I was asked the other day what the most difficult thing about being in a blended family is. You would immediately think the scheduling, or the discipline, or helping your children deal with the transition between households… But honestly for me the most difficult thing in a split/blended family is not having my children all of the time. I have people that joke with me and say things like,
- “Oh I would LOVE to have every other weekend without my kids!”
- “I could get so much done if my kids were only here half of the time.”
- “At least you have time to spend one on one with your significant other.”
- “You can get uninterrupted sleep on those days!”
Honestly the list goes on. Well, I guess this goes along with the saying that we all want what we don’t have. Because as much as some parents would give their left arm to have every other weekend without their kids, I would give mine to have it the other way around. We have to schedule everything around the weekends when we have or don’t have the kids. If someone is having a family get together, we are always praying that it’s on a weekend we have them. If there is a fun event on a certain weekend that we want to attend, we have to hope like hell that it’s on a weekend that we have them. HOLIDAYS, don’t even get me started on those, because some years (depending when holidays fall) you might not have them for any major holidays, and let me just say- it sucks.
You wake up on days without the kids, and the house is so quiet. There is nobody there begging you for breakfast, there is nobody there messing around with the dogs. The sound of horseplay from the living room is so absent that it hurts my soul. It’s so noticeable when they’re gone, and to even go in their room and put away clothes while they’re not home is a teary reminder that you sometimes have 3 or 4 more days until they’re back home.
So if you are like us and you struggle with the feeling of your child(ren) being gone, here are 4 tips and tricks to hopefully ease the sting and make your time a little less sad.
1. Try to keep yourself busy: This one is one of the best things you can do. The first night my boys are gone, I like to fill my night with laundry and chores that need to be done so that it distracts me from the fact that they’re not home. This can also be some of the most productive moments because while you’re trying to keep yourself busy, you’re also getting a ton done from your to-do list! It’s a win-win in my book.
2. Learn to enjoy and embrace the time alone/without them: Brian and I try to take “date nights” when the kids are gone. This way not only are we still keeping ourselves busy, but we are spending time with each other which is super important to us. When the kids are gone and Brian is working, I like to try to take a day for some “me time” and read a book that I’ve been trying to finish, do some writing, work on some crafting, or take a nice walk or bubble bath. This is time that you can do whatever you want, so you might as well do something you like while you’re at it! (This also goes back to #1, because keeping yourself busy is the best thing to do).
3. Ignore the feelings of guilt: I think most of us parents feel guilty that we are not with our children daily like most “normal” parents and families. I wanted so badly to give my children a “normal” life but sometimes life throws us a curve ball and we need to play with what we are given. I feel guilty at family events when I don’t have my child there, I feel guilty when family and friends are around that want to see them. I feel guilty that I was able to go out to dinner without them and have fun. I feel guilty that I failed a relationship with my sons father that didn’t allow him to live a “normal” life without the back and fourth. But at the end of the day, you need to accept your guilt and come to terms with it. If you don’t, it’ll break you. You are exactly where you’re meant to be, and your child loves you, and respects you for the decisions you have made. There is no reason to feel guilty.
4. Enjoy the time you have with the kids when they are home: The best thing to do out of all of this is to really enjoy them when they are home. This doesn’t mean you have to do something extravagant with them every second that they are with you, but really just take time to breathe in all of the moments. Yell less at the little messes, take a second to just watch them play, go jump with them on the trampoline or ride the dirt bikes along side of them. Read a book, help them figure out a problem, and really enjoy each moment that you notice, “holy moly, this kid isn’t a toddler or baby anymore” because parenting time is like a snowball on a downhill run… It just goes faster as they get bigger, and this is all time that we are not going to get back.
Enjoy your kids, and appreciate the heck out of the time you have them- even when it’s hard.
Until next time,