There are so many hard, challenging, and difficult aspects to separating and divorce, but there are also many positives in the short term and long term. For me, one of the best things is the schedule; for the first time since having kids I have regular days of kid-free time. I am a full-time mom most days. Then they go to their dad’s or he comes here, and I am off. Free of the kids and the jobs associated with them. Free from the bedtime rituals, the nightmares, the early wake-ups, the baths, the refereeing fights, the endless snacks, meals, dishes, laundry, nagging, etc.
Originally when we separated we were still living in the same state, so I had the children living with me full time. My ex would have them at the marital home Wednesday evenings and every weekend. This was by far the best schedule. Every Wednesday he took the kids, and I went to a movie and out for a drink. Every weekend I traveled, usually to Maine where I was planning to move.
I had the best time! Those weekends were a blur of sleeping, partying, drinking, meeting people, dating, and so much fun. I was a mom gone wild! Sometimes those weekends were all that I had to look forward to. It also reaffirmed for me how much I did not want to be married and how unhappy and stifled I felt in the marriage.
Then the kids and I moved to Maine, and the divorce became official. The visitation schedule became every other weekend, school holidays, and most of summer. I missed having so much free/off time, and the traveling back and forth between Connecticut and Maine was less than fun for all of us. But I made it work. Most weeks I counted down the days until my days off. I lived each “off” weekend to the fullest. Those weekends made it possible to get through that first year as a nearly full-time single mother with almost no support or help.
Things have certainly changed since Chris came into my life 15 months ago. There is far less drinking and partying and no dating random men, but we still enjoy our off time to the fullest. We sleep a lot and spend tons of quality uninterrupted time, which our relationship needs.
For many moms going through a separation or divorce, the idea of kid-free time is paralyzing, depressing, and scary. It is definitely difficult to get used to no children when you are usually their full time caretaker. Also, many women do not have exes that they trust and feel comfortable with taking care of the children. I want to express how much I totally understand how women in that situation feel. But I also want to let those women know it is more than okay to enjoy your kid-free time. It will help rejuvenate you for all the times you do have your kids. Enjoying your time does not have to mean drinking, partying, or lots of men, even though that seems to be a normal pattern in the first year post divorce. It can mean family time, yoga, baths, Netflix binges, sleeping in, and travel. It could be whatever suits and serves you best.
You can still be a devoted and good mother even if you are divorced and not a full-time mom. I know for me, I am a much better mother now than I ever was. I am happier, more well-rounded, and more whole. I miss my kids when they are gone, and we text and talk regularly, but I also love my breaks. I got divorced to show my kids a better example of how to be happy, how to love and how to be loved. I am proud to say I have accomplished that with the help of my “moms gone wild” weekends. This Suburban Goddess Mom fully embraces her kid-free time and her kid-full time!