My X and I separated in July and we had a plan for sharing custody in place before he moved out. I wanted to children to feel that they can have access to both of us whenever they needed to see us in order to help them know that we are both still attached to them and are here for them. Also, I knew that X felt insecure in his position in their lives and I was trying to be generous with him and assure him that he could have them whenever they asked. They were happy to know that they could go to X's place whenever they wanted in the summer. Now they prefer to be with him and I don't get to see them much at all. By X's account, they don't seem to miss me. And the kids don't want to talk to me on the phone. They don't talk much anyway, but they really don't seem to miss me.
It's only been about 2 months, and I know they love his apt. The get to drink soda with him and I'm still the "strict" one making them eat healthy foods, go to bed early and take baths. I'm trying to do the right thing for them. They are 4 and 6 and they are very attached to both of us. I want this to be as easy a transition for them as possible because our marriage had become toxic in the last couple of years and I think we all need more love and peace in our lives. But now I am starting to feel like I need to enforce my nights with them. I'm feeling insecure for the first time since we separated. I miss them and I want them to want to see me. Part of me thinks they can leave me because they are so securely attached, but part of me wonders if I've lost them.
First, know that you HAVE NOT lost them! I think you are on track when you talk about how attached and safe they are with you. When my kids are with my ex, they really want to please him and say a lot of things that are only partially true in my interpretation of all the facts. Likewise, per my ex there are a lot of days the kiddos don't "want" to call me...but when they are with me they "want" to call their dad...because I support and encourage it and they know it. I know it is best for the kids for them to be connected to both of us. All that said, you need to figure out how to take care of you...and them. Sounds like you need to insist on more time, or at least the plan that you had in place that might have been more equal.
Bear in mind this is new for all of you---but you need to move toward stability for everyone...
Mom to two terrific kiddos, affirming every day that the Universe is unfolding as it should and all is well...
You know what they need and what is good for them, so don't give up your critical influence in their lives. Insist that they have time with you. I wouldn't worry about the talking on the phone thing, especially at their age. Just get time with them so they know it's not that you've abandoned them. You can't really trust what he says about whether they miss you. Even if they don't say, he can't speak for their hearts or for what time with you will mean to them in the long run.
Mom to 11 y.o. lawyer, 9 y.o. actor, and 4 y.o. pilot. I believe 'em on those, too!