One of the most challenging aspects of single motherhood, or single parenthood, is adjusting to shared custody.
In many cases, as mine was until recently, you are legally obligated to send your child into your ex-spouse’s home regardless of whether or not your gut instinct is screaming at you that something is just “not right” about a step-sibling in the house or a step-parent or even their biological parent. You, in most cases, have to pack your child’s bag, put him into his or her little car seat and drive them directly into the Lion’s Den. Your child comes home, an emotional wreck. In Benjamin’s case, filthy, hungry and exhausted to boot.
Now, I am a bit jaded–from my own personal ex-experience being so downright awful–but there are obviously many situations that aren’t nearly as bad. There are dreamy ex-spouses who actually communicate with you for the children’s sake, drop them off on time and pick them up on time. Feed them, clothe them, support them and continue to be a supportive co-parent by always putting the children first. I have yet to meet one of these, but I hear they exist.
So, what do you do when you have no options legally? In my case, it took something actually happening to Benjamin for us to be able to receive full custody with zero unsupervised visits at his father’s home. I can’t get into details, but it has been a harrowing ordeal, to say the least. All of those years my gut instinct was right. I regret ever sending him there. I regret not acting like a mad woman and hiring a fierce attorney to keep him from ever spending the night there. But, I can’t go back in time, only forward… and am relieved that it is over in a sense. No more sharing for this mama.
What advice do you have for each other on surviving the ex hand over? Any coping mechanisms you have learned that you can share with new single moms? Or do you just want to vent.
Do so in the comments. Can’t wait to read your thoughts on this.