My fiancé has his two children 50 percent of the time, while I have my daughter all the time. I am constantly telling him how lucky he is.
It seems like an appalling thing to say — but I am envious. More often than not, I find myself resentful of his setup with his ex-wife (my ex lives in another city).
My daughter is the true love of my life. But if you love your career (as I do), it gets increasingly difficult to get work done when you are — for the most part — a single mother. I have to stop work at 3:30 pm to pick up my daughter from school. And then I’m her chauffeur, taking her to acting classes, singing lessons, and art.
Meanwhile, on the days my fiancé doesn’t have his children, he works until 6 pm, if not 7. Oh, how I wish I had those extra hours! He also doesn’t have to get his children up, dressed, and out the door (not to mention make them dinner and oversee homework). I’m embarrassed to say it, but we argue about this — not the fact that I have my daughter, but that he doesn’t get that my work suffers because of it.
Yes, my heart cracks when my daughter takes off with her father, even for a few days. But it also feels like a vacation — a working vacation, where I can completely concentrate on my career knowing that she’s in good hands. (I can start working in my pajamas at 6 am and go till 6 pm!)
My fiancé asks me why my daughter needs to do so many after-school programs. Or why I don’t just leave her at after-care. But to me that’s just punishing my daughter by taking away the programs she adores. Plus, I love watching her.
Despite our discussions, he doesn’t get it — this constant feeling of my career being second to his all because he has the luxury of “time off.” Sometimes, when he doesn’t have his children, he sleeps in, taking his time getting to work, sipping coffee. I do not have that luxury, and it is a luxury, at least from the view of a type-A ambitious woman.
I can’t blame him for his setup. But sometimes I wish he could see how lucky he is. His children are wonderful, kind, and well-rounded; clearly, the 50-50 split is working for them.
Some people couldn’t possibly wrap their heads around seeing their children just half the time. But there is joy in joint custody. At least it looks that way to me.