the smell of my desperation has become a stench


Hey. Yeah. So I know that posting around here has been really light recently, and that’s due in no small part to the fact that I have about 14 different things in the air right now and I’m desperately trying not to let anything hit the ground. Sometimes that desperation leads to paralysis and I can’t unclench my hands which makes things a little tricky. Add to that meetings that require me to be away from my desk for most of the day and my brain doesn’t have the time it needs to produce the creative work I need to produce.

But a bigger, more underlying problem is at play here, and I’ve been reticent to talk about it, afraid even, because everyone has their own set of cards to bring to this table. I finally decided to admit how I’m feeling because I’m wondering for those who have lived through this if it will get better with time or if I’ll just get used to it. I don’t know. I’m just really sad.

I’ve been feeling this way for a few months, and it has taken me awhile to figure out why I can’t climb out of this mud-like funk. And then one morning after I dropped the girls off at camp I realized I wouldn’t see them for three days. I’d be going home to a silent house and it would remain like that until I picked them up from camp three days later. That enormous void in my house is like a rapidly growing cancer that infests my every thought and every action.

I miss them and that longing ache is crushing me.

When my cousin was here watching Marlo, I saw both of my kids every day. I’d hear Marlo running around in the room over my head, jumping on chairs and lecturing the dogs. I’d greet Leta when she’d walk in from school and take a look at the homework ahead of her for the night. I touched their hair, pressed my face to the back of their necks, swapped a few jokes whenever I took a break. The sound and the smell and the touch of my children filled my home.



But all that changed when my cousin left and I had to find other childcare for my girls during the day. It changed suddenly, overnight. And now I don’t see them for days. Yes, when I travel I don’t see my kids for just as long, but I do not enjoy being in my house without my kids. I dread walking in that door.

I had friends tell me that I would love the free time I’d have on the days and nights they are with their father. But the opposite is true. Those days shred my heart to pieces.

What compounds this ache is that when they are here I only have two hands and they seem to have hundreds. The work of taking care of two kids alone in my house, two kids who have very different and often conflicting needs is difficult. It’s frustrating, sometimes overwhelmingly. The work of it can obstruct the joy, and when it does, when I’ve put them to bed and realize that all I did for the previous two hours was repeat myself in an attempt to maintain some order, those are the nights when I close the door to my bedroom, sit up against a wall and hold myself.

I know, it’s only two kids. It’s not five or six or god forbid ten. And it’s only a few days. I understand it could be so much worse. But understanding that doesn’t lessen the agonizing pain of their absence or the toll it takes on me emotionally. It doesn’t alleviate the sadness. It doesn’t help me figure out the exasperation of doing it alone.

And so I have to hope that it gets easier or that I will get used to it. And in the meantime just put my head down, pry open my hands and try not to panic.

  • jamie

    2013/09/05 at 3:44 pm


  • americanrecluse

    2013/09/05 at 3:44 pm

    What you’re going through is far from my own life experiences, but I’ll sit here and hold your hand until some good replies come along!

  • Victoria

    2013/09/05 at 3:44 pm

    I just had my boy 4 months ago, so I can’t imagine how it is be be home without your kids. I am dreading that day so much! But I’m sure it makes the moments you’re with them that much more special 🙂

    Hang in there!
    ~ Victoria

  • schmutzie

    2013/09/05 at 3:46 pm

    I haven’t been there, but I feel for you. I want to sound all sage here, but I got nothing. I hope you find that balance between the two.

  • Liz Harrington

    2013/09/05 at 3:46 pm

    I share custody with my ex – a week on and a week off. It sucks big ass donkey balls. I used to cry every Thursday night… often times WITH my children.. knowing they were going to be gone the next morning for a WHOLE WEEK. It’s gotten easier. I still cry sometimes, but not as often. I also share in the struggle of parenting two children through homework and dinner and over-tiredness to the point that I want to scream and run away. Then I remember that it’s fleeting, these moments, and before I know it my house will be too quiet again and I’ll ache to repeat myself again and again if it means I can smell their hair. I get it.

  • Kat

    2013/09/05 at 3:47 pm

    Some days it’s just one foot in front of the other, making it through only because time moves forward. They’re constantly changing and you are constantly changing. You will find a new equilibrium. We all do, day by day. Take care of yourself.

