Splitsville: Divorce Envy Doesn’t Go Away Once You’re Remarried

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parents date nightOnce a long time ago, before I was remarried to my husband, my daughter’s father took our little girl for the whole weekend. This was a big step for us. Up until that point, my little girl hadn’t spent an evening away from me. Her father hadn’t been responsible for her more than a couple hours at a time. But for about 36 hours, it was like I was a non-mom once again.

Of course I worried and fretted over what was going on. I missed my daughter and hoped that she was doing well. But you want to know what else I did? My then-boyfriend (now-husband) and I went to the farmer’s market and walked around holding hands. We bought up a ton of vegetables, I made homemade pasta and alfredo sauce and we created pasta primavera from scratch. And needless to say, we spend a lot of time in bed. For that one weekend, I missed my daughter, but enjoyed the time with my boyfriend.

However, my daughter’s father decided that entire weekend weren’t the best option for him. It wasn’t terribly conducive to his work schedule. In fact, nothing is conducive to his work schedule. Instead, every three weeks or so he calls me around 10 in the morning and asks if he can see our daughter that night. I say yes, he picks her up from daycare and drops her off at 8. That’s the reality of our situation.

But I feel like some of my friends still imagine that I get entire weekends to go to the farmer’s market and make homemade pasta. They think that every night my daughter sees her dad, my husband and I have these amazing dates. “It’s like free babysitting,” a friend once told me. Really, it’s just the remarried equivalent of divorce envy.

Whenever I mention that Brenna saw her dad, my mother immediately asks, “Well what did you and Scott do?” The immediate assumption is that we spent those precious hours over a candlelit meal someplace.

You want to know what really happens on those random nights off? I still don’t get done with work until 5:30. There’s two and a half hours until my daughter gets home. Maybe my husband and I spend a little quality time folding the laundry. Whatever meal we eat was probably already planned out. The meat was thawing in the fridge since the morning, so it didn’t make sense to go out to eat.

Honestly think about it, when was the last time a real date night ended at 8pm? If my husband and I are actually going to plan a romantic evening, it normally takes more than a couple hour’s notice to throw together and I appreciate having a sitter to put my daughter to bed. Date nights don’t end with bath time. I mean, they don’t end with my daughter’s bath time.

I realize that for married couples who can’t ever seem to get time alone, the idea of someone taking your children away once a week seems a little idyllic. Even once every three weeks might sound awesome. But the truth is that visitation nights are not nearly as exciting and fun-filled as anyone else might hope.

And even weekends alone probably wouldn’t recreate that first-time high. I can’t say that it isn’t a little tempting to give it a shot. But the fact is that sharing custody isn’t a chance for more “Mom & Dad” time. It’s stress. And it’s more time to miss your little ones. Really, it’s nothing to be envious of.