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  1. My suggestion for the school lunch thing would be for you to take control of the situation. Give her a hug, a kiss, send her off to her teacher, wave once and walk away, without looking back. Think about what to do next and talk to your other kid. It will not necessarily make you feel good, but will not make you agree and frustrated.

    1. Chris jolly says:

      Try not seeing your kids for 6 months with no idea when you might ever see them again. The pain is the worst feeling you could ever have.

      1. Sophie Stepford says:

        Exactly! Not even knowing if they are safe or dead or alive or in school or drugged up…

      2. Neela U Patel says:

        I agree. It’s like living death.

      3. I’m going on 655 days ….but who’s counting ¿¿¿

      4. That’s my story..its been one year

      5. I’m currently dealing with a situation where it’s already been a month and it feels incredibly terrible I don’t know how I could possibly last 6 months

      6. I get it for sure. I haven’t seen or heard from my girls in 3 months. My sister took them away from me. She claims they call or texted me and I never replied.thats total bs because I have every single call and text i got from ANYONE and there’s NOTHING from my kids!!! She Lied on the stand in front of the judge about it!!!! I feel like I’m dying inside without them.

        1. Get an good attorney to help settle custody rights to see your kid

      7. Currently going through this right now n shes blocking me from seeing my son

        1. Christina says:

          That happened to me with my son’s dad and they held him in contempt of court and he had to give my child back and he had to pay over 3,000 in fines for the contempt of court.

      8. Agreed. And a father who has literally made up things about you / your home , etc. Which he once referred to as a palace. Who is now suing claiming I’m completely nuts and has gotten full custody and I can’t see my daughter without his supervision. All of this because (he admitted) he is afraid I will try to get child support which I’ve never asked for. My poor child. The last time I was in his presence he announced in front of my daughter he instructed my dysfunctional (but I still considered my mother my best friend and have all these pictures of us doing things together) never to contact me. And they don’t. Court is pending a full psych evaluation of all of us – me , him, and my 3 yr old daughter who when I have been able to make it to supervised paid visits cries when it’s over and says she doesn’t wanna be apart from me. My heart is broken 24 7.

        1. Hang in there. Get a lawyer and fight for your child! You can win! The judge said I was candid and found he did not trust my son’s dad’s intentions. I got a good lawyer who let me make payments to pay him back. I consulted free with many lawyers until I found the right one. I cried and I prayed as well.

      9. Maybe it’s just me but this sounds a little obsessive and not any way healthy for anyone involved!! Don’t you understand your daughter AND other children are absorbing your anxiety!! How do you think it makes the ones who don’t leave feel?! Mom is so upset about child bring home when we’re RIGHT here!! Why are we not good enough, why Is other child soooo special?! FYI – you need a life of your own separate from your children and START NOW…because soon they will be gone more and more and eventually for good!! What will you do then?! I believe there’s more to this than you are saying…some deeper reason why you react this way!! Are you a child of divorce? Do you have a fear she will think you don’t care she is gone and that you don’t love her? Or do you fear the more time she spend with her other mom the closer they get…resulting in loss of love for you?! If it is any of these things STOP now!! Children always love their parents even if another new person comes into their life and loves them dearly too!!

        1. Alex Garcia says:

          This is really me, I have 2 yr old son that with me only during weekend. This happen all the time, on his first day, he’s so happy, when he saw me, he runs, jumps, and like crazy that laugh even theres nothing to laugh for, i know he just so happy and i love to see him like that, but this is it, when he feels that I will send him back again to his mom on that day, Sunday night, his happiness become opposite, i saw him always crying even his alone and no one around him that cause why he cries, and I know why, and i feel that too, my heart breaks every time i saw him sad and crying, i feel like its ok just to die just i don’t want to encounter that kind of feeling, right now he’s on my aide and I’m crying watching his face that sad that later i will send him back to his mom, and most of the time, me and my eldest son (half brother) let him tired and i will not let him sleep or take a nap , i just want him to sleep while were on our way back to his mom so that i will not see him crying and begging to take him, i really hate that scene, like the author, its really hard to breathe. I always pray hard to win the case to be his sole custodian, I even wrote to my case file and I really swear, God knows what inside my heart, I don’t care about child benefits, I only need my son to be with me, I can’t work normally, i feel like crazy every time because , he didn’t get out of my mind every single time, he is my life and my inspiration, if he will totally take away from me, I don’t think its still worth to live,

  2. You perfectly captured how I feel about shared custody and missing my daughter. Thank you for posting this!

    1. Ruqya hussain says:

      Thank you for this, now I know all the motions that I go through are normal like watching their videos and flicking through their photos

    2. I have my daughter who’s 2. Her name is Kaylee I have her 24/7 usually and goes once in a while on some weekends with her dad.. and I’m okay with that but today she went with him out of state and I’m so upset and I’m not sure what to do about it. I miss her so much. And I just want her with me bc I’m used to it. ? She’s gonna be gone a week or so. And I’ve never had to go more than a day or 2 away from her. ???

      1. Get a lawyer and put a stop to that. There is a 100 mile rule in AZ that if a parent takes their child out of state without a 30 day written note to the other parent they could go to jail .

  3. Oh my goodness. I must admit that I don’t share custody so I’m not even in your shoes, but this post had me in tears. I hope that you handle the summer, and enjoy every moment together. :::hugs::::

  4. Chelsea Roper says:

    I am a stepmom to a very headstrong six year old girl, and I am also pregnant with my first biological child, her first sibling, a baby girl. Although most mothers would argue with me that it isn’t the same, I still hate Mondays (like this one) after we take our girl back to her mom on Sunday nights. We have an every-other-weekend custody schedule, as is standard in my state. If she leaves a mess on Sunday, I put off cleaning it up as long as possible, because no mess equals no Aubri. I leave the Frozen DVD playing in the living room because it makes me feel like she’s not completely gone yet. And I dread my daughter getting old enough to wander around the house into her room looking for her on Monday mornings. I try to smile and be positive for my stepdaughter because she is usually crying, but inside it is devastating. When you figure out a way to smoothly transition, let me know, because it seems impossible!

    1. What an amazing stepparent you are! Your spouse is truly lucky to have someone like you that can love their child as if she were your own child.

    2. Being is joint custody for 20 years unfortunately I have to say pain never goes away. But you do end up a little more numb. Realising that this life is “as good as it gets”. You realise you have half lost your children permanently (if you are lucky). And focusing on it too much tears you apart. I too scan through endless photos in the silence or driving 30km just to pass by where they live in the dead of night because the loneliness is unbearable.

      1. sokun nget says:

        i feel the same way

      2. Kristin McGuire says:

        I didn’t realize anyone else felt the exact same way on the inside, and honestly it’s making me truly question my place in their lives. I am so sick of living in our past where my two kiddos and I were simply a complete unit of one. Now we are split and I am missing out on so much and so are they it’s ripping me apart. Thank you so so much for sharing because it makes me feel not so alone!!!

      3. Try to leave 7 years apart with your kids then we Will talk , sometimes being strong is not an options !its a must!My pain is a part of My life untill God decided Others wise ! Believing in God is a part of My healing och My strenght,Enjoy Every moment you have with your girl because what you have is someone else prayer?by THE way My daughter name is Abigail just like yours turning 10 years this year?strong Hugs to you?

  5. Nick at HubShout says:

    It wasn’t until the end of this article that I realized my eyes were filling up with tears. I’m lucky enough to have my kids 3-4 days each week, so it’s never more than a few days without them, but as you say, the time with them is never enough. My 10-year-old daughter is sleeping in my bed next to me as I write this, and it’s impossible not to just stop what I’m doing and watch her. especially since after I drop them at their dad’s later this (Friday) morning, I won’t see them until Monday. Thank you for the post.

    1. My son just turned four, I’m dealing with the same visitation pattern, and it hurts so much every single day without him. The Saturday or Sunday that his dad comes to get him, includes a breakdown after that lasts the rest of the day. I can’t help but fear that something could happen to him during his time away from my home, and that I’ll never see him again. I’m crying just thinking about him having to go back to his dad’s. It’s definitely rational although irrational fearing, I do trust my ex’s family watching him, so why can’t I accept this is reality now? We used to beg people to watch our son, and never really had a second thought about it. It hurts me to the core to not come home to him after work, wake up to “hi mommy!” every day, to be able to just hug him at least once a day, it makes me feel like I’m acting absolutely insane most of the time. Am I alone feeling like this? Or am I just insane?

      1. Shawna Whitlock says:

        You are not alone, I still feel this everyday that I don’t see my daughter and she’s 14 and I have been divorced 9 years. I miss her terribly when I don’t see her, even if it is just 2-3 days. You are definitely not alone!!

        1. Been 3 weeks havnt seeny daughter I’m 5 months pregnant she’s 14 I’m losing my mind

        2. Mine are 15 and 16 and it’s been 9 years. Sometimes I think it’s actually getting worse.

  6. Nick at HubShout says:

    I should add that when I’m really missing the kiddos, what helps me most is to plan for the next time I see them. I’ll bake a treat for them or browse Pinterest looking for fun recipes we can make together.

    I also have a Pinterest board called “Kid Funnies” which is just funny and/or cute videos, pics and listicles, mostly of animals. So whenever I come across something cute or funny during my travels around the internet, I’ll save it there. Often when the kids arrive, they’ll ask if there are any new “kid funnies.”

    I’m also guilty of buying things for my kids, but I try to keep the expense to a minimum — so it’s usually some candy, a soda (which is otherwise off-limits), a book or comic book, a small trinket of some kind (for my daughter, it’s often hair ties or clips, or a new nail polish — my son is a bit harder to buy for).

    The kids are never far from my mind anyway, but this helps keep them close, and is a good way to plan for our time together.

  7. Sylviarosalie says:

    That was great I haven’t seen my daughter for a month and she doesn’t sleep over at all cause of my ex. Any suggestions for me I need help?

    1. same :( my baby is only 2 years old and its been a year since i last saw him or talk to him. my ex blocked me in all social media and wouldn’t let me talk to my son. he also threatens me that i’m never going to get my som back. he’s taking advantage of the fact that i’m having a hard time entering USA. Its killing me.

    2. Michelle Josephine Lara says:

      I’m on the same boat..this is super painful ?

  8. it’s been three years since my ex and I split and I still cry when she leaves me. just like tonight I am in tears and my anxiety than races to thoughts of what if I die tonight and never see her again or vice versa. she is 5 years old and she is my world. I can never love anyone more than I do her. I still don’t grasp the” accepting” part because it will never sit right with her and I being apart. I don’t get how other people do it without the emotional trauma.

    1. I have been crying nearly every night for four years. I honestly don’t know how this set up is best for the children at all. The writer says she calls her daughter often, yet the judge I had declared I can only call my children on Mondays and Fridays–seriously? And then their dad has 24 hours to let me know if something serious has happened to them. So, if my child gets in an accident, he has 24-hours to let me know. And that’s somehow justice? The court system is no system at all and I wish the people who stand in judgement would actually have to live out the rulings that they set forth.

      1. Agreed. The people in the courts system are simply not qualified to make the decisions they do. Sadly, there are no choices, and there really is nothing that will even make this any better. Cheer up just doesn’t cut it.

        1. The court system in every state always leans to the mother. Im a single father of two boys 8 and 5 the mother of my children started doing meth and herion around the time of my 5 year olds first bday (we were already seprated buy this point) she took off and was in and oit of jail and rehab for the past 4 years and never tried to call or see the boys. The pn my 5 year olds bday decides she wants to be back in there lives. at this point my 5 year old doesnt even know her and my 8 year old was 4 when she left so barley rembers her. But his a strat a student. Well any ways she has a new bf when she shows up and ypu can clearly tell she is still using and that shes in an abussive relationship becuse of brusies on her face covered up with makeup. But we go to court and the judge gives here week on week off. I was shoucked but had now choose now my son has droped from a a student to a c student and my 5 year old ask why his moms bf hits her so i go back to court and am told that untill i cam prove a derict theart to boys she is still alowed to see them. And that my 5 and 8 year old say mommys bf hits her and her suppossed drug use cant be used in court. The familey court system favors moms and is a joke im sorry.