  • turtlemoss

    2013/09/05 at 3:47 pm

    I’ve been divorced for 18 months, and only have one 4 year old daughter. I will say that it did get better, MUCH better, but it never goes away. It changes, you deal, and you find ways to busy yourself and then ways to enjoy yourself and make the most out of the time you aren’t play Mom. I still absolutely HATE the one night a week my ex has my daughter over night. In fact last week I decided I was going to keep her bedroom door closed at night as if she’s in there sleeping because every time I wake up in the middle of the night to pee and see her door wide open it’s too jarring and my heart skips a beat wondering who came in and kidnapped my daughter without me knowing, and then I realize, with a sinking heart that I’m divorced, and my daughter is at her dads house for the night. I think it will change and you’ll adapt. Like those first few months of a separation/divorce you constantly change and just cope with things. <3 Brooke

  • LisaCrazyAdventuresinParenting

    2013/09/05 at 3:47 pm

    I feel the same way about school, actually. Everyone’s cheering for their “return to sanity” and “quiet” – I just ache because the house is overwhelmingly still and somber. That and early mornings suck serious ass.

  • misszoot

    2013/09/05 at 3:48 pm

    I should get my now-husband/then-boyfriend to tell you the stories of how when my son would travel to see his Dad (who lived out of state) I would cry every night. My then-boyfriend would be all excited…NO KID! We can go out! Drink! Party! Yet I would be all, “WAH!!!! MY BABBBEEEE!!!!”

    My point? It’s very normal. I hated it. HATED IT.

  • Elizabeth

    2013/09/05 at 3:48 pm

    Sounds like the typical life of a single mom…..

  • Crystal-lee

    2013/09/05 at 3:48 pm

    When I became a single mother I would totally lose it at night. I’d walk past my daughters room and I would go in and lay down and smell her pillow. Then I got into the habit of buying things for her, but that kind of backfired because it created the “What did you get me this time” habit. Now that she is a teenager (and gutted me to go live with her father), I miss her rolling her eyes, sitting on her laptop, hearing music coming from the bathroom when she’s spending 2 hours playing with her hair. It’s hard but it gets a little easier and you just so appreciate the time you do get with them that much more. Even the hard times. I read your book many years ago when I was struggling with PPD and couldn’t find any real accounts of it, mostly books written by movie stars with Nannies. I didn’t have a Nanny, I needed a real mom to share what happened, what worked. So thanks for that. 😉 I bought it, and a copy for a friend.

  • Nicole

    2013/09/05 at 3:49 pm

    Oh my gosh, awful. Want unsolicited advice? Find another stay-at-home babysitter. Especially if it brings you peace and makes the split custody situation easier. We have found amazing, qualified, responsible, loving nannies (who aren’t family). xo

  • Paul R

    2013/09/05 at 3:49 pm

    It does get better, I swear.

    My girls are with me all week, every other week. I know that puts me ahead of many dads. That internal chorus of “could be worse, you shouldn’t complain” is a killer, isn’t it?

    I work from home, too, so I know the frustration of missing them and remembering that just yesterday I had headphones cranked so I could get work done over the nearby din of “Adventure Time”.

    But 3 years into this routine, yeah, it’s easier. They’re older and communicate their actual needs better – I spend less time worrying about things they may not be asking/telling me. And I’ve learned what sorts of activities *actually* fill my downtime with joy or accomplishment, rather than just trying to stifle the negative.

    It’s can still be hard, Sunday afternoons, to will myself to do anything other than lie in bed and miss them. So sometimes I’ll schedule an actual, planned, guilt-free nap for that time.

    You’ll find what works for you. You really will. And with time and experience and repetition, you’ll be much more certain that *they’re* OK when you can’t see them. And that’s a good thing – it’s not that they don’t need you, it’s that you’re helping build these awesome, ever-more-ready-for-the-world people.

  • Sarah

    2013/09/05 at 3:50 pm

    It will get easier only because you will get used to it. I was divorced with two kids, and it was a good two years before I felt I was in a good place to handle the stress of meeting their needs and coping with their absence.

  • Lauren3

    2013/09/05 at 3:50 pm

    I was wondering, but knew you would explain sooner or later. Much love, Heather. No words of wisdom, as I’m single with no kids… but I do understand the feeling of pain that you can’t put a timeline to. And you have taught me a lot about how to deal with that. So again… much love.

