Lurking in the shadows of part-time parenting are many emotions.
Doubt, fear, uncertainty, anger, bitterness, but one of the worst for me is LOSS
LOSS, every time they go back to their dad’s.
I grieve every time. It doesn’t matter if they were with me for one day or 14 days, I grieve.
It doesn’t matter if it’s our twice a week visits, holiday visits, birthday visits, or our six weeks of summer visits. I grieve
When I drive that route to and from returning them to their dad’s, I grieve.
That grief is always there, lurking in the shadows
One of the most difficult times for me is when I go back to the part-time visitation schedule
I remember when they lived with me full time I made comments such as: “I just need a break. I never have any time to do what I want to do”
Well, I eat crow a lot now because when they are away, all I think about is how much I wish they were with me every moment.
For the longest time I believed I was being punished for saying such horrible things about needing a break and for complaining about never having time for me.
I’ve learned God and life don’t work that way.
I’ve learned it’s okay to need a break, need time to myself, and to miss them like crazy when the boys are not here.
I’ve learned time apart is not punishment nor is losing full time custody of my children.
I never understood when I would hear that God works all things for good. I would always, ALWAYS, roll my eyes when someone would say that to me.
I didn’t understand that same phrase didn’t mean bad things wouldn’t happen nor did it mean my life would be over when bad things did happened.
You’ve heard this one, right?
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Going from a full time stay-at-home mom to a part-time parent was very painful, VERY PAINFUL! How could there be good in that? I’ve asked myself and God this question a million and one times, eh maybe more.
As time has passed, I am more capable of seeing how much the loss of custody as grown me. How God needed me to learn to be grateful and thankful for many things in my life, including time with my boys. I don’t believe these are the only things, but they are the ones I see right now.
When something is right under our noses, our children are right under our feet all the time, we can begin to complain about it or take it for granted. I think this happens in marriages too, but that’s for another day.
When bad things happen, as I see it, we have two choices:
Let it destroy us
Let it grow us
I struggled for a good long time as I made the choice, albeit not conscientiously, to let the custody battle and change destroy me.
Many times I let myself believe as the world believed, that I was a BAD mom.
THAT IS JUST NOT SO
Looking back over the last 6 years I can tell you exactly where God has grown me.
I can tell you many of the things I needed to learn.
I did not see it in the middle of the battle, nor did I see it a year later, two years later.
Every day I see and feel little things that suddenly make sense to me.
Don’t get me wrong, moving to part-time parenting status was never in my plans and it SUCKS on most days, BUT God has taken that terrible, horrific ordeal and made good things from it.
I think I had to ‘hit rock bottom’ or the closest thing to it for me, in order to decide to make time with my boys QUALITY and not simply QUANTITY.
It can be so difficult sometimes, as a full-time parent, to remember what a blessing it is to have our children with us all of the time. We can lose track of our gratitude.
I wouldn’t wish loss of custody on my worst enemy, it was exactly what I needed though to treasure my children and the time I get with them.
Our relationships are stronger for it and I am grateful!
That certainly doesn’t mean I don’t long for them to be back with me full-time, nor does it mean I don’t miss and long for every single moment I’m not able to be there in their everyday lives.
What it does mean is this:
I am now able to count it all as joy! Sounds crazy I know, but its true.
Even through the pain, hurt, sadness, emptiness, and every other emotion I feel when the boys are not with me, I count it as joy and know that my GOD is an awesome God and has my best interest at heart!
James 1: 2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
Troubles are going to come, pain is inevitable, but in all things trust that you are loved beyond belief and God is working even if you can’t see it.
I’m learning to believe and live it.
Till Next Time,
What do you take for granted?
10 thoughts on “Lurking in the Shadows of Part-Time Parenting”
I was only devorced for 8 months. Through the holidays to be exact. I do remember trying to share them and finding the loneliness when the house was quiet. I know the hurt and pain of not being there for them. They are my whole life and still are.
I did grow alot, it was a time that I had to look at myself and learn how to be strong for what I wanted.
Their father did not like to hear from other people that his child was home sick, and he was the last to know.
Long story short, I am glad I only had to deal with that for a short period of time, for we remarried.
Oh yes Sandy, the loneliness of the quiet can be quite deafening. I’m thankful and encouraged by your story. Thank you for sharing it with me. Hugs to you my friend!
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You took me back Robyn to a time when my son went to his father. I had full time custody & had those ‘breaks’ which I looked forward to. When he left college, he decided to live in the same area as his father & grandparents. This was prompted initially by a girlfriend. I was ok about it but gradually he became close to his ‘family’ there. I found it hard especially when he married, had a child & was still ‘down there’. His father & grand mother have recently died & he now is ‘coming back’. Not moving but being closer. Wonderful post. Thank you
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Julia, thank you for sharing this with me. It’s often I feel alone in my feelings, as if I’m the only mother in the world experiencing this. Hearing other’s stories makes me feel less so. I’m so glad to hear your son is ‘coming back’, that’s wonderful news. Your honesty and openness warmed my heart! Thanks for stopping by and I do hope you’ll return soon!
This is a lovely post Robyn. I am incredibly lucky in that my son is with me most of the year. He usually has a weeks holiday with his Dad in February and then spends most of the summer holidays with him. Even so I still find it so hard. I can’t tell you how many times people have said things like “Oh great 5 weeks of freedom” I feel like telling them how much they would hate it if it were them in the situation.
Like you though I have learned lessons from being apart and I continue each year to grow. Always, always happy to have my lovely son back with me. xx
Thank you for sharing Wendy. I’ve also had people say similar things to me about “nice break”, “freedom from your kids, how great is that”. We each have our own things don’t we?
It’s terrible to say it, but sometimes we need painful episodes to help us grow. Everyone has pain in their lives. Losing your children for part of their lives must be wrenching. And yet, every parent does so when their children mature and leave home. Sometimes they turn against one parent or the other. That’s painful too, knowing how you cherished them. And yet, it must be endured. Just continue to do your best. Nobody could expect more.
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Francene, I couldn’t agree more. Funny you should mention parents going through the empty nest syndrome; it was just yesterday I mentioned to my mom the custody change put me through the empty nest early, with visitation of course 🙂
Thank you for your kind words and for the encouragement! I’m thankful!
I think life is a learning process and I also believe everything happens for the greater good, however terrible maybe…yes, it can be hard to see at first but eventually everything or let’s say most things have the workings of God in it.. So, best to learn from it and grow…And yes I do take things for granted, it;s human nature but from time to time I try and appreciate what I have…
Well said nabanita! Well said indeed. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for your words of encouragement!