      2. You are so correct. My ex hasn’t never parented my child, or been there for emergencies, and after 5 years the court decided we would get equal time, which he gives to his family, not himself. I don’t even know where my child is most days, let alone what would happen in an emergency, but the court has decided so my hands are tied. The idea of what could happen in those days is sickening. The system is so out of control it’s disgusting. My sons
        Law guardian has not even been to our house or seen him in the last 9 month, yet she argues for him in court. Our hands our tied

      3. I totally agree, it is an injustice to the mom’s and children.

        1. It’s an injustice to dads and children as well. Good fathers who want to be involved are not able to get the visitation and rights because they are all freely given to the mother in our state. There are households where the mother is the slacker parent and still can demand limited visitation and 20% of the fathers income. There are Very good fathers who are closer bonded with their children then the mother, and they are done a bigger injustice by the court system and are not being heard. Courts do not care about the children, they care what’s best for the mother.

          1. CaliforMoms says:

            Agree 100% you must live in CA. I’m a proud Dad of my 2 kids that got shafted by the court system as well!

          2. Listen. I love my two kids more then myself and anything else in the world. Every single time I bring them back I cry. Yes I am a dad. I cry because my kids cry every single time they leave me. What am I to do. ?! My bond with them is way more then their mothers. But the courts give her the majority of time Ive done nothing wrong to her or my kids accept not work out with the relationship I just think of how sad my kids are when they leave me and it breaks my heart. This is why we shouldn’t have kids with people unless we are willing to work it out because this sucks. Especially for the kids. I am not the same person with out them. They say to me. Daddy I miss you where were you. , I had a dr am about you daddy I woke up and you weren’t there. And things like that. I have to walk away and stop myself from crying. This pain is unreal. Smh. I hope everyone stays strong

          3. Hello sir – another dad that cries here! Lol ? I live in Europe and the my two boys 13 + 9 live with their mother in the UK so I get them on school holidays but been lucky with Covid as the flight delays have kept them here for much longer ??? just out them on a plane today and come home feeling empty man! So jumped on Google and found this post – glad to see I’m not the only dad that loves my kids! Big respect to all the mums and dads out their ! Till I see the kids again in the summer! – thanks for this post and everyone who replied on it – helped me get out a hole this evening ?

          4. Nancy B Petterson says:

            Thank you so much for giving the other side of the story. I am the grandmother of a three and a half year old. The mother does everything possible to keep the baby away from him and the rest of our family. We have a very loving family and because we don’t get to see her very often we spend every minute with her. It breaks my son’s heart every time the mother makes an excuse for her not to come. They’ve been to court three different times and the mother always gets a warning. The last time they went, the judge gave her 90 days to comply with his orders. Hopefully if she does not, when they go back the judge will do the right thing. I just wish more people would show some understanding towards the good fathers.

          5. My son has been reduced from every other week to just three weekends a month after my DIL broke custody and moved to her boyfriends home 80 miles away. With the virus court has been cancelled several times. I love my grandchildren but it breaks my heart to see my son struggle so much with the separation and we have no idea how to help him. Custody should work around the children not the parents. They should be able to see their parents equally and fairly, they love both parents afterall. Children shouldnt have to adjust their lives to meet their parents needs or wants.

          6. Bobby Hlaca says:

            It seems it is a Global issue….I like most separated fathers feel simply now like a cash machine. I see my kids 4 days a month (2alternate weekends), pay for school fees, kids allowance, alimony and the mortgage on the house she and the kids live in plus must rent a house because the ex refused I use hotels or air b & b to come and visit them….I really believe the laws need some serious reviewing.

      4. Kristin McGuire says:

        Agree!!!! It has ripped my family to shreds and we will never ever be the same again. I can’t put into words the pain they have caused

  9. I have a an every other week schedule and it is the worst. My ex and I can not make a decision on anything. The kids live in absolute filth, there are no lights upstairs so they use an extension cord from one plug and run a lamp throughout the house for a source of lighting, since the house is a mess, they can’t find anything. My son is 170 pounds at twelve years old, gaining more than 20 pounds with this new schedule. It’s hard to track homework every other week, so their grades dropped. I bought report cards, a report from my son’s counselor saying he has Aspergers as well as proof that this is costing me a fortune because things are always lost and their father has no interest in replacing anything or paying for anything for that matter. I begged the judge to listen and the only thing she kept saying is “Equal Time.” I thought it was supposed to be about what’s best for the children. She’s divided the kids up as if we’re sharing a car. It’s terrible!

  10. Thank you for sharing this Kelly. This has helped me tonight, as have the rest of the comments here. I am struggling through the age old problem of (clears throat) “I am a working musician in Los Angeles and I make ok money but not enough to support myself and my wife and my two year old daughter in such an expensive market so my wife took our daughter to the Midwest to just regroup and think things through a little for herself and I think they never should have left, that we should have figured it out together and she thinks I am stubborn and should give up my art for our child”. I have near daily breakdowns from missing my little daughter Etta so much. And I feel stuck. But it feels good to hear other experiences, and how you all are handling it and committing to the concept of moving forward.

    1. Get a real job for the sake of your child

      1. Seriously? Pray tell, what “real” job should he get to be able to afford a house in LA? Unless he has a previously undisclosed law degree or an MBA, I’m not sure he’d be able to find any “real” job that would pay enough to afford a house in the greater Los Angeles area. You could argue that he might consider rethinking his priorities, but telling him to “get a real job” is pretty damn judgmental and unempathetic considering the guy is hurting.

        FFS, was he a working musician when his wife met him? If so, she bares some responsibility for not thinking about that before they had children.

        I am a single mother, so no gender bias here, FYI.

  11. Thank you for the ideas in this post.
    I’m a recent divorced mother which I share joint custody with my ex. I was fortunate enough from the beginning to have my ex have 1.5 days during the week & everyother weekends with his kids. So totaling he gets them for 3 days & I get them for 4.
    I have found that even when I keep myself busy I still miss my boys. The talks, smiles, kisses and hugs. Even the occasional cry does me in.
    But I sit here lying on my kids bunk bed holding his favorite stuffed animal and just reminding myself they are ok & I’ll see them in 1 more day. 24hrs I can do that. I can make it & bake them a treat or dinner to share when they return.
    Thank you all.

    1. Emily, I’m so glad to hear this brought you some much needed encouragement. This is a hard road to travel, mama. You’re not alone. <3

  12. Greetings fellow friends my name is Misty my 2 Children were wrongly taken from me many many years ago because of my x husbands anger of me divorcing him he would put me and the kids out of the house in the middle of the night then call the department of family and children services and tell them i was homeless he did this about 8 times so i went to live with a friend and while i was at work the nanny i had keeping my kids called the police and told the police i had left my children there for a week ( it was only over night with her permission while i was loading up the uhal truck so i told her that my room mate would be there at 7:30 am to pick them up she said o its fine you know i don’t mind i love your kids the next morning i got a call at work saying the police was there i must have ran 3 miles non stop later on i found out she and my x husband was sleeping together and they set me up so being that he put us out and dfcs was called i never got my children back their 17 & 18 now so i write this to say no one could ever understand the emptiness and pain you feel inside when missing your children its like a black hole your being sucked in while having your skin burnt at the same time

    1. Misty, you are so right.. The filling is unbareable and so real.. I have 5 girls the oldest is 9.. 4 of my girls were taken by cps and places with a family member who makes my babies call her mom now , she is unable to conceive which just makes it x worst.. I haven’t seen them in 2 months and miss them sooo much and find myself crying threw out the day just remembering how much I miss holding them and just the simple things like girl talk ment so much to me… it’s been said only some things God can forgive, I hope she praying and her soul is changing…

    2. Mom of Clifton says:

      Agree. I feel really empty and the pain is unbearable. Feeling like a giant black hole stayed inside your heart and u just feeling numb n wanna cry all those days when your kids are taken away. Crying inside (and keeping your face straight in front of others) seeing someone laugh with her kids and u just wanna hug your own kid too. Wish life is easier. Wish i can hv my son with me longer than just a day in a week. Never had him on holidays either (they travels all long was the worst time for me now..and new year…and school holidays..weddings…whatsoever every parties and celebrations..u r so alone even on our birthdays). Really hope i can just sleep sleep sleep for so long until i dont feel this pain anymore.

  13. I’m not a mother, I’m a father but I am suffering these feelings extremely bad and I’ve been divorced 10 years never gets easy I’m currently as desperate as desperate can get to find Solutions and find ways to make the pain easier. I recently got remarried and my poor wife goes through this pain with me every few days. I know there’s nothing anyone here can do but I appreciate the post the feeling of knowing im not going through it alone, at least it’s something so thank you

    1. James, I have just left my family and asked my wofe for a serpeation. I would really appreaciate the opoirtunity to ask questions and advice, as I don’t know whats comming next.

      1. Idontknow82 says:

        Praying you can work things out with your wife. That’s my only answer ! Forgive each other and forget !! Love your spouse the way you want your son to love … or be the man you would want your daughter to be with ! I don’t care what anyone says. The kids hurt the most!! I’m 35 I have 2 kids. So I have to watch my kids go through the same pain I did when I was 5. (I should have been the man I vowed to be … now I’m forever left to deal with the life i live) l miss my bride and our kids???

    2. I am a father of 3 boys. I get my boys 3 nights out of the week. I find myself in a depressed state that’s getting worse as time goes on. I have been divorced for 16 months, and it’s hard to see my boys leave. I have a feeling of hopelessness that overwhelmed me the moment they leave. I am thinking of talking to my doctor about depression. Any thoughts or ideas?

    3. Siew hong Sim says:

      Same here. The pain just doesn’t stop. Trying to use ways to numb it. It’s tough. Glad to know I am not alone in this.

  14. I am a Mother to an almost 4 year old Son. And as any Mother should, I love him more than anything in this life. – His Father completely changed when I became pregnant, (even though he wanted a child as well, or at least said that he did?) – But anyway, needless to say, we are not together, we separated before his second birthday. When you talk about letting go of being an idealist parent, it is perfect for me. This is not how I imagined things. I never wanted this, I wanted to be a Mother. Always. Every weekend. I don’t want to share, I also at times don’t feel like I should have to, since I have never once left our Sons side. His Father was not around much at all when I first moved out. Therefore, I had my Son almost always, Until he started dating someone, and moved in with them. At this point, he was actually taking him every other weekend, which I could not understand since he was working, up until this point I always had our Son while he worked. It made sense. He should be with a parent if it is possible. But when he had someone at home that could babysit, well that ended. I have full custody of our Son. The only time I have to legally let him see our Son is every other weekend and on his Holidays. But, I feel bad, so I let him have him two days during the week. I don’t know why I do this to myself, partly because I would never want our Son to resent me for anything I suppose. I don’t think my Ex Husband understands how much I have sacrificed when I didn’t even have to, but that is neither here nor there. It’s just very painful to have a blended family when it is never what you had in mind for yourself as a parent. I think most of us don’t plan for that, some know it may happen, but I didn’t see it. And it does make me angry. I have been trying for so long to let go of this anger, maybe one day I will find peace.

  15. Stephanie says:

    I have been divorced for 8 months but separated a year prior. I have my kids all week and my ex has them two weekends then I get them one. He immediately moved onto a new relationship and forced it on the kids while they were still adjusting to the new parenting arrangement. He only commnicates through text and has the kids act very secretive about his relationship and what goes on at his place. I feel incredibly hopeless. I cannot believe that this is my life for the next ten plus years and that I just have to pretend that I am ok with this other life I am not part of. I did not sign up to be a part-time mom. Any advice on not only missing them but just how to adjust in general? I’m so miserable.

    1. Wow, this is very similar to my situation. I only get my son one weekend per month and then during the week. So, we get to be the responsible parent while our exes get to be the fun weekend parents. Plus, I live a thousand miles from my nearest family so my son can be close to his dad. I have been doing this for 5 years and I can’t any longer. I hate living this way!