  • Melissa Wilder

    2013/09/05 at 3:55 pm

    My daughter was born the same year as Leta and I got divorced around the exact same time as you did. I keep hoping it will get better too, though it hasn’t yet. What helps me is this: there are SO many divorced women whose husbands are deadbeats and never see their children. I have to keep telling myself over and over that she is lucky and he is good and they deserve to have a relationship too, even if it hurts my heart when she is gone. I’ve found that making a list of things I need to accomplish while she’s gone helps me focus a little more. But I won’t lie, I’ve (more than once) found myself on the couch eating her fruit snacks and watching reruns of iCarly just to feel like I’m with her. I also have to remember that the divorce, just as the marriage and the having of kids, was as much my decision as it was his. It was absolutely the right thing to do but figuring out the ‘new normal’ is an arduous process, one I have yet to perfect. Sometimes I surround myself with friends, sometimes I keep myself busy, sometimes I work, yet sometimes I stay in bed all day. It’s about finding balance and I’m still working on that. But I’m right there with ya and whereas before I spent much of my time being sad that I was in a terrible marriage, I feel now I’ve traded and the sadness I feel is because I’m missing my children. Hang in there.

  • Karen

    2013/09/05 at 3:56 pm

    You put into writing exactly what I was feeling when I got divorced and we started the whole “moving between houses” thing. I remember calling my Mom one Saturday morning (at like 7a) just sobbing “I don’t know what to do without the kids here. There are too many hours left in the day until its socially acceptable to get in bed.” It is hard, no simple fix… Take it day by day. Always listen to your mind and watch your “can’t get out of it funks”, you’ve been there before and know what is like. Keep your chin up, you have a lot of us fellow gals in empty houses that are thinking about you! Y

  • tmb

    2013/09/05 at 3:58 pm

    congratulations, you’re normal? I don’t know if that makes you feel any better, but I do think what you’re describing is totally normal.

  • theboldsoul

    2013/09/05 at 4:04 pm

    I met my husband about 7 months after he had separated (his choice) from the mother of his youngest son. They were still sorting out a lot of things but she had moved out… to an apartment across the street from his place, so she could be nearby. The boy was only 6 at the time I came into the picture. They had worked out a schedule of a few days at each parent’s house during school days and then they alternated weekends. I felt so sympathetic to him and even to his ex because MY mother was a single mom of two daughters and I remember how hard it was on her (she had full custody of us though, so she got to see us all the time but she got no support from my father; you can imagine that she had her hands full). Now that same 6 year old boy is about to turn 12. I don’t think it is ever easy on my husband to be away from his kids, and he doesn’t like to talk about how hard it is. But time has passed, he sees that his child is happy and well-adjusted, and although there have been some bumps in the road, everyone is used to the “routine” which now involves the boy staying a week on/a week off with each parent. I know my husband still misses his son like crazy (and vice versa) by how they are together when the boy is here; they are affectionate and inseparable, and I love that about them. But my husband has decided to focus on the positives of the situation and he’s found a way to cope with missing his child. Because of course, you bring a child into the world assuming you’re going to see them every day until they’re grown up and ready to head out into the wider world, don’t you. I don’t know that it every gets “easy” but maybe you can, for now, let yourself know that it will get easi-ER… with time. And let’s be honest, even when it’s for all the “right” reasons, divorce, separation… they just plain suck. But there are still happy times to be had.

  • angelamarie

    2013/09/05 at 4:06 pm

    Knowing it’s normal doesn’t help it go away, but it can help your head.
    I spent the first weekend with my kids at their dad’s house, walking around naked. Then taking a shower and letting the hot water run over me. Then walking around naked some more. Then laying in bed at 6pm. Then taking another shower.
    It got better.

  • former_me_girl

    2013/09/05 at 4:07 pm

    As a single mom of one child since 2006, I can honestly say it did get easier to accept the absence of her presence when she was either away with friends or with her dad. I still miss her like crazy when she’s not here with me, but I’ve also grown to enjoy that time and I once thought I’d never be able to do that. Now I’m facing an entirely different oncoming crisis – she just started her senior year of high school.

  • issascrazyworld

    2013/09/05 at 4:09 pm

    It gets better. Then something changes and it gets super hard again for a bit. I’m there right now. The hard, don’t know how I will get through it, cry every day for things out of my control hard. I have been through the easier and I promise you, you’ll get there.

