I was advised, some time ago, to go to the courts and have custody and visitation put down on paper. This was advised to me to protect Daddy’s visitation times in case I got mad at him, so I wouldn’t be able to deny him time with his child. The thought that I would need to protect MY baby time hadn’t crossed my mind until this past week.
Last week I went back to work full-time after 4 months off for maternity leave. The first six weeks were hard. I was dealing with postpartum depression and though I was caring for my child, I didn’t feel like we were bonding. I figured everything that I was feeling was normal: anxiety, helplessness, anger, frustration. I was crying a lot, which I attributed to changing hormones, and sleeping a lot (which my mom noticed), and I attributed that to caring for the baby. Long story short, I was diagnoses with PPD, and it wasn’t until about 6 weeks in that I actually started to enjoy being a mom. So, of those 4 months off, I had 2.5 months of good, happy bonding time.
I tell you this to maybe explain why, when my time to go back to work was drawing near, I felt like I hadn’t had enough time with my baby. I wasn’t ready to be away from her all day. I am sure every mother feels that way though, regardless of their situation. So when Rachel’s daddy asked me if he could take her to a dance the Saturday after I returned to work, I was less than pleased. I pointed out to him that it was the first weekend after I go back to work, he didn’t really seem to care. I believe his response was, “I know,” or something like that. I can’t tell you why I agreed, but during my work week I certainly started to regret it.
By the time I got off work and to my child, I was away from her about 10 hours each day. She would eat, nap,wake up, eat again, and be out fo the night by 7:30pm. So, that’s 3.5 hours with my baby girl before she’s out for the night. Max. Last week her daddy had her all of Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, and most of Thursday as he picked her up from daycare after dropping his boys off at school. The only day she was at the sitter’s all day was Wednesday. By Thursday I was angry at him for wanting to take her from me Saturday night. He gets 4 days with her during the week and he wants Saturday night? No fair! He already gets more time with her than I do! By the way, I’m not counting 7:30pm – 7:30am as anyone’s time because she’s sleeping during those hours minus feeding time which she sleeps through (yes, she eats while she’s sleeping) anyway. So out of 12 hours, he got 8.5 with her for 3 days, and 7 hours on Thursday.
Now, mind you, that’s solo time for him. He stayed over Sunday and Monday nights, so he was there for my 3.5 hours before bedtime on Monday, so technically I shared. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights were all mine for my 3.5, but Friday was shared as well since I picked her up from his place and was there for at least an hour. It would have been longer except he was going somewhere with his boys.
The point of all this is that I feel entitled to the weekends. He got her during the week, so this weekend should be all mine. I had already agreed to the dance though. Suck. What to do?
Saturday he comes over after dropping his boys off at their mom’s. We were going to go fighting but I overslept and had errands to run. While I was getting ready I asked him to please not take her to the dance. He agreed with no arguement. Victory is mine! Then he said he was going to do something with her Sunday because he was kicking me out to go to the gym. My eyes bugged out I think. I had just won baby time to lose baby time the next day? Nope. I told him I wasn’t going. Maybe in a few weeks I’ll be handing her to him and running to the gym, but certainly not until I get adjusted to this new schedule.
See, I have an open door policy with J regarding our child. He can spend as much time with her that he wants. He is welcome at my apartment any time. When he is here, he’s wonderful! He cooks, he cleans, he’s a huge help to me. I think he does it because he feels if he helps me that I’ll be able to spend more time being a Mommy, and less likely to tell him to eff off and not let him see Rachel. I am so grateful for his help, but even if he didn’t I’d still have an open door policy with him. He’s her daddy, I don’t want to keep her from him. That being said…..I want my time with her too!
The guidelines for divorcing parents is that the Mother has custody, with the Father having visitation every Wednesday for a few hours and every other weekend. This policy doesn’t really work for this situation. IF I had a lawyer draw up paperwork regarding visitation, I would like it to be that I have full custody, and any time he spends with her during my work day is considered his time leaving nights and weekends for me. I don’t really know how this is going to work, but its still a very immature thought in my head and it may grow, or it may get mental weedkiller.
IF I do this though, I wouldn’t keep J from Rachel during nights or weekends, I would just basically say that anything he wants to do with her needs to include me. That’s MY time. He wants to take her to a kid event with one of his parent groups? Fine, but he should feel comfortable taking me with him. I’m not going to relinquish my time so easily, and I don’t think its fair that he should expect me to.
We’ll see what happens.