    2. I completely feel your pain as I am without my six-year-old daughter for a week at a time. He has declared his girlfriend basically her mother and forced her to call her mommy. My baby is unhappy over there lately and doesn’t want to go anymore but I can’t argue with the court order and cannot prove anything. And so what I do is I turn to God and I cry out to him and I fellowship with other women and get prayer. I pray that God would open up a door for a communication and that if this relationship is in fact secretive then that must mean that there’s something wrong and so I press on and pray against it. I pray that God would give you the peace that surpasses all understanding and that in those moments where you miss your children that you would begin to seek him out to fill that void. I ask this in Jesus name amen

    3. KRISTY ROBBINS says:

      I am co parenting together with my new partner and my ex husband. We share my 5 year old son 3 nights each. so its a rolling roster that means that we both get to deal with school/preschool days and we both get to enjoy weekends with each respective parent and their respective partners. its much fairer this way so noone misses out on anything.

      1. KRISTY ROBBINS says:

        except sadly the 3 nights which we miss him dearly on. but its only 3 nights be strong

    4. Separated for a year but still living together, sort of. My ex has already been in 2 relationships while I’m focussed on getting the kids through this. She now wants me out on the days she has them.

      I see them every day and the thought of not seeing them is killing me. I m destroyed. I didn’t sign up to be a part time dad. They mean absolutely everything to me. I am broken

  16. I am forced to share custody of my three year old son, and it is by far the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I still cannot talk about it without crying. Thank you for writing this.

  17. A friend texted me earlier tonight to ask how I was going. This friend has been an amazing support since my marriage suddenly crumbled on Dec 23 just over a year ago.
    In answer, I replied:
    “I’m feeling very, very sad tonight. Boys back with [their Dad]. I could go on. But no point really. I reckon we both get it – I don’t like it. I’ve no choice but to live it.”

    I have just said goodbye to my two children (9&12) after their week with me.
    And I have hardly stopped crying since. I just miss them so much. Week about parenting is doing my head in. One week I am struggling to manage everything I need to do, the next I am so sad and lonely… with an emptiness familiar to immense grief.

    It was surprising enough to hear my husband say wanted to end our marriage. But when he then couldn’t affirm me as a good person?
    And then when he agreed that “yes, we have a very happy family”???
    Oh whatever.
    I had no choice but to facilitate the breakup of my family.
    I have done my absolute best to help my poor shocked and traumatised children… Whose father likes to behave as though nothing has changed.

    But you know what?

    I don’t want to be a stay at home Mum who doesn’t have her kids every second week. I want my kids. I want to feel the connection. They don’t want to talk to me, text me or email me (or hear from me) when we are not together, because it reminds them afresh that we are apart. So I just have to say to them that I love them and that if they want to connect to me, I am here.
    It’s gut-wrenching.
    And I’m exhausted.
    I just want it to stop. To get easier.
    (I know some weeks are easier than others, but I can’t always pick it.)

    Thank you for providing a forum where I can say it like it is.
    I appreciate it.
    Hugs to other parents in the same situation – my heart goes out to you.

    1. Hi! This is for some reason my first time reading posts of other mothers experiencing grief at missing their children and I am very grateful to read all of these. I divorced six years ago when my son was 4. My ex partner who was never involved requested almost half time and it was brutal on my son and on my heart. I have never cried my heart out, been so full of anger in my life. Every good bye was heart wrenching , pain and sobbing lasted hours after he left. I always kept positive and together with my son in order to help and support him with his own feelings. I have for six years had to deal with a very toxic ex who makes every little thing so conflictual. Thank god in the last couple years my son has developed a more positive relationshiip with my ex. I still have a lot of grief and crying that feels really intense after my son goes for the weekend or two weeknights. It was totally unbearable sadness and grief like having a heart biopsy the first few years, a repetitive ongoing trauma It is more bearable now but still I miss my son very very much and cry and have hard time enjoying my beautiful partner and my life. Thank you for listening… my heart obviously goes out to you all!!!

      1. I feel your pain! I hope you’re doing ok!

      2. This is so similar to my situation. It took me over a year to look for other people who have that shared pain. My ex didn’t have very much to do with my kids before we split up. I was shocked when he demanded half custody.
        My heart has never been broken like this – over and over and over. Every time they leave for the 3 night weekend, every two weeks, I cry for hours and hours. I’m incapacitated by grief. I can’t believe how painful this has been and how unbearable. I have been depressed about this, I have not been doing as good of a job where I work. I have been not always been nice to my wonderful boyfriend.
        I’m taking one day at a time. It is somehow validating to read what I am feeling coming from others.
        THanks for sharing.

    2. How your situation now. I completely know your heart ache!

  18. Thank you for writing this. I have been splitting custody for a year and every time I have to say good bye to my 2 kids (ages 6 and 8) for 3 nights in a row, I am incapacitated with grief. I don’t know what to do or how to handle this. I stay busy and have a lot of interests, hobbies, and friends, I have a wonderful, loving boyfriend. But I am not myself anymore. I am in so much pain – so fractured. I feel like I am walking around without my heart.
    It helps to know that this grief and also the similar irrational anger is not just me.

  19. Robert J Christoff says:

    No disrespect, but all of you sound pretty selfish in this. What would you want? To eradicate half of your child’s family, half their Identity so you don’t miss them while they are with their other parent? Part of being a parent is sacrificing for the benefit of your child/children. Everybody on here is so caught up in their feelings that the feelings of the children seem not to matter. Let’s not forget that the kids love BOTH and need BOTH their parents. All of you should be happy that despite divorce your kids are able to maintain a relationship with both halves of what makes them whole. Think about that next time your sad. Be happy that your week at a time sadness is the sacrifice you made to prevent them from a lifetime of trauma and emotional/mental/social disabilities that come from having a parent taken out of their lives… Like my daughter has. Be thankful that your only sad half-time instead of grieving and mourning the loss of your child EVERY DAY. I envy you all. (Victim of narcissistic abuse, corrupt family court and parental alienation)

    1. Thank you Robert, my feeling exactly!

      1. I do not mean to be disrespectful to you, however, in many of these women’s situations, this was having children with men who were barely involved in the children’s lives prior to the divorce/breakup, or as in my situation, falling pregnant at 18 with a man 12 years older, who was abusive and controlling, while not in a very stable relationship at all. As in my situation, like many others on this site and one inparticular I read, it results in not only a complete feeling of loss and heartbreak re-freshed every other week when the child/children go for a week at a time, but also an absolutely dysfunctional way of living, for not only the child but the family left behind. IE. financial difficulties after having to spend money after money replacing items lost (as other parent unwilling to pay up) this has happened to me lots, new pair of glasses every month as he refuses to put her in them, often hiding them, new uniform, coming back in 3 years too small underwear (so this also has to continue to be replaced), being refused access while the child is away for the week, refusals of holiday time with the child, etc etc. The list is on-going. The continual communication or lack of with the dysfunctional, irrational, controlling parent, refusing to let you know information about the child, or everyday information, resulting in great difficulty to any sort of ‘co-parenting’ relationship (I really do use this term loosely!!!!)…
        Some parents are just selfish. They demand 50/50 to leave the child in childcare or with other family members, including their new partners to act as ‘mom’. I am not talking about the child being left with the girlfriend for a couple of hours or for the day now and again, I am talking consistently – the girlfriend collecting from school, cooking their tea, putting them to bed. EVERY MOMENT while in ‘dad’s 50/50 care’. Laughable and utterly disgusting. Do you think that is best for the child? I wonder if they will think when they are older ‘hey, thanks mom for always letting me stay with dad’s girlfriend for weeks at a time when you are a stay at home mom’… I get you too, i really do, my husband has been through the same thing (not seeing his 2 other children ever -been 3 years now) and it’s heart-wrenching and hurrendous. BUT… we have realised, that the BOTH situations are horrible and awful and bring about their own pain. We agree that my husband’s pain is heart-breaking, but that it does (in our situation and others we have met) seem easier to eventually accept, to live your life with the pain, but at least live your life to a point. (I am 110% NOT down playing it – i would not cope with this situation either!!!) BUT, 50/50 can also make life feel unbearable too, like some sort of mind game… ‘here’s your child’…. suddenly you get back to ‘normality’ (for a week or in our case 5 days/5 days/ 2 days /2 days) and then ‘sorry they got to go again’ and they are taken off you again… and it goes on and on and on… when you feel you are ‘happy’ and enjoying having them back, they are back off again. And it always brings about difficulties, as explained above…
        I send my love to you all that are struggling, whatever the situation is for you xxx

        1. Thank you for this. My kids (pre teens) have had every other weekend and Tuesday nite visits with their dad for years now. But recently the court gave their dad and extra night on the weekend. This actually means instead iof seeing them Sunday, it is actually Monday after school before they get home and then return to him the next day. I’ve been a wreck all weekend as this is the first weekend of the change. I know they are struggling and therefore I am too. I miss them so much and their brother does as well. I was home with them for their first 5 years and they have spent majority time with me. I’ve raised them, done the Dr. Appts, the school work, etc. He has not been involved until he got remarried. Now he wants them all the time and the court is just handing him time with no concern of how this affects my children…who have to drive 45 minutes to school on a school morning, be away from their brother or in the care if someone else, or left alone when their mom is at home. It’s unfair. More time does not mean left alone or in someone else’s care. The kids suffer bc they have to get up early to drive to school and keep adjusting to new schedules and a back and forth during a time where life should be consistent. It’s hard not to think that his motives are to hurt me, not spend time with the kids. If you won’t allow their mom to see them while you are at work in the summer…that is pure control and purposeful hurting. What’s even more sick is that the judge flat out doesn’t care how the kids feel….we even hired a GAL and she ignored their requests. Step mom’s may love their new kids but trying to control a family and hurt their husbands ex and push her out of their lives is not the way to be! You can’t replace a mom. Jealousy will get you nowhere. The kids are the focus and their relationship with their mom is important and should be nurtured as well! I think some court systems are so used to bad father’s that when they see a descent one, they give them everything they want. The kids will know one day the schemes played and they also will know who loves them and who has bought their love instead. I will miss my kids every second they are gone and replay in my head a thousand times how I could or could’ve changes any of this for them. Reality is, it takes two and dads need to step up and see that ripping their kids away from their moms who raised them out of anger or hurt is not the answer. Would you like the schedule the kids have to do? Ultimately they are the ones that have to follow through on things. Anxiety and depression can set in hard when they are gone and the feeling of loss is real. I don’t know how to function sometimes. How do you move on and not carry anger or resentment? How do you keep going and not have this pain and dread every time they leave?? I feel like I’m fighting to not be kicked out of their lives! I’m holding on by strings. It hurts.

    2. Nancy B Petterson says:

      Robert, I couldn’t have said it better as a grandmother of a three and a half year old. Thank you !

  20. Wife ran off on Christmas with another man, got me in trouble with a gang of friends saying I was going to kill them all etc, took 3 months for the court to give me 2 days a week was difficult to track her to sign divorce she finally agreed to half custody, however I’m just a working horse jackass filled with despise of a woman that could not clean cook work just nothing clear drug ring but to expose that would get me killed so with her granting me half custody it should feel like a win but how does it feel like a win when all I feel is the loss of my baby girl my little flower light of my life I don’t have time to spend with her when she’s with me I’m at work and she’s at her grandparents so immensly depressing I don’t know what to say do or think

  21. Thank you, Kelly, and everyone who posted a reply. My 10-year-old is with her dad for nine days – summer visit. Another 14-day visit is scheduled for later in the summer. I cried driving home from dropping her off, and again coming into the quiet house without her, and again this morning after finding a sweet little note she left me. I feel like such a ninny for crying – I’ll see her again, fairly soon. As one poster commented, it is (most of the time) best for kiddos to have a good relationship with both parents…regardless of how flawed or irritating the other parent might be. I get that – in my head. In my heart, though, the logic and reason cannot seem to hold back the sadness. I’ve been divorced three years, and somehow thought the transitions would get easier with time. In my experience, unfortunately, that has not been the case.

    By way of encouragement to others, when I think back to her holiday visit (with dad) in December, the first two or three days were the worst. After that, I was able to relax a bit and enjoy time with my parents, friends, or a glass of wine and a goofy Hallmark movie. When she’s away, I catch up on laundry and random tasks that I put off when my daughter is home with me, like changing air-conditioner filters, or cleaning out closets for Goodwill. I work quite a bit, too, and that keeps my mind busy. It’s getting through the first few hours and days – that’s the tough part for me.

