Mothering Forum banner

Does it ever get easier?

559 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  doulatara
DD is 19 months old and has an overnight with her bio-dad once or twice a month, depending on his work schedule. I have no reason to believe he and his family are negligent or anything like that, but I am always paranoid that the hand-off is going to be the last time I see her.
: I am blessed that DD loves her bio-dad and enjoys staying with him, but I think about things that happen, like kids being left in hot cars, drowning, being run over, etc., and I absolutely hate that I can't be with her at all times to help avoid an accident like this. I haven't been around bio-dad and his family with her enough to know that they really keep an eye on her well, so that doesn't help my anxiety. It's like I am just having to fight off these worries the whole time she's gone, when I could be relaxing a bit and spending good alone time with DH & our older son. (Older son & new baby are DH's, DD isn't.) Bio-dad also keeps DD about 2-3 days a week while I work, but for some reason I don't worry about her on those days, I guess because I know they'll be at his house all day. When he takes her for overnights, I don't know where they're going or what they're doing, and he generally has her from noon on the first day until the next evening. So that's a long time to not know where my baby is or what she's doing.

Does anyone else have these fears, and does it ever get easier?
See less See more
1 - 3 of 3 Posts

Originally Posted by becoming View Post
Does anyone else have these fears, and does it ever get easier?
First question first: YES. My children were 1 1/2 and 3 1/2 when their dad and I split. I was absolutely plagued by fear. It was awful. I had been a full-time SAHM/WAHM from their births, and then all of a sudden they spent two nights a week with their dad and went to day care during the day while I worked. I had been so accustomed to watching over every moment of their lives, and suddenly I lost all of that control.

In one sense, divorce (when there is shared custody, as was/is my case, or visitation, for you) forces an unnaturally early "letting go" by parents. When our children are very young, it's quite natural to oversee every minute of their lives either by being there ourselves, or by choosing carefully our substitutes. This usually happens (naturally, though not painlessly) gradually as our children age. I think it's totally normal to be afraid when we basically have to hand over our children to people we don't love and didn't choose. I used to have a fit when my kids' dad would hire a babysitter for my kids. On the one hand, I had the right (our divorce had a right-of-first-refusal clause), but on the other hand I couldn't fully acknowledge that their dad loved our kids as much as I did.

It's true that my kids' dad never supervised my children as well as I did. I used to just panic inside when I thought of the neighborhood where they lived with him. They lived with me on a quiet street in a working class neighborhood, with a big fenced yard. They lived with him smack between two very busy streets and played with him on a narrow strip of grass with the traffic whizzing by. He would step out of the bathroom to answer the phone when they took a bath. He wasn't nearly as careful to install their carseats correctly. The list is endless. But the fact is, when my DS broke his arm so badly he needed surgery to fix it, he was with me, playing in my safe, fenced yard. The only car accident they've ever been involved in? I was driving.

Honestly, sometimes I don't know how I survived all that fear.
It was better sometimes, worse others. I prayed a lot; if you have faith in a creative force that might help. I worked hard to keep my imagination in check. I used to hold in the front of my mind the memory of their dad's face at their births'; that would remind me that he would be as devastated as me if anything happened to them.

As to whether it gets better, yes and no. I don't have the constant concerns that I once did. They can manage the traffic on their own now so I don't worry about that any more than I do when they're with me. They buckle their own seatbelts and would no more ride in a car without one than I would. But as they get older and have more freedom, I worry again about their dad's judgment. He still lives in a scary neighborhood (I pretty regularly watch drug deals when I drive through the large public housing complexes on the way to the neighborhood behind them where he lives), and I think he gives them the run of that area too readily. I worry that he won't enforce curfews the way I will and they'll want to be with him (they're both at an age where, if we went to court, the judge would let them choose where to live) all the time so they can have all the freedom that teenagers want so bad. I wish I could give you a more positive answer than that, although I do think my fears now are more "normal" (i.e., more in line with what most parents worry about with children this age) than they were 10 years ago.

I hope that helps. I remember how hard it is. Like you said, it's a blessing that your DD has a loving relationship with both parents and both sides of her family. Try to keep that at the front of your head!
See less See more
It does get easier. When my dd first started doing overnights with her dad at 2 1/2 I worried all the time. She's almost 8 now and while I miss her, I mostly am able to relax and enjoy time by myself or with my DP.
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.