Accepting shared custody...

Lindsay - posted on 03/05/2012 ( 24 moms have responded )

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I have been looking for women that could relate to my feelings towards shared custody; here is my story...

I have a 5 year old son Matthew whom my ex and I share custody 50/50 - the arrangement has been like that since the day we split approx 2.5 yrs ago. It has never gotten easier for me to accept that I am not apart of my son's life 50% of the time. My ex and I have a civil understanding and are flexible about the routine...I want to be able to be truely happy when my son is with his father but I feel guilty. I feel that I should not be allowed to be happy without my son. It's difficult sometimes to do his laundry, look at his school picture, go into his bedroom when he is with his father. I miss him all the time. I want nothing more for my son to have a strong relationship with both his father and I, I dont regret out custody aggreement; so why is this so difficult to accept. I realize that I will miss my son when he is with his father; but I don't want to feel guilty and sad about the fact that it was my choice to leave. I blame myself for the negative, I blame myself if my son acts out...I feel it's my fault becasue I have created a life for him that is not "traditional". Though if I had of stayed with his father he would see an unheathly realtionship.

My struggle is the blame I put on myself and the sadness I feel because I miss my son so much. I want to be able to go into his room and put his laundry away (when he is at his fathers) and not feel that terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. What has been helpful for some of you mothers out there???

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Christine - posted on 01/24/2013

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I just saw this post looking for advice on this same situation. I realize it is over six months old so i am not sure anyone will ever see this (new to this posting thing)...but my situation is so similar. i left my marriage about a 1.5 years ago and have had 50/50 custody of my now 7.5 year old daughter (then 5) since day one. The emotional heartbreak of not being with her 100% is just as hard and raw today if not more so, than it was the day i left. i am floored by the level of pain that still exists today. my situation is not even that bad, i want her to have a relationship with her dad, she is loved and cared for when she is with him, she is happy and very well adjusted, i have plenty of things to occupy my time when she is away (and i ENJOY my 'me' time) but sometimes i just want to curl up in a ball and die because it hurts so bad. i stare at her picture and i am overcome with terrible feelings of remorse and sadness 'how could i have done this to her', 'how can this be right to not be there for her 100% of the time', 'she did not do anything to deserve this split life', etc and on and on....anyway, not sure if anyone is still out there reading this string. but i am hurting along with all of you.

Kristin - posted on 07/06/2012

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Lindsey,
We all miss our kids when they are gone however you have no reason to feel guilt that is he is with his father. You are lucky that you have a civil relationship with your ex and he is willing to be a part of your sons life. My kids dad can not be bothered with the kids and that hurts as well, as I love my kids so much and they bring me such joy but their father completely cut them out of his life. I think you may want to look at joining a group or a hobby for the times your son is gone to help ease you missing him. Unfortunately we as parents have to eventually separate from our children that is why it is so important to still maintain a life and make yourself happy. Once kids get older they dont even want to be around their parents and thats just a part of life. WE all love our kids and our kids bring us happiness for sure but we can not rely on our kids to be our sole source of happiness. Go out with your friends or go to a gym, Enjoy the time you have to yourself, and be happy that your child is getting the best of both worlds by having a relationship with both mom and dad.

Kara - posted on 07/22/2015

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Dionne I so baldy want to somehow get involved to change family law as well. I agree with you 100% about mothers being attached to babies and vice versa and no child should split. One person should have primary custody always for the smoothest possible life for the children. I am disgusted at my own situation and disgusted beyond words that family law is so corrupt and entirely unaligned with emotional and psychological research. I habe lived this too long with my children and I detest their father. He is a horrible rotten person who is a true narcissist that was purely money morivated.

Rosalba - posted on 11/24/2013

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I have two daughters , a 6 and 5 year old. I have shared custody with their father for the last four years. At first I had primary custody but until recently we decided to change custody to 50/50, I agreed to this change because I felt my daughters needed to spend more time with their dad, and seeing him one day a week was not fair to them. I have been trying to get used to this schedule but it has been incredibly hard. I feel happy that they get more time with their dad but I also feel terribly sad when they are not with me. I know they are well taken care of when they are with their dad but I can not avoid feeling worry and guilt because I am not around to care for them at all times. Whenever they are not with me I try to keep myself busy, being home without them makes me miss them even more and the day they come home everything feels right again.

Pamela - posted on 04/21/2013

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So stop blaming yourself. There are so many self-help programs on the internet. This problem for you is an emotional one. I would suggest EFT, which stands for Emotional Freedom Technique. Check it out at http://www.thetappingsolution.com. The best to you as you conquer your own unhealthy emotional reactions.

