We have had a change in the visitation schedule for my stepkids. Which parent's home are the kids visiting when the split is 50/50? My answer: both parent's homes. When you put your head down on a different pillow every two nights how can you feel like you have a home? Even the terminology "visitation schedule" gives no sense of home or stability.

We changed last week to every Thursday night and every other weekend, EOW. The Thursday night, preceding a weekend spent at their mom's, will be a date night. On that night my husband will take his 9 year old daughter and 4 year old son out to dinner and have them back to their mom's by 7:30.

This change came about the week before school started. Their mother called and said that their daughter had asked her if she could stay at one house more. She felt like she didn't have a home, and she wanted to stay longer at her mom's. This is understandable considering how close my stepkids are to their mom and how they spend a large amount of time, each week, with their extended family on their mom's side. But my husband was crushed.

A couple of days later my husband, his ex, and their daughter met together at the ex's house. The normally passive, timid, and daddy pleasing little girl was able to express her wish to change the current schedule. She has hinted around at this possibility before, but very indirectly just testing the waters. I think staying at her cousin's, two times, for an entire week this summer made having one place to stay more appealing.

During their conversation several ideas were tossed around. Every weekend was pitched by their daughter which both parents agreed was not practical. Their mom's idea was Tuesday and Thursday nights they could come over to our house after work for dinner and be back to her house by 7:00 or 7:30. In addition, she would like the weekend schedule to end at 7 or 8 Sunday night so that they could sleep at her house the night before school. I think my husband stayed quiet, just taking it all in and suggesting that they all think about it and decide in a week. Did I mention he was crushed? His ex told him later that their daughter asked if she had hurt Daddy's feelings. Could you imagine? How sad for her, and him. Before they started talking he told her to just be honest and say what she would like to change. He told her that even if it hurt his feelings he still wanted what is best for her and what she wanted. He knows, even though it is painful for him, giving her a home she can stay in more than two nights is important.

Divorce completely sucks; even though I absolutely love my husband, I know in my heart the best thing for those kids would be for their parents to be together. He feels like he already had limited time with them and now it will be even less. What can you say to that?

My daughter and I have not seen the kids since the Monday morning the 18th. It has been weird, especially for their father, and my daughter misses them. For me, I have noticed my stress level decreasing, not because they cause me stress, but because of the stress I put on myself when they are around. I tend to need things to be "just so" and I need to stay busy just to relax and deal with the family dynamic change that happens every two days. But it has gotten a lot better for me as we are now in our second year of marriage.

We have them this weekend and I know he is looking forward to it. I think he is coming to terms with the necessity to provide stability for his kids but as he says, "It just hurts, you know." I think he was hoping, when the time came for a change in the schedule, our house would be the primary residence. We moved to a large house, together, so that each kid could have their own room and space to call their own. His daughter's room is almost as big as ours and their rooms are right across the hall from each other. We have a new puppy, a trampoline, a sister that adores them, neighborhood kids that play until dark, and they have their rock, their dad; but, no matter what all we can give them, we can never replace their mom and their love and adoration for her.

She might not act or do things the way we think is best or proper but her love for them, or rather their complete love of her, has not been questioned. There were times, when she first hit the dating scene, that the kids were put second but I think that is common with newly divorced people, and she was no different.

I think this was the best decision, not just because I am the wicked stepmom, but because I could not imagine moving back and forth between two houses every other night. I know they say the kids adjust but do they really? or is a 50/50 schedule just selfish on the part of the parents? See, divorce sucks.
1 Response
  1. April Spicer Says:

    Wow. That does suck. I am so sorry. I had no idea you and your hubby were newlyweds! Man, what a hard hard time. I cannot imagine as a parent letting my child choose to be away from me more. Like a knife through the chest. But your husband is so sweet and mature to tell his daughter to be honest no matter what. It couldn't have been easy for her. I'm sure it ate him alive. We are encountering our first divorce in my immediate family (my sister) and it's rocked our whole world. My nephews are kind of a mess but we are all praying for the best. It's been 2 years this month so surely things will start to stabilize right???? Funny thing is (not so funny) my sister and the boys (and her ex and his fiance) just moved to Texas a few weeks before we moved up here to Indiana. So a little ironic. Now I have to worry about them from far away. Yes, divorce sucks. You guys are in my prayers!