You’ve finally made it through the other side of your separation and divorce. Maybe you were never with the other parent of your child. But, the proverbial dust is finally settling. You’ve either gone through the courts or tried to resolve custody issues between the two of you. You could be incredibly close friends or barely civil. Either way, it’s time to start sharing time with them as far as your children are concerned.
Sharing child custody can be incredibly daunting for even the calmest and centered people. You won’t have control of what the children are eating, their bedtime, who else they see while they’re away from you. So many unknowns can be overwhelming. But, this time, if you let it, it can be incredibly restorative for you as a newly single parent. Below is a list of things to help you cope with this transition and hopefully come out on the other side enjoying your time away from your children, and dare we say, look forward to it!
The first few times and nights your children spend away from you, under your lovingly watchful eyes, will be the hardest for you. So, you must get through these beginning bumps knowing that they will pass and become more manageable. Take these first days and nights and do all (seriously, all) the things that you can’t typically do when caring for your children full time. Binge whatever you want to on Netflix, drink the bottle of wine you’ve been saving, order food you don’t typically get to because it’s not something the children would enjoy. Sleep in! Can you believe it? You can sleep as late as you want. And remember, they are literally a phone call away from you should they need you. However, avoid the temptation to call and check on them. They need this time with their other parent, too, and it’s not about you, it’s about what’s best for the children. Depending on your shared custody arrangement, it will only be a day or two until the kids are back with you again, so enjoy this time and let them enjoy it as well.
Treating yourself goes beyond the aforementioned sleeping in, binge-watching, and possible wine enjoyment. Honestly, treat yourself to something you’ve really been wanting but haven’t been able to justify the splurge on. The fact is, this is a huge transition for both you and the children, and a little retail therapy never hurts anyone. Whether it’s a new handbag, some beautiful bamboo pajamas, or high-end makeup, who cares? Being a mother has long been known to be the most challenging job in the world. You’ve just been promoted to co-parenting mother, and you deserve a bonus, mama!
Try Connecting With Your Ex
Notice the headline didn’t say “reconnecting” with your ex. There’s no doubt if you’re at the stage of learning to co-parent, you and the other parent have given it your best shot on trying to make a relationship between the two of you work. However, just as judges wholly agree that custody arrangements are based on what is in the best interest of your children, it’s also in your children’s best interest that you and your ex can not just be civil but also be friends. After all, you are a family; love it or not. Barring situations of abuse, neglect, substance issues, this is almost always achievable with a little hard work. Sure, maybe couple’s therapy didn’t work as far as keeping your relationship alive, but co-parenting therapy is absolutely a thing. It’s worth it to get to this level, not just for your own personal happiness but, more importantly, for the happiness of your shared children.
It’s an old adage because, typically, it really is true. Time does heal most things. And, you can be sure that after each time your children return safely back to you after spending time with their other parent, you will trust a little more than they are safe, loved, and taken care of in their other home. It will eventually reach a point where you can look forward to the time they’re spending away from you, and you can open up time in your life for new hobbies, even new relationships. Just hold on tight and trust in your process.