How do you handle missing your child when they’re at
your ex’s the other parent’s house?
Yeah… I can totally relate. It seems impossible to deal with at first!
Whether you’re sharing custody of your children with their other parent in a 50/50 split, finding yourself without your kids for only one weekend a month, or somewhere in between, the time you spend without them can be hard to handle.
While being separated from your children so that they can spend quality time with the other parent is necessary to encourage and nurture a healthy relationship with both parents, it can also be hard to cope with.
Parenting After Divorce: How to Handle Missing Your Child
After my divorce, when my daughter, Krista, was with her Dad, I had a really hard time. I was used to being a stay at home mom, with my daughter 24/7/365, and here I was without her, working my butt off only to come home to… an empty apartment. I had never missed her so much. It was so bad that I would cry myself to sleep at night (nights were always the hardest).
Coping with missing your child after divorce is hard. I missed her, I missed spending time with her, getting to tuck her in at night, getting to snuggle together in bed, getting to read books to her… It felt like a knife in the heart it was so painful.
It took a long time for me to erase the “he’s taking my baby away from me” mentality that many moms hold on to in favor of “I’m so glad they can spend quality time together” point of view I have now.
Do I wish I had more time with my daughter? Of course I do.
Do I still miss her every day and every night she’s away? Duh!
But I cannot stress enough the importance of allowing children time to bond with both parents. I am so very glad my ex and I could agree on joint custody so that Krista would have a chance to be with all of her parents (bios and steps alike).
So how do you cope when your baby is at her other parent’s house? The key is to focus on other things, and there are 4 basic ways you can spend your time to help you cope until they get back.
Use your time productively.
Do some meal prep for the week!
Learn a new skill like cooking.
Take self-defense classes.
Start a side hustle (like a blog or Etsy biz!).
Pick up more shifts at work.
Try out a new hobby like painting or scrapbooking.
Spring clean or deep clean the house.
Get caught up on emails.
Bake your new neighbor a pie.
Finish a project around the house.
Spend more time with people.
Barbeque with friends.
Go to dinner with your mom.
Get mani/pedi’s with your sister.
Take a day trip with your best friend.
Take the dog to the dog park and hang out with other dog people.
Meet a coworker for happy hour.
Go on a fishing trip with your dad (or stepdad).
Volunteer with others.
Do things just for you.
Read books and cross them off of your reading bucket list.
Soak in the tub with candles and wine.
Get a massage.
See a movie you’ve been dying to see.
Hike up a mountain for some meditation time.
Stick to a workout regimen – go to the gym!
Binge watch a new Netflix TV show.
Catch up on sleep.
Find little ways to spend time with your child on those days.
*As long as it’s okay with the other parent!
Have lunch with your child at school.
Get the families together for a co-parenting date.
Offer to watch the kids if your ex needs a sitter.
FaceTime after homework.
(Don’t go crazy with this one. And don’t ask for anything you wouldn’t be okay giving to their other parent!)
While hand-offs between two houses are a lot different than sending your kid off to college, I like to look at it from that perspective. Coping with missing your child is hard, I get it!
I know a lot of moms who have a hard time coping when the kids leave to further their education or because they marry. Think of this moving between houses as a much shorter practice run.
Over time, the hand-offs will get easier on both you and your child. And the more your co-parenting relationship improves, the easier it seems to be when your children are away – because you know they’re in good hands.
So breathe, Mama; it will be okay. He isn’t taking your baby away. Your son or daughter will be back soon to tell you just how much you were missed.
P.S. Another one I really struggled with? Sharing my daughter!