In 2022, the U.S. Census Bureau reported 21.4% of children in the U.S. live with their mothers only and 4.4% live with dads only. The majority of these children live a nomadic lifestyle where they travel between mom and dad’s houses to spend time with each of them.
But what if it was not the children who moved between their parents for parenting time? In situations where a parent has a job that demands frequent travel, this type of arrangement could be beneficial for everyone.
Bird nesting defined
Bird nesting flips the script on the traditional living situation. Instead of the children moving between two separate homes, the parents are the ones who do the relocating. They maintain a shared residence where the kids stay, providing continuity and stability in their daily lives. The parents also each have another home where they live when not at the family home.
Benefits for traveling parents
Frequent travelers can maintain their work commitments without the need to shuffle the kids back and forth between homes. In addition, bird nesting ensures that the children’s daily routines and familiar surroundings remain intact. They can attend the same school, keep their friends and maintain a sense of normalcy.
Co-parents who are often away can better collaborate to meet their children’s needs. This shared responsibility fosters a sense of partnership in parenting. It also promotes open communication between parents.
Challenges of bird nesting
Maintaining a shared residence can be financially demanding, but in high-asset situations, this is usually an easily overcome issue. More challenging is that effective communication and cooperation are essential for bird nesting to work. If parents struggle to get along, this arrangement may lead to more conflict.
Transitioning between homes can still be challenging, especially if one parent has an irregular work schedule or is frequently away for extended periods. Additionally, parents must accept a limited degree of personal privacy when sharing a residence.
Ultimately, the children’s emotional and psychological well-being should guide the decision on custody arrangements. If bird nesting helps them feel more secure and stable, it may be worth considering.