The first several visitations post-divorce can be particularly difficult. I cried during the second one and realized that making an effort to do fun things was a logical solution to this situation. What worked was polling some divorced pals on what they did during visitations. The key to surviving visitations is distraction. Discover diversions and amusements to keep you occupied and the time can fly by.
1. Play tourist in your own city. Have you avoided your local art museum because it did not make your children’s top twenty list? Rediscover interesting and quirky places that might not appeal to the kids. Do you live near a winery that could be a leisurely day trip? Grey Line Tours and your local ones go to interesting sites around and beyond your locale. I sent my son and a house guest to a nearby tourist town and they had a great time. They enjoyed the others on this day tour as much as they did the itinerary.
2. Go to an amusement park, circus, or similar fun place. Post-divorce I took my sons to Disneyland for a long weekend and had a 45 minute chat in line with the lady behind me. Apparently her kids were at visitation and she “needed” to have a bit of fun. She was laughing and discussing the other rides that she had been on earlier. I had never thought about going to an amusement area by myself before, but this is something to think about for your situation.
3. Check out upcoming festivals in your town. There are crowds and I usually run into people I know. Quite a lot of singles are enjoying these fun events, so I don’t feel like I stick out in a crowd. In two places where I have lived, there is an annual Greek Festival, with music, dancing and of course fantastic food. There are other international events which feel like a vacation by just attending. See if there is music in a park or craft fair by the river. Your local Chamber Of Commerce or a hotel concierge are good starting points.
4. Take a mini vacation. Go to a neighboring city or to a spa for a day or so. Maybe mom or a pal will join you on this short jaunt. Have your travel agent check on travel specials, or go online. Las Vegas and Reno want business and have attractive travel packages. If your kids are taking their summer vacation with dad, then go farther afield. One travel company with very affordable trips is smarTours.
5. Use this time without kid demands to catch up on work. Could you go into the office on the weekend and take extra time off later when you have the kids? My mother was a nurse and had the option of working when I was with my father on visitation and was mainly home, when I was with her. Attend a seminar if one falls during visitation, or do online ones during this time.
6. Pamper yourself. Get a facial, pedicure or other treat during this time. Lounge around the house with a facial mask on while reading a novel or magazine. Your skin will look great and it is relaxing to read for fun and not for work. You do not have to fix meals, so a manicure can set and not smear.
7. Married pals can do activities with you on the weekends with a little planning ahead of time. I would specifically ask, “When is your husband taking XYZ (child’s name) to go sledding, dirt biking, whatever on Saturday?” Then my married friends call me and we get pedicures or lattes while their husbands are doing things with the kids. Do not automatically cross married friends off your list on weekends, assuming that they are spending time with their families.
8. Take a class. Our community college has non-credit classes on Saturdays, some just for part of one day. We have a New York City chef who has family locally, who teaches some weekend cooking/baking classes. I have attended some and have expanded my limited cooking repertoire. Social media classes have helped me expand professionally. Our recreation center has fitness classes that are drop in and can be worked around various schedules. See what tickles your fancy.
9. Volunteer. One divorced woman enjoyed her Meals On Wheels runs and chatting to the elderly people. Pick an organization that you would enjoy helping out with their program. I really like playing and taking care of the kitties with my cat rescue group.
10. Go to movies or rent ones that your kids would not enjoy. I go to foreign films and really enjoy doing this activity with other divorced friends. Some coffee shops have communal tables and I can enjoy the camaraderie before going to a film when by myself.
Think about what you enjoyed doing before you got married. Consider pursuing these interests when you now have extra time to yourself during visitations. Be creative.