Hypothetically, my ex and I are both supposed to have two extended two-week periods with the kids each summer vacation. While that means I get four full weeks without having to worry about my ex, it also means I lose four weeks with my kids. I always feel like I'm at a bit of a loose end when they're gone. I have trouble planning events with family because I know that the kids will be disappointed I did something that they would have liked to do. We also have several summer birthdays in my family—and the kids get upset if they miss a party.
It is a good thing for them to have some concentrated time with their each of their parents. It's also good for the kids to be in one spot for a couple of weeks, as our custody schedule during the school year means they're in a different bed at least twice a week. Summer vacation is a great way for them to relax and refresh, especially after a long school year.
While they always seem to have a great time with their dad, I do miss them terribly. It's hard not to get a little depressed about it, but over the years I've developed some tricks to keep myself distracted while they're gone.
7 Tips to Get Through Extended Time Away From Your Kids:
1. Take your own vacation. A couple of years ago, Hubs and I used my ex's vacation time to go to Amsterdam and visit my sister-in-law. Although there were times that I wished the kids were with me (especially when we visited the vanGogh Museum), being in a completely foreign environment was very distracting.
2. Read a book. How often do you get the time to sit down and read a long book? I'll bet there's a few sitting on your shelf right now that have been waiting for just this opportunity. Get out on your patio into your deck chair with a tall glass of wine and a book.
3. Pamper yourself. I usually book a trip to the salon and get a mani-pedi if the kids are away for a significant period. A little pampering makes me feel a little calmer—and I rarely have time for it when they're at home.
4. Spend time with your significant other. If you've remarried (as I have), time alone with Hubs is hard to find during the daylight hours—especially when the kids are home. Make time for a romantic dinner...and a little after party.
5. Go to the beach. Some sun and sand are just what the doctor ordered. Stock up on some vitamin D, and spend some time either walking the beach or getting in the water. Bonus: no kids means you can just pack your bikini, a book, and a towel!
6. Clean out the kids' rooms. What better time to go through the kids' closets than when they're not there to argue with you? This is the perfect time to get in there and clear out all the smaller clothing and get ready for their fall wardrobe. You can also take this opportunity to clean out and donate any toys they've grown out of. Just make sure you get it to the donation point before their return.
7. Get out with your girlfriends. Drinks on the patio at a nice place in town. Catch up on all the gossip and reconnect with your besties.
Summer vacations without the kids—especially your first one—can be a rough thing to get through. Try to reframe your thinking and view it as time for reconnecting with yourself. Wouldn't it be great if the kids could come back to a relaxed and refreshed mom? What do you do when your ex has the kids?
Other articles you might enjoy:
Post Divorce Summer Vacation: Juggling Needs
6 Steps To Help Divorced Moms Adjust To The Challenges Of Summer
Six Things I Learned from Being in a Bad Marriage