Before your divorce, you stayed at home and raised the kids. It was absolutely a full-time job, but it also meant you spent a lot of time with them. You could connect with them. Your daily routine was their routine.
After your divorce, you had to get a job. On top of that, you now have less time with the kids since you and your ex split custody. Furthermore, divorced life seems to sap what little time you have left — even driving the kids over to drop them off with your ex is time you now spend in the car.
At the end of the day, your schedule feels packed. You hate it. You have heard the famous saying from Dr. Anthony P. Witham: “Children spell love…T-I-M-E.” You wish you could give them more time, but you just can’t.
Or can you?
Schedule them in
The first step is to really work on your schedule. You are busy, but you may want to drop some things so that you can schedule them in. Forget going to the gym and dropping them off at daycare, for instance. Schedule in dedicated time that is for nothing else but the children. Stick to that schedule. Planning it out makes it easier to get everything done.
Make it quality time
Do not waste any time with them. While there is nothing wrong with a family movie night, for example, you do not want to just set them in front of the TV every day so that you can do other things while watching them. Focus on quality time. You do not have much, so make it count. Do things that they enjoy. Make memories. Show them that you care, even if you cannot be around as much as you used to.
Use your breaks
You can’t avoid all of your obligations. But adults take breaks, too. Spend that time with the kids, rather than checking social media sites or aimlessly browsing on your phone. If you have a lunch break at work and they’re with a babysitter, go home and eat with them. Try to find little pieces of time where you can still meet up.
Use phantom time
“Phantom time” just means trying to connect with the kids even when you are not together. For instance, make time for phone calls and FaceTime when they’re with your ex. Become pen pals, writing letters or emails. When you pack a lunch for school, write out a little note and drop it in.
As you can see, being divorced with kids takes some serious planning. Make sure you understand all of your legal rights as you work out a child custody schedule and a parenting plan.