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Anyone else finding it hard to deal with shared residence and separation from children?

(11 Posts)
servalanempressoftheuniverse Wed 03-Jun-09 15:27:45

I am a separated mum of 2 boys and work p/t (well actually f/t but they call it p/t) as an academic a long way from London where I live.

Under pressure from H who threatened me with immediate divorce and a nasty residence battle if I took the kids to live with me nearer work, I have agreed for this year to stay in London and have the kids 3 days 1 week/4 days the next week as H (who has a nanny and works from 8-7 every day almost) insisted on absolute 50:50 custody. I was the one to move out of the house as he refused to (mindful of his residence rights).

We are in counselling but who knows if we will get back together and if so what we will do re. where to live etc. I am the one at fault in the separation as had affair with another man. The marriage had been in trouble since the birth of ds1 but that is not an excuse of course

I was wondering if there are other mothers out there who find themselves separated from their children for large periods of the week and how they are dealing with it. I find it very hard to deal as a 'single mum' full on for half the week ( I do have nanny from 8-6 on weekdays but still find it hard, am no earth mother!!) and then to be totally without them for the other half.

When they're gone my flat echoes horribly. I find it hard to take my work seriously or to get over the idea that somehow I am losing them or damaging them by not being there.

Anyone else feeling the same or any tips on how I can be more positive about this for them and me?


queenrollo Wed 03-Jun-09 15:48:04

hi servalan (she's my avatar on another site i use smile)

I'm separated from ds's father. I left the family home, as ex runs a specialised business from the property. My ex works away at weekends (musician) and so i have my ds from Friday lunchtime to Monday lunch. Our split was amicable and we are very flexible about time with ds, but try to keep to the routine of where he is on what days because the security of that seems to have helped (ds is nearly 4 now)
My time without ds is very hard, i go from a full on house full of activity to absolute silence. I find it hard to go into his room/do his washing/tidy his toys when he is not here. I worry lots about how ds will feel about all of this as he grows, if he will understand that the way things have to be is because we feel it's best for his welfare.

The positive side of this for all concerned is that when together his father and i were very unhappy, and i was depressed which in turn meant i wasn't as good a mother as i knew i could we're out the other side of the break up, i am happy and a much better mother as a result.

I'm not sure i will ever come to terms with having to share my son the way i do. When i was pregnant i certainly never thought my life with my son would end up like this.

servalanempressoftheuniverse Wed 03-Jun-09 16:17:05

Hi Queenrollo
It's so nice to discover I am not the only woman in ths situation. Everyone else in my life seems to be a full time mother or at least to be working and with their partners etc.

I absolutely agree re. the silence of the house. The first night in particular that they are away, I feel really desolate. I've got their washing to do too and their toys everywhere

I'm ashamed to say I've started staying in bed a lot when they're not here, there seems no point in being up alone.... I know this is a sign of clinical depression and am being treated for it.

We were also unhappy when together but I dont' seem any happier since I left. The positive side of it has got to be that I think I am definitely now a better mother than I was and have learned not to rely on anyone else (i.e. dh) for anything.

How have you regained happiness? Did it start as soon as you left him? Do you date etc, have another partner now? I'm not doing that while we are counselling, also I have come to terms more with the fact that I am very troubled emotionally and shouldn't really be with anyone (including H) until I am more sorted out, whenever that will actually happen (am in counselling btw).

queenrollo Wed 03-Jun-09 17:03:04

how long have you been separated?

it will be two years in October for me. I do have a new partner, but for me and my ex there was definitely no going back, not least because he got together with someone else 3 weeks after we split, but that just served to make me realise that seperating really was the right thing for us to do. We'd obviously been emotionally detached for some time, and realised we'd had a child to try and repair things sad I think because of that it has been easier for us both to move on with respect to relationships, and i now live with my new partner. All four of us adults get on well too.
I had resigned myself to being single though, and was happy with that at the time. I too learned not rely on other people, which i had done far too much for the previous 14 years. The realisation that i could look after myself made a huge difference to how i felt about myself.

It has only been in recent months that i find the time away from my son a little easier to deal with, but like you i did used to just stay in bed because there was no point to my days. I'd been a full-time SAHM for 2 whole years and couldn't cope with not having him there and the loss of our routine together. It's been hard going through this with little support as far as other mothers. I met one other person who has her son at weekends as i do, but she has other children who are resident with her all week and so it's just not the same.
I have suffered anxiety attacks, mostly in the 6 months after i moved out. My first Christmas without ds was awful, just heartbreaking and his birthday last year his dad let me have him the night before so i would wake up with him.....he knows i am very sentimental about that day, though this year he will be at his dad's and i will go over for lunch and already i'm feeling incredibly sad about that.
There is so much i feel.......and because i have more routine to my life now my days without him aren't so bad, but i do still have the occasional morning where i wake up and just cry.

servalanempressoftheuniverse Wed 03-Jun-09 17:10:25

the big tearjerker for me is when I go over on Friday nights (we live near to eachother and try to have a night where the other partner comes round and puts the kids to bed) and my little one who is 2 always wants his dad then, not me

I don't know what we'll do at Xmas, last year I was still in the house so we spent it together (with H casting me evil looks over the turkey, lol). There is still a possibility of us being back together then, so I have to hold out the hope of that though I do worry that there is little to hold me and H together anymore other than the kids (can that be enough?)