    Anyway – I just want to say thanks to you all for helping me not feel alone (or crazy) with the crying jags, and missing my daughter so deeply. Today I needed some shred of solidarity – to know I am not the only one struggling. So, thanks for that, Kelly and others! :-)

  22. It’s the first time I read words that echo what I am going through – I left our family home in March because the situation at home had become so bad. For the first two months the children were with me but then the court granted his wish of 50/50. It is the most heart wrenching thing I have ever experienced. First I went through the immense stress of leaving and then to have the children taken from me was another huge loss….I also cannot talk about the boys without balling my eyes out…….as I love them so very much. The only thing I can do is prepare the home and back them a cake, and prepare some craft projects for when they return – I find I now try to give them the time of their life when they’re with me. I leave all the cleaning to when they leave…..I am speechless – I too can’t imagine living a life like this…….but it is as it is and I have to stay positive – and hold up my strength for them…….let me lead the way for them – continue to be their rock and their support. Thinking of each of you and sending love and light your way. Time will heal the pain and somehow we will all make it through…….thanks all for sharing and making me feel not so much alone. Sarah

    1. thank you for the kind words and let love and light shine your way.

  23. I have the same problem. My case is different because the dad leaves my son with his mom. Im ok with this because i think he’s not ready to be a dad. I’m just worry that my son is missing out on dad love. It makes me sad. Sometimes my son has nightmares and wakes up crying. Im not sure where that is coming from. I also call him and he cries for me over the phone.

  24. Intissar Fernandez says:

    I moved from FL to MI without my 2 girls as a result of not receiving alimony and child support. After working as a teacher for 3 months my 7 year old daughter moved up to Michigan with me because emotionally she wasn’t doing well. Her dad and I decided for her to move back to Florida to keep the girls together and schooling is much better there. I am so torn and can barely function when I think about it. My heart breaks. I went from 85% custody to almost 20% if that. This summer it was 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off. And during the school year it will be every other weekend and alternating holidays.

  25. I really can’t cope, my anxiety and depression get to me and I crawl into bed and don’t get out till an hour before I go get my child. It is difficult for me just separating from here every other weekend. It’s just the two of us, and I’m fine when she is at summer camp and school or with her friends. Just not ok every other weekend worrying about her in her other home.

    1. Hello to all of you I have sat here reading everything that you have put on here on your comments and I too can relate to all this pain and suffering I was wrong about a year ago when me and my I guess you would say 7 year marriage husband got into a very bad argument all because of my daughter’s 5th birthday that was coming up in May our argument was so bad that he had tossed me around in the garage like a rag doll and it pushed me twice and is almost hit me twice and then doing so I tried to defend myself and in doing so I’m the one that got taken away I’m the one that got charged yeah you guessed it the domestic violence and in doing so I have to go to these 52-week classes my daughter is with her dad and everyday is complete anguish for me. I do get to see my daughter but she doesn’t stay with me I’m not entirely sure where this is going but we’ve been separated and that the point of going through a divorce but at times when this all happened and I had to be put with a stupid restraining order and ever since that day was so so hard on me and my daughter we were just so Inseparable I couldn’t imagine my world without my daughter not one. funny that you should say those things about the filth because my daughter has been broken out with lice at least four times and I have treated her for the lice I have bought her clothes I have given her baths here when she comes over but the place over there where they are staying it is just horrible it’s Rundown. I’m doing what I can to keep my mind off this whole situation everyday I just wake up and all I can think about is her I do try to keep myself busy but as many have also ,I too have depression and anxiety and he used that against me in the court system and that was just so low and Petty to use my physicalities of my disability against me that way. my ex likes to sleep around my ex has seen other women in his cheated on me countless times for so many years and even up to this day I still believe that he’s doing these things even though we’re separated it doesn’t take much for him to be on his phone when he’s over here you constantly hear those text messages going off . what can one do when they want to have a great family and want to do what’s best just wanting to Simple Life a simple home have your kids have your devoted and then it all just goes away and just one night. I’m now currently alone in my empty house because he had taken practically everything all the furniture everything of worth even things that don’t belong to him that are my belongings are over there at his apartment that’s how much of an ass he really is like the person who had said that he doesn’t see his daughter anymore pain is pain whether you have them there or not regardless of what it is you cannot way out pain pain is raw emotions are raw and to not feel is to not be human and to not be a good parent is to not feel and to feel numb just means that there is a lot of pain and we all have it and I really my heart goes out to all of you every single one of you on here who is gone through so much pain. just remember the ones who really suffer the most between the mother and father is always the kid always because they’re the ones are always being torn apart constantly we may feel the pain but they always have that pain too. my daughter is 5 years old and I take her to see her counselor that she loves to death. I hope the court system hurries up soon and lets me know what the Fate holds before me and my daughter. I’m 41 years old and her dad is 28 I really really do not have the luxury or the time for pettiness and immaturity and my thoughts into how long I had waited Define mr. Right only to find that he had light of his age and had lied about so many things I should have known from the start before my poor daughter came into the picture. I am so sorry this is a long comment but I had to get it out of my system somehow because all these things I was reading had really brought tears to my eyes very painful tears because I can relate to quite a few of these things and I pray that you all find some sort of happiness and calmness in your lives when it comes to our kids just remember to love them and cherish them for whatever reasons just love them…… I love you Violet…

  26. I must say you are very lucky, at least you gotta see your child and spend time with her. I’m so exhausted and frustrated dealing with my ex on daily basis , struggling to have a glimpse of my children. Our separation agreement is a legal court order that in detail explains our joint custody, parenting schedule , access or visitation plans, traveling consent, holidays, birthdays but for him it is just some kinda piece of paper that he least care about. He has alienated me from my children and for past 7mths now, commmunication or access of any kind has become zero. I’m sick of running after police, lawyers and court and can’t afford it anymore- what should I do? Who should I go and beg for my children?

    1. cryingwithyouall says:

      Oh my poor dear … you’re the first mom I’ve come across that has been in a similar domestic violence situation…
      With regards to my ex – Long story short, we got into a fight, I tried to leave, he got scratched accidentally by my fingernail – and a tiny bit of blood vs. my being verbally, emotionally and physically bruised and hurt… (for years) but that one night, police were called – by his girlfriend -, they had to pick one of us and I got tagged. I was not held, but got 6 months (ended up being nearly 9) probation… when HE should have been the one taken. I was severely traumatized, my child too, and she has been living with him and his girlfriend,along with her adult child, in his ex girlfriends house. He had an affair… now affairgal is his landlady, she’s married to another. He got what he wanted, while I’m broke, depressed, sad, cry my eyes out every day, and there’s so much more. Miss my child desperately. If it weren’t for finding out about similar stories and similar pain, I’d be dead by now.
      Thank you for sharing your story, and thanks to everyone else too. The pain of losing your child is excruciating. Their pain is also excruciating and traumatic. All I’m trying to do is hang on one day at a time. I barely see my daughter anymore, and it’s killing me.

  27. I have joint custody of my 6 yr old son with my ex wife and i have physical. That means i get him during the school year and she gets him every other weekend during that time. Then when the summer time comes she gets 8 weeks and I get one week in June and one week in July. Missing my boy is hard to deal with for those long stretches in the summer and especially on the holidays. The judge chose to believe his mother that I had kept her away for most of his five years and gave her all holiday visitation for 2 years. It’s really hard co-parenting with someone who lied and got away with it and never had to explain themselves for being absent add on top of that the pure missing of his presence… I do stay busy when I’m not at work, doing things around the house. The main thing though is getting this behind us and my boy back home with Dad.

    1. I have the same summer arrangement…8 weeks is SUCH a long time :(

  28. Well to be honest I work long hours, watch comedies and dramas, and do lots of drugs to kill the pain. My ex-wife is doing everything possible to keep me from seeing my kids. Even though I was a loving father, who did anything and everything for them. The last few times I got to see them they started to cry and said “Daddy come with us”. So yah, I try to not think about them to much by distracting myself and numbing myself

  29. I’m a single mom and was in a poor relationship. I have to do the every other week thing too. It’s so hard for me. I hate having to send my child away. Dad and I don’t talk so I don’t get to see my child or talk with them. I work full time, focus on healing, talk and hang out with friends and watch my movies on my weeks without my child. This all has helped me cope with the arrangement. I miss my child so much! It truly is painful without them. Good luck to other mommys!

  30. Mommy in pain says:

    Reading this makes me realize that I am not the only one that goes through this . 2 weeks ago a judge changed my parenting plan from me having my daughter the majority of the time to week on week off . I have been devastated to the point of feeling like I am going to fall apart . My ex is selfish and enjoys keeping my daughter away from me. He does not provide anything at all financially and dates women that do drugs and get investigated by cps . The Judge does not care and just says I can prove anything is unsafe so she is going to give him more time just because he wants it. All I want is to be with my child and love her. I want to give her a wonderful life. It’s so frustrating that a judge can tell you you cannot see your child for a week at a time. My heart is truly in pain and I think the system is twisted and sick.

  31. Hi. Do you have any advice for me. I haven’t seen my two children for three years.
    My now ex-wife took them while I was out.
    I haven’t even been able to call.

    I know it’s hard for you when you can’t see your child for weeks.

    But what would you do if you hadn’t heard their voices for three years.
    I’m still alive. But the sadness, anger and sense of hopelessness is with me always.

    People say I will see them one day, or that when they are older they will be able to come to be of their own volition.
    But that doesn’t help.

    Any advice?

  32. I just have to say that I read this and sobbed on my couch. I have a first grader named Lilly. Our custody schedule was not my suggestion and it was completely against my will but I had no choice, I am without my baby girl for a week at a time. And recently she hasn’t been wanting to go with her father and so she hugs and kisses and squeezes me and looks really upset when she walks towards him. He refuses me any contact outside of the court order and so I have begun to volunteer in her class once a week. I wonder if I’d be allowed to have lunch with her I never thought of that. My heart brakes when she’s gone. I catch myself from falling into a depression every Tuesday. I cry out to God for a better solution as I cant afford an attorney. Knowing that she doesn’t want to go with her dad brakes my heart. I fantasize about the day she’s old enough to legally make the choice. I offer him extra time with her on my week and he refuses because he doesnt want to reciprocate the idea. I cuddle with her special blue blanket and try not to cry around my 11yr old. She knows how much I miss Lilly. I try to focus on her more as well but the pain of being without Lilly is killing me inside. For Anyone reading this who prays, please say a prayer for my situation. I need a breakthrough????

    1. Sabrina,
      I’m so sorry dear. I’ve been praying for you since I read your post from many months ago. May God take care of you and Lilly.

    2. mom of clifton says:

      I feel u. I also need a help from God as i cant afford attorney. I miss my son much and u r so breaks my heart so much knowing that my son doesnt want to go with his dad too and i know exactly he is suffering and swallowing his tears every saturday night that he has to leave myside. I miss clifton so much. I also turn to God only as no one surround me understand how suffering i feel everyday..every second..the emptiness..the tears choking..the pretendtobestrongasnottomakefamilyworries…the heartache..i dont know how to describe again in words. Just being side to side with my son is enuf to make me feel whole again.

  33. I found this article because I cannot cope with missing mine. I too do the school lunches. And a June Cleaver of myself. Two weekends a month is not enough time with my girls. When they aren’t here I’m completely & utterly alone. I cannot get pregnant anymore & cannot afford to adopt to have additional kids to care for lol I’ve thought about it. I have not remarried. It’s just me myself and lonely I when they are gone. Depressed more than I’ve ever been.

  34. I moved out the family home 5 weeks ago. I have joint shared custody of my 7 year old son and 11 year old daughter. I find it so difficult not being with them everyday. Although we communicate regularly via what’s app when they are not with me I find myself worrying about what they are thinking, does my son wonder why I am not there everyday when he gets up, comes in from playing out, he seems fine but and is doing well at school etc but I still worry so much. I worry they mighthave thoughts I have left them for some reason, it’s so difficult, like nothing else. Don’t know why I am posting this, just hoping it might help in some way.

  35. I stumbled upon this today. Thank you for writing it. Until recently, I’ve had primary custody of my two-year-old daughter with her being at her Dad’s house most weekends. I’ve been home full time, so I’ve been blessed with lots of time with her. When she goes to her Dad’s, it nearly kills me. I miss her so much. The judge just ordered a 50/50 custody arrangement, and I feel like I’m dying. My daughter is only two. I can’t even explain to her what’s happening. How do I survive the time my baby’s with a guy who doesn’t even take care of her? I’d love to be able to talk with someone who has been in a similar situation.

