Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
What is it really like to be without your dc 50% of the time?(14 Posts)
Am very scared of this and it is one of the reasons I am still in this incompatible relationship to someone who is bad tempered and often rude.
Dc are 8, 10 and 13. Have heard (and can imagine) how difficult it is to not be able to be there all the time for dc after divorce, bit was wondering what it is really like / how dificult and if you ever "get over it". Added to this am scared 13 year old might decide to spend bulk of his time with his Dad .
I don't have an ex that takes care of DS 50% of the time but I've been a single parent from birth & have a job that takes me out of the country quite a lot and often involves unsociable hours. DS from being very small has therefore been taken care of by child-minders, babysitters, grandparents... and six hours of each day from age 5 he's been in the school system. We miss each other when we're not together, naturally, but I've had to rationalise it that it's necessary, not damaging, and that the people caring for him can always be trusted. Bottom line is that I have a really good relationship with a 14yo, he's a great guy... and I think that's as good as it gets.
Do you mistrust their father? Do you think that, if you're not in their life 24/7 they will stop loving you? What is it you're afraid of?
I'm married to the mother of my children and we all live under the same roof. I'm defnitely without my DCs 50% of the time (far less than that actually). By the time you've factored in time spent at school/work, afterschool clubs, time spent sleeping, then you probably don't spend as much time with them as you think. I know it's not helpful, but plenty of parents do it and I'd go so far as to say that it's probably not a good idea to stay in a relationship solely for the reasons you describe. Be sure that the relationship is not salvagable before you move on. But know that if you do (as happened to a friend of mine) not having the kids full time will present opportunities that wouldn't otherwise present themselves.
Thanks for your message cogito. Have lots to say but have to go out now and will anewer your questions this afternoon. I guess it's good to challenge all preconceptions and remove some of the crippling fear!
(Thanks also malice - just seen your message).
BTW.... you mention that your husband is bad tempered and rude. Is this just at home and aimed at you? Does his treatment of you upset the DCs? Are they copying his treatment of you? Do you worry that, if left in his care, you wouldn't be there to protect them?
It was the early years I found difficult. Now they are at school and I'm at work, it's not such a big deal. We have three evenings a week together and then either 3 or 4 overnight stays. It took some adjusting to especially on the weekend where I don't have them. I don't regret leaving my emotionally abusive ex at all. I'm much happier now and now that I've remarried the children have a model for what a healthy marriage looks like too.
It's difficult at first but you get used to it. And being at home with your children 50% of the time in a happy, contented and emotionally stable environment that suits you and them is infinitely better in every way than trying to cope with an unhappy marriage all of the time.
I think it makes you appreciate them more as you spend less time with them, but perhaps you make that time 'count' more. Of course nobody sets out to have DCs with the intention of being apart from them for any amount of time, but when the situation arises there are certainly benefits.
I have my DCs 5-6 days a week. Dp has his 3-4 days. He definitely misses them by day 3 or 4 without them, but is very doting and attentive when they're with him, wants to take them out and treat them etc, they stay up late so that he can spend extra time with them. He would dearly love to have them with him all the time, but certainly for me, I relish my days off and really appreciate the situation I have. Perhaps 2 days off is ideal in my mind?
I feel like 50/50 can difficult to strike a balance between the 'fun time non-resident parent' who gets to do the fun stuff without the daily grind, and the regular drudge parent who has to enforce rules and make themselves unpopular in the DCs best interests. With 50/ 50 both parents are more equal and both homes equally important to the DCs.
For mine, all their stuff is at my house, they have to transport it back and forth each week for one/two nights and their dad generally doesn't have to worry about homework, organising play dates, parties etc. he doesn't have to chase them to tidy up every day or help with the housework as they don't have much stuff there to tidy away.
Sounds mean, but I really look forward to my nights without them. It was really heartbreaking to start with, but I soon realised that the chance of a night out was not to be sniffed at! If it's two nights I start to miss them and I imagine by 3 nights I'd be looking forward to having them home.