    In the meantime? I’d either hire a different cousin or one of their friends or just a college kid part time to help with the chaos that is kids in two very different age groups. Because that piece is hard, the age difference when one is four. If it was better when your cousin was there and the girls were at home instead of camp, or now say after care and daycare and what have you, I’d find a way for it to happen again.

  • Julie

    2013/09/05 at 4:09 pm

    First of all, I LOVE that you aren’t one of those Moms who can’t wait to get rid of their kids. I have a relative like that and it makes me tremendously sad. Second, I bet this would be easier if this was an outing you were looking forward to them going away to and was less frequent, but it’s not. And it is a fact of your life for now. I would encourage you to think of what a great time your girls will be having and how important their time is with their Dad. Think of the great relationship that they are so lucky to have, and that there is a Dad in the picture for them. You likely each do things very different from one another which will help create kids who can roll with it when things aren’t ‘just so’. Maybe focusing on the good parts of this will help you manage the difficulty of missing them so much.

  • Elizabeth Beattie

    2013/09/05 at 4:10 pm

    I can’t speak to your experience because I am married with children. But I can maybe offer some advice on a way to help you move forward through the pain. It would be hard to get into the nitty gritty in a comment on your blog but I would suggest you look into Yin Yoga. It’s healing and restorative. It’s helps teach you to breathe through the hard stuff and that is just barely touching on the power of this practice. It has done amazing things for me and my anxiety issues. Lots of luck and love!


    2013/09/05 at 4:12 pm

    When my kids would go to their father’s for anything longer than 3 days, I would start unraveling too. I got very good at separating my thoughts, because I knew if I dove into them it would be hard to come back out without crying. Of course, it doesn’t help when you hear a song or see something on the TV that makes you think of them. I would set aside special time to think of them more deeply (I did think of them daily) and let the feelings come. As they get older, I don’t find that it changes. My oldest has been away from us for four years now and it breaks my heart every day, but not because of silence in the house- the house is still noisy with other occupants.

    You might want to plan things to do with the time they’re away, just to have a schedule to follow so you’re not just blowing whichever way the wind goes. For nights, maybe schedule something out a couple nights a week with other people, or to meet new people (community events, political activities, take in the arts, etc.). Then you’ll have new things to share with the girls when they’re back home. Don’t just sit in the big old house and feel the silence all the time.

  • Mack N. Cheese

    2013/09/05 at 4:16 pm

    i SO identify with this: “The work of taking care of two kids alone in my house, two kids who have very different and often conflicting needs is difficult. It’s frustrating, sometimes overwhelmingly. The work of it can obstruct the joy, and when it does, when I’ve put them to bed and realize that all I did for the previous two hours was repeat myself in an attempt to maintain some order, those are the nights when I close the door to my bedroom, sit up against a wall and hold myself.”… and i’m not even, technically, doing it alone! you will get through it but that doesn’t make it any easier! good luck!

  • The Lovely Life

    2013/09/05 at 4:19 pm

    I don’t have children, but I would relate it in a sorta kinda way to different projects I’m working on who have me going 24/7 for months and then boom..when it’s over, it’s launched, the goals have evaporated in the meantime.. I’m left with just me…. UGH. Yeah. It sucks. Why?

    When I’m just left with myself… just me and no one and nothing to focus on but me… I get depressed and fall down the rabbit hole of “my life sucks and I feel awful inside.” So, I would bet, because I’ve suffered most of my life with these debilitating times of depression and not being able to move (being stuck in the mud), that some of it may have to do with the fact that you’re left looking at you… and for most of us, the entire planet I would bet, it’s not always the most comfortable place to be. So much easier to be busy, focus on others… at least it is for me anyway….

  • Andi

    2013/09/05 at 4:22 pm

    A wise wise woman told me this: “I try to think of [my time apart from the kids] as a time for me to recharge. When they are with me, I will give them 100% of me and put aside unnecessary things until they are away from me again. The laundry waits. The bills wait. My appointments wait. While they are with me, they get everything from me. When they leave, I am completely drained, but I have that time to recharge and gear up for the next time, so I can give them my complete 100% self all over again.”

