Nothing in the world prepares you for the feelings that come the first time your kids walk out the door to stay with your ex-spouse. You expect to miss the little hellions, but the overwhelming anger, guilt, bitterness, and shame? Well, those can come as a total surprise.
Basically, it feels like your insides are being scooped out with a melon baller, one muscle at a time.
But your kids need and deserve time with their other parent, so you have to find a way to survive. This post is about that: you and me finding some creative ways to handle the time alone.
During the first few months after a divorce or separation, it’s critical to take whatever time you need to get through the kaleidoscope of crap that boomerangs back every time you feel like you’ve come far enough to let it go.
Then, when your kids return, hug them and tell them how glad you are to see them—and how glad you are they got to see their other parent (this part gets easier).
After those first months have passed, you’re going to find yourself in a strange place: sad to see the kids go, but … well, kind of glad too. Almost relieved. Because guess what?
When you’re sure they’re safe and happy, you no longer feel so guilty for the time apart. And when you happily shrug off the mantle of “parent,” you start to remember yourself.
“At eight years old, his family shattered. At nine, he left his house and friends to move to an apartment beside a busy road where dogs bark, kids shout, and he isn’t allowed to run inside because it might disturb the neighbors.
“But he isn’t concerned with childish things; he’s too afraid, too hurt. The first weekend he spends with his father is agony. He feels disloyal; he feels angry. When he says ‘Goodbye,’ his voice is breaking, and his mother later tells him, ‘If you need to live with your dad for a while, I’ll understand. We’ll work it out.’ ”
From Divorced Moms.
Throughout the past twelve months, life has thrown a lot of lessons my way. Whether positive or negative, every experience has included a hefty amount of learning. This is what I know today: