Nesting is helpful for children

by Lauren Hawekotte ®

What is Divorce Nesting?

Nesting. Before I was separated, I thought that meant settling in before your baby was born. The feeling that you needed to create a warm, inviting environment for your new bundle of joy. The term took on a new meaning for me when my ex and I separated before ultimately deciding to divorce.

I was sharing the arrangement we had come to with a friend, and she said, “Oh, so you’re nesting!” That was the first time I had heard that term used to describe what we were doing.

How Does Nesting Work?

I had simply wanted to disrupt the children’s lives as little as possible as their dad and I were working on ourselves and trying to figure out what was going to happen with our marriage. The best way I thought we could do that while giving each other space at the same time was to maintain our home as it was and keep the kids’ routine intact.  

As a result, he and I divided up the week – his job situation made it so he could handle the kids school schedule during the week, so he spent weekdays in our home, while I spent the weekends managing the sports, parties and playdates. We were both fortunate enough to have family we could stay with on our “out of the house” time.

We did this for about four months before we ultimately came to the conclusion that we were, in fact, going to end our marriage. This was not easy…I found myself trying to occupy every moment I was away, so I wouldn’t think about how much I missed my kids.  And it was just as difficult for them!

The Positives of Nesting

However, “nesting” had its positives:

  • It allowed my children to spend time adjusting to being with one parent at a time
  • They had the ability to make this adjustment without having to take in the news that their parents were getting divorced (we let them know that we needed a “time out” to work on ourselves and make our family better – whatever that ended up looking like).
  • They were able to be in the comfort of their own home while processing all of these changes

Easing Into Things

The reality is, there’s no easy way to break the news to children that their lives are going to change dramatically, but in my case, for my children, this “easing into things” process cushioned the blow.  They slowly adjusted to the idea that their parents may not stay married, so the news of our ultimate decision was less shocking than it otherwise may have been.

Our children saw each of their parents becoming better versions of themselves in the process.  We did our best to make them feel warm and safe, and, sometimes, that’s all you can do.