  • debra

    2013/09/05 at 4:23 pm

    Oh. So sorry. I’m sure this suggestion is for many reasons impractical, but maybe once in a while you could have 1 girl while the other is with paw. Quality time on both ends. Not so lonely. Anyway. Thanks for sharing. Always hate it when you are suffering; thank you for sharing and hope that it helps to know that you are not alone.

  • LaurenR

    2013/09/05 at 4:24 pm

    Kudos for having the courage to talk about this — it’s the very worst part about divorce and no one who hasn’t gone through it understands and everyone who has totally does. The first Christmas morning I spent without my son brought me to my knees. I dread the fourth one already.

    Here’s the thing. When you’ve been on your knees and find your way back onto your feet again, you learn that you are far far stronger than you ever realized, and man, there’s a gift there that you can’t get any other way.

    Remember when Leta was born and you asked your friends with older kids if it got any easier — and they said no, nope, sorry, not really — but you DO get used to it. Same deal. It’s never easy but you figure it out. Some days it feels totally doable and some days it feels unbearable. But every day you do it you realize you are still miraculously stronger than you ever thought you could be.

    I think that’s what children really teach us — whether we have them 100% of the time or not. It takes all of our strength to raise them and then somehow we find even more strength to let them go. We’re just learning it earlier in the process than the 50% who don’t get divorced.

    I sound like some kind of motivational coach. I’m sorry. This is a topic very near and dear to me. You will be ok. It will never stop sucking but it will suck a lot less most of the time some day. And you’ll feel so proud of yourself and so grateful for your own strength and how it is enabling your girls to become such amazing people, that it will sometimes feel totally doable.

    It WILL.

  • Jacqueline Martino

    2013/09/05 at 4:35 pm

    I’ve done this now for 7 years. It does get easier. At first I realized I had not spent a weekend alone in 17 years (my kids are spaced far apart). It was like coming out of a loud concert, everything was just…quiet. Some weekends I did go places with all my friends…movies, music shows, museums, restaurants, whatever. I had freedom and by golly I was going to celebrate. That got old pretty quickly.

    I then realized I could be a better mother by getting stuff done while they were gone that would help me to enjoy them while they were with me. I cooked stuff ahead of time. I did laundry and yard work and house cleaning. I ironed their clothes because I figured maybe when they wore the garments they could feel the love and intention I was putting into them. I know that sounds maudlin but it helped me.

    I did these things because then I wouldn’t be so rushed and harried and hassled when they came back. I could focus on them and give them my full attention.

    I also thanked my lucky stars they had a father who wanted to be with them a lot. They needed him and they loved him and he most assuredly loved them. I never cared if they came back filthy with a bunch of dirty clothes having eaten weird food. It usually meant they were out fishing or camping or on an adventure and were having a good time. I’m grateful to have a partner in this even if I can’t be married to that partner. I’m so glad I don’t have to do it alone. If he’ll handle the fishing and camping, I’ll happily handle the dirty laundry.

    There’s nothing about divorce that’s easy. Everyone involved has to make huge adjustments. We will all make mistakes while adjusting. Lower some of the standards, let some stuff go if necessary. The children will mostly appreciate and remember the time you spent with them. I urge you not to be too hard on yourself. I also send you my best because I know how you feel. It does get better.

  • Linds

    2013/09/05 at 4:39 pm

    Being a mom is hard. Any way, shape, or form. I’ve found that even though Facebook is lame and for old people now (30’s being old), I get support from all my mom-friends when I’m ready to lose it. I’m a single mom with no baby daddy in the picture. Its hard for me in a different way. But that doesn’t make your struggle any less difficult. We should all support each other when times are hard because we’re all in this fight together.

