Whose Weekend Is It Anyway?

*This probably belongs on a blog, but since no one ever reads them, really, I thought I'd post here for conversation. 

Anyone remember their younger days of weekends and summers filled with beach days, sleepovers, mall and movie trips, walking to McDonalds or the park to meet up, bbq's and bonfires, and all the other fun memories with groups of friends? I don't.  At least not the way many of my friends remember it. 

I was a kid of divorce. I bore the label of part-time kid. Part time with mom. Part time with dad. Part times that depended solely on their convenience. I never got 'a say' of how or where I spent my weekends or summers because what I wanted usually wasn't "convenient" for their co-parenting [divorced] decision. So there I was, living my part-times out of a backpack, being shuffled from one house to another, for the convenience of my parents.  

Those times when the most important thing in my life was passing tissues to my best friend after her most recent breakup with her most recent boyfriend… or when getting dressed up together for 8th grade graduation just HAD to happen… or the sleepover after our first homecoming dance so we could stay up all night giggling over our dorky dates... or any and all of those life changing moments with friends... doing what I wanted to choose to do never happened because it was "the other parent's weekend."  To show me how much they loved me, their idea of letting me know I was of value to them, was enforcing strict visiting rules; "When it's my weekend, you spend the weekend with me because it's "my" time with you." Meanwhile, MY weekends creating lifetime memories with friends was being robbed.

Does this sounds like a selfish dramatic brat who ought to be grateful to have two parents who love her? …and who shouldn't think time with friends is more important than with her parents? 

Here's my thinking:
It was my mother and father's choice to NOT honor their vows or learn/be willing to sacrifice their own selfish desires and needs for the benefit of the other, or their offspring.  It was not mine. In fact, I was the one who ended up doing all the self sacrificing! Rather than putting the betterment of their marriage and the family they created before themselves, they quit on us. They decided that their own needs and desires were more important and more valuable than making the choice to sacrifice their wanting something different, thinking there was better or more, or that…cliche coming….the grass would be greener [for them] outside of the marriage and family [unit].

To sum it up, because my parents weren't willing to die to themselves and put their spouse and children's needs before their own in many capacities within the marriage/family system, they choose divorce as the outcome. Because of their choice, I was forced to be the one left to do the sacrificing. I was given very few choices of my own. I believed I wasn't a valuable commodity within the family but rather a bargaining tool, a pawn, and an inconvenience to whoever couldn't manage to babysit me for the weekend and shuffled me off to the other (or screamed and yelled and cursed because the other couldn't or wouldn't take me).

In the end, I am not despaired because the end of my story is a "happily ever after one."  In all of this, missing out on many weekends and summers that should've been the times of my life I learned some of the greatest lessons in life! Not that I would wish it on another, or put this same burden on my own children, but the Phoenix did rise from the ashes. I learned  1) how loving it is to sacrifice my needs for the sake of another, and how powerful it is in strengthening true love and eternal bonds. 2) that divorce didn't have to happen for me. Even when my husband and I hit some rough spots, putting all our efforts into figuring it out and working together for the sake of our marriage and family, is what needed to happen.  3) that kids need choices too. Their social life doesn't seem as important to adults as our greater 'adult" issues, especially when we are in the heat of it all, but it is the most important thing to them. they are kids. they think like kids. and they should be allowed to be kids--they'll be concerned with the greater things in life soon enough.   

Lastly, I sometimes wonder if people ever consider that divorce is so much harder than marriage? It takes more work, more energy and time, more stress, more trouble, more money, more heartaches. I always wondered if half the effort parents put into getting a divorce was instead, put back into getting ahead in their marriage, what that outcome would be? Why are so many willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to END something that was once true for them, rather than sacrifice what it takes to excel it? 

Interested in hearing others thoughts.

john blackwood March 10, 2014 at 01:44 PM
@Southernbelle .Yes but it might be to much for you,unless your like one of them wild bucking horses ? Then you might have a chance.
Darla March 10, 2014 at 03:07 PM
Southernbelle... well written, very nicely said. Maybe this will make some parents think. Sharing!
southernbelle March 10, 2014 at 09:01 PM
I don't get you John? Pls...explain.
southernbelle March 10, 2014 at 09:02 PM
Thank you Darla. I had hoped it might help someone change direction if able.
Darla March 11, 2014 at 01:54 PM
When my kids were small and her their father and I divorced, we never had set weekends. Our life revolved around them, we attended functions as a family and even holidays and birthdays. We never wanted our children to feel like they had to chose a parent. They were priority. And even though they are grown, they still are.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »