THE WEEKEND DAD AND THE ANGUISH OF ONLY SEEING YOUR KIDS A COUPLE OF TIMES PER WEEK AFTER DIVORCE
Part time fathering is not ideal for every divorced dad. But it often cannot be avoided. Even in best case scenarios, where both parents have a joint custody arrangement where they co-parent almost as well as Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick, still, many dads end up with the short end of the stick. And they really are not wrong to feel like they are a glorified weekend parent. Because that is basically the only time when the see their kids.
There are a number of men who have written articles and blog posts about how much anguish they feel from this situation. In a way, I think it is unique as compared to the anguish that a mother feels because she naturally has all this built in social support that men often don’t get as easily.
And the time weekend dads get to spend with their kids is so precious, though stressful to the max. So many are worried that something untoward will befall the kids on their watch – thus having a negative impact on their precious weekend visitation (unsupervised!) with the children. Ex wives tend to be unforgiving when kids are returned with little bruises and cuts (or god forbid something worse) during weekends with daddy.
There are myriad things to worry and fret over but it probably is not worth the anguish. Rather, weekend dads should focus on the quality of their time with their kids. Even if it is only for 72 hours, that is plenty of time to show your child love and undivided attention. In fact, often times, because time is so short and so precious, some fathers feel that having only the weekend to spend with their kids makes them better dads because they are forced to focus exclusively on the children for a concentrated period of time and they are forced to plan their visits in advance, thus having to think about and consider various options of what to do with the kids when they arrive.
With that all said, no reason at all that a father should feel he is relegated to “weekend status” if he has the time and inclination to spend more time with his kids. This may entail other concessions in his life including working fewer hours, moving to a new address, or changing the interactions with the ex so that a less conflict filled relationship emerges.
Of course, if the court deems that the father’s time with the child should be limited only to weekends, over time this situation can be modified with changed circumstances and attorney motions to the court. When it comes to children and the custody and care of children, nothing, not even weekend visitation is written in stone.
Dads must insist on standing up for their right to spend as much time as possible with their kids.