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Snap out of it

August 24, 2010

11 days is too long.

Three days is about right. Back in May, we switched our custody schedule from 12 nights out of 14 with me, to three with each of us (and a swing day each week). The old schedule was killing me slowly, and I don’t think LOD liked it, either. This “new” schedule is better for everyone. I have them three days in a row, but can come home from work a little earlier on my days with them (because I stay later on the days I don’t have them). LOD gets to have them for dinner three regular nights a week. Each place feels more like home. LOD and I are happier, so the kids are happier. Maybe in a few years we’ll switch again, but for right now it works for all four of us.

And I’ve gotten used to three days on and three days off. It’s enough chance to catch up on some stuff, go out with friends one night, and watch all my DVRd shows. Then, right when I start to miss them in earnest, they’re back again, talking about all the fun stuff they did with LOD. Win-win-win-win.

So the first three days of their long New England vacation were easy and felt normal. The fourth was ok, as I had plans with a friend. The fifth started to get weird, and I started to feel squirrelly. On the sixth I came home and had cookies and wine for dinner because I didn’t feel like doing anything else. Ditto the seventh. And eighth. Not good. I was shrinking into a pitiful cat lady, the kind who carries four different tote bags on the subway and fetishizes the NY Times crossword puzzle. Plus I was about to get rickets, or scurvy, or whatever you get from a diet consisting solely of flour, sugar, egg, chocolate chips, and Moscato.

So thank goodness for my work trip on Day 9. I’m good at being a Mom Who Travels For Work. I pack well. I leave plenty of time to catch my flights. I suffer the injustices of air travel with sarcasm and rolled eyes. I make friends with my seatmates. I don’t get speeding tickets in my rental car anymore. I watch a lot of History Channel* in the hotel room. I text pictures of the weird stuff I see to LOD to show to the kids. I solve technical problems on the spot at my meetings. I eat plenty of vegetables at local restaurants.

Last week’s trip was no disappointment: Freaky and slightly-terrifying flight delays (including the pilot telling us the mechanics had performed “a reasonable fix” to the engine that was having problems, so we’d get up in the air in another 10 minutes). Gully-washing downpour plus impressive lightning strikes as soon as I got on the road in my rental car. Hilarious technical problems that didn’t stop us from having a productive meeting with some good people in attendance. Good food and non-stop conversation with a friend who lives in the area.

Really, without that work trip to snap me back to being a thinking professional person, I was on a slow slide into chocolate chip misery. So to my co-worker A who called me in to sub for him last Friday: thank you. And to LOD: thanks for being open to doing two shorter trips next summer instead of one long one.

* Have you noticed that the experts they get to discuss insects are hotter than the experts they get to discuss weapons? Why is that?

9 Comments leave one →
  1. August 24, 2010 10:52 pm

    I know what you mean! My Ex and I do the week on/week off thing and I just find I am really lost on my off week. I am thinking about trying a schedule more like yours. How does it work with weekends- do you always split the weekends or do you both get whole weekends?

    PS- Geeky guys can be extremely hot in a Clark Kent kind of way.

    • LOD permalink*
      August 25, 2010 8:31 pm

      We have the kids three days each, and we alternate Saturdays. So each of us has a full weekend day with the kids, and another full weekend day on our own. Seems to be working OK so far, as we brace for the start of the school year.

  2. August 24, 2010 11:59 pm

    Re: the insect/weapons thing – I’d guess that the insect people get out in the fresh air looking for bugs. Not sure what exercise is involved in being a weapons expert…

  3. BratGrrl permalink
    August 25, 2010 2:09 pm

    ‘Cause all the hot weapons guys are busy at the Pentagon or hold up in Iraq or Afghanistan.

  4. CharmedLady permalink
    August 25, 2010 3:21 pm

    11 days is toooo long, I agree. I co-parent my almost three year old son with my ex-husband and the longest I can possibly go is three days. It’s been about a year and a half now and it never ever gets easier. I’ve just discovered this blog after reading about it in the Globe and Mail and I am really enjoying it and finding it very helpful and comforting to see others doing and going through similar circumstances. Please keep posting!!

  5. anne permalink
    September 10, 2010 10:38 pm

    Great insight, thanks! I like your schedule and as my approaches hisfirst year of school next year we need a schedule that is a bit predictable for him. So under your schedule, the same parent gets a full weekend (Sat and Sun) every second weekend and the other parent gets Sat every second weekend? My ex would never go for that even though I would love to have Sun with my son every wk. Curious…
    Right now, our schedule is 3-2, and flips each week, and with weekends alternating. Works for us but child never knows which “days” of the week he is with mum, for example because it rotates. Thanks

    • askmoxie permalink*
      September 10, 2010 11:05 pm

      Anne, to be super-technical, on Week A: Parent X has the kids from Sunday morning after breakfast to drop-off Wednesday morning. Parent Y has them from pick-up Wednesday through Saturday before dinner. One Week B: Parent X has the kids from before dinner Saturday through Wednesday drop-off, and parent Y has them from Wednesday pick-up through Sunday after breakfast.

      So one parent has all day Saturday and the other all day Sunday *basically*. But we switch the Saturday overnights and whoever has that overnight feels like they have most of the weekend.

      We’re also at a point at which we’re a be to be flexible without resenting it for a true entire weekend.

      We also wanted the school week stuff to be absolutely stable if at all possible for the kids.

  6. anne permalink
    September 11, 2010 9:15 pm

    Thanks moxie, that was helpful. I like this schedule, nice to hear some viable options for situations like ours.

  7. anne permalink
    October 1, 2010 11:22 pm

    I’m curious, with set days each week, how do you deal with holidays, which for instance often fall on a Monday (the holidays other than Xmas, Easter). May be it is more of an issue here in Canada, where there at least 5 statutory holidays that fall on a Monday, but they’re not significant holidays that would currently be itemized in our agreement. Right now, we just go with it, realizing that it’s not equally distributed. If we had fixed days during the week, we’d need a plan for all these holiday Mondays.

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