My lease on this flat runs out in January, so after that I don't know if I'll go back 'home' (it no longer feels like home) or fight the divorce battle to have the kids with me nearer work

servalanempressoftheuniverse Wed 03-Jun-09 17:11:44

been separated now for 6 months. I had one of those crying mornings this a.m. too....

for some reason last night the story about the Beachy Head parents who killed themselves after their boy died set me off- anything about losing kids gets me right in the gut since the separation...

MadameDefarge Wed 03-Jun-09 17:12:50

My ds is 8, and has just started a new school round the corner from his dads, so it makes sense for him to be there. The first couple of weeks were awful, I felt I had lost my baby, and cried buckets. but now I see how happy he is at school, and how much he loves being with his dad, its sort of ok. I haven't lost him, he wouldn't be so happy there if he didn't have me 100% emotionally, if not timewise.

I also now get weekends with him for the first time in years, and to be honest, I loathed those weekends without him. Now we have a wonderful time together, with none of the day to day hassle. wink

So it can really work out. I don't see it as a forever situation, but while it works it is fine.

However, it was my choice, and I can change it any time I want to, so that makes a difference also.

Try to enjoy the time you have to yourself. I've been to the cinema, theatre and out to dinner. Things I had not done in years. It can be an opportunity to rediscover yourself a bit.

queenrollo Wed 03-Jun-09 17:24:13

we are home schooling ds, so we won't be losing time with him that way as he won't be at school and this will give us greater flexibility over our time with him.

Servalan - i just want to come and give you a big hug because i know how you feel in that silent flat. You will start to find it easier and you will begin to use the time on your own to sort yourself out, and that will make a huge difference to your happiness.

i was just getting on a level and then my dad popped up out of the woodwork after 30 in the last 18 months i've dealt with the break down of a 14 yr relationship, losing half the week with my son, coping with the loss of the life i thought i was going to have in front of me, and meeting my real dad for the first time in my life (and the emotional fall out that caused in my family). There have been times i've gone to bed at night thinking the whole world would be better off without me...especially when my son gets tired and emotional and sobs that he is missing daddy, or the time when he clung to me for 30 mins when i was dropping him back at his dad's and he begged me to bring him back home. But then i spend a weekend with my son.....who is loving and funny and most definitely very HAPPY.....and i see how much he loves my new partner (he fell this weekend and only dp was allowed to clean up and look at his knees), and he makes up songs and dances and runs around outside all afternoon playing........and i realise that i have to bear a little unhappiness now and then because what i've gained is a child who is happy and secure and knows he is loved by four parents instead of two.

sparkybint Wed 03-Jun-09 18:37:12

Hi Servalan, do not despair. My ex and I separated two and a half years ago and I thought the fallout for our DD of now 9 would be awful. He too insisted on 50/50 and to start with I thought my heart would break. But now I've come to terms with it and actually value having time on my own. I don't have her tonight and when I turned the key to the front door and knew I would have a night to myself, it felt wonderful.

First off, you need to work on the negative feelings about them not being there, that you might be losing them. That's exactly how I felt too and what you'll gradually realise is that your children will always be happiest if they have two parents who love them, even if they're not together. As long as your H appreciates that your children need two loving parents who have similar access, then you don't have an issue, believe me.

How long has this been going on? I am no earth mother either and have come to realise that in fact, I'm rather lucky. I get all the joy of having a child and being with her, as well as time on my own. And I know that when she's with her dad (who absolutely adores her) she's totally happy. I work full-time so the free time I have when she's not here is very precious to me. I see friends, read and write (I'm very creative) and there just aren't enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do. Believe me, this can be a good situation, so try and embrace it.

queenrollo Thu 04-Jun-09 07:09:11

Morning girls.

How are you today Servalan?

Yesterday was a down day for me, usually happens on a Tuesday but it was sunny and i was busy outside all day. Yesterday it wasn't so warm and i was inside. Trying to start packing for the house move, but when i got to sorting clothes out in ds's room i just felt sad.

servalanempressoftheuniverse Sat 06-Jun-09 15:50:08

Yeah I am coming to the end of my 'no-kids' period. It was 4 days this week, a long time and I always feel that in particular my little one has forgotten me over that time...

I feel fed up cos haven't got enough work done in my 'off' time. The broadband went down, etc etc, lots of silly practical things. Yesterday had a total downer and cried a lot. As i am the 'relationship-breaker' (had what was in retrospect an incredibly misguided affair which of course has gone nowhere- the marriage was of course in trouble anyway but that finished it off) I feel as if I've selfishly wrecked my kids lives. I just wasn't thinking straight last year or I would never have done what I did. Ex h now hates me and appears quite competitive re. the kids. (He told me around the time I left that he was the better parent and in one particularly horrible outburst that my eldest would not care if I left. OUt of hatred of course at what I had done, but these things stick with you.)

That guilt doesn't seem to lift. I find it hard to live with.

Anyway the kids are back tonight and need to think of some things to do with them in the rain tomorrow!

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