Sunday, June 12, 2011

Starting a new chapter

Last fall Wyatts father and I made an adjustment to our custody agreement. We decided that this summer we would start true joint custody, with Wyatt spending 1 week at his fathers house, and 1 week with me, and we'd begin doing this over the summer to give Wy time to adapt to the change before he started back at school for the fall.

So, here we are, starting this new chapter this week, and I'm already struggling with it a little bit. I know that ultimately this is a good thing for Wyatt - he's getting older, he's starting to head into puberty, and the extra time with his Dad is healthy for him. I may not always agree with his father, but there's no denying the fact that he does love Wyatt, and I firmly believe that boys need their father.

But I miss him already. It's so quiet without the sound of Spongebob or Youtube train videos in the background, nobody's asked me to make them popcorn or waffles, or take them to the train station, nobody wants to use the hose and pretend it's the Auteck 4000 car wash.

He hasn't been gone any longer than he would normally have been, but I know tomorrow when I come home from work he won't be here, and that's making me sad. One of my very favorite parts of the day is snuggling up with him before he goes to sleep, talking and cuddling, and laughing together, and I won't have that with him for a whole week.

My friend Karen and I were talking about this yesterday - she and her husband have that same custody arrangement with his ex-wife. Karen mentioned how this can be a real struggle as a parent - you love your kid, you miss them, but you also start to enjoy having the breather time, then you feel guilty for enjoying the free time from your kid. I know I went through that with John, my older son. I loved having him with me, I missed him terribly when he was with his father, and I had buckets of guilt over enjoying myself when he wasn't with me.

I've spent a while preparing Wyatt for this transition, but I think in doing that I forgot to prepare myself for what it was going to be like for me. Stupid, right?

I think what's going to help is the fact that I'm rehearsing for the show - the weeks that I don't have Wy I'll have that to keep me busy, but the down side is that I'll feel guilty about rehearsing when he's here.

This is really the double edged sword aspect of mothering. You want to do what's best for your kids, but you cause yourself some pain in the process. You do something for yourself, and you feel guilty about taking time away from your kids to do it.

If being a mother doesn't hurt at least a little you're not doing it right.

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