not a task for the weak, especially if you find yourself in the middle of a divorce or custody battle. When you add in a world pandemic and school and work closures, it’s enough to make the toughest person waive the white flag. But I’m here to remind you that you can do this. And, if you are in the middle of a divorce or custody battle here in the Triad (or newly separated), having a lawyer that you trust during the times is all that more critical.  As a family lawyer and a mom, here are just a few tips that I have come up with during these past few weeks. 

• Do not be afraid to call your lawyer to ask questions. That’s why we’re here. We are here to help guide you through this custody process, especially now. You are not alone. 

• The Guilford County stay at home order is clear that if you have a custody order, exchanges of children are considered essential. The order needs to be followed. That begs the question, what if you think the custody order is no longer in your children’s best interest? It is clear that people and families are all handling the directives of our government and the CDC differently. Thanks to social media, you likely know all too well about what everyone is up to during quarantine. If you have concerns about how the other parent to your children is handling social distancing or any other issues surrounding these times, do not be afraid to contact your lawyer for help. There are likely options dependent upon your particular situation on the best way to protect your children.

• Speaking of social media, please take a break from it now and then. There is absolutely no need to be reading every news article or every post out there on the coronavirus. All that will do is increase stress unnecessarily. Sure, it’s essential to stay up to date on the latest information, but that does not mean streaming the news 24/7 is in anybody’s best interest. 

• This is a mom tip. Remember to take care of yourself. It is far too easy to get lost in making sure everybody else is okay. Remember, one of the most important things as a parent is to take care of you. That may mean taking 20 minutes to yourself to enjoy a cup of coffee on your porch (or 10 minutes because who am I kidding- the kids will find you) or doing a 15-minute work out in front of the TV. Whatever it is, carve out some time each day to re-energize.

• Use this time to create precious memories with your children. Whether it’s taking this time to enjoy a new family hobby like hiking or having a cookout in the backyard, use this extra time that everyone is home together as an opportunity. 

• Keep in mind that children are sponges. They take their cues from you, which is another reason to take care of yourself. This is a stressful time for them, as well. Depending on their ages, they may be confused, worried, and certainly missing their routines and schedules. Be empathetic to how this has changed their little worlds. 

• Custody issues can cause a lot of stress and worry over the “what ifs” and over the things, you cannot control. One proactive step that you can take is to ensure that you have the legal help needed to navigate these turbulent times.