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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Keeping The Custody Schedule Can Be Rough - Especially When Your Kid Is The One Who Wants To Change It

My daughter is in a relationship now and this is a problem.

Not the relationship, mind you, but the fact that now her love interest is also part of a divorced family and spends some weekends at "home" and some weekends "away." And right now, they both have their "home" weekends in sync, so they get to see each other.

Until Dad needed to change up a weekend, that is. Anna's solution was emphatic. She wasn't going. Dad could just do without her. She'd stay here with me and Dad could take David without her.

But that left me with a dilemma. You see, I use every single minute of my kid-free weekends. I write A LOT. I clean the house. I decompress. And as the mother of a stubborn teenage girl and a boy with autism who's flooded with testosterone more often than not these days, I assure you, I need to decompress. And I'm honestly not thrilled with the idea of giving up my valuable and terribly scarce free time. I need that time.

But more than that...

She needs time with her father. He sees her so rarely - just twelve hours on his mid-week night, and eight of that is spent sleeping, plus the alternating weekend. Maybe it's because I grew up (and still am) a Daddy's girl, but I think it's vital that she not let her relationship with her father drift away...and it has been lately. He's getting married, she's getting older, and they're just not connecting like they used to. Or so she says. He's done nothing wrong, she's just more interested in her new squeeze and her teen life and he's being relegated to afterthought a lot of the time.

So am I, honestly, but she sees me almost every day. I can worm my way in there every so often or sidle up next to her on the couch and laugh over YouTube videos with her or something to reconnect. He doesn't have that luxury, being out of her life the majority of each week.

Bottom line - I think they need each other. I know he wants to spend the time with her, and hey - we're the parents, here. Sometimes we need to swap weekends and we've always been good about working with each other when that happens.

So I expressed my disapproval of re-arranging the re-arrange, and got a full blast of teen temper and a cutting reminder that it makes her feel just great knowing I'm so ready to get rid of her and can't stand having her around.

I hate how that makes me feel. I hate even more thinking that may be how she really feels. But I have to stick firm on this.

A girl needs her Daddy. And her Daddy, most certainly needs her.

Even when she's not speaking to either of us.


Ellie DeLano spent four years as the Divorce Blogger for Woman's Day Magazine, chronicling her transition to single parenting and mid-life dating after decades of marriage with poignancy and humor. What she learned from her readers and her own experience was invaluable, and she shares it here with a straightforward guide to the things you really need to help you move forward after your divorce.
Available at Amazon for Kindle - and Smashwords for all e-reading device.

1 comment:

  1. Since this is on your blog I will give you my take on the situation.
    As a mom of a 24 year old I have learned a couple of hard core lessons. You can not push your daughter into a relationship with her dad. It just wont work. Tor told me that when she was young she resented my efforts of trying to be the in between person. The relationship between her and her dad is NOT your responsibity. That is something that they are going to have to hash out amongst themselves.
    Tom was/is gone for most of the year. Wether in the army or a contractor overseas he has not been here for allot of time. In the past I tried really hard to make what I thought was help them. Make sure everyone got along, no one said something to mean, smooth over ruffled feathers, etc. It just does not work. I finally backed off and let nature take it course. Some of the fights that ensued between them were seen from outer space. WHEW!! It was pretty narly. You see, in my wisdom of being the go between they had never had to sort out their relationship between themselves. Once I was not in the picture, that forced them to work it out themselves. Now they are so tight its crazy.
    I remember a time when you and your dad were not on the best of terms. We all have to have those growing pains.
    I read your blog to Tor. As the daughter she said some things. She told me that in your daughters perspective you have always given in, given up, put your dreams on hold. And look at where you are now. She would be damned if she gave in a little bit. And the big thing? If he wants a relationship, then prove it. She would want to see him work toward it. Teens can be real big in the 'prove it' area.
    I get that this is your time. BELIEVE ME...being the 24 hour/365 mom while the hub is overseas after one day of moving to yet another military installation. I get the break thing! I would straight up. If she wanted to stay in my space, I would put the full guide lines of exactly what that weekend would entail. The house stuff you plan to do? Make a list and cut that mug in half. Let her know that you will not be having guests over nor will you be driving her places.
    At this age in her life she is also looking at being able to have some type of say. No, I am not saying she should always get her way. But do understand that rocking her stability ball will not garner her complete love. You guys just got officially divorced and he is getting married. It would be normal for her to feel like she is being pushed aside. Maybe she just needs to know that you love her and are willing to listen and consider how she feels.
    But the big thing? You can not build the relationship for them. That is something they will have to do by themselves. Relationships are painful and messy at times. So is growth.