    1. I’m currently going though this it’s horrible so so horrible I’m so sorry and my ex his mother who hates me is taking care of her for four days while my daughter is there and I only get her three days and she just turned one years old I have panic attacks so many nights and all of this started because my ex took me to court because I moved away out of the county back to where I’m from and I had no idea you couldn’t so now we’re stuck with him having temporary primary until we go to a full court hearing and I’m terrified I live my baby so much I was a stay at home mom with her everyday since she was born before we broke up due to him cheating and his temper and now I have a boyfriend who truly loves my daughter and me and that’s why my ex took me to court and now his mom has her more then me and she lets my daughter cry and it kills me I just want my baby back ?

  36. Doesn’t it just kill you? You described the exact scenario I go through, dropping my son at school. And yes, I’m sure its a distraction for the children, and annoyance for the teacher. No, it’s not irrational, it’s primal panic.
    And the anger…. I’m especially resentful and enraged, every time I drop him off, knowing that my ex’s A.P.- now-wife, is spending more waking hours raising my son, instead of his own mother, because I support my son’s relationship w his father, (and his lying in mediation helped earn him that.) But it f****** kills me, EVERY TIME. I feel like I already have empty nest syndrome and my son just turned 7. It’s a constant reminder of our failure in keeping the original family unit in -tact and how I’m missing out on half my kid’s best years as a part-time parent.
    Getting a lawyer is a luxury, and he has a free, family one. I’m happy to be out of a bad relationship, or any relationship for that matter, because I want to truly be present and emotionally available for the fleeting moments I get with my son. These are such difficult feelings to process and this article is about the only thing I’ve seen, touch on this subject. It helps to know I’m not alone (unfortunately,) but thank you, nonetheless. I have employed these tactics-I have a yoga and salt bath routine and a dog-walk adventure routine which really grounds me. I became a part-time student, and have taken up old hobbies. There are definitely trade-offs that I’m trying to find worth it. Just feels like I lead two separate lives sometimes.

  37. My significant other just told me yesterday that he’s ending our relationship and doesn’t want to try to fix it. We’ve been together for almost 13 years and have a 2-year-old that we tried for a very long time to have. I’m fortunate that he has dreams of us being the cool co-parents who get along great and go on family vacations together. But the idea of being separated from my son for any length of time is too much to bear. I know that his dad feels the same way, but that’s no comfort to my broken heart.

    It was nice to hear from others who have gone through this, especially the dads. But it was also sad to hear that there’s a chance my heart will continue to break for years to come.

  38. Lost07/07/2014 says:

    I know the feeling of missing your child. Sadly that’s what my entire life has become, missing my 4 yr old daughter. Before i am told what a jerk i am, which is not my intention. Let me state my daughter, screaming and crying, was carried out my back door by her mother as she told me i would never see her (my daughter) again. Since then July 7th 2014 at 1:00 a.m. ive seen her 12 hours total, and not at all for 2yrs. That being said how about instead of being sad be happy for your child that she has and is getting to spend time with her other parent. Not that you wont miss them of course you are. I’m just trying to offer another way to look at it. That its a good thing for them and they are what’s most important. All of this assuming they are going to a good situation with the other parent and only you deep down truly know that answer. One more quick suggestion for someone i saw post about getting separated. It’s not trust and believe me when i say its not best for the children to stay in a relationship for the kids sake!! It’s in my opinion showing them to stay in bad relationships, its what your supposed to do. What if that relationship becomes if not already violent or toxic. Explain at an appropriate age to them its ok not all things work out its ok to not be right all the time. Bottom line whatever is best for the kids what’s best when your by your self thinking and know in your heart what’s best. Not how much you dislike the ex or anything else what’s in your heart. To my baby girl i love you and daddy hasn’t didnt and wont give up on you i love you

  39. My suggestion is you should not have gotten divorced. It’s you and your husband’s fault for not being able to work it out for your children’s benefit. Think about all the father’s who get less custody than a mother. You should count your blessings that you get to see your daughter as much as you do, some of us do not get that luxury.

  40. I would love to speak to whomever wrote this. I have a three year old and we’ve been doing this since she was 9 months old. One week here, one week there. I hate it. Just like you, I need to absorb every aspect of her before she goes, I’ve quit jobs over it. Yes, jobS. I miss her before she goes and every day before she comes home. I’ve cried nights away until I went numb, then went back to crying. I have filled my time with things I wanted so badly to help me cope,. I have also offered to keep her during the days her father works, even down to arranging my work schedule exactly opposite days of his. No, he wants her to spend time with grandma. I feel as if they are trying to cut me out. That aside, if affects my child. She tells me she doesn’t want to go to her dads, although dropping her off she is okay. Anyways… it’s nice to know I’m not alone although I wouldn’t wish it on anyone ever.

  41. I have two boys 3 and 9. They were put with the dad full time a year ago. A year and a half ago i became a step mom to my hubbys boys fulltime. So when my boys were placed with there father i still am a mom to my step boys.i have had a hard time dealing with being a fulltime mom to boys that aren’t mine and my boys being ripped away from me BECAUSE my ex couldn’t handle me happy with another man. Mind you my ex was very verbally abusive and controlling. I can’t seem to just be happy and mother to my step boys. I feel if i am then some how i am turning my back on my boys. It has really put me into a deep depression. I have even noticed myself staying in my room away or drinking way to much not to feel the pain. I am truely in love with the man i am with now but i can’t let this go. It has been the longest year of my life and seems to be getting worse.

  42. We are just getting started with 50/50 custody of my second grader. I say my because dad never cared nether for me not for her when we were married. I am yet to find a solution to stop a river of tears that I cry when she is away and in anticipation of upcoming separation when she is all tucked in bed.
    How is it good for everybody?
    Hope one day it will all work out somohow

  43. Leeanna Paige Trippett says:

    I opted for joint custody for my mental health and now that things are in order I wish I could go back in time to the days my son and I had all the time in the world together. I was so frantic and overwhelmed I wish I could’ve understood the blessing i have but I can’t change our schedule now so I quit my job and am going to go back to school (he was born when I was 19). I’m really not all that excited about school. I see my son and his father and his fathers new family and wonder how in the hell I’m going to feel the happiness they do?? Comparing isn’t the answer but I do agree with you about filling the time with meaningful things.

  44. Christian says:

    Wife and I just separated about 5 months ago. We have a 15 year old and a 4 year old. It’s been the hardest transition for me ever since they moved out. I honestly felt like I was falling apart the first few months. It has been extremely difficult for me especially on the days that I have to take them back home to their mom. What I struggle with the most is having them 4 to 5 days and then having to drop them off. I wake up that morning knowing that at some point in the day I’m going to break down and cry, and today was that day. I appreciate being able to write and vent this you guys/gals. Thank you

  45. Its hard for me too, my little almost 3 year old is on vacation with her dad and his family and I miss her so much , I also feel angry, guilty, lonely, anxious, and every time I remind myself that she deserves to have a healthy relationship with her dad who loves her so much and that this not about me and what I need but rather about her and how to I best support her and how I hold the space for her every week with every transitions she has pretty much all her life. Hope it helps to other moms too

  46. Michael vega says:

    I’m a father of two and not seen or heard from my children. The mother has kept them away as we battle it out for child support /visitation. I have done and continue to do everything I can to please the court. It’s so hard for good father’s trying to be in their children’s lives in a historic bias court in which they favor mothers no matter what or how good the father is inn the child’s life. There not or little support given for father’s like me than they do for woman who are going through this turmoil and I don’t what to do bit pray and trust the system. I’m depressed and broken cause the mother is using my kids just to hurt me. Lord knows I made lots of bad decisions in life and I take full responsibility of our failed relationship. It’s not right to alienate good father’s just cause a failed relationship. Need help. I don’t know how to cope when emotional episode take over me so bad…

    1. Tony Breen says:

      I know what you are doing through.

      Ex left when I was in the shower with my four year old daughter.

      no I know this has been planned those over probably the past year if not more.

      I get my Daughter 6 hours bi weekly sat. And sun.

      I’m a good Dad but am emotionally absent husband.
      No my daughter and I has to pay for that with allegations enough feeding my daughter beating up other people.

      I didn’t know she could be so vindictive.
      She has support in the money I have nothing not even a lawyer.

      Still fighting for more time and meadiation I hope it turns out fairly.
      I want what’s best for my daughter that means I don’t see her that much I’ll take it.

      I’m afraid she will resent her mother when she gets older because she seems to be catching on to lies now.

      I tried to be friends for our daughter my ex works very hard to not be friends with lies every time I make an attempt to have a healthy relationship.

      It’s the hardest and darkest time in my life but I will take it if my daughter wasn’t lied to and to take away the emotional abuse suffered by my daughter.
      I’m afraid she’s being set up for bad relationships as an adult.

      any help would be appreciated this story is very long and there is not enough web here.

      This vindictive game site changes a person soul.

      Just want to be a Dad and help her to grow into a happy healthy adult.

      If you can help please do.

      Trying everyday to be strong for the both of us.

      Trying to be strong

  47. This is absolutely the same way I feel about my 7 year old daughter. And it tears me up each week…. I do have a son on the way and should be here October 21st… but I thought it would get easier as my daughter gets older it only seems to get worse on drop off…. I feel your pain man!

  48. I find myself in a 50/50 custody situation with my two boys (10 and 13) which I would normally rather walk over broken glass to avoid, but I have had no choice. Where I live, you are supposed to work out your custody situation yourselves and if you can’t, you have to go to court. This costs thousands of dollars (paid by the initiator) and I was told by a lawyer I would not get more than an 8/6 split anyway so it didn’t seem worth the extra stress for the boys and me. My ex decided he wanted 50/50 because he gets more government assistance that way, so one day he informed me he would pick up the kids this day after school and not pick them up that day and that was that. I tried to keep it the way it was when we first separated and had the boys come to my place after school but he rang the boys and abused and upset them so I left it alone. The boys seem ok with it so that’s the main thing.
    Now I find myself alone (but happier than when I was married) and lonely on the weekends and missing my boys. It doesn’t feel right that I should only see them half the time, I’m their mother, I carried them around for 9 months inside of me, I breastfed them, I did most of the work when they were babies and toddlers. But now, because I made the mistake of choosing the wrong man to marry, I am only allowed to see them half the time. I don’t have a boyfriend to plan dates with, other married women and couples avoid me (because you know, it’s catching) so I find myself alone on a Saturday night.
    The best advice I can give is to keep yourself busy. Accept invitations to go out (I do go out with girlfriends and colleagues sometimes) and find some hobbies. For me it’s meditation, yoga, movies, writing, reading, walking. I guess this is what is called self-development, but sometimes it just feels like lonely and unnatural to be separated from my children.

    1. LOL…at myself. I’m sobbing my eyes out over my 21 yr old college grad. moving out. She’s not even gone and I miss her so much. We were working toward buying her a house and a new car and getting along so well, until she fell in love with the drug addicted boyfriend she’s moving out to take care of. Soak up every minute you can while they are little!

    2. It hurts so much. It’s very hard to go out or even find some normalcy to any day they are gone. I completely agree with the unnatural feeling. Best wishes to you and your boys on your journey.

  49. Rachel Fleming says:

    This helped so much I went from a stay at home mom to a weekend mom..past mistakes and not being able to afford a good lawyer this is my life 2 years later and it hurts like hell everytime i drop her off…..thanks for sharing!!!

