Living in two households brings its challenges


I have spent my life at two different houses. Half is one lifestyle, and the other half is another.

My parents got divorced when I was 3 years old, and I have been switching back and forth since then. Usually, my brother and I switch houses week to week, but sometimes my dad has a weird call schedule for his work as a physician. When this happens, we have to go to our mom’s house at a random time during the week.

Living at two houses has both good qualities and bad. Both parents have different rules and different expectations, so sometimes it is hard to switch back and forth. For example, I have different chores at each house. I take a duffel bag back and forth with my favorite clothes I wear. It is like living out of a suitcase.

One good quality is that usually if one parent is mad at me, the other one isn’t.

My mom is remarried, so I have a stepdad at her house and just one parent at my dad’s house. At my dad’s house, I am the only girl so it is a little hard sometimes.

One thing that is very different is holidays and weeks like spring break. On Christmas, we switch houses at 3 p.m. every year and the parent we are with for the first half of Christmas break until 3 p.m. on Christmas day rotates every year.

Both parents have different rules and different expectations, so sometimes it is hard to switch back and forth.

— Madeline Davis

Then, the rest of Christmas break, I am with the other parent. Every year for spring break, we switch on the Wednesday of that week. It rotates who we are with for the beginning and end of the week.

One year, we went to California with my mom for Spring Break and we were with her for the beginning of spring break. We came back on the Tuesday of spring break and then that Wednesday we went to Colorado with my dad.

Birthdays and holidays like Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Easter, Memorial Day and Presidents Day rotate every year. I am always with my mom for Mother’s Day and always with my dad for Father’s Day.

I started driving on May 1, and it is already a lot easier to go back and forth and get things I need. Sometimes I will forget something I need at either house. When this happened, usually my parent wouldn’t want to drive by that house to get it. Now, if I really need something I can just drive myself to the other house.

For example, one time all of my uniforms somehow ended up at my mom’s house and I did not even think about needing them for the next week because it was spring break. I did not realize it until the night before we went back to school, so I had to wear one of my old uniforms that barely even fit me to school that day.

Also, at my dad’s house I always had to get to the school at 7:30-7:45, but now I can just drive my brother and myself to school. At my mom’s house, we didn’t get to school until 8, so I had to wake up a lot earlier at my dad’s house to be able to leave our house at 7:15.

Sometimes I wake up at one house, and I have to think about where I am.

My mom’s house and my dad’s house also are far away from each other. My mom’s house is in Jones County and my dad’s house is off of Bass Road, so it is not like I can not just go visit my other parent when I want to. Using River North, the houses are 11 miles away.

It is also very different because I have two dogs at my mom’s and no pets at my dads.

Two houses, two different very lives.