Me, Myself and…My Dog: Alternate Parenting Weekend Part 2 – by Cara Potapshyn Meyers

Day 1

My son left for school at the very last minute and hugged me as if he were going away for a year. I think he just wanted to take a long smell of my “momminess” before he left. It reminded me of the infant days when I would wear a shirt that accumulated my “scent” and wrap it over his crib sheet so that he would think I was nearby, thus soothing his cries.

I smiled my biggest smile and waved as my husband drove off with my son to school. Then a few tears appeared. I choked them back because I knew he would be fine this weekend. My Mother-in-Law would be away for a week. I knew he wouldn’t have to contend with her. Her presence alone could put anyone on edge, especially my sensitive son.

I decided to get the more important “busy work” out of the way. I paid bills, returned belated e-mails and emptied my junk e-mail box to it’s entirety. I sent e-cards to friends who had birthdays coming up because I just couldn’t get to the card store in time. I also sent some e-cards to friends who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I signed my son up for special programs and ordered some household items online. I even was able to work on my son’s Lego contraption that had the faulty part. I would love to put his new table together this weekend and have this Lego aircraft sitting on it, fully complete! What a wonderful way of showing my son that I missed him and was thinking of him this weekend!

I do miss him. I miss his laughter and endless calls for “Mommy!” I miss refereeing the “tumble play” between my son and our dog. I can tell my dog misses it to. He is at his “post,” waiting for my son to come home. But he isn’t whimpering…yet. I will have to take him for a couple good springtime walks this weekend to get him nice and tired.

I promised myself that I would wait until my son called me to say goodnight to avoid the scenario that occurred with my husband last weekend. My husband called so many times that my son became frustrated with him and told my husband that he would speak with his father later because he was busy with me. My already shattered heart couldn’t deal with that type of pain, regardless of the situation.

So, I sit and wait. Along with my dog. Putting Legos together to pass the time.

Day 2 

I kept wondering whether today was Saturday or Sunday. It should have been obvious since my husband would have my son for today anyway. For some reason there was an “oddness” to the day.

I made my awesome corned beef and cabbage! And, yes, it was awesome! Just ask the dog! I also took my Happy Dog for a nice “Happy Dog” walk. He was thrilled! He even met a younger female dog of his breed that he played with for a while. I was glad we both had a chance to get out in the sun and Spring air! It gave both of us a little lift.

My son called me last night. Although brief, it made me feel good to hear from him. His father also texted me a picture of a crystal project my son did. I knew my Mother-in-Law was not there because from the look of my son’s shirt in the photo, there is no way she would allow a messy project like that be done in her home.

I did get to assemble the new table for my son’s room! Now if I can only get that Lego contraption put together, my “special treat” for my son would be finished! I’ll hopefully get to that as well as rearrange my own bedroom tomorrow.

I also received a couple playdate calls for my son. I had to explain to these Moms our family’s new weekend arrangement. I think the Moms were disappointed that they couldn’t get their pedicures done.

Day 3

I think I may be enjoying this time alone a little too much. With the exception of my dog,  who wakes up at the same time as my son, with the birds, I am finding that the peace and quiet on the weekend mornings to be more to my liking. Thus, I am more productive and organized. Waking up to my son banging on objects to resemble drums and screeching just to hear his own pitch, is not exactly conducive to a soft introduction to the day. Yes, I miss my son more than ever. But I think that by having this enveloping stillness in the house every other weekend may gives my nerves a chance to revive themselves and my stress level to lower a bit. We can only hope.

I took my dog for another springtime walk. This time we went even further! It feels nice getting out each day to enjoy this unusually warm March weather! “Happy Dog” was quite exhausted by the time we came home.

I tried to put together the rest of my son’s Lego set. No such luck. This set is missing pieces and is so fragile that it crumbles apart when you try to put one small piece on it! I asked my son if he would mind if I glued it together with Crazy Glue. He said he didn’t mind. Once this thing is put together, no one would dare try to take it apart and reassemble it anyway.

My son finally came home happy and excited to see me, our dog, his own things, and he literally collapsed onto his own bed. I only got to spend about a half hour with him before he peacefully drifted off to sleep.

I came to a wise conclusion this weekend. I begrudgingly admit that the court knows what it is doing and why. As hard as I tried to do what would be in the best interest of my son (continuing with dividing the weekends between my husband and me because my son was already comfortable with that arrangement), I found that having a whole 3 days to yourself to be rejuvenating. The court, in ordering alternate weekends, is giving each parent a chance to revive themselves so that when it is their turn to be the parent-in-charge, each parent is rested and ready to assume the child rearing responsibilities. 

Alternate weekend parenting is certainly not in the best interest of the children. It is, however, in the best interest of the parents. When you are a single Mom with absolutely no outside help whatsoever, you desperately need some scheduled time for yourself. I missed my son like crazy, but I was a refreshed and eager to parent once he came back home.

Once my son spends a few weekends at his Grandmother’s, we’ll see how this arrangement affects him. Any signs of disinterest in school or his normal extracurricular activities will warrant a reassessment. For now, though, it seems to be working. My greatest hope is that it continues to work well for us all.


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