My divorce has just been finalized and I’ve been granted primary custody of my son. He has visitation with his Dad twice a week, but those times when he’s gone are a struggle for me. I miss him and worry that his Dad might be saying or doing crazy things to set him against me, or stress my son. How can I cope? Your question makes me think of a television interview I saw with a powerful Hollywood divorce attorney who represents big name celebrities. In the interview, she said that she would not represent a client unless they agree to joint custody and visitation. In essence, what she was saying was that the children of divorce need both of their parents in their lives. I wholeheartedly agree. Even if you think your Ex is crazy, and knowing that you will never be able to control what he does and says, being a good mom involves supporting your sons relationship with his Dad. (Assuming, of course, that the environment Dad creates for your son is physically and emotionally safe.) Feel lucky that your son has a Father that wants to spend time with him. It’s the ones who don’t that hurt their children in untold ways. Don’t believe me? Oprah did a whole show on absentee Dads, and Oprah knows best! In anticipation for your son’s visits with his Dad, plan activities for yourself that nurture and fulfill you. Maybe there are activities that you enjoy that you rarely participate in because you’d need a babysitter. I HATE thinking of Dads as babysitters (because they’re not, they’re Dads!), but visitation does allow you the freedom of ready childcare. Maybe you can use your legally mandated alone time to delve in to your unresolved issues of anger and resentment from your divorce, or maybe you can peruse the cute available singles on Match.com? Reframe your thinking by imagining how you would feel if your son were away from you spending time at a friend’s house. Would you miss him in the same way? I doubt it, so explore what it is about spending time with your Ex, his Dad, that challenges you so. You have the personal power to turn this head-trip around in your mind and implement coping mechanisms that will work for you. So, to quote my man Tim Gunn from Project Runway, “Make it work!” Embrace your Personal Power with Life Coaching~
- Make a list of things you can do to better cope with your son’s absence.
- Plan to choose an activity from your list when he’s gone for visitation.
- Explore ways to move beyond the issues that torment you about his visitation.
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