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Jen - posted on 07/30/2018

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I feel really lonely without my kids when they are with their father. I am the primary caregiver and I let the kids visit their dad a couple of days a week. On the upscale, I get to do my shopping when they are gone which is a bonus. I know my kids are in good care. I miss them soo much but I keep myself busy and I signed up for aqua fit. I keep real busy then I don’t have to think of them soo much. It has been four years since my divorce and I finally feel better. It just takes time to adjust and the guilt slowly fades away. Stay strong and positive. You got this girl.

Stephanie - posted on 05/29/2018

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I understand the emotions that come with all of this. I can’t even bear to look at my sons toys and clothes in between visits. It hurts so much. I only see him once a month and month in the summers as he lives very far away with his dad. Not a situation I even wanted but after going through years of legal abuse by my ex I couldn’t take it anymore. I had no money and my health was suffering because of court. I finally have a good lawyer and things have started to seem a bit better but they aren’t quite where I want it to be. Divorce is an ugly awful thing. Sometimes I think it would have been easier to stay married to this abusive man than to divorce him and miss seeing my child for so long. He wasn’t even put in jail. I feel sickened men like him get away with so much but he had money and an enire family to help him and I did not. I hope all of this changes because women have a long ways to go to be truly free and equal to men in our society.

Jodi - posted on 04/29/2013

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Hi, I am in the same situation. We split 2.5 years ago and I was the one that left. We have equal custody and it's e/o week. At first it was SUPER hard bc she was in daycare so if I couldn't go see her at lunch I didn't see her all week. Now that she is in school we have decided to be amicable and both be at the bus each morning.
For me, it hasn't gotten any easier to say goodbye to her on the Friday she goes to his house. In fact, I still cry- have to shut her door, I do her laundry but usually cannot put it away until she comes home again. I talk to her every night but it's a quick minute since she doesn't usually like to talk on the phone. There are good days and there are horrible ones. I keep telling myself that she has 2 parents who love her and won't have to grow up in an unhappy home where her parents don't even talk to each other.
She gets sad when we go to our old neighborhood to see friends and then says how much she misses living there because we were all together. Knife through the heart but I keep telling myself that this is the best decision for her- to be healthy in relationships when she gets older, to not resent us staying together "for her", etc.....
I keep myself REALLY BUSY when she is not here so I don't think about it all the time.
I've been told it gets easier, better..... I have to believe that one day it will and all will be right in the world. It's the only thing that gets me through sometimes.
Keep your chin up, know you are a great mom, and tell yourself that every day. Because you are.

Tilly - posted on 04/28/2013

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hey :) i have the exact same problem except my ex took off with my baby and kept him from me until we went to court, it was horrible!, anyway in the end my ex and i both ended up with 50/50 care, and i honestly am not happy ever when my son is not with me, it literally hurts when he is not here i can not stand it, especially when his father has even told me himself that he doesent really care for our son and he is only having him for the money! the court did not beleive someone would say such a thing about theor own child when i told them so they brushed it off and said i was lieing! so that makes it much harder for me, the only way i get through is pretty much being in his room all the time, looking at his photos or constantly watching videos of him or looking at photos, i dont think its meant to be easy living without our kids, especially because we are the mums, the ones that carried them, we have a special bond with our babies one that is un explainable until your a mother and feel and see it for yourself :), i really hope you find a way to get through this :) good luck xx,

Alisha - posted on 04/20/2013

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Yea it's never fun or easy to give your child to their father. My daughter is 7 and she sees her dad every other weekend. I used to feel sick to my stomach every time she went to see him because he has drug and alcohol issues. So I wouldn't let her go unless his parents were around the whole weekend. It's really hard but yes you did choose for it to be like this and so did I. But you can't beat yourself up over it. I have an every other weekend job while she's away to help me stay distracted. I also call her every single day she's not with me.

Michelle - posted on 04/16/2013

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Hi Lindsay

Thanks for sharing. I feel exactly the same way. I have a 9 & 4 yr olds and they are with their dad 6 nights out of 14. Each night they are away I phone them and sometimes if there are weekend sports and they are with their dad I go so I can see them more.
When they are at his place, I go into their room at night and close my eyes and imagine they are sleeping. I imagine kissing them goodnight and everytime it rips my heart out. I to feel guilty and then more guilty if I have to tell them off for something.
I'm not sure what the answers are, but to love our kids and let them know it, is so important. I tell myself that if I had a high powered job and worked really long hours everyday I might see my kids less..... Not sure if this helps. But you are not alone and my heart goes out to you as I feel the same... : )
p.s. there are a lot of children in the world that don't have happy homes, at least our kids get two parents that love them,....just not under one roof.

