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Falling Out of The Loop As a Single Parent

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When you lose 70% of your time with your kids you quickly find yourself out of the loop. Your kids and your ex move along as if you are simply away on a business trip. While you are now in need of a place to live, and a renewed goal in your life.

Out of the Loop

All of life as a parent is a feedback loop. When you become a parent everything changes in your life. All your initial plans and dreams take a back seat to the support and love of your children. The plan, when we had kids was to cooperate and collaborate as co-parents from conception to college. Things didn’t work out that way.

The way things worked out, in my unfair state of Texas, is I got the short side of the divorce package. Two weekends a month. And one night on the off weeks. An entire week with only one day of contact with your kids. And try as hard as you can, you can’t make up for the loss of contact. As a 1/3 parent, my house, and my time was more like a hotel or vacation. Everything happened at mom’s house. And weekends at dad’s house were just part of life.

I loved my kids with all my heart from the moment I caught my son as he slid into my hands and joined our world. And I never imagined that my wife would make a decision to break us apart and severe the 100% co-parenting agreement we made BEFORE we conceived of our first child.

Today, 11 years later I am slowly rebuilding a relationship with my two kids, now away at college. But there is so much of their childhood that I was not given access to. Prom nights. Birthdays. Boyfriends and girlfriends. I did the best I could with my time.

Refinding Our Connections With Our Children

As our kids launch into the world, leaving home for college, I had imagined that I would’ve been there at every step along the way. As it stands, I am still playing catch-up. But, the one thing I know: I gave my kids as much love and attention as I could during the lean 11 years.

It’s still my belief that my obligation to my kids is paramount to my own goals and ambitions. ANNNDDD, there’s not much more that I can do. Both kids are launched. My role now is very similar to my non-custodial dad’s role. I don’t have a lot of time or opportunities to engage with my kids. I have to reach out. Keep reaching out. And let go of any outcome.

I cannot heal the fracture of lost time. I can only make the coming years the best years as a father to both of my kids.


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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