Undone by 208

My oