When a divorcing couple has kids, they will always dread that first time the children go to spend time with the other parent. It’s unusual at first, to be without the children whose presence you’re used to having constantly, but the best way to get through it is to find healthy ways to spend that time.
Whether it’s your first time being alone without the kids or you’re still struggling with it years after a divorce, use these six ideas to keep you busy and add value to your life, not take away from it.
Kids can be messy, and in a house where kids live 24/7, it can feel like a moot point to deep clean only for it to get messy again within a few hours. If you have a week or a weekend away from the kids, take the time to deep clean your space and bask in the cleanliness while they’re gone. Plus, you’ll be able to keep germs at bay which is important in this time of COVID-19.
Make your space feel more like yours. Whether you’re still in the family home after the divorce or trying to put down roots in a new spot, it can be easy to feel like you’re living in someone else’s home. Get rid of some furniture, go antiquing, or simply move some items around to make it feel fresh, new, and you.
Go On a Date
If you’re ready to see new people and you think it’s an appropriate time for your family, consider using this time to go on a date. It’s easier to go when you don’t have to arrange a sitter, and it allows you to screen dates without having to introduce them to your kids.
Work on a New Skill
Add some value to your own life by learning a new skill! Perhaps you take up a pottery class every other weekend while the kids are with their dad or mom, learn how to sew or take a professional course to add to your resume.
Spend Time With Other Loved Ones
Being without your kids doesn’t mean you need to be alone. Fill that time by spending it with other loved ones, like your parents, siblings, or friends.
Do Something Indulgent
Indulge in some self-care because you deserve it. Take yourself to the spa, go shopping, see a movie at the fancy theatre, or even take a trip you’ve been dying to go on – because you can!
Communicate With Your Kids Virtually
If you’re about to set healthy co-parenting boundaries and can come to an agreement with your co-parent, schedule regular Facetimes or phone calls with your kids so you can keep in touch when they’re not with you.
Co-Parenting: Quality Over Quantity
When transitioning into a new lifestyle of co-parenting, remember that it’s about the quality of the time you’ll get to spend together, not the quantity. When sharing custody of your children with an ex, naturally, the quantity of time spent with them will decrease – but that doesn’t mean the quality needs to.
Focus on what you can do when you’re with them, be as present as possible, and try to focus on other productive things when they’re with their other parent.