You are a happily married person with lovely kids and your coworker/friend/relative is a divorcee experiencing the challenges of shared custody. In your innocence, during a lovely chat, you happen to mention how lucky they are to have every other weekend free of children.
Who wouldn’t give to not have their children constantly underfoot for the weekend so they could get some real stuff done, perhaps even have a date night, or dare say it, enjoy a romantic weekend get-away?
That coworker/friend/relative is now picturing the myriad ways in which they can strangle you.
My ex and I have now been divorced for nearly 6 years, with shared custoday. While I am Matthew’s custodial parent, he sees his father nearly every weekday and sleeps over at his father’s every Thursday and every other weekend. This does not result in carefree weekends that allow me to revert back to the days prior to being a mom.
On the Wednesdays prior to my ex’s weekend with Matthew, I get a knot in my stomach and a constant ache to hug Matthew, as if I need to store up the cuddles to make it through the weekend.
Then each Thursday morning I walk him into school and hold back the instinct to grab him and run. Instead we discuss phone call schedules and hug and then go about our day. But in those few moments I am thinking about the next four days that I will have without him.
I go home that evening to a quiet “grown-up” dinner with Sebastian. We catch up on our TV shows and conversations and we make the most of it. But I also walk by Matthew’s empty room over and over, and I hurt because it is 9:00 pm and his bed in empty and I have a dog wandering around all dejected because she can’t find her best friend.
This repeats on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, I count down the minutes until 5:00 pm, when the little man magically reappears in our life.
Don’t get me wrong, we make the most of our child-free weekends. However, we also have to shuffle our lives, and the lives of our extended families, into two weekends each month instead of the regular four. Scheduling birthday parties, sleepovers, and playdates are infinitely more difficult when the time available is cut in half.
So when you start fantasizing about how lucky that coworker/friend/relative is to be without kids, put yourself in their shoes and picture not having your kids for nearly half their lives. It really is not what any parent wants.
- My name is Jacki and I am a divorced, Pagan mom trying to raise a son in a blended interfaith family. At The Raven's Spell you will find musings on motherhood, spirituality, divorce, and the blending of families. If you enjoy what you read, please be sure to find a way to follow.
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