If you share custody of children, you know what transition day is. Do you dread it or look forward to it?
I still, to this day, almost 7 years later look forward to this day. Whether it has been two days or five days or more, I am so excited to see my children again. Even now I have not adjusted to having a life that does not include my children. Even when they are with their father, they are still in the forefront of everything I do and think. I’m not sure that will ever change.
But there have been times that even though I couldn’t wait to have my children back with me, I so very much dreaded that first day. You see, our children come home with stories, and complaints, and worries, and dread, and fears, and comments…
And when your divorce is as painful as mine, the last thing you want to listen to is stories about your ex, especially of him moving on so quickly. But you are also torn because you want your children to be free to talk to you about everything and anything, and you want to be supportive of them having a good time, and having good experiences during the other parent’s time. It is even harder when they come home heartbroken or sad about their time with the other parent, no matter the reason you want to fix it. However, now in the midst of divorce, it is not possible for us to fix it. We have no control over what or how things happen at the other parent’s house. So we listen, encourage, and support.
But there came a point that I could no longer listen for hours on end about what happened or didn’t happen at dad’s. About what dad did wrong, or how dad hurt their feelings. About who dad introduced them to. About whose house they went to. I do believe our children need to have a release, a freedom to vent, and I did want open communication between our children and myself. But I found much of what they would share hurtful, not just to them, but to me, and I needed to move forward, not stay stagnant.
My solution was to put a time limit of sorts on how long they were allowed to vent, discuss, or talk about dad and what took place or didn’t take place during their time with him.
I would let them go on and on, but when my preset time limit was up, I would stop them, even if it was in mid-sentence or thought, and explain that now it was time for us, for our time together.
My children have always appreciated the fact that I allow them to vent, discuss, and talk, and it didn’t take them long to appreciate the time limit. We have all grown from this lesson and even today, if they have something they want to talk about, I find them putting their own limits on themselves. They will stop and say, okay, but lets get on to our day.
Photo Credit: Cody Wiley Photography