This is where I step in to step up for my husband, for all of the “Not There” parents who get treated like the above.It is NOT unusual for children to “look forward to” seeing the “not there” parent. Nor is it unusual for the “there” parent to not get the “shine” that the “not there” does all the time. That is unfortunately the way most separated parents OR courts have made it. Children will of course be comfortable in their “main” home, but the “there” parents have to realize that the “not there” parent is NOT being “not there” by choice. Or at least MOST of them aren’t!
They do the best that they can with what they are given. They have to CRAM all that they can into whatever little visitation time they get….the visitation that is not messed up or dictated to by the BM, regardless of court orders!
The amount of times that my husband gets called a “deadbeat Dad” is SICKENING. Really? Is that why we fight hard in court for the best of those kids? We pay all of the supports and as much of the activities as we can? Why we see them 3 times a week? Right….deadbeat. You have NO idea HOW lucky you have it.
If the “there” parents want some of that “shining glory” that the “not there” parents get…perhaps they should let down that brick wall….share more….give more visitation or split custody, then THEIR time would be equally as “great” as they think it is with the “not there” parent.
I can tell you now that it is NOT “shining glory” for the “not there” parent. It’s hell. There is no collaboration between two households to work on what is best for the kids. The “not there” parent gets intentionally left out of things, school events, concerts or is the LAST person to be contacted in emergencies or for anything else for that matter. Heaven FORBID they have to say NO to something that the BM wants or has to put work before some whim that is requested….
If the “there parent” were to spend a month in the “not there parent’s” shoes I think that they would grasp with open arms what they have and bless their lucky stars that they have what they do.
Stop worrying about what you don’t have and be thankful for what you do. Life is too short.
Hug those babies tight…spend QUALITY TIME with them…do what KIDS want to do, not what you want to do. DO things with them, don’t leave them to watch TV or play video games or any other handheld devices or leave them 50% of the time with other people whilst you do “your thing”. Realize that the “not there” parents SEEM more exciting because they are always TOTALLY PRESENT during the time that the kids are with them. They DO it all, SAY it all, ALL the time….as that is all the time that they have.
Again, I am in agreeance with the below, as it is true that the guardian parent DOES I am sure 80% of the time feel that way, but, out of all that the “not there” parent has to deal with, I am sure that this pales in comparison.
You wring your hands in frustration when your kids won’t go to sleep at night — because you just really need an hour to yourself.
You balance work, bills, life, and all the things a child needs while a person floats in and out of their lives like parenting is a hobby that can be engaged in at will.
Your heart breaks a little when your kids are on their best behavior when that other parent is around.
You bite your tongue because someone has to be the adult.
You’re the “there” parent.
It will always be just a little harder for you. It will always be just a little more frustrating. But that’s okay. The “there” parent isn’t as fun as the “not there” parent. Your arrival isn’t anticipated for days — your appearance in the house isn’t anything “special.” You are the constant in your kids’ lives. A “constant” is something that does not change. And there’s comfort in that.
Your kids will never have to “perform” for fear that their actions are in some way influencing the reason you don’t come around so much. Small defiances are the way they show you they’re not worried. They can be kids. You will accept them.
“There” may not be exciting or fun or anything special. But the mutual understanding that there’s nothing special about your presence in the house is a wonderful gift you give your children. They’ll never need to wonder if you’ll be present, so they don’t spend any time worrying about it. It doesn’t even occur to them to act any way but authentically around you.
Maybe their eyes don’t light up when you walk in a room — but it’s because there’s no surprise. The “not there” parent is a spotlight, that makes things amplified and fun. The “there” parent is a dim nightlight that quietly comforts. The spotlight is exciting, but the nightlight is essential.
It’s hard to be “there.” You’re taken for granted, you’re expected to perform, and you’re doing it essentially alone. But the payoff is something the not there parent will never understand.
Single, present parents – if you haven’t heard it in days, weeks, months… you’re doing a great job.