Dionne - posted on 04/15/2013

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Hi all,
I'm in similar situation. Never married, lawyers say I was out lawyered because of his financial status etc. He disappeared throughout the entire pregnancy and then was given half custody. Boy oh boy you could imagine my discontent. Now we have a five day on-off rotation which makes working a normal job quite challenging. If I work Mon-Fri 9-5 I could end up not seeing my daughter for two weeks except to put her to bed and brush her teeth in the morning. He is retired so all his time is his own.
So far every other time I drop her off with her dad she screams and cries and reaches for me. And there is nothing I can do. It's his time. And it's odd for me that she has known him for two years, living with me the full first year but with biweekly visits (not what he wanted but what his lawyer told him to do later) and then living with both parents after that, yet, she still sees him as a stranger.
It hurts my heart that I carried my child, he wanted an abortion and now he gets to continue robbing me of time with my child. Sadly I wish I could say he was a good person like some of the others have said about the father of their child. I cannot. He continues to travel to play golf and prefers our 2 year old to stay at his house with whomever he sees fit to watch her, even if i am available instead. He additionally has told me he will not inform me of who our daughter is with during his time.
I am left feeling disappointed in myself that I lay down with a man so disgusting. Additionally disappointed in the legal system that gives careless dads with money the option to choose the outcome of parenting in the US today.
Please other moms do not feel troubled when it hurts. We are genetically, chemically attached to our children. We carry them. We are more bonded.
I'd like to take a more proactive role in changing the current laws. Society today is already changing in an individualistic way. Values and morals are so very different today than when I was a child. Kids are left so hurting and empty that every day in the news we hear of school shootings, kids killing other kids, kids killing themselves, kids going into public places and shooting random strangers. So much anger and sadness. I do not see how splitting their lives into two could even remotely be a healthy answer to child-rearing. Talk about more bipolar children!
Moms, I pray for you, all of us, that we find more joy & more peace today and in the future! I wish you all well.

Paula - posted on 03/06/2013

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Thank you for posting this. I am also in a similar situation. I separated from my sons father 2 years ago when our son was only 2. It was a loveless relationship and an unhealthy environment for a child so I left. At the time it seemed like the right thing to do. Now that the father is moving on with his life and has started seeing someone new I wonder if I should allow my son to meet her or keep him all to myself. I know that that is not an option and it sounds a little bit crazy when I say it out loud but at the same time I want what's best for my son and I don't want him to resent me later on in his life for not allowing him to have a relationship with his father. I know exactly how you feel and it's not easy but just know that you're not alone. You're making the right choice by letting your child have a healthy relationship with her father, she will thank you later on. In the meantime try to find a hobby or do something that you enjoy on those days when she is with her father. THis way when you have you kid back you'll appreciate the time that you have together because you have both been taken care of. Good luck to you!!!

Elisha - posted on 07/10/2012

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Don't feel guilty for trying to do the best thing for your son. I have 50/50 with my ex right now, against my will, and I despise it. But I do try to make the best of it, hoping I can change it in the near future and get my primary custody back like my girls and I deserve. It sounds like maybe you're lonely too, without your son. Believe me, I understand that one, too. My first weekend without my girls I was so lost, I just went to walmart and wandered aimlessly for an hour, just because I didn't know what to do with myself. My suggestion would be to do something productive with your time without your son, like volunteering, or getting involved in a church or something like that. I helps, believe me. Praying for you.

Michelle - posted on 07/06/2012

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Hi Dora and Lindsay

While we might not be able to see into the future as to how our children will "turn out" or be affected or how they will look back on their childhoods. I have been told that the love that even one parent can give makes a huge positive difference in their lives.

I suppose we can only do the best we can right now, I am learning to really appreciate and take more time to "be" with my children when they are with me, to love them with all of my heart and to let them know that I love them.

I also go into their rooms every night they are away and tell them that I love them...maybe a bit silly but it is what I do.

