Taboo Topic: Upside to Divorce?
Ok, I'm going to come out and say it... divorce isn't all bad. And neither is coparenting. I've had friends tell me outright that they love being divorced.
Take Friday at 8:43 am, for instance, the kids got on the bus and I had a long weekend coming up that was kid-free. I have to admit I was in a pretty good mood at that time of the day. I was looking forward to getting some things done at home, running errands, getting some business done on the weekend which meant a lunch meeting, and even seeing some friends Saturday night. None of these things could have been accomplished had I had the kids last weekend. More importantly, I had some me-time, which after a long week of homework, gymnastics, and swim classes, seems pretty nice - indulgent even.
Ok, here comes the (major) guilt. My kids just left me for three days, I should NOT be practically skipping back into the house.
But why is it that I so often hear co-parents talk of the "switch" as totally depressing and that the time away from the kids is torture? Is it an individual thing? I mean, do some parents put themselves into that place because they can't bring themselves to find the positive in the situation? Do they sit at home eating ice cream and watching sad movies? (Which to me, still sounds pretty awesome - just sayin')
Or is it society that's telling us to feel that way? That we need to be so entirely focused on the kids at all times, that we're not supposed to have our own lives? That when they're gone we can't switch focus and put some time and effort into taking care of our own needs (whether it be grocery shopping or a pedicure!)? I just have to say I don't agree with that. I know that can't just be me.
Now, don't get me wrong, my kids were gone for three nights last weekend (usually it's two), so by Monday morning I was totally depressed and missing them. And, I have to admit, I do have a pretty good coparenting setup. I feel lucky that I get along with my ex, and that the time away from the kids is usually short and sweet. Plus my kids take these transitions pretty well. When I tell them they are going to dad's for three sleepovers they are usually pretty psyched. The days when the switch didn't go so smoothly had me in more of heart-wrenching kind of sadness after the drop offs. Those are few and far between now (thank god!).
So, how do you take transitions with the kids? Are you upset after the switch or do you already have plans set up in advance to take advantage of the time? Do you feel happy or sad after the kids leave? And, either way, do you have that horrible guilty voice in the back of your head, telling you that it should be one way or the other? I'd love to hear stories from other parents about their own feeling during transition time.