10 tips for filling the void left by joint custody
Because whatever happens, you have to move on…
1. Arrange phone calls on a regular basis
Or FaceTime calls seeing as this is possible given the digital age we live in. Every Tuesday, or when it suits us, will become “the call from mom which is not to be missed under any circumstances”. If my children have smartphones, we can also text each other, send photos of ourselves or what we’re having to eat, or anything that will allow us to keep in touch and maintain our relationship.
2. Keep yourself busy at all times
The aim of keeping busy is to avoid thinking about my little angels, unless I can think about them without getting distressed. There are so many positive ways to spend your free time, so I’m not going to spend it feeling upset. Putting on my sneakers and going out for a run to clear my head, educating myself, getting through that list of “films and series to watch” … I could even find myself a hobby to share with my children!
3. Organize yourself beforehand so there are no chores to do when your kids are at home
Housework, shopping, cleaning, paperwork… I make sure I get through all my chores when they aren’t here. Then, when it’s my turn to look after them, I won’t have anything to do other than enjoy their company.
4. Acknowledge your children’s presence
After my divorce, I made sure my children had their own room, so they felt at home when they came to see me. I will still use this room when they aren’t there; I carry on opening and closing their blinds, I say good morning and good night to them, and the fact that their belongings are there reminds me of them.
5. Proudly show them off in photos
In photo frames, on a keyring, on my desk or even as a screensaver, I display small signs of my children around the house so that I can see them all the time despite the situation. As you probably known, they always look more well behaved in photos than in real life. 😉
6. Surround myself with supportive people
Sadness makes me withdrawn, but compensating for this feeling of loneliness and emptiness will do me the world of good. Friends, family, colleagues, cousins, your loved ones’ presence will always warm your heart, and an active social life will allow me to occupy my mind with other things. Say goodbye to routine and hello to the good times ahead!
7. Create a nice living space for myself
My house is not the same anymore now my children aren’t there… But that’s no reason to live in a place that makes me sad! In my mind, I have to associate my home with somewhere I feel good. Redecorating, a change of wallpaper, DIY; taking care of the inside of my house makes me feel rejuvenated, even though I am alone.
8. Maintain a good relationship with your ex-husband
Out of respect for our past relationship, for the children, and because we are adults, we can break up maturely and remain on friendly terms with each other. Even though the feelings aren’t there anymore, we can still show some sort of compassion towards each other. Compassion that will mean I receive photos or unexpected telephone calls from my children every now and then, or am able to pay them a surprise visit when they finish school even though it wasn’t my turn to see them!
9. Establish a routine when they come and see you
Having a snack and a drink, watching their favourite TV series or reading their favourite magazines are just some of the nice moments you can have with your children. We will all eagerly look forward to these moments. They are enough to let you make the most of the time you have with your children and, at the same time, allow you to create nice memories.
10. Take a step back and embrace loneliness
It’s not often said, but being alone has its advantages! By being alone with my thoughts, I notice myself more and learn to get to know, and appreciate, the real me. And the cherry on the cake is that I am proud of coping. Managing fine without others means you will manage fine with others too, and I notice this through my more detached and peaceful attitude.
The editor's opinion – Give yourself time
It is important at first for parents to feel comfortable with the chosen custody arrangements. Because every arrangement has its pros and cons. Of course, you have to think about the child, but you that doesn’t me you should forget about yourself! Children are sensitive, so if you are comfortable with the current arrangements and are able to stick to them, your child will pick up on this and will adapt accordingly.
You have to take into account that it’s a big change for everyone.
Separating from a partner is never easy. The parents, just like the children, need to come to terms with the situation, so give yourself time to get used to this new life. And remember that an unbreakable bond is what ties you to your child, so you will never be completely apart!
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