  • Windy Mayes

    2013/09/05 at 4:42 pm

    Heather – I think you’re having an adjustment period, and it’s probably compounded by all the shit you juggle running a business. I know that when my husband first began a custody arrangement, it ripped him to shreds. He had been the primary caretaker aside from working hours and was basically doing the majority of the home maintenance and housework on top of his 40 hour work week. To go from that to having several days in a row of only caring for himself, was mind blowing. By the time I came around, he was still reeling, but with another adult to spend time with, the ache of not having the kids home was eased a bit, and now several years beyond that (into teen years to boot) the break is often welcome. There have been times, from day one, that even I longed to have the noise of kids in the house. Despite the days that I desperately wished for alone time with my new love, I still missed them. Even with the back talk, rolled eyes and other bullshit that hormones have brought, I STILL miss them when they aren’t home. It gets better, in the way that the missing isn’t so desperate, but you’ll miss them no matter what. And one of these days as the weirdness wears off, you will probably even be glad for the silent house. AND THAT’S OK. Those times when we have a break from the kids have allowed Mark and I to build and strengthen our relationship, to discuss things about the divorce and kids that we wouldn’t want them exposed to possibly overhearing, and plain just get a break. Lots of times we live like a couple of bachelors when the kids are gone and it is so fucking nice to just sit on the couch in our underwear and have cereal for dinner. There’s no pressure on those days to be “on” or “engaged” we can just be Mark and Windy. I feel for you. Divorce shit is hard. You know how to reach me if you need to. Love you!

  • Kristy Ryver Mouti

    2013/09/05 at 4:43 pm

    I wish I still lived in Utah! I would come to your house to watch your kids. I would bring my 3 year-old and 9-month-old and it would be a party!

  • NeroticMom

    2013/09/05 at 4:44 pm

    I have a relative like that too, in fact I think that was the reason the divorce happened in the first place – for weekends off. I have 3 long hours a day when I don’t have my kids with me because of school and everyone said how i would love it – I don’t . I look forward to picking them up the entire 3 hours.

  • kmpinkel

    2013/09/05 at 4:55 pm

    I think its the process of learning how to be alone. Its hard. But try to take that time, when you are aching inside, to find something inside you, that kid inside you, to rediscover and learn to appreciate. Force yourself to go out and do things. Or I found that when my kids were gone, I would try to do something simple and special for them that they would have when they got home. I found that when I learned to enjoy being with myself, I rarely was alone. It will get better and for now, just soak up the sadness and acknowledge it, which you have done, there is only one other direction from here and the sky looks pretty amazing.

  • Jamilisa

    2013/09/05 at 5:08 pm

    My girls are similar in age to Leta in Marlo. I’ve been divorced for 6 years. I’ve had another child since then (and am still single – I thought, “why not make things even harder for myself!!”) Ha! Added to that, I work overnight every Fri, Sat and Sun (on top of going to school part time myself) – so I do not see my kids from dropping them off at school on Fri morning to Sunday afternoon. It sucks – BUT I can say I’ve gotten used to it – I do sometimes enjoy having some free time to myself. It’s hard because they have all their free time on the weekend with their other family members. During the week (now that we are back to Sept) we have school and by the time they get off of the bus in the afternoon, they have homework, baths and bedtime. That’s it. That’s the thing that still bothers me the most – no time to do the ‘fun stuff’ that hours of nothing on the weekend allows for. But I can vouch for the “It get’s easier” I promise 🙂

  • Nancyh

    2013/09/05 at 5:10 pm

    Your emotions are a sign that you’re connected with the world outside and your family. My son often spends part of his school breaks with his grandparents a few hours away from us. I miss him so much when he’s gone (but I have stopped going in his bedroom and sniffing his pillow). A woman I know once said that she doesn’t understand why people get so emotional when their kids go away and that when her kids went to Europe with their grandparents she did not miss them once. But, she is also someone who seems to lack an empathy chip. So, I’m happy in the boat we’re in. Hang in there.

  • allconsuming

    2013/09/05 at 5:10 pm

    And we are all here, willing you on, not knowing the right words to say except you are not alone. You will get through this. Fall down seven times, rise up eight. xxxK

  • greeblemonkey

    2013/09/05 at 5:11 pm

    I don’t know what that feels like with the exception of some of the juggling of schedules Bryan and I do, that sometimes feels like we are all carving up time away from each other and that definitely hurts. Sending hugs.

  • barb

    2013/09/05 at 5:26 pm

    I know that longing ache very well. I cannot bear it. The frustration and the noise and the mess are all preferable to the empty silence. It roars in my ears. It is a beast. When I have to be away from my kids for extended periods of time, I am sad, and lonely, and coming apart at the seams from anxiety. I really don’t know how to cope. Just getting through it is my only goal.

