When I became pregnant with the twins at the ripe old age of 33, I was gainfully employed, more or less psychologically sound, and relatively mature. The fact that I'd only dated their father for 5 months was insufficient cause for me to consider not continuing with the pregnancy. At the time I was madly in love and foresaw a rosy future for us and our soon-to-be-twins.
What happened next, anyone could have predicted from the less-than-sunny-sidelines of my life: the twins, the hormones, the fighting, the crying, the sleep deprivation, my feelings of betrayal and heartbreak when he seemed disinterested/bored/impatient with our babies.
When the twins were 9 months old, I bought myself a small cheap house in the northern reaches of Washington State, commuted to my big money job over an hour away while my Mom watched the babies, and attempted to start over as a single mother. Though the twin's father and I never married, he wanted to be in their lives, and we agreed that he'd see them every other weekend from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon.
From the beginning, especially for the first two years of the twin's lives, I would be so utterly exhausted, I'd fall asleep at my desk at work, and slap myself awake every day driving home. I'd look forward to his weekends with the twins to catch up on my sleep, clean the house, and sleep some more.
Now that I'm remarried and have a 20 month old, the joint custody arrangement is still bittersweet. I miss them sorely, I hope and pray that our cooperation helps ease their transition between homes, and I and my husband try and give them a good, secure, happy loving home life, sharing birthdays and holidays with their Dad & his new wife.
But this every other weekend respite. Is. So. Lovely. And no, I don't recommend breaking up with your spouse in order to get a break. Nor do I recommend getting very very ill in order to have a week in bed. What I am saying is that everyone should have what I have, but without the drama & heartbreak & the missing of the children.
Every mama and daddy deserve time to recharge -- to sing loudly to bad country music, dance around the house, get a massage, have coffee while staring outside and not have to answer questions about Jesus, sleep in until (I don't know, I'm feeling CRAZY today) 8 or 9am.
I can't describe to you fully how sorry I am that my lovely daughters will have to live with my mistakes for the rest of their upbringing.
But I work with what I have and it's this: I use their time at their Dad's to recharge so that when they get back, I can be stronger, and more devoted, and more loving than I was when they left.