  50. Two amazing kiddos, boy 10 & girl 9. We are two months into shared custody, we’ve been separated over a year. After our split their father didn’t see them but on a weeknight here and there and a very occasional weekend. Now their father wants to start seeing them on a regular basis (new girlfriends rules). Tuesday, Thursday evenings and every other weekend. Their father and I had got along before but now we can’t even speak. We’re just starting the legal custody battle as we had nothing in writing when we split. We were going to be “those” parents that got along no matter what. It was going to be different. Our world was torn but now it feels like a train wreck. Tuesday and Thursday evenings along with every other weekend, I find myself crying and feeling like a failure. I can’t sleep; my eating habits are terrible; everything makes me think of them. Every turn I take seems like a trigger that sets me off thinking about them and I’m an instant mess. Everything hurts so much when they’re away. The days they are away seem so long even when I try to keep myself busy. The hurt doesn’t go away. I feel so trapped and worried sick about them that I literally make myself sick. I love them so much and only want what’s best for them. How does the court know what’s best? I’m anxious about the custody process, I’m scared… How can juggling two homes be right? Where does the best interest for the child come into play? I am so frustrated, sad and angry and in love with every moment I have with my kiddos. I am just so scared and sad. Scared I’ll miss something, scared they’ll miss out on something….I feel so crushed.
    – going to school for lunch is a great idea!!!
    – I am going to start having the kids pick the meal they want to come home to on Sunday evenings
    – I am going to try to fill my weekend free time with things I love & add physical fitness
    – take 24hrs at a time
    – be thankful for the time I am given
    – try to be more positive about the time they share with their father and his girlfriend
    – I am deeply hurt…being a mom the last thing I ever wanted was someone else raising my child
    This is the first time I’ve reached out. I know it’s lengthy and all over the place. It’s hard.

  51. I didn’t have to be apart from my daughter who is 13, as he dad is never ever around.
    But my 1 yr old son’s father and I just separated, and he’s wanting to take him on his weekends (his weekends are the middle of the week)
    We’ve set up a date for him to take him and it’s stressing me out so bad that I am irritable. I’ve practically begged him to not have his girlfriend around my son. He cheated on me with her, but before that happened he had told me that she wasn’t very nice and she called her own son horrible names. (He works with her) He agreed to not have her around but he’s lied to me so much recently thay I don’t trust him.
    I’m also worried because he spends hours on end playing video games and has never had baby boy more than a couple hours during the day. He does live with his parents, so once they’re home from work it’ll be a relief. People tell me it’ll get easier. If rather wait until hes older…

  52. My ex husband and I divorced and I moved out of state. He has custody of our oldest and I have custody of my youngest. We split up the summers and every other holiday they each travel… How do I help her cope with missing her sister when she comes home? My heart hurts for her because I know she wants her to be around…

  53. I’ve read this article so many times in the last five years. There are not many resources out there for going through this. Thx again for writing this.

  54. Alexandria Solorzano says:

    My son is two and we do one week on and one week off. He cries and always says he wants to stay at his house with me. I always tell him the fun he will have with his dad and tell him he will come back soon.

    Throughout the week I honestly can’t sleep and focus on work, and feel what you’re feeling all the time. I will try your 3 steps and hopefully it will get better!

  55. I don’t normally post, but I found myself in a Great Depression today. My husband and I have been separated for about a year and we share custody of our 6yr old daughter. I work nights and I see her about 3-4 days a week, the schedule is he keeps her when am working. We have not filled for a divorce as yet, I have no family near by. Like most people on here, I feel so sad, lonely and even depressed when she is not with me. I don’t mean to selfish but I can’t help how I feel, when I had my baby girl, I never thought for a second I would be a part time mother. I feel like I am missing so much of her life. I am so glad I came across this forum, to all the other moms/dads stay strong. For those who are not yet divorced, if there is any chance that you can save your marriage please take that chance.

  56. Kristen Evangelista says:

    Thanks for this article. I am struggling as my daughter is about to leave for 5 weeks at the end of May to spend it with her Dad who moved across the U.S. We have never been away from each other for more than a week at a time and I am dreading it. Any suggestions on how to get through this time and keep my sanity is greatly appreciated.

    1. Kristen, I’m so sorry. Your heart must be breaking. <3 What's been helping us lately is calling each other via Facetime as often as we can. Wishing you strength to get through those hard weeks.

  57. Mom of clifton says:

    I am coping with my (now 7 yrs old) son taken from me due to divorce with narcissistic ex. Its been 3 years since ex got us separated by kidnaping him. Ex still try to control me by using our son. Very miserable every saturday night i have to get him back to his dad house. And i can only pick him up at his dad home again on saturday morning the next week. (Notes. I can see my son if they -ex and girlfriend- has no plan that saturday). I understand fully how u feel like breaking apart to pieces every saturday..wont miss a second that day hugging son. And how devastated i got every saturday nite on the way taking him back to his dad lap. Its cruel. I cant bear any longer.but still i am alive and has no clue how to be happy again without my son. Been 3 years surviving and i really hope i can find a group who can strengthen me. Been miraculous if i am still survive day by day till now.

  58. Kevin M. Pellon says:

    I certainly feel this on a daily basis. For a recently divorced man who never wanted it and was taught with strong family values, I struggle not hugging, kissing and singing to my 5 and 7-year-old girls every night. Staying busy helps but it doesn’t take the pain away when you just want to see them sleeping peacefully while in bed. My parents taught me how to love and surrond myseylf with great family and friends, but loving my kids is a whole new level. Thanks for your share! -kp

  59. Wow. This was the most heartfelt, true-life, true everything post I’ve ever read. You couldn’t have written it any better, it was as if the words spilled right from my heart. Words cannot express the anger and hole that fills me when my baby leaves me. I try to cope, I try to remind myself she will be back soon BUT in that time, she grows up and each time, she comes home being someone a little different than I know her as. It’s almost like I have to break her down to get my little 5 year old peanut. It’s not fair to have to go so long without seeing them. So much can happen in a week or more. First tooth falls out, first time crossing the jungle gym all by herself after weeks of practice. The inability to talk on the phone and the inability to see her for just a mere glimpse of her smile. If only I had the answers, if only I could change things…what I wouldn’t give… never miss a moment of her precious little life. From one mother to another, may you find comfort in your situation and in your heart knowing that your little girls loves her Mommy & she will remember you visiting her everyday at lunch time. Though now it seems so hard, one day she will be old enough to choose….and I’d be curious to know, just what does she choose. You’re an exceptional woman Nd mother. Prayers and hugs from another.

  60. Wendy Ferrill says:

    Hi Kelly! I can relate to your pain so well! In our case, our 5 blended kiddos are older than yours and we live in FL (moved from IN) but my youngest (16) understandably didn’t want to leave friends behind so we see her on Spring breaks, Summer break and Christmas or New Years (holiday alternate)
    It’s the toughest thing I’ve ever done! Trying to stay in contact despite distance is just super hard especially with a teen!
    Please feel free to reach out to me; I would love to chat more!

  61. Jess Allison says:

    Woke at at 5am on the day my daughter leaves for her fathers just devastated and trying to find some sort of support/anything to make me feel better. Found this. Thank you.

    I’m still crying. Probably will for a long time. But it gets better.

  62. My daughter was taken from me two days after she was born,by her father while I was still in the hospital recovering from her delivery that had resulted in extreme blood loss. He had gone to court without my knowledge and while I was trying to stay awake enough to finally get a look at my baby he and his dad successfully convinced a judge to sign an emergency custody court order where he would have immediate full custody of my baby till we could have a custody hearing sometime in the next 6 month’s (ended up being 1 year). so just like that he took her out of my arms with the police present to back him up (in case I got violent) and drove her and his new girlfriend to his apartment at the coast that was only 4 hours away in good traffic and included a severely dangerous drive though the mountains that almost always had intense weather (rain, ice, deer standing in middle of the road) and I would not see my baby until he decided I had calmed down enough and was not going. To endanger my infant or himself. And or his. New girlfriend . he completely went radio silence for 2 weeks and when I got him on the phone finally he immediately hung up because he didn’t want me to act hysterical and cry because he knew I was obviously trying to manipulate him into making him feel guilty- why else would I be crying so uncontrollably? So another week went by and hevfinally calls and said in a disciplinary tone – hey calm down or ill have to call you in another week
    … Is that what we need to do because I don’t want my daughter exposed to someobe who is unhinged like. you have been since the delivery .its not good for her development….

    1. I’m so I credibly sorry that you are going through this. Did you get yourself a lawyer and what state do you live in? I will pray for you and your baby. Make sure when you fight for that child you are 100% straight with everything in order. That includes health insurance and so on, for yourself but also your baby. Don’t give up, no matter how hard the fight may seem! You can do this and you can get that baby back! Our sad court system, I’m 3 years in myself. The hardest part is missing their first moments, but once everything is put right, I hope you will find someone to love and adore you and you can again try to have children. I’ll be praying and praying some more. No mother should ever go through this even with a past of any addiction, disorder, or what have you. Prove that you are the best thing for that baby. Remember , they will always be yours. No one can change her mother, no matter how many police officers stand in the way of how many court trials. At the end of the day, you are and always be their mother and when they get older….they will know the truth. Stay strong, you are never alone. Xoxo
      Ps. Call the local district courts mediatiors and start there. They will explain your options and so on. Then it also looks very good when you do these things. Also, psych evaluation and get it in writing, that you are well and coherent, that the emotional damage from them ripping your child from you like you were dead. God this makes me so angry.

  63. Hi I have separated from my husband and I find it so difficult being without my 3 kids on the weekends they are with their dad. I have been a stay at home mum for the past 13 years and have always been with my kids. Any advice would be appreciated Thanks

  64. Steph Lorenzo says:

    Hi, I’m a mother of a 5y.o and I only get to see her every other weekends. Its so exciting when she comes ro me but as Sundaydraws closer, I begin to feel anxiety and I start to fall apart. I dont want to cry because I know she is hurting too but its really tough for me..

  65. I feel you girl. I am completely in tears, feeling down and thinking is it right what I am doing? (Sharing custody); “Am I a good mom for letting this happening?”; “is she happy?” (She is not, she keeps it up because she loves her dad as well and try to please everybody). Like every week she goes back to her dad (3 days), I tidy up her pijama, her toys and everything she left and I cry watching her cat running up and down. Im alone living in a country away from my family so I bear my suffering between myself till now that is the first time I post about it. I just hope things gets better with time and feel being a half mom.

  66. Brad Henry says:

    I feel like you are making it way harder on the child. They have to get used to a routine of split custody and accept that’s how it is. When you say things like “I love you” 100 times or “I’m going to miss you”!!! Is the worst. This isn’t the choice and they will end up being mad at the other parent or even hate for what your doing. It’s your fault your not with your ex anymore, not your child so stop treating them like a victim. Thank you

    1. this is a really well worded reply. One thing I struggle with is the Golden Rule: Don’t do something to some one you wouldn’t done to yourself. If I don’t want to loose time with my child how the hell is it right to do that to my ex?? I’m so confused.
      My bad choices have already separated my child from my childs mother. I don’t want to do bad things to my child or my ex anymore. I want to affect thier lives in positive ways. I don’t want to separate a child from a childs mother. I want to encourage my child to spend more and more quality time with her mom, to respect her mom, to appreciate her mom. I want to bring my child closer to her parents not farther. If my daughter says that she really enjoys time with her mom and dosen’t miss me thats a good thing! I don’t want her heart to hurt like mine. I don’t want her to miss me. I want her to know that I am her FATHER, nothing can separate us. we share a spiritual bond that she can always connect to.

      The only thing I can figure is let my Daughter choose for herself when to see me and how long. I’m not going to obligate her or make her feel pressured in any way. I’m not going to try and convince her that she doesnt like her own mom or life would be better with me or that she likes me more or any dumb shit like that. I’m not going to make her feel that my feeling of missing her is her responsibility. I’m the one who destroyed my family. I’m the reason I miss her. That being said I really feel for the people replying to this article.
      my ex chose to let a abusive,possesive,controlling, meth using stranger move in with my child. This “man” would just grab the phone and hang it up when I was talking to my child. One time he yelled and said ” no one here wants to talk to you”!!. I gave up on talking to my child. I began to be very sad. I started looking for her when I walked arround hopping on the small chance that I could just see her, just simply see her. I began to become very very very very scared. what if i forgot what she looked like? what if I couldn’t remember the way her voice sounded?? I decided not to give up. life always changes. nothing stays the same. I was hanging out at a resteraunt and saw my wife and this man walking. I decided to confront them. at first he tried to pull her away but I was asertive and i said ” hey dude she can choose for herself when to talk to me”. I told him that what he did was very rude and I asked him to considder how he would feel if i did that while he was talking to his child. We agreed that i wouldn’t try and convince my child not to like him and he would not convince my child not to like me.

      my most sincere hope is that this post can give some of you hope. I know it dosen’t feel fun to go from living with your child to only seeing them for short times. I want to give you hope! You can show them that they are worth it, the relationship is worth the hardship that it takes to build. You can model good, mature, healthy behavior. You can give them a source of strength and hope that they can tap into no matter where they are. You can show them that they have intrinsic, internal value that can be given or taken away. This is the mission of a parent; to give your child something that they can carry into the world with them, to give them a part of you that will live on in thier hearts forever. This is the hope of every parent everywhere. This is the hope that we must cling to. I hope in some small way that my post has touched the heart of a parent.

