When I first had to let my kids go and spend time with their dad, I was devastated. I struggled with my emotions a lot. I was extremely depressed and hopeless. There were days when I would sit and do nothing because all I could think about was them.
Dishes weren’t being washed and the house was messy but all I could do was lay in my bed and cry.
Overthinking ruled my life and I struggled with guilt and regret. I couldn’t help but think about how much trouble I had caused my kids by allowing them to be born in this situation. My ex was treating me badly and now he had to be with the kids.
On top of the mistreatment, my ex had blocked me from having any communication with the kids so they would be gone 4-5 days without any contact and the lack of communication between me and him didn’t help the situation at all.
Whether you have a 50/50 custody agreement or you don’t see your kids for a month, being separated from them can be painful.
Even though I still struggle with my emotions when my kids are away, I understand how important it is for them to spend time with their dad. Not only does it give me time to recharge, but I also want my kids to have a healthy relationship with both of their parents despite my relationship with their dad.
So instead of wishing he wasn’t in the picture, I needed to find ways to cope and thrive while they are away from me. Here’s how I am doing that:
In the past, I would fall into this trap of worrying and stressing out about finances, work, and other things when I have the kids. This would stop me from enjoying my time with them and when they went away, I would replay all the times they wanted to play but I couldn’t. Or all the times I chose work over spending time with them.
These thoughts added more guilt and regret to my already depressed and overwhelmed mind and I would just hate myself for not taking advantage of the time I had with them before they left.
I am learning to cherish the days I have with them when they’re with me. I also plan our days and include activities we can do together so that when they go, I don’t feel as though I didn’t do my best to be present while they were with me.
This helps me enjoy my time alone knowing that I did the best I could when I had them.
A day or two before they leave, take the time to do something meaningful and fun with them so they can remember it and you can too. Take lots of pictures and videos that you can look back on that will fill you with happiness when you start to feel sad or lonely.
I usually like to go to a restaurant with my kids and a family member. You can also do a fun project together, go watch the movies, do some fun activities at home…whatever they’ll enjoy.
It can be so easy to shut yourself in when the kids aren’t there. You may feel as though you just want to be by yourself but I wouldn’t recommend it.
It is easier to fall into overthinking and depression when you’re alone.
Instead, surround yourself with family and friends. Go out to events and do activities that you enjoy.
Emotions can be overwhelming! If you are feeling stressed or worried about your kids, address those emotions. You can do this by journaling your thoughts and fears so you can get them out of your head.
It’s okay to acknowledge the way you feel, just don’t stay there.
Exercise is also a great way of dealing with negative emotions so break into a sweat and let it all go.
Ask God to help you with your emotions and thoughts. Ask Him to protect your children when they are away from you and to help the other parent to treat them well.
I always pray for my kids when I drop them off and I thank God when they get back to me safely.
I also learned to rely on prayer when I feel myself slipping into depression, worry, or anxiety. I realize that God is the only one who can fix this situation so the best thing I can do is to bring my pain to Him.
Other than catching up on work or cleaning, find ways to occupy your time with activities you love! Look for new hobbies you can do, visit new places, and make new friends. Look for productive ways to spend your time so that you aren’t idle.
One thing I am starting is solo dating. I want to learn more about myself and do activities that I enjoy and this is a great way to do so. If you are looking for solo date ideas, you can find some here.
So, there you have it. It won’t be easy, but I promise, you’ll get through it. We single moms are made of strong stuff; after all, we’re the CEOs of our own little universe. And remember, missing your kids when they’re away is a testament to how awesome a mom you are. They’re missing you too, and they’ll treasure the moments they get to spend with you even more.
May 7, 2022
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