  • Karry

    2013/09/05 at 5:28 pm

    I left my husband 7 years ago – I had three kids and the times were rough on both em and the kids, but we got through it and have a really strong familial bond now that I don’t thin we would have had otherwise. To answer your question, yes it gets easier, and yes you get used to it. There’s no either/or, it’s a little bit of both. What you’re feeling right now I called the “slog” when it happened to me. Just focus on the single day, and tomorrow will take care of itself. If you keep slogging, pretty soon it won’t be a slog anymore and you will learn to value those times when you can get stuff done without interruption. Now it’s to the point where it’s actually nice for me (though I still miss them intensely) because I can focus on the kids more while I have them and do all the mundane hard-to-do cleaning type stuff while I don’t. <3

  • sam

    2013/09/05 at 5:38 pm

    My ex and I split our time with our son evenly, so he’s with me for half the week and with his dad for the other. We switch things up on weekends to make sure we both get equal time. This is something that was important to both of us to do, partly because we both selfishly wanted to see him as much as humanly possible and neither of us were willing to be weekend-only parents, but also because we knew it was the best thing for our son – to spend just as much time with one parent as the other. For a while, all I did was cry when I was without him. I started making plans with friends after work on those days so I wouldn’t have to be alone in my house, because if I was, I’d just sit in his room and cry or even worse – turn on Disney Jr. to watch the shows we’d be watching if he were with me. Ha.

    It’s still painful when he’s away, but I don’t cry as much anymore. I love the constant noise and energy in my house when he’s present, but I also find myself enjoying quiet time, too. I use those days to run errands and make appointments and see friends, or just sit around in my underwear, which I NEVER get to do. Honestly, I feel like a better mom to him now that I see him less. I took advantage of seeing him all the time and let the days slide by without playing Sneaky Snacky Squirrel or busting out the PlayDoh, but now when he is here, I focus on making the time that we do spend together better. I listen more closely, I kiss and hug him more, and I soak up every minute that we have together.

    It’s hard to believe that it gets easier. Maybe it doesn’t really, but time does that thing it does and it just becomes your life, so you do it, you know? You find other things to fill your time when they’re gone and love them to bits and pieces when they’re home with you. You’ll find the balance soon!

  • Melissa Crawshaw

    2013/09/05 at 5:42 pm

    just because someone else may have more kids/more conflicts/worse situation does not dismiss your pain and struggles; it is real and you need to feel it and not feel bad about it.

    i have no words of wisdom or experience in this but i do feel quite certain you shall overcome and be better for it.

    the best you can do is love your kids and respect their father…i think you are doing both very well.

  • Nicole

    2013/09/05 at 5:49 pm

    Well IMHO, no it does not get easier. You just learn to be present in the moment and get through it. My daughter is with me full time, she is with her father every other weekend. While we co-parent extremely well–it does not make the time away any easier. I dread the every other weekend and I start thinking about how empty my weekend will be without her. I know she needs time with Dad, but I still miss her. This has been going on for 6 years…for me it seems to almost get worse as she gets older. I do my best to occupy my time so that it’s not so bad.

  • Kim Broom

    2013/09/05 at 5:57 pm

    High 5, you are cool and that is a great perspective!

  • Laura Dodge Meyer

    2013/09/05 at 6:13 pm

    A couple of days ago I wrote on this same topic on my blog. I’m really not trying to convince you to read my blog. In fact, this is the very first message I’ve ever left on a blog. Seriously. Just leaving a note from one mom to another. I’m over 50 and my nest just emptied out in a big way with my daughter heading four states away, so I’m just a short step ahead of you, but kind of in the same place too. My son is only an hour away, but we rarely talk, as he’s in that too busy for parents stage. I envy you, even though you don’t get as much time with them as you wish. If I could turn back the clock I would, just to still have them running around the house like they did just a few short years ago. If you’re interested, you can read my September 1st post at Hang in there.

  • Katie Morene

    2013/09/05 at 6:15 pm

    It does get easier, but it’s never fun. My daughter is in her second year of college. Still miss her daily, still not fun even though I’m happily remarried and run my own successful business.

    Practice gratitude that their father is a loving father. Practice being alone and cultivating your alone time. For me it was important to be happy by myself before I could successfully move on and bring someone else into the picture.

  • Lauren3

    2013/09/05 at 6:31 pm

    That is an AMAZING piece of advice, and am passing it along to a friend who is going through an issue similar to Heather’s 🙂

  • Bridget

    2013/09/05 at 6:47 pm

    You do not deserve this. I am so sorry for your pain and loneliness. I wish I could give you a hug and make everything all better.

1 2 3

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

read more