“For I’m the type of boy who is always on the roam/ Wherever I lay my hat that’s my home,” sang Marvin Gaye. Such is the life of a child with newly divorced parents, always packing up their things to shuttle between one home and the other, forever getting frustrated at school because they left their homework at one parent’s house and their sports gear at the other’s. The back-and-forth for visitation can be hard on a kid.
It does not have to be this way. Birdnesting is an increasingly popular option to provide stability to a child during a divorce. It means that the child stays in one place, the “nest,” and the parents are the ones that come and go. They take turns to stay with the child.
Some couples keep the children in the family home; others sell the family home and install them in a smaller place. When off duty, parents live with friends or family, crash in their office, or rent a small apartment that they rotate through.
Birdnesting is usually temporary, although some couples have made it work for years. It helps the children through the difficult first few months and allows parents time to sort themselves out financially and consider their future. House hunting is an added stress you do not need when going through or coming out of a divorce.
For it to work, however, the parents must get on reasonably well and be considerate. If one leaves the house with a sink full of dirty dishes and a pile of unwashed laundry, it will cause problems.
Consider birdnesting one more option in an array of tools to help minimize the effects of divorce on your children. Seek legal help to understand if you should include this as part of your parenting plan.