It’s Sunday night, the kids just returned from their weekend visitation.
Without dinner. The day got away from them.
They are tired, cranky, and bickering.
Your weekend wasn’t exactly restful, either. Cleaning, shopping, and catching up on errands, robbed you of rest or recuperation time.
Everyone needs baths, food, and to settle down.
You are wearing thin, this isn’t what you signed up for.
It’s Sunday night, you just dropped the kids off, visitation weekend is gone, much too quickly, again.
Trying to enjoy every precious moment with them, the afternoon got away from you. You feel bad about bringing them back hungry, but you didn’t even have time to swing by a drive through, in order to get them back on time.
Now you’re going back to your quiet place. Not getting to read bed time stories or tuck them into bed.
You’re wearing thin. This isn’t what you signed up for either.
Single parenting isn’t for sissies, I always say. It’s not easy being on either side of the fence. Of course all this can be exasperated if the other parent is difficult to boot.
I don’t know about you, but my momma never told me there would be days like this!
So how do we survive? Are there things we can do to keep from wearing thin?
The best advice given me surrounded my expectations. If I had unrealistic expectations, I was going to wear out and be miserable. And for a while, I was.
I spent hours crying when the kids went for visitation. I was angry when they returned home, with the newest issue or drama to deal with. I was constantly tired because I was single handedly trying to create the perfect family life.
I finally realized I was only wasting time. I needed to be present and stop lamenting whatever it was I thought I was missing.
So I made an action plan. Here are a few of the main things I did to help stay off weariness:
1. Schedule stuff. I don’t like schedules, but knowing something will be done at a certain time helps me avoid thinking I’m forgetting something and have to do it now. Cleaning, meal planning, grocery shopping all had a schedule, and I didn’t schedule them exclusively during the time I had for resting and recuperating. I scheduled some me time too.
2. Let things go. They got home late, will a quick wipe down and brush of the teeth suffice before bed? I tried to pick my battles. I planned simpler meals and I had to say no to some activities. There wasn’t as much time in our situation, we lost time to transitions and visitation schedules. The kids and I, needed down time, going 24/7 isn’t healthy.
3. Do the most important. I had a pretty strict bedtime, it just always made sense, but sometimes when the kids returned they needed some extra time to sort and vent. Allowing some time for them to talk about the weekend or even a difficult day superseded the bedtime rule. Also, My weekend with the kids was reserved for activities I could do with them. I did my thing on the weekend they were away. But, making necessary things like shopping, cooking, and cleaning a together activity/responsibility, rather than my job, made it more enjoyable. Even the youngest of children can set the table or toss a box into the shopping cart.
4. Don’t Disneyland your kids. Even if you feel like you are the one with less time. And believe me, even custodial parents feel like they get less time, because all the daily-s happen on their watch. Your kids need to know they are a part of your real life. You need to shop sometimes, cook, clean. Maybe your routine could include washing the car before you go play, just don’t leave them feeling like the only time they have with you is like going to Disney.
Of course much of this will vary by visitation schedule, and how much time you have each week with your kids. But for the most part, the bottom line to lessening weariness, is having realistic expectations for what can really be done in your situation.
What other things do you do to relieve wearing thin? I’m praying for you.