I have been a single mom for a few years now, but issues with visitation in the summer just seem to get harder and harder for me. I’ve been walking around all morning on the verge of tears just because my kids are going to be at their dad’s, away from me, for probably the next 3 or 4 days. That doesn’t seem like much, but it feels like they’ll be gone forever, and there will be more of that as the summer goes on.
The longer visits have happened in previous summers, but this year somehow seems harder. I believe that many of you are two-parent families that have never gone through this, but are there any of you who have had to deal with this in your family? How have you dealt with it?
I know that I have much reading, housekeeping, gardening, and other projects that I am always wanting more kid-free time to tackle, but those things seem to pale in comparison to having my kids around. What is making it worse is that over the past several months, my oldest daughter is having a lot of struggles with all of this, and she has taken to grandly announcing that I won’t be seeing much of her this summer since she plans to spend an entire month at her dad’s, mostly without her siblings around. (He hasn’t asked me about that, so I believe it is her idea.) I understand that it is very stressful having to deal with an aggressive, autistic brother, so I can see why she wants to “get away” for awhile. But she also has taken to referring to her dad’s girlfriend as her stepmom, even though her dad and I are still married and he is living with the girlfriend.
We do not have a visitation schedule since we have not gone to court about anything, but we’ve always worked out a schedule kind of as we go along. I felt it would be best to establish a routine of sorts during the school year, so they have been seeing him every Wednesday afternoon and returning Thursday morning, and then every other weekend to coincide with his girlfriend’s visitation with her daughter (who currently lives with her dad). We’ve never set up anything for the summer, and he didn’t seem to want to spend much time with them until he started dating this woman two years ago.
I know that summer will go by so quickly, and I don’t really want them gone all of the time, but I know they need to spend time with their dad. So, I’m torn over this….and I really just think it’s having them gone for larger chunks at a time that is bothering me. My word, what am I going to do when they are all grown up and leave the nest? I’d better start working on that game plan someday soon!
Thanks for letting me vent. Looking to buy a large box of “tissues for issues….”
I have not ever had to be in a situation such as yours, but I can imagine how painful it must be as others in my family have and are going through similar scenarios. I will be praying that the Lord will show you a path through this. I really feel for you!
I think I would have to throw myself into some sort of project to distract my thoughts (they sometimes get the betterr of me. HA!) and make me tired enough to not notice quite as much. Also, I would suggest using this time to really have some intense praise and worship times and just really focusing on the Lord and having His Spirit fill your home.
Be blessed, Sue. I really hope this situation get easier for you soon.
I can see how it would be hard not to get completely wrapped up in the lives of your children, especially as a single mother. Perhaps if you can look at it from thier father’s perspective it will help a little. It is very hard to get to know someone when you see them from a couple days at a time. So the only way he is really going to know his children is to spend an extended period of time with them. Now if there is a danger with those relationships developing, I can understand the angst.
DH and I are kind of on the other side of the fence from you – hubby was the non-custodial parent for many years, though he now has shared physical custody, but we’ve been through a lot. If you ever would like to talk, please feel free to PM me and I can give you my email address (I’m not on here much).
It’s hard…I know in that I’m in a somewhat similar situation (as I believe you know from some of my posts). I’m assuming you are not concerned that your children are unsafe in any way just struggling with the emotional aspect of having to be away from your children & “share” them with someone in a way that you never planned or expected. While I’m not sending mine off for days or even overnight (they are little, & I have concerns about their father so that’s just not happening), it was only a couple months ago that I sent them with him for the first time like this for a few hours & spent the whole time crying. I still don’t like to do it & have some worries but have found that just making plans for myself (though most of the time he takes them has been on one of my work days or when I’ve had a training to do) has been helpful…even if that is grabbing $1 coffee from McDonald’s & walking around a store lol. I *never* get time to myself so have just tried to refocus to taking what has been forced upon me & seeing it as my opportunity to refresh as a mother, a woman. I have cleaned, shopped, etc as well. I still don’t like it, but at least I’m not just spending the whole time upset. Allow yourself to cry, be upset but put a limit on it then redirect to something that you enjoy, that refreshes you or that creates a healthier home for them to return after being with dad. I understand that pain too of what your daughter is doing. Even my little ones have said some things that just killed me…unfortunately, I think stuff is said to them that prompts that (not saying this is the case with your daughter). I pray this time they are gone will be a blessing to you in a way you never expected!
My heart aches for you Sue. I have no advice, but will pray for you. Take care of yourself and stay in prayer for your children.
Praying for you.
I appreciate everyone’s prayers and comments. Aside from the fact that the moral environment at their dad’s is not a good one (living with his girlfriend, lots of swearing, watching very inappropriate movies/playing violent video games), my kids are fed, sheltered, and cared for, so I have no reason to avoid sending them there. And their dad professed to be a Christian 15 years ago, so I’m hoping the kids can be a good witness to him and the others living there.
I actually got to spend some extra time with my son yesterday and the day before, which was a blessing. This week is Marine Week in our city, and he’s been coaxing me to take him downtown each day to climb on their vehicles, watch the K-9 unit demonstrations, examine their weapons, and just hang out around the Marines. Wednesday afternoon, he stayed with me when his sisters went to their dad’s, and that evening he & I watched the Marines play a flag football game against our city’s First Responders (police, fire, EMS) at our local NFL football stadium. He was thrilled to be there, and afterward we walked a couple of blocks over to the lakefront pier to see the sunset, more vehicles, more Marines, and a majestic travelling memorial of dozens of U.S. flags waving in the breeze. It was a glorious evening and great time spent together.
I was so impressed at how respectful and honoring my son was towards the Marines we met. Everywhere we went, he was shaking their hands, thanking them for their service, and asking questions about their training and the nearby equipment. Moments like that go a long way toward taking the sting out of our daily struggles with learning and behavior.
So, now I have projects and errands to keep me busy until they are back on Sunday night. Thanks again for letting me vent and responding with your prayers and encouragement.
Sue, I read your post yesterday and wasn’t sure what to say. =/ I was thinking about you a lot this morning and praying that you will feel peace and comfort while you deal with all the various aspects of the situation. Please know that we do care, even if we don’t have the right words all the time. =) I’m SO glad that you had a great memory making time yesterday. Keep your chin up! Sheila
I have never had to deal with this as a parent, but my little sis had extended visits with her dad over the summer when we were younger. One of the things that mom and I did was to write down little funny stories of our day(s) while she was gone so we would be sure to remember them and share them with her. Mom would write a letter to her to give to her upon her return home – dsis’ dad would have confiscated the mail had it come for her while she was at his home. Anyway, we looked forward to sharing this with her when she got back home – planning a special meal to talk all about things and share our stories with her and her stories with us.
I have also walked along side friends as they have delt with this as well. One does similar type of things with her dcrn as I posted above. Also, she deliberately schedules her appointments that the children wouldn’t be excited to tag along and wait at… like gyn exam, eye exams, etc. And finally both of the ladies schedule at least one afternoon or evening with friends – either at one of their homes or out and about – for a little adult time. It give them something special to look forward to that rejuvenates them. 🙂
Praying for you.
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