I think that's why dp struggles a bit on his alternate week when they are at their mum's for 4 nights, but if you knew they were happy and well cared for on those 4 nights or if you were able to break it up into 3 on 3 off with rotating days, then I imagine it could be a great set up, with best of both worlds.
It's hard, not seeing them every day. Going to bed and not being able to pop in to their room and see them on the way makes me sad sometimes.
I am lucky in that I trust their father implicitly and I know that he gives them as much care, thought and attention as I do when they're with him.
They have their stuff at each house, and treat each house like home. I think the hardest part for them is the to-ing and fro-ing as we don't have a clear set pattern due to my work (I'm a shift worker) we try to tell them at the beginning of each week (or at the beginning of a 'run' of nights at a particular house) where they will be each night.
Possibly I find it easier as when I'm at work the kids are with their day (3-5nights at a time) And when I'm not at work they generally stay with me. I work weekends so he has them on my work weekends and I have them on my off weekends. It means the only time I really get to myself is on my days off when they're in school, but it also means I'm not left on my own missing them too much!
It IS difficult, and it can be stressful making sure you have what you need in the right place (clothes for example are fluid as to where they end up so we've had one occasion where I realised I had no uniform here as it'd all ended up there) and school stuff needs to be where it's needed on the right day etc, but again, we both have the children's interests at the front of everything, and will drop things over if needed. It helps that we live a 5 minute drive away from each other.
I have mine nearly 60% of the time but also work a 35hr week (long days when not with them). I would say:
1) our time together is undiluted. they have my full attention (I don't have a smartphone!) and we talk loads, they know I'm always there to attend to them but are actually remarkably independent and not clingy at all
2) our holidays together are amazing. Just the three of us, no other agendas. They are honestly the best holidays I have ever had
3) I think it's not just the reduction of the time but the fact it's not a continuum that makes you appreciate it more. 2/3 times a week I am genuinely giddy: jumping around outside the classroom or running to the front door to see them and I can't help but think this will be good for our relationship and for their self-esteem. Continuous things are much easier to take for granted. I think they still get the stability/
predictability from having a very solid routine and always being very clear about what they are doing ahead of time.
Obviously there's no control but I think my relationship with them is loads better for our separation. I'm not worried and anxious around them or moderating my behaviour with them in case someone criticises or mocks it. I can listen to my instincts without passing them through an acceptability filter. I'm happy, independent and self-sufficient. The house is tidy and organised. Oddly enough XH and I communicate really well and positively in spite of having had a fractious marriage and are careful to create a united front, always calling each other about eg behavioural issues. They have a parent picking them up from school three days a week even though we both work full time (we could have done this when together I suppose, but never would have seen each other... might have been an improvement ;)).
That sounds smug as all hell but if me three years ago could have read it I would have jumped for joy. Hope it helps and ignore it if it doesn't.
I did it with my older DCs - although it wasn't quite as much as 50% of the time they were with their Dad. You get used to it, I guess - it helped that I knew their father was doing a good job and that we were very amicable, so I felt I could call whenever (and vice versa). In my case I just worked late the days they'd be with him after school - it was the weekends I really hated.
I've been in this arrangement for over a year now and it's honestly not that bad. I have just the one ds who is 10. Myself and exH work full time office hours with varying start/end times, so we just juggle the weekdays around depending on who is where then have every other weekend with ds.
At first it was a bit weird, but now on the nights ds isn't with me it gives me a chance to work late, do shopping, see friends or just have a chill night, and the times I have ds I appreciate it so much more. It really helps that me and exH have a friendly and v.amicable arrangement and also flexible. He only lives ten minute walk/5 minute drive away and we communicate all the time. Ds loves his Dad to bits so he's always really happy to go there and also to come to me.
Yes - I forgot to say. I almost always stay with friends the weekends they're not here. Often come back during the day then go out again. That was my pinch point where it got really difficult. And obviously all the stuff about uniform and shoes/swim kit etc can be trying but for me it's always more like a relief that his lack of organisational skills only impacts on me 5% rather than 100% of the time! And he's way better with the kids' stuff and getting them to the right place at the right time now he has to take all the responsibility.
Join the discussion
Please login first.