How do I adjust to being a part-time parent?

In a world of helicopter parents and tiger moms, it can be difficult to embrace being a part-time divorced parent. But there are many reasons why this can be a status to celebrate.

No one is suggesting that these parents wouldn't prefer to give their children the gift of an intact home with both parents present. Unfortunately, life doesn't always work out so smoothly. If you are burdened by guilt for being a part-time mom or dad, the following tips on how to learn to enjoy your evolving role may be insightful.

Admitting that you enjoy some me-time or down-time with the old gang does not make you a bad parent. It means that you are a human being who has needs that must be met in order for you to parent effectively.

If you share custody with a former spouse, you may be looking for ways to fill up the space and time that was always before crammed with your kids and their needs. Now it's time to figure out what you want to do with this child-free niche in your life.

Take the time to reconnect with old friends or meet new ones, attend a lecture series or audit a class. Volunteer at the Humane Society or befriend a lonely senior citizen living in a nursing home. Go once a week to a paint-and-sip gathering or spend a couple hours wandering through an art gallery.

What you do is not nearly as important as the fact that you are rejuvenated by the activity. That allows you to reunite with your children joyfully and remain present in the moment with them.

Maybe you simply are not "there" yet. If you are several months in to a separation or divorce and still find yourself paralyzed by grief from the split, ask your primary care physician or California family law attorney to recommend a counselor you could see to help you cope with your grief and depression.

Source: Slate, "Confessions of a Part-Time Mom," Lara Bazelon, accessed Oct. 06, 2017

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