Originally Posted by elias_naur
Sorry about that, I've added the rest of my question to the original post. You were spot on in guessing the meaning though.
Ah ok. That's what I was figuring.
My problem is time. I now have two kids by myself for 1 week every |
other week, and it's draining me. She, being a familiy-kind-of-woman,
loves to have the kids and craves more time with them, but being a
medical doctor doesn't allow her to take more than the 7 days she
already got. I'm a freelance programmer and my schedule is very
flexible, but even though I love my kids I don't see much satisfaction
in the day-to-day child-care. As you've said, time is the most
valuable asset, and I basically don't enjoy my time alone with kids
. I enjoy my weeks without kids quite a lot and I rarely miss my
kids like my ex-wife does when she doesn't have them.
What would you recommend? I would very much like to hear about anybody
you know in a similar situation and how they handle it. I see:
a) Refuse to have them all 7 days. Hardly fair when she's a doctor
with little extra time. She's got a new (familiy-compatible ) )
boyfriend, but he's _also_ a doctor with even less time!
b) Suck it up. That's basically what I do now and will continue to do
if no other viable solution comes up, and I've become competent enough
in the fatherhood business to know that my children are not being
harmed that much by having a douchebag father ;o)
Being kids, you can't just say "I don't enjoy time with you so I don't
think we should see each other" like you always can for adults. And
what about the old cliche with the dying man on his death bed going "I
wish I had spent more time with my kids"?
Knowing this part of it, I'll add an addendum to my posts above...
A part of my post that I grazed on was that you should not apologize for the time that you spend that works for you. What I mean is, that it's an important that you be a solid, consistent part of their lives. How much time you spend with them, however, will vary from person to person as to what they can handle.
If you can't handle 7 straight days in a row with them, then tell your ex that and set up a custody situation that works better for you. Standard issue court custody usually runs every other weekend (Friday-Sunday) and every wednesday. My own personal custody agreeement is every other weekend Friday-Sunday, every thursday and every sunday. That works really well for me.
Like Johnny said, it gives me time to miss them and yearn for them when they aren't here, and most weeks I end up trying to get them an extra night or two or doing something like take them to dinner.
Most people will judge you if you say things like you don't want to spend every waking moment with your kids. But for the most part, that is a ridiculous judgement and is based mainly on people projecting their own bitterness rather than sound parenting.
It's MOST important that the time you spend with them is QUALITY time, not quantity time. You are a person with your own needs, and it's not unfair for you to demand some time to yourself, so don't apologize for wanting to do that. You do what's best for you and your situation, but make sure that it's CONSISTENT. Don't constantly change it on them and if you say you are going to get them on a certain day, do it.
Consisentancy is a huge issue with children, and it's one of their core needs. They need a parent who will be consistent and who will spend quality time with them. They don't need you everyday more than they need ALL of you in the day that you are with them. (if that makes sense)
So spend some time working out a schedule that works for you, that allows you to be a consistent force in their lives without draining you to where you can't offer all of yourself to them. That's what is most important.
If your ex doesn't like the schedule you present, work it out with her, and offer her solutions that ease the extra load from her (like hiring a nanny as Johnny suggested or paying for their daycare costs). Just because she is a doctor doesn't mean anything. Her onus of responsibility is to her kids first just as much as it is for you.
This is what has really worked for me, and I'm discovering lately that now that I've worked it out that I am wanting to spend more and more time with them. I assert that as you make the connection with them and grow emotionally with them, that that same desire will come to you too. and you'll have a good base to build on, and can slowly ease yourself back into more time with them as you want.
I'll also say this...on the days you don't get them, if you call them and talk to them on the phone that will do worlds for them as well. And also be willing to bend your schedule once in a while for them (not all the time, but once in a while), and whenever they ask if they can come with you, try your best to accomodate that. It's MOST important that you be with them when they WANT to be with you.