Shared ParentingSpending time away from your kids when you first get divorced can be extremely hard. You are used to being under the same roof and having them with you. Sharing time with the other parent can seem almost unthinkable. My kid is going to be gone for the weekend! My kids are going to be gone for a week?! These are things that may have never happened before and might feel scary or sad. It is normal to feel stressed or sad when this happens early on. Coparenting in separate households can feel overwhelming at the beginning.

Give your give yourself a chance to feel all the feelings. Once you do, you can move forward and allow yourself to trust that your children will be safe and happy with the other parent during their time and adjust to the “new normal.” Then you just might start to find there is an upside to shared parenting and divorce. It is what I call the “stretch time“, and that could be the few days, weeks, whatever your schedule is where the kids go to the other parent’s house. That stretch allows you to stretch out and engage in non-parenting activities and connect with yourself and others in your life in a way you don’t when parenting.

This can be very hard at first but after getting over the tears when you drop off the kids for the first few times, you begin to realize it is more than okay to look forward to that respite from parenting. You get a break to focus on yourself and just yourself. Catch up on the shows you don’t get to watch when there is homework to help with, connect with friends you don’t get to see in the evenings when your kids have soccer or girl scouts, go for that long run or try the hot yoga you have been thinking looks good, have a date night out, or just catch up on sleep! No matter what it is, this is your “you“ time.

When your children come back for their time with you, you will be refreshed, relaxed, better focused, and a better parent to them.