Imagine this: Your kids are going to their other parent’s house for their co-parenting time. You’re happy for them. You are looking forward to some time to yourself.
Do you believe this could ever happen to you?
When you imagine this scenario, what feelings come up for you? Disbelief? Anger? Sadness? Guilt?
Maybe you aren’t there yet.
That is absolutely okay. Co-parenting is hard. Your feelings and needs are valid. Remember, it is important to learn how to cope with your feelings of loneliness and sadness when the kids are with their other parent.
Post-divorce life isn’t easy. You’re allowed to take the time you need to grieve and heal. Know that you will not always feel this bad. Healing will happen.
Perhaps you’ve arrived in a place where your no-kid time is not as difficult.
It is alright to feel good about your kids being with their other parent. You are not required to feel guilty about enjoying time to yourself or with other important people in your life. You having hobbies, friends and fun is such an amazing thing! You feeling fulfilled is good for you and it is good for your family. Kids can tell when their parents are happy. Knowing you are okay gives your children permission to be okay, too. It gives them room to be happy with both parents and in both of their homes.
Know that adjusting to life after divorce is not a race. It will look different for everyone. Your healing and point of view will also look different during the various parts of your journey.
Take your time.
Take care of yourself along the way. Over time, you’ll notice the changes. Eventually, you’ll realize just how much healing you’ve done.
What is your favorite way to spend your downtime when your kids are away? I would love to hear about your favorite me-time activities!
Looking for some encouragement as you navigate the tough world of coparenting? Join the Divorce Proofing Group on Facebook! You'll find a group of divorced parents who get it - because they've been there. Click here to visit the Divorce Proofing group!
Bethany Raab is a Denver-based social worker who loves helping teens and their families be happy and healthy!