Lastly, I do also need to keep in the back of my mind, how unhealthy my relationship with their dad was and it wouldn't have been a good example for them to grow up with...maybe they will make better decisions than I did, as the example I am leading now it a much healther one. : D

Katie - posted on 07/06/2012

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My Gosh Lindsay - I just joined this site to ask the same question. My situation mirrors yours. My daughter is 6, my ex and I (seperated for 6 months now) have shared custody, week to week. I am having a terribly hard time when our daughter is with her dad. I feel like a terrible mother - I feel like i Have let hr down - I wonder if I should have stayed in a loveless and unheathy relationship just so that she could have the "traditional" family unit. I wish I could give you advice - but it looks like we are both looking for the same advice. My heart aches, and I feel so confused. The only thing I feel sure about is that my relationship with her father could not go on the way it was anymore. But where does that leave me now - am I still a good mother, does she still love me like she did before.....so many questions....

Dora - posted on 07/06/2012

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Lindsay, you have put into words exactly how I feel. While I am newly separated and just starting to go through this, your post is so similar to my own thoughts that I could have written it myself.

I feel like I rely on my daughter for my happiness and realize this is not right or healthy, but it is the way I feel and can not help it. I, too, want my daughter to have a strong relationship with her father and do not regret that she spends time with him, but it hurts so much when she is not with me that it consumes me.

The minute she leaves I feel guilt about putting her in this situation she does not understand (she is 4), wonder if I am doing the right thing by staying apart from her father, and wonder how she is going to react to going between homes. I wonder if she is sad or happy and what effect my personal choices will have on this small person whose life has been easy and uncomplicated until now.

The minute she comes back to me, all is right with the world again and I know my choice to separate is right.

Being a mom only 50% of the time is unfathomable to me and I don't know how to deal with it or get through it.

I'm sorry I don't have any advice, but I want you to know you are not the only one who feels like this.

Michelle - posted on 06/19/2012

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Hi
I completely understand your pain, I feel it every day to. I left my children's dad and I feel
guilty that they have to move between two homes and be unsettled because of me. I understand that it wouldn't have been a happy homelife or example for them if I had of stayed. When they are away I go into their room at night and pretent they are there and tell them I love them (I know this sounds a bit strange maybe). I keep telling myself to make the most of the times they are with me and I guess this helps a little and I keep working at that and try to spend quality time engaging with them.... keep me posted how your going : )

Ldoo - posted on 04/12/2012

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It was my choice to leave too, and I believe I will feel this a lot. Why am I choosing voluntarily to see my kids less than I already do? I hope I get over that pain and guilt. :( Good luck to you.

Penny - posted on 04/12/2012

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I know how you feel and my son sees his father regularly. It breaks me up inside to see him go and i don't feel like the usual person i am when he is gone. I love that i am doing everything right by him but at the same time i just want him here with me all the time. This is what gets me through, when my son is an adult, he will thank the both of us for doing what we did. He is getting the best of both worlds. Proud of you Lindsay Ann for doing the right thing and giving your son both of his parents. P.S. Being a single mum was the best decision i ever made. We are so happy alone!

Michelle - posted on 03/05/2012

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Lindsay you are absolutely not a bad mother for making the most of your time without your son, you have the best of both worlds you have an amazing child who you love and adore but you also get to have some me time which many of us don't get. Look deep down and ask yourself this one question is my child being well cared for in my absence, does he have fun with his dad and is he happy to see me when he comes home. If the answer to all these questions is yes then there is absolutely no reason for you not to enjoy your mommy time when he is home and your adult time when he is with his dad.

Lindsay - posted on 03/05/2012

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@ Sherry

When my son is happy I am happy - when he shows me that he is enjoying ever moment of his day that brings me so much joy. I think what you said makes alot of sense but I feel as though I cannot rely solely on my son for happiness. I have so many great people, things and times in my life that I wish I could enjoy with more enthusiasm and excitment. My dilema is - I wonder if I am letting this hurt about not spending every day with my son consume me and why I feel bad about accepting it. Sounds silly but I guess I am looking for someone to tell me it's ok...As a mother it is ok that you are not with him 100% of the time and that does not make me a bad mom to be ok with it.

Sherry - posted on 03/05/2012

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I feel for all of the co-parents on this board. I am a single mother. When I am not at work, I have my daughter. I don't have to worry about who my daughter is with. And I don't have to deal with the guilt feelings, since my daughter does not have a father.



I imagine that being a co-parent is much, much harder than being a single mother.



As far as being happy, my happiness doesn't come from myself. It originates from my daughter's happiness. If she is happy and healthy, then that is all I need.

Michelle - posted on 03/05/2012

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First of all remember you are not a bad mother for letting your child have a relationship with his father. I think you are suffering from a form of depression and that you should talk to your doctor about how you are feeling. As depression left unchecked can become very harmful.

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