Six Benefits for the Divorced Mom
Shhh! Don’t tell anyone. I have discovered that being a divorced mom with shared custody has some significant hidden benefits. Everyone talks about how hard it is to be a divorced mom. And I’m sure that is the reality for many less fortunate women out there, especially those with sole or primary custody. However, for the job sharers among us, there are several silver linings on this particular dark cloud.
Sure, there are awful parts. I miss them on holidays that aren’t “mine.” I worry that the mere fact that I divorced their dad means that they will never manage a “normal” adult relationship. And, if you live where I do, a town where you can count the divorced families on your thumbs, there’s the lovely stigma of feeling that you’ve sprouted a second head bearing a giant scarlet D.
But let’s not dawdle on the maudlin. Let me get back to the sweet perks:
1) Parenting Hall Pass – My son sleeps at my house half the week and at my ex’s the other half. So I reliably have three free nights a week to do whatever the heck I want. No guilt required. No babysitter needed. I can go play poker on a Thursday, trivia on Sunday, and see a movie on Monday and not worry about when I get home or whether I’m neglecting my son. He’s getting quality dad-time, and I’m getting quality me-time. Win Win!
2) Good Parenting Expiration Date – Just when my darling 11 year old boy has drummed incessantly on the table for the third hour running, abandoned every left sock he owns in a different room of the house, and said “Mom can I” for the 432nd time, I get to hand him off to his dad. It’s so much easier to be Mary Poppins when you get intermittent mini-vacations. Since the divorce, I am a happier, more patient, and engaging mom than I have ever been. But there are days when I am counting the minutes until it’s Dad time, and checking 7 times that my son has all of his stuff together as to not prolong the hand off.
3) Sexual Healing – In addition to having the freedom to go out multiple nights a week, Momus and I also have an empty house those same nights. So there’s no risk that a child will walk in to our bedroom for a glass of water, no need to whisper when we talk dirty, and no awkward morning after questions like “What was that banging on the wall last night?” Of course, in middle age, if the sex gets too raucous there could be a visit to the ER, so there’s a ceiling on just how crazy it gets.
4) Living the Vida of Low Expectations – Hey, they’re children of divorce. Everyone thinks they’re going to be emotionally unstable serial killers now. Any indications of joy, grades that are at least middling, or relationships that aren’t openly destructive are seen as success. My parenting bar is set so much lower than it used to be. Pressure off.
5) Early Release of the Kraken – The torture device known as the bra has a very distinct daily shelf life, at least for us healthily endowed ladies. The daily unleashing of the gals, can never come soon enough for me. However, as my son gets older, I have become a bit more self-conscious about the timing of their parole. On dad days it is less than 3 minutes from the time my ex collects my son until that clasp is undone.
6) Sleep, Glorious Sleep. Did I Mention Sleep? – Three to four nights a week of 100% guaranteed undisturbed sleep. No 3am nightmares, glasses of water, or “Mommy, I can’t sleep” visitations. No 6am waking to get my son ready for school. Just a nice solid night of blissful rest.
Eight out of 10 moms will agree: that in itself is a compelling reason for divorce.
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