If most single parents are honest with themselves, they enjoy time away from their kids as well as enjoying time with them. Parenting is a tough job, and when you are doing it alone it can be an overwhelming job. Assuming that the children are safe and healthy when with the other parent, sending them off for the weekend or the rest of the week can be a blessing as well as a curse.
Many fathers are reluctant to admit this because they believe it makes them appear callous or places them squarely within the stereotype of the unconcerned dad. However, until all of the emotions surrounding the phenomenon of child custody, visitation, child support and other co-parenting issues are addressed, there will be no real growth in this area as a society.
A single mother recently wrote an article in which she seemed surprised to find that having Dad bail on plans for a few weeks, leaving her to take care of the children exclusively, was not such a bad thing. She found that spending uninterrupted time with the children was its own reward. Many fathers have discovered the same thing. However, while it is easy to admit this, it is harder to admit an equally true fact; sometimes, it is nice to send them to the other parent’s house for a few days as well. What many fathers do not realize is that they may have the right to demand some free time for themselves just as mothers do, and that they should be able to negotiate the terms of their willingness to take on more responsibility for the children.
As fathers are considered for child custody arrangements, there often seems to be an unspoken concept that the mother should not only be the natural choice for primary custody, but father’s visitations should be limited. In fighting this mistaken assumption, many fathers go overboard with taking on long periods of custody while failing to negotiate other possible concessions on the part of the mother, such as child support suspensions or reductions.
It is vital that a father have objective legal advice when considering long-term child custody, visitation and support agreements. A family law attorney can help the father ensure that he is not giving up too much in exchange for too little in order to pacify the “other parent.”
Source: The Huffington Post, “The more time I have with my kids the more time I want with my kids (the single parent paradox),” Emma Johnson, August 13, 2013.