  67. Nicky Taylor says:

    I miss my kids sooo much it’s taken me out of wrk I’m so confused ruminating on what I should do it feels like my heads going to burst I cry every day cry to sleep every night I cannot cope much longer I’m desperately trying to hang in there I keep trying to distract myself with work but end up leaving jobs due to the turmoil my brain is going through with thoughts of my kids

    1. Neela U Patel says:

      It has been five years since I had to leave my children to go and find money for their future (after a divorce where I was forced to pay a hefty amount to him – financially impeding our future financially) and to heal myself as my children refused to come with me.

      Little did I know I was being set up by ex-husband whom had brainwashed the children that life with me in another country would be a huge mistake. He bribed them by buying them everything they need and when I had limited time with them, they constantly ensured to text, ring and keep annoying us – breaching “quiet and peaceful enjoyment rules”.

      I just felt constantly bullied.

      Five years later, with so many battles and fights my children refuse to see me and do not want me part of their life at the age of 15 and 16 as I questioned where are they going in their lives staying with my ex and his step mother who used them for babysitting the new sibling whilst they went out partying, living in a horrificly messy and unhygienic home where they are constantly getting sick and are unhealthy.

      It is just mind games after mind games to keep my children away from me for their own selfish sake.

      Not a day goes by that my heart does not break and I do not cry myself to sleep questioning gods what did I do so wrong that the gift of being a mother was taken away from me.

      Anyone who knows me, knows I am clean, loving and have always bout my family first. Hard to believe that people have no guilt to just take from me because they are so jealous of what I worked so hard all my life to have.

      It’s just not fair and I wonder when I will ever get the chance in life to be a mother again.

  68. Honestly, I am very much like you with the exception that I have a 10/4 arrangement. I am going through a custody battle right now (which of course is not easy) but is in the best interest of her. I also have lunch with my Daughter, and it makes her day! I think that’s a great ideas. Staying busy when she’s gone obviously distracts my mind which is a good thing yet it’s like you mentioned, she’s not physically here. Drop offs are always hard and when I drop her off the waves are there. She doesn’t want to leave, and naturally, like you it’s the hardest part. Even more so when I have to wait 10 days and only get her 4. Making memories together, and keeping that special bond going is so important. I take a ridiculous amount of pictures as well and it helps when I look at them yet at the same time makes me sad. I have been divorced for 6 years now. It’s the second hardest thing to death (so I’m told) and I completely understand how you feel. Unfortunately, there’s nothing ethically or morally right in the legal system. I’m not sure how long you have been divorced, but stay positive! Things always get better in time. I sincerely enjoyed reading this it’s really, really good.



  69. unfortunately the world is ruled by men. Men make the law and forcing judges to give join custody by default.
    for men is perfect, no pension to pay. Also they have a “free week” for themselves so they can go party and dating and doing “man stuff” while the following week they stay with the kids. Perfect life.
    But for a MOTHER being apart of your 2 years old boy who is still breastfeeding is heartbroken. It’s painful, it hurts. It’s a torture not knowing how is doing how is sleeping how much crying uncontrollably at night time because his MAMA is not there with him. For a mother there is nothing that can stop the suffering of that week without your kids, nothing.
    a man a father can stay a week without seeing the kids and it’s fine. A mother is NOT it’s not fine. It’s not
    this society we all live called advanced society is forgetting the principle of live the most powerful love a child should have the love of a MOTHER and we are taking away to our kids. It’s insane

    1. its so sad that you can’t see that missing your kids is a human issue not a gender issue. I hope that some day you will see the equality of men and women

  70. separating from my son every week broke my heart every week, too. I enrolled him in any sport, so I could see him at the meets or the games. It is such a hard and imbalanced life – to anxiously drunk in every moment one week and have no time with your child the next. I became too dependent on having him with me. Now, as a 24-year-old young man, this need to be close to him is too much and he has virtually no contact with me. He said, Mom, I want to be part of your life, but not your whole life.” There are no perfect answers. It is not natural for a mom to be persistently separated from her child for years. We just have to forgive ourselves for what brought about the divorce and try to maintain healthy boundaries.
    I feel your pain!

  71. Christy Kahler Follmer says:

    I’ve been doing this for 6.5 years with my 2 twin boys. We used to have week-on-week-off joint custody until a year ago. My Jon took me to a different town…and he ended up getting the scoop days and I get the weekends. He gets every 3rd weekend and we rotate holidays. This year I will be without my kids for 19 days due to his 3rd weekend and his holiday. I’ve never been 19 days without my kids…and I’m struggling right now. Any guidance or tips are welcome ??

  72. Magdalene says:

    Thank you for sharing. I am not excited for the joint custody journey ahead, but I am thankful to not be the only one who experiences it. Shared grief helps. Feeling relatable & understood helps. Thank you thank you

  73. Ceejay Taylor says:

    I felt like the only person in the world until I saw this. I don’t really talk about it much as I feel embarrassed one of my children doesn’t live with me (and I’m the mum – people assume the mum always has her kids) I have a newborn and preschooler to keep me occupied and I’m still so broken hearted and angry and nothing replaces the missing piece of my heart when I can’t see him as often. I sometimes feel that I won’t ever be okay about it, I just love him so much :( Thank you for posting it was nice to read and I don’t feel so alone.

  74. Hi there,
    These tips are so good. But my sadness comes from the fact that my 11-year-olds on hates me due to parental alienation and all the lies my ex-partner told him about me. My son lives the other side of the country and it is a 5 hours plane ride. It’s been 5 months I haven’t seen him. I keep myself extremely busy but I can’t cope with how much I miss him. What should I do in this kind of situation? The funny thing is I let him go by my own decision, because he thought he can have a better life there without me. So I let him to experience by himself.

  75. My ex and I have my daughter every other week. We have been separated for roughly 7 or 8 months. My ex has since dated quite a but, I don’t feel like I want to because I feel like any attention taken away from my daughter when I have her is not fair to my daughter. She is my little world at 2 years old. I have tried everything to deal with the emotional turmoil of watching her leave me every Friday but nothing seems to work. I have tried most of the things named on here to little avail. I work a full time very stressful job which doesn’t help. I think you capture the feeling of seeing them the last time for that week perfectly. I say I love you more times than I can count, take pictures, talk to her about what we will do next time, but my heart is in my throat everytime I say good bye for the week. I never used to cry and now I cry every week. The ex is not a very good parent too which always scares me and I have anxiety issues which puts my mind to horrible places of “what if” this is the last time I see her. I wish I could find a healthy outlet like exercise but on the weeks I do have her, trying to carry through on a routine like working out with a 2 year old and full time job plus upkeep of a house is impossible. I dont know what to do but I will say your article makes me feel better to know I am not the only one out there who feels like this. I just wish I knew how to make it stop.

  76. Curtis Smith says:

    Im hurting as we speak. I get Emerly every other week but its not enough. What makes it worst is when her mother picks her up she cries and reaches for me. I know her little heart is hurting too.

  77. My ex is a heartless narcissistic pathological liar & keeps me from seeing my kids & even has turned my oldest child 12 against me with rediculous lies! It’s been two years now I can’t afford a lawyer & time is slipping away! The pain & the feeling of helplessness consumes me & I don’t even know who I am or what I’m supposed to be doing! I was a dad a family man that’s all I know & that’s all I wanna be I don’t fit in anywhere else! This is torture without my 3 girls & everyday is a struggle that seems impossible to beat!

  78. I am going through separation and the thought of not seeing the children everyday is literally killing me. My heart is shattered and I can’t stop crying.
    I think they will chose their dad over me too.
    I can’t afford the lifestyle he could give them and I’d have to move them schools. They’d all be better off without me but my God it hurts to know that. I haven’t experienced pain like this.

  79. Michelle Josephine Lara says:

    I’m on the same boat..this is super painful

  80. I’m sitting in my living room. My kids go back to mom tomorrow morning. I’m reading this and bawling my eyes out. We’re fortunate to have a 5522 schedule so I know I’ll see them in 5 days. But right now, as I sit on my couch, it feels like FOREVER. We’ve been co-parenting this way for over a year now. And I still break down every time I have to leave them. Literally crying until I can’t breathe.

  81. I am both sad and happy to have found this article, and reading all the comments made me feel a little bit better knowing that there are many people out there that share the same grief when the kids are away. I feel like a piece of my heart is missing when they are gone, and I don’t feel whole again until they return. I wonder sometimes how all of our children will end up as adults. Will they be well adjusted? Will they grow up with issues stemming from this two-home arrangement? Time will tell.

    I wish there was a way for all of us to commiserate together in person — one big outdoor meet up so we wouldn’t feel so alone. Wouldn’t that be something.

  82. This is everything I have been feeling. Put into the words of a mother I have never met….but my life and my feelings. Thank you for sharing this

  83. My daughters father has again just breached the court order and decided not to return my children on Christmas Eve.
    I am devastated.
    I have my eldest child Summer at home expecting to be with her little sisters tonight and they won’t be here.

    I am so sad that the joy of Christmas has been sucked out of my heart somehow.

    Everything I plan when I have them with me as we share custody is done with the children in mind – to cooking, swimming, walks, art and craft to bedtime being a simple reliable routine.

    This is just awful.

    I want to just go and sleep.
    I have lost my cheer.
    Rose and Fearne I will be here always for when I see you again.

    All my love mama

  84. Sounds familiar, I see my 7 years old daughter every 2 weeks and it’s great when we’re together but when I drop her off at the pickup spot the waterworks start especially I’ll on those days when she doesn’t want to let me go and she wants to live with me. I live with Clinical depression but it’s through the roof on these days. It’s hard to breath when my oxygen is gone (that’s how I refer to us, her being my oxygen) it’s not easy hearing a 7 year old say she hates her life.

  85. I’m 50 years old and I am a mother to my 12 year old son and my 23 year old daughter I spend a lot of time with my daughter and her friends I have made no effort to have friends of my own my daughter has said to me several times that she doesn’t want me to hang out with her and her friends all the time and I understand her feelings I’m just afraid to be alone and isolated at our home I don’t know what to do to make this situation better for me I just know I don’t want to suffocate my daughter anymore I know I have to let her go live her life separate from me I just don’t want to be alone my son wants to be left alone often and my husband works all the time so I don’t know what to do

  86. It’s unbelievably disturbing sometimes.
    I mostly think about how and what they’re learning, and if they’re comfortable. I cannot stand seeing or hearing my kids witness or getting hurt. Lately it’s been hard because a situation left a gaping hole in my chest. I should’ve been there and am constantly hard on myself. I beat myself up with constant thought, that I’m not a good parent. I don’t show enough love or support. It’s rough, because I know I do what I can, and support them more then often. What my remedy is sums up to is patients. Try to believe that they’re constantly manoeuvring through life, just like we are, but they’re still curious. We mothers tend to over bear that. In these times I think children need to learn responsibility, common sense and understanding politeness. Instead of us picking at their every move and reaction.

  87. So it’s normal to feel this way? Because you nailed it. I feel the exact same way. I know it’s a temporary feeling and she’ll be home soon but it’s so hard on both of us. It’s like we both sink into a state of depression until we’re back together again.

