If you are a mom like me you loved the time with your child. The playing, the little dance parties, you ingest it in every inch of you and crave it more than chocolate. Then a divorce happens and a court puts you on a diet of this amazing experience.
So how do you deal with this sudden change in your life? How do you go without or at least less of what you once had whenever you felt like walking in their room? It’s hard at first but you will find that it will make you a better parent when your time does come again.
For me it was crying for days then I realized I had to use this time for him and for me. Here is my plan:
Give Every Weekend a Theme
While the goal should always be to make a better home for them and for you-both within and outside yourself, feel free to target it down to a more specific theme. Personally I am focusing on financial agendas and preparing to be the financial and emotional caregiver my child needs. I also use the time to apply to more teaching and writing jobs as well as responding to opportunities.
For you it could be making a cleaner home or even cleaner eating. Be there for you by preparing for them and their future.
Keep a “I can do it then list”
You know those “Oh yeah” moments when you remember things you need to do? Well now it can be done then..I literally have on my phone a list just for this time. It’s all the things that isn’t urgent but would really be great if it was done already. This can be calling a family member or talking to a financial advisor now that you are only 1 for 1 so to speak.
This will not only fill up the time but space out the time you have for your child and allow you to focus on them when it’s your time with them without feeling stressed that there is so much to do. Put everything on it-even things you have put off before the divorce.
Get Back Into Your Passions
Take this time to evolve your passions-some you have to admit were ignored while you lovingly heard “Mommy!” on a daily basis. For me, I started writing again (enter this column) and began to watch Project Runway and doing the challenges. I also started looking into restarting yoga which I did weekly back when I interned at the White House and miss.
This will allow you to fill in the gap so to speak with a bit of you and even give you something to talk about with your child when they come back. In fact, I have a new children’s book idea as a result of talking to my kid about things I am writing about.
Use the time to Research how to be a better mommy
From organization to better eating for us and our new home, I have finally allowed myself time to get into the pile of magazines that were pushed away for Legos. I also reviewed the home equipment I had and asked family to donate tools and other items I knew I was going to prospectively need in the future.
This may be a given (better mommy) but it also allows you to reconnect with your child even while he’s not there. I get to look at his artwork while I figure out a filing system for it. My son and I are trying new foods together and we got ourselves a crock pot recently. You should also do some research about yourself too. I recently finally went to a cholesterol specialist-never had time for that and now that I am a single mommy, my health needs to return to priority.
The bottom line: take the time for you and for them to be enriched and readied for the future. Of course tears will come and for me they still come to this day, but when you wash your face—get back to work.
Heather is a Politico turned special needs single mom who just started journaling her path for other single mom’s. She lives in NYC with the greatest kid ever.