Divorce and the “Part-Time Parent”

This is going to be one of those honest posts. Many of you know my story. I am divorced with 3 kids from my first marriage. They live 4 hours away, and I see them every other weekend along with holidays and most of the Summer.

This is a difficult time in the journey. They have lived apart from me for a little over 5 years now. Distance and lack of funds have prevented me from doing a lot of things I was once able to do. They are now 11, 13, and 15. Life is busy for them. FaceTime used to be a priority for them. I’m blessed to get a text or call once a week now. I will often call or text with no reply. It’s a difficult place to be for a dad who was very hands-on when the family unit was intact. I go insane now because their life is busy and my life is busy. I am remarried with 4 other children in the house, 2 of which my current wife and I had together. They are 2 years old and 10 months old. Those of you who are parents know the demands that accompany that age.

Several of those who read have been where I am. Maybe you are the dad who gets his kids every other weekend. Maybe you know how much it hurts to not have the prominent place you wish you had. You are not alone. Some of you do not have custody of the children for personal mistakes while others lost the battle.

As someone who ministers, I know the pain of divorce and separation from my children. I know what others who walk a similar path have been through. I know the emotions that go along with this. Because of that, I don’t look with judgment but compassion. My prayer is that, despite the havoc that divorce brings, children whose father or mother is not the primary custodial parent will know that they are still deeply loved and that God would give peace and understanding to those parents who, by necessity, have to see their children less frequently.

17 thoughts on “Divorce and the “Part-Time Parent”

  1. Hi, I am sorry to hear about your divorce. I might not understand exactly how much difficult it might be for you, but I do hope that it gets easier for you, and that with time, your kids and you get a little more time to spend quality time with each other.

  2. It is tough when they are teens, and it has the distinct and heart breaking “bad guy” feeling that goes with it. Keep texting, emailing, calling, face timing, facebooking, anyway you can to stay in touch. Teenagers usually need more parenting than small children. Love them all the more!

  3. This is a nice post and I am glad that you want to be a part of their lives. I imagine how difficult it can be for a dad who’s faraway from his original family/kids and trying to juggle the new family/kids/stepkids. It’s nice to hear that you care to be a part of their lives and that you are trying. I wish my former husband cared more than he does. Or maybe he’s given up. As a minister, it would be nice for you to open that conversation with other divorced men and maybe help them along the way. Because it’s a shame that the disconnect happens even when you’re trying. As the ex-wife with primary custody, I wanted their dad to have a good relationship with our kids, but he didn’t make the effort. And it’s the collateral damage to the kids which makes me sad especially because they won’t tell him and instead vent to me. My only advice is to continue to try and not turn it around on the kids (you don’t answer me etc, like my ex does), because the father is the adult here and they are the kids. I’m not trying to be rude to you so please understand. It’s just really frustrating for everyone involved. Kids want their dads no matter the age. Be patient. Keep trying. Keep up the good work.

  4. I am also divorced with 3 children. I was telling a friend today that the only part that doesn’t get easier is being separated from my kids when it happens. Suffering is so hard, but through it God does make us more compassionate people. Thank you for this post. You and your family will be in my prayers.

  5. This sounds so much like my life. I got a divorce when my children were 4 and 6. My children are now a college freshman and a high school junior. They live with their father, which is 4 hours away from me. I’m not telling you it’s easy, but I’m telling you that God will give you strength to go through this. God is a Healer and a Restorer. Be encouraged!

  6. That sounds hard. Someday, when they’re old enough and mature enough, they’ll look back on things like your texts and calls that they didn’t answer, and they’ll know that you always cared.

  7. My father was a complete and total waste of alcoholic space… and even after he had proven to me 100 times i still craved a relationship with him. Hes been gone for over 10 years and while i dont miss him per se, i do sometimes wish things were different. My point is that you will always have a place in their hearts. They will always recognize you as their father. The fact that you try means more to them (if im a barometer) than you know. Keep trying, always try, and you will be fine.

  8. It’s tough … I know that. Just be the constant in their lives. It WILL all work itself out and it’s extraordinary how fast the time passes and suddenly they’re leaving home. Children are an absolute blessing, but don’t forget that they are also self-absorbed and at that age can only think about their own needs and wants – it’s completely normal. They do need to be explained to that you also have needs and wants! Sending you love and the message that all will be fine … just be their constant. Katie

  9. Well, keep making the effort – I learned recently from a friend, you never stop being a parent, so even though your time is short now – you will still be a parent for them forever, so that situation might change, and you could get more time in the future, or after they are grown you might be even more valuable to them. Keeping showing them you want them and love them and time will prove you as a loving parent.

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