  88. Chad Edwards says:

    There is no coping mechanism for me..for my situation I had 3 beautiful kids been in they life since all was born raised them majority of the time by myself yes I am married but from what I’ve went through I’d wish not one man on the planet to go through what I have ..any and everything imaginable thing that a wife could do to disgrace herself her husband and kids I’ve experienced and I mean literally everything long story short my wife fought against me with everything so that I don’t have anything to do with any of our kids simply because of asking for help for our family she left us at the worst time of our lives and gave up on us all even terminating her rights to our kids and left me by myself alone I had such a terrible time because I couldn’t walk 7 miles to attend court and everything they had set up for me they terminated my rights it’s been 4 years now I haven’t got to see or even talk to my kids at all when my family was my best friends as well our youngest is now 4 I’ve only got to hold her 5 times and haven’t gotten to see or hear from them since I did absolutely everything I could to keep my family together they was all I had now I have nobody nobody cares to check if I’m alive or dead it bother me so much most the time I don’t care to even be alive my whole life is gone even the place where my kids are won’t let me see or hear from them at all..I’m just done for for only asking my wife to plz help us..I have too much anger and pain I reach out to my kids even in they birthdays but not one single word or picture or anything from them

  89. krista Logan says:

    I went in for open heart surgery. The only thing that gave me strength was thinking of my 6 year old baby girl but when I’m released from the hospital after 3 months she’s gone…guardianship was granted to someone because I apparently wasn’t supposed to recover. I haven’t spoken or seen my baby since February and won’t be anytime soon. How is this legal?

  90. Missing My Boys more than anything says:

    Try having joint custody and the other parent moving and not letting you know where and changing their numbers. And then one day they say that your oldest 12-year-old doesn’t want to come to your house anymore so if they don’t want to they don’t have to, and if they don’t then their younger brother won’t be coming either. Dealing with parental alienation and not seeing your kids for years; dealing with the other parent and stepparent bad-mouthing you to the kids where they are caught in the middle and being punished for wanting to come to see you, but the lawyers and judges can’t or won’t see what’s glaringly obvious to anyone looking at the situation. Be grateful you still have your kid. I would give my life to only deal with missing them for a week.

  91. My relationship is falling apart and unfortunately I will end up having to split custody of my 3 children ( 13, 10, 3) I literally feel sick to my stomach every time I think about it. We. I have tried to make the relationship work for the kids but I just can’t do it anymore and I’m feeling like a bad father for not sticking it out for them but it’s pretty bad right now. Is it normal to feel sick like this from the thought of missing my kids so much?

  92. I love my child she is almost four. My partner filed a domestic violence case against me which is not true. So I don’t get to see my child until the case progress. I know my child will be happy wherever she is. But I still deeply miss her and cry at least 2 to 3 times a day. I know slowly I will get there and not miss her.

    I really know that children are better than us and we should not make their life difficult because we love them. Our love should be a strength to them but not a weekness. Enjoy every minute you are with them and let them enjoy their time when they are with anybody else. some day we will not be here and that is the fact of life so. Its our choice to be happy all the time and let the children be like the same. so all the best for me and people like me. Life is short. lets enjoy every moment.

  93. It’s absolutely depressing not to be with my kids. It’s been almost 2 years of being pretty much completely blocked out of their lives. I made a lot of mistakes but I did a lot of good and was an active father. My divorce will be quite possibly finalized my daughter’s 5th birthday which I don’t even know if I’ll get to see her. I have worked on making my house the safest place It can be. Working on my depression and anger. Trying to cope with the abuse I went through and the lies committed against me perjury and purjury. If the courts use the same metrics to apply to their mother as they apply to me our kids are being foster care and that is unbelievable. I have gone to jail for telling my wife I was praying for her and trying to talk to my kids. I’m in the criminalization stage of Parenthood right now. It’s beyond depressing. Every day I have nightmares and wake up in the middle of night thinking about them. I think everything I’ve missed think of letting them down or not being able to be there. This was not my choice. Hopefully when our divorce finalizes I won’t go to jail for phone calls that are kind. And that I’ll be able to be a dad again. Seeing them once or twice every few months and then going months between seeing them is very dark. It’s impossible to know how to parent or any conditions my kids could have a funeral and I could not even know about it or be arrested if I went. Is very difficult to deal with this. I wouldn’t wish this on a bad parent.

  94. Hannah Bailey says:

    My daughter I co slept with and Breast fed. Up until recently, she hasn’t slept with my parents or anyone else. She just wanted to be with mummy. She’s started to stay over my parents now she’s in reception and you know what ? I don’t like it. I feel like a piece of my heart has been ripped out. I miss her terrible and feel like the soul of the house has gone. She is my sidekick and my everything although she drives me bonkers when she is with me ?
    How people go a week a few days months never is beyond my understanding. Thoughts are with you x

  95. Marsha Smith says:

    I am so sorry I can feel the pain in your words

  96. Jay V says it all! I hurt. I pray for the children in all of your lives. I pray also for the potential of spiritual and personal growth of all the parents involved so that we may all have a healthy family life collectively. Don’t stop praying, everyone. Please, never stop and always make the best of every situation for the sake of everyone around us including our own. I love you all.

  97. Jacquline Moore says:

    My youngest brother aunt on his dad side has legal custody of my sweet baby. I have court ordered visitation rights , but she won’t let me see my child or talk to her. I haven’t seen my baby or talked to her , hugged her , told her i love her in 4 years now i’ve missed so much i’ve been in pain & suffering for as long as we have been separated in 2017. I miss my baby sooo much.

  98. Missing My Boys says:

    I miss my boys so much…..I have joint custody (50/50) as well and every minute I am away from them hurts. My ex husband is kind of a bully….my boys don’t feel comfortable calling me or even mentioning me when they are with him. They are currently on vacation with their dad, step mom and 2 infant half brothers for 8 days. I don’t know how I will cope. I am so sad. I would really like them more than 50%.

  99. Thank you for sharing. This resonated with me. The separation is very fresh at this time and I have spent hours crying over missing my elementary school age son. I try to soak up every moment I have with him, especially right before he has to leave. It’s painful but your ideas on making the best of the times you have and reaching out when they are not with you are helpful.

  100. Tom Cruise says:

    Between a rock and a hard place,

    exactly like you say, we make plans, the kids and I, for our every more rare times together, I make it the best time ever for the kids when they come. And it is. They say so over and over, which is something that might be making things worse.

    One addition (that you don’t mention) having seen a cousin’s divorce becoming a battle between the parents to “buy the kid” by purchasing the most expensive toys ever, I try not to fall into that trap. The focus is in giving them attention that they don’t get (their mom is a social media addict), and opportunity to do crafts (anything in their official home gets destroyed by younger siblings)


    Their mom resents me, and perhaps also the kids, even more, and seems to go out of her way to block us from seeing each other (“I’m too overwhelmed to plan that,” is her usual response when I propose to help her be less overwhelmed by having the kids over, she complains over and over about how they yell and are unruly at her place, and how she “can’t get anything done.” At my place, they cook, tidy up, yes they do make some mess, but we DO things TOGETHER), crafts. Just like you say, she seems to prefer to send them anywhere else rather than to my place.

    Yet, right now I am feeling that my efforts to care for the kids are backfiring, as she sees their time with me as competing (she’s VERY competitive) in a game she can’t win. She’s in total denial on how much time the kids spend with the TV nanny, etc.

    Me? Crying. Praying. Finally fasting, it seems to help, believe it or not. At least got me out of my curl-up-and-die position. Now, finally figuring out that I need help, reach out and see from those who have gone through this. It’s Saturday, can’t get a counselor until Monday, I guess, so looking at websites, maybe there’s a magic trick someone had found ? that will fix this situation. I’ve learned a few things so far today – never talk bad about their other parent, I’m glad I never did so with the kids, but I was overcompensating by throwing her under the bus to every friend I have, one of them said that was not healthy, I now can see her point. I need to get over so much anger, but I will. If I really care for the kids. And I do, so.

    Thank you, everybody.

  101. Reading all this makes me ripped apart!! I live in a country away from my family, and the only person i have is only my daughter but its been taken away from me in a very unfairly manner of my abusive ex. Its been 3 years now but still the pain never goes away! I have her every other weekend and half of all school holidays but being a mum its not really enough. She cries a lot everytime she leaves and its breaking my heart. Living in a country just because of her and yet she is not with me, its just a feeling that is empty.
    I miss her everytime and i never stopped thinking about her.
    She was only 6 that time and now she is 9… she is my best friend and my little buddy.
    Im surprised that so many mums here that their children also not living with them. Its like a half piece of mine has been taken away.

  102. Jennifer Gibson says:

    Been co parenting for 12 years. He left me and my son when he was a few days old. Went and fought in court for many years, it’s 50/50. I have had the worse separation anxiety and depression for 12 years. It never gets better, if anything it’s getting worse. Doing the best thing I can for my child for the length of his life and being talked down to… rumors spread… called a terrible mother… it’s been such an emotional roller coaster. Now that my child is 12, he has been given and handed everything by his dad. He’s been brainwashed so bad I don’t think there is any chance he will come back to my little boy that I knew so well, and it hurts so bad. Every time I drop him off I get sick to my stomach and wish I could find some piece that my baby will be ok.

  103. My ex wife put me on a protection order for nothing that was related to her or my kids. I could not believe that the court system allows for this abuse of the law. These protection orders are tools allowed for by the courts since they don’t care. I have not seen my very young kids for years. I don’t even know them. Men are just punished in divorce for no reason.

  104. My son is 9 and my daughter is 12.Both are mix Malaysian chinese(father) and European (me).On 26th last month he said he wants us divorce,he told the kids in the same day,and on 27th we signed.I was in utter shock and confusion,but because he agreed to shared custody,I quickly signed before he changed his mind,and take full custody.He is a powerful,rich man,and he could easily bribe around and get it.I was just on spouse visa as Malaysia does not allow double citizenship.I applied for PR just 2 years back and it was rejected-but I was under Appeal process(which is something many foreign spouses go through,to get their PR)-and ensure they have a Permanent residence here.Without it,you can’t stay permanently,you’d merely get a 3-6 month stay,or 1 year visa(but you’re not allowed to work),so how to stay near my kids without Work?Besides this ridiculous rules for foreigners,I lived 12 years in Malaysia.I had made a life here,with my kids,some friends and around my husband leaving everything.My loss now is tremendous,I lost the life I knew,the marriage I knew and treasured,the husband I loved and my beautiful children whom I love more than myself.His reason is midlife crisis and anxiety,which valid as it may seem,is not enough reason to accept and move on from,I am still in utter shock.And my kids are too-even though I told them I’m here and will try my best to be near them as much,my daughter is very supportive of me and says I can do this,and she loves and is proud of me-which only shows she understands the situation,and my pain,thus what their father has done to me.He himself told them both was his decision.He took no time to think this over for the kids,or protect them,work around it and tell them later,and just tell me so we can arrange and deal with things,I would have time to prepare somehow,for myself and the kids.Which is ridiculous in itself as he protects his mom and dad from Knowing of it,and prohibited me telling-as he knows they both love me a lot.I’m so sad so scared and lonely,and my pain feels triple-as I hurt for my kids too.The other thing is that,even when joined custody,he keeps them.He keeps them for school,for being in the home/environment they know and always had,andI had to allow it because anyway I don’t know how long I’m able to stay once my visa changes to no longer a spouse,and I don’t have his money and conditions,I merely own a small apartment.He brings my kids often,but they don’t want to stay overnight or too long,because they are too used to their life as they knew it.They have friends and games on their computers,the pets-which here I can’t bring because the apartment building rule says no pets allowed and so on..I just try and do my best and keep it together,figure out my life after this and what I can do to be more with my kids.
    I see here many of you are going through hell,and I feel so sorry what you all are is like having our hearts outside our bodies,hoping and praying no one harms them..Nothing can stop the pain permanently,it is just moments we can function and many others when we can’t.Just know you are Not alone,not the only ones,and that it is Normal-all we feel and all this irrational fears are normal,they are part of the whole experience,and it may or may not go away.Perhaps we can focus on it a bit lesser and try being more engaged in the present,in things we have to do,so that when we see them,and spend time with them they see and have the best of us.Until they grow more..??I Don’t know but is what I tell myself.There is no good enough word or advice,there is no one to know what’s in your heart and how to deal with missing out so much..I hope we all can make it through,and our kids grow as full fledged beautiful human beings,as they should.Sending all my love to each of you.Maria

  105. Try having dealing with your wife allowing a total stranger move in with your child. A abusive, controlling, meth using stranger. Try dealing with every time you call he controlls the situation and when your not talking to your daughter he talks shit about you and attempts to manipulate your daughter to not talk to you. Try knowing your wife being raped by this man is your fault because if you were not such a jerk she would have never looked outside of the relationship for comfort.