I’m sad about the recent demise of my common-law marriage, yes. But a great thing has come out of it and the shared custody of our son. Shared custody has made my relationship and my bond with my son stronger than The Hulk. And way more fun, too.
This past Saturday, I took my son, Holt, for his Tae kwon do belt level test. In the afternoon, I invited two of his friends over, for a four-hour playdate. On Sunday, my son and I headed to a toy store, and he picked out his birthday present. Then, we spent two hours putting Lego pieces together. Later, we headed to my parents for a birthday family dinner.
My son and I had a fabulous, non-stop weekend. On ‘my weekend,’ I took him to Ripley’s Aquarium on Saturday, and then to the Avengers movie on Sunday. My point being… I’m quite enjoying shared custody. (Cue the gasps!) It has made me a far better parent to my son, and, likewise, my son is definitely much better behaved when it’s just the two of us.
I know many people feel devastated when they have to split time. In this article, ‘50/50 Isn’t Lucky,’ one mother writes how all of her friends say, “God, you’re so lucky you have every other weekend off. I would do anything for some time away from these kids, they are killing me!” This really pisses her off. She writes, “…My heart aches every time I say goodbye to them as they go off with their dad…I start to worry almost immediately, what if they get a cold, what if they have nightmares, what if they have a great day, what if they have a bad day, what if they make a new friend, what if they fight with a friend, what if they feel lonely, what if they don’t. I don’t know. Fifty percent of the time I cannot see that, I don’t know.” It makes me wonder why this writer can’t just have a little faith that the other parent is responsible and enjoy her ‘time-off!?’
I learned immediately I had to plan activities to keep my son busy and entertained on my days. When his father and I lived together, we would play it by ear, and that meant we usually ended up at a mall or doing chores. Sundays were usually about Holt playing with Daddy on his X-box and watching sports all afternooon. Often, I’d feel excluded. Not anymore!
I’m getting to know my son in a different way than when Daddy was around, and my son is seeing me in a new light. Like a tourist in my own city, or cruise director, I make itineraries for our weekends. I also make him squeal when I tell fart jokes. I make him laugh (and look at me with pride) when I burp the entire alphabet out for him (I’m all class!) I make sure we are doing things that are fun for both of us, bowling, zoo and park visits, and setting up playdates, that have nothing to do with an X-box. Truthfully, I’m having way more fun with my son than I ever did when living with his father, and he’s having way more fun with me.
Thanks to shared custody, I’m a much better parent to my son.
And now I have the gift of a break! On the nights or weekends my son isn’t with me, I go out with girlfriends, without a self-imposed curfew. I can actually sleep in every other weekend, without hearing, ‘I got up with him now it’s your turn to keep him busy.’ (Every mother’s dream is a sleep in, isn’t it?) Parents, I think, are now seeing the positives of sharing custody. In fact, although nobody would admit this I’m sure, could other parents be just a tad jealous of those of us who share custody?
In this article, a mother writes about sharing custody. ‘…I slept in their beds, used their blankets, and barely ate. I tried to sleep whenever I could. It was easier to sleep the time away than to stay awake and miss them. But I knew that I needed to start focusing on the positives and not on the negatives. I was making myself physically sick wallowing in my own misery…’
To her surprise, she found benefits come with 50/50 custody! ‘It’s true! I was given a gift,’ she admits.
Believe it or not, sharing custody is a bit of a gift, or blessing in disguise. It has made me a more organized mother and my son and I have become super tight. I no longer get bent out of shape with his father, because on my days, I can plan and do things without asking if he is available, nor do I have to work around his schedule. Sure I miss my little dude when he’s with Daddy, but I don’t worry about him, because I know I will not go more than three days without seeing his dimpled cheeks and blue eyes. Every time he sees me, after a couple days, you’d think we were adults in a long-distance relationship, my son and I are both THAT thrilled to see each other again!
On my days, it’s not all about Daddy. Now it’s all about Mommy, mommy, mommy. And he’s seen another side to me. Yes, mommy certainly can play catch with you! Yes, mommy certainly can kick a soccer ball around with you! Aren’t you amazed mommy can kill one of those creepy crawlers that you are so scared of and can name every single superhero? Yes, when push comes to shove, I can indeed follow Lego instructions. My son doesn’t just love hanging out with me, but I actually impress the little dude, and that’s a pretty good feeling! Before his father and I split, he had no idea that everything Daddy did, Mommy can also do. Often he now looks at me so proudly like I’m the superhero, after I build awesome pillow forts with him.
‘Not only did I get extra time when the kids went to Dad’s but the time that I got from less housework was amazing. I had less laundry, less dishes, less cooking, less people to pick up after less often…Every other weekend and two nights a week, I know that my children are being cared for by someone who loves them…,’ the writer continues.
She goes on; ‘I was also given the gift of time with my children. Wait, that doesn’t make sense, does it? But it is true. Before the 50/50 custody agreement, I had more physical time with the kids, but now I had more quality time…The time that I have with them is almost fully spent with them.’
How many parents do you know who argue about who should do what with each kid during weekends? Often it seems like tit for tat when I see couples, who are like, ‘Well, you went shopping and brunch with your girlfriends so I’m going golfing on Sunday.’ Or, ‘Well, I bathed and put him to bed yesterday, so now it’s your turn!’ Often, married people with children get resentful if they don’t think their spouse is pulling their parenting weight. When it’s just solo-parenting, there is no arguing, no tit-for-tats, and no built up resentment over who has done more…because there’s no one to argue with!
I know parents are waiting for me to say that ideally I would want to see my child every single day, even for a minute, and that they couldn’t imagine not seeing their kid every day.
I’m not going to say that.
But, if you want, I can thrill you with burping out the entire alphabet.
Tagged under: Custody,divorce,kids of divorce,separation,coparenting,family relationships,having fun with the family,shared responsibilities,changing relationships,single parenting,relationship with children,divorced parents,relationships and marriage,modern relationships,custody schedule,weekend fun,finding balance in motherhood,life after divorce,working on relationships,children of divorce