Life is not fair. No one knows this more than an abandoned spouse forced to hand over her children…except maybe the children forced to shuffle between two households and unnaturally choose between two parents.
No matter how unjust no fault divorce and our court systems are, forced visitation is a reality for many, so, whether your kids are away for Father’s Day, summer vacation, or “just” their weekly visitation, it’s best for you, and for them, if you make the best of it.
To do that, a good parent first needs to be sure her children are taken care of and feel okay about going. Children cannot be made to feel guilty for having to go or for wanting to go.
Children need a good father. Your opinion of the man you chose to have a child with does not change this fact or your child’s longing for their dad to be the father he was supposed to be.
As adults, we have decades of experience dealing with emotions. We’ve experienced loss, sadness, confusion, injustice, and disappointment. We should know how to handle our emotions, but still the pain of separating from our children is tremendous. Imagine how difficult it is for your child even if disappointment doesn’t show when you wish it would.
Instead of focusing on the departure, make your remaining time together memorable and make the return something to look forward to. I give some advice for helping children separate and return in this week’s newsletter.
What Do You Do With Alone Time?
Once your children are gone and there is nothing more you can do for them, it’s time to do something for yourself. In the beginning, it’s difficult if not impossible to do things for yourself, but to be the best mom your situation allows you to be, you must!
Parenting during those alone times is like being in an airplane when the stewardess tells you to put your oxygen mask on first and then help your child. If you don’t take care of you, you can’t take care of your children the way they deserve. Your child should always come first, but when he is not home, you must put on your oxygen mask.
For many women, the temptation of finding anything (or anyone) to fill the loneliness is appealing. That is a bad trap to fall into. The desire for a loving marital relationship that benefits both you and your children is strong and good. It’s part of God’s plan, but when you don’t take time to heal and grow stronger, you miss red flags, make compromises, and often end up on the same position that you’ve been in before. It’s part of the reason there is such a high divorce rate among second and third marriages.
To avoid that trap, use alone time purposely. List what needs to be done that you’ve been putting off. You know what I mean. Take out all those old bills and the nasty paperwork you’ve been avoiding and get it out in the open. Face what you’ve been avoiding and prioritize what needs to be done. Do at least one thing each day you are alone.
Use your time to learn something new. Watch a YouTube video on how to unclog that bathroom drain or how to jump start your car. Then do it! There is so much free material on the internet that everyone can find something to interest them. Choose to become an expert in something whether it is gardening, speaking another language, hula hopping, or soap making, practice in secret or grab a friend and learn together. Prepare to astonish people with your new knowledge!
Use your time to improve you. Workout. Eat healthy. Try new recipes. Read a book just for fun! Call a friend. Go for a walk. Pray. Journal. Take a bath with scented candles. Dance like no one is watching – really! The possibilities are endless and the best don’t usually require any money!
Design a bucket list. What fun things do you want to do in the next three months? Write them on your bucket list. Post the list so your kids can add to it when they return. Don’t remove items as you do them but mark them in some way. Leaving bucket items on the list reminds you of the fun you do have on days that aren’t fun. Hold onto that memory and plan for the next!
Design your vision board, which we will talk more about in the new online coaching community Embracing Joy.
Instead of looking to fill every minute, be still and let God work. It’s not easy to sit with yourself and study your past, but it is necessary to moving on. Be objective. Don’t skim over details you should be held accountable for. Don’t beat yourself up over details you couldn’t help.Hand it all over to God and allow Him to do with your life as He will. Go to Confession. Pay your penance. Seek Reconciliation. Then donate Forgiveness, Mercy, and Love to others.
The organization, self improvement, and fun stuff are all necessary to do in your alone time, but the knowing yourself as a child of God gives you Peace that surpasses understanding. That is what you’re shooting for in your alone time and what makes the children happiest coming home to. Peace is often the best gift a parent can give her child, and it’s not something that money can buy.
For help practical advice on making your child’s time away the best it can be for your child and for yourself , subscribe to this week’s newsletter or contact me about Embracing Joy!