Ugh, I bet they had the time of their lives this weekend with their dad. They probably ate ice cream all day long. I’m sure they haven’t even started their homework. Why do I always have to be the parent that takes care of everything?
Yes, you’re steaming. It’s time for the dreaded pick up from your ex. All you want to do is smack the smirk right off of his face.
Let me ask you a real honest question: How do you feel after you give him the attitude as your kids run into your car and you load them up? How do you feel after you get into another disagreement and exchange unkind words once again in front of the kids? How do you feel when you look your kids in the face and say, ‘So, what did you do with daddy all weekend?’
Guilt. A whole truckload of awful guilt.
I get it. We all get it. It’s tough.
These situations require a whole lot of prayer and a strength that is supernatural. Being able to have a friendly, respectful exchange of your kids needs to become your new superpower.
In the previous blog, we inspected the daily ‘mom guilt’ that can be turned into great opportunities. And, the exchanges with your ex is another great opportunity to display a respect that can change the world.
The reason is powerful: The ice cream will not harm them. The transfer of guilt onto your kids will ruin their ability to have healthy relationships of their own in the future. Their future is on the line.
I know this isn’t a feel good blog, but it is an essential blog. Often we simply need to understand the results of our actions to be inspired to change. The result of this one affects the core of your heart – your children.
How do we have a healthy exchange of the kids with the ex?
STEP 1: Always prepare yourself. You know what is coming and you know how you’ll want to react to the swell of negative feelings. In your mind think of how you can keep it so simple, so positive, and let go of the past so the future visits can be happier. Create an inner dialogue that resonates with positivity: The kids have been looking forward to the weekend. Here’s their stuff. If you get a little time, would you mind taking a look at their homework with them? If not, no worries. Hey kids, have a great weekend!
And GO! Do not ask what they will do, what they will eat, who they will see. It’s not your time to control them. Be a consistent, loving mom.
Yes, the first time will be very hard to follow through on this; however, the change will feel so good and powerful.
STEP 2: Letting go of the past is essential to moving forward. There was a good reason for the divorce, and that reason can be summarized in one thought: neither of you were living a happy, healthy life together.
Perhaps you didn’t want the divorce, perhaps you feel like there was more to do to keep it together, perhaps there was, but that is not the way that chapter ended. It was not all your fault.
Now is the time to let go of the guilt and embrace the opportunity to be healthy, loving parents. There truly cannot be a greater gift for children than to experience happy parents whether they are together or apart.
STEP 3: Have a great conversation with your children when you pick them up from being with their dad. Promise to protect them from feeling ‘guilty’ for enjoying their time with their dad. Welcome them back in the kindest, loving way that also respects their dad.
Hey, tell me what was your favorite thing you did with your dad this weekend? I can’t wait to hear all about it! I bet that was a blast! How cool! He loves having time with you because he loves you!
Reinforce the truth. Affirm their experiences. Be love.