How to cope when you have to share your children with their other parent

Monday morning, 7am, my alarms goes off and I can feel it. Slowly creeping up on me. Its small but I know it’s there. That’s how my week starts on the weekend that my children go to their Dads on the Friday. The Friday- yes- 5 days from right now. If you share your children with their other parent do you feel like this too? Even though I know I still have another 4 days with my children the sick feeling that I get when my children leave has already started to rear its ugly head. Now don’t get me wrong. I fully appreciate the importance of my children spending time with both parents and my children love being at their Dad’s, but this is about me- their mother and how I cope when my children aren’t at home with me.

Throughout the week that my children are at home I cope. I get on with the daily chores that we do as mums (or Dads- as this blog can work for either parent), making packed lunches, making dinners, dropping them to clubs and doing homework amongst other things. Sometimes I notice the feelings, but I just push them deep down and carry on. Friday morning arrives though and ugh, 7am my alarm goes and there it is. I feel so sick. It’s a rush of emotions. I already miss them yet my youngest is usually sleeping right next to me. In the pit of my stomach and right in my heart I can feel it. 

Like a deep sadness that won’t go away. It’s worse when its holiday time for me as I split the children’s holidays 50/50 with their Dad. This time I know I won’t see my children for 12 whole nights; 13 days. That’s such a long time when you don’t want to miss a thing they do. Then I get the feelings of guilt. There are some parents out there who will never get to see their children again because life is so cruel and I know ; I should be thankful that at least for me it’s only 12 nights, 13 days, that I won’t see them for this time around. When you are on the first day though it hurts and when you have alternate, it’s a constant revolving wheel of emotion.

I make the goodbye nice and light and tell them that I will be thinking of them and will miss them, but I know they will be having a fantastic time. I kiss them goodbye and die inside a little bit each time they go.

Once they are gone the feeling does start to ease and this gets a little bit easier with each weekend and each holiday they go on, so I start to design coping mechanisms to make the time on my own bearable. I must add here though that this took me a very long time to get to grips with. I used to dread the thought of being alone! Ugh on my own? How awful I thought. Flash back to when I was a young girl and really hating ever being on my own, a deep intense feeling of sadness every time I sent time on my own. I decided all those years ago that I don’t like it and now as an adult its ingrained into my psyche.

So, at first, I would plan every day when I didn’t have my children. I would make plans to see my boyfriend, my family, my friends and wouldn’t allow myself any time to be on my own. But then one day it came! I was on my own. The panic was evident from the minute I realised I was going to be alone, but do you know what? It wasn’t that bad. I had lots of programmes on my sky planner and I could watch anything I wanted to and eat at any time I felt hungry. As time has gone by, I now absolutely love being on my own. I do still plan but this time it’s more about what I can do that serves me.

So, to begin with I always clean the house the day my children go to their Dads. I put all their toys away, tidy up the kitchen from the little belongings they love to keep out, put the Xbox games and controllers away and make my living space somewhere that offers me a peaceful and calm environment. This instantly makes me feel happy. Do you get that feeling when your home is nice and tidy? I also always light my candles in the evening something I never do when my children are at home. I have two boys and my youngest is a bit of a live wire. He loves nothing more than throwing himself around and having lightsabre fights with imaginary characters so I wouldn’t dare risk an open flame in his company lol.

I take my dog Dusty on long walks and make time for a relaxing bubble bath. I have a boyfriend and love spending time with him but I also have a lot to do for my counselling course and theatre school business so I actually cherish those days when I can just do what I need to do without interruptions. I’m not suggesting if you are in the same situation that you sign up to a degree course or start a business, but I definitely recommend doing something for you. That can be anything. Maybe start a new hobby. Something you have always wanted to do. Join a class or a group of some kind and it doesn’t need to cost the earth, there are plenty of opportunities out there if you look for them. You could take up reading if you don’t already, join the local library and get a new book out every time the kids go. If you don’t exercise currently then I definitely recommend starting some kind of gentle exercise even if it is just going for a walk or a run, again it doesn’t need to be expensive it just needs to be something just for you, something that you enjoy so that you can look forward to it. Eat foods that you don’t get to eat when the kids are home because they don’t like them. Go to the theatre, the cinema, meet up with friends who you rarely get to see. Go for a mini break if finances permit. Just make sure it is something for YOU. I think that’s the most important

I fully believe none of us in this situation ever envisaged being ‘part time parents’ but it is what it is and we just need to make the best of our situation.

I’d love you to share the things that you like to do and always reach out to me if/when you are feeling sad that your children aren’t with you because I’ve been there and I understand. 

Much love,

Andrea

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Andrea Binks

Divorce and Break-up Coach

Hi, I’m Andrea, passionate about helping others going through a breakup or divorce and finding inner happiness and peace.

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