I am a working mom who shares custody. My daughter is with me from Wed-Saturday and I would like to know how other moms cope with not having their child 24/7. Thanks! – Mom Coping with Custody
Dear Mom Coping with Custody,
I too share custody of my children. The official arrangement is that they go to their dad’s house every other weekend. Things have been going well though and because he is military and his time here is limited due to a deployment and then moving altogether, he has had the kids much more. He has them one night during the week every week and then for a three-day weekend every other weekend. It more than doubled his parenting time to add that so now the split is that they are with their dad 5-6 nights out of every 14. It’s not quiet half but still a good bit.
It’s working for all of us. My kids are two and four so seeing their dad more consistently is easier for them. Going a full two weeks at a time was difficult for them both in terms of not understanding why they had to wait so long to see him but also in transitioning between households. That said, the increase in time with him has been difficult for me as a mother.
I was on my own with them for nearly 14 months, so I got used to it just being us and not having to ‘share’ them. When their dad moved here it felt like the bottom dropped out. All of my time has been devoted to them, and to building my business, so going even the weekend without them was painful. I was incredibly lonely and sad and worried about them constantly. As I saw them adjust to and enjoy spending time with their dad I started to relax and eventually began to enjoy my off time.
I used the free time to get things done that I had put off. I began training for a marathon that I will run on September 15th. I put more into my business and began offering more classes to my members. I also started dating, which I had not done a lot of since I was separated more than a year earlier.
Since then, I have met someone that I now call my boyfriend. He is also a parent and we have coordinated our parenting time to maximize our time together. There are still times when I’m on my own though and I do the best I can to fill my time so that I’m not missing my kids too much or feeling too lonely. If you aren’t dating then I’d suggest getting out there! I think knowing other single moms would also be helpful. Set some kind of goal for yourself either physically or otherwise and start working on it. I find that projects with a goal or end result are very good for keeping myself occupied. If there are ways you can get ahead in your job during your off time from your daughter, do it!
When I have my kids I try to make the most of the time with them. I try to love them as much as I can and better myself as a mother daily. I try to give each of them one-on-one time and give them my undivided attention. We spend time together, just the three of us, as much as possible and when I see that things are getting too busy going back-and-forth and here-and-there, I try to slow it all down and just be with them.
I know there are other single moms out there that work and share custody. What do you all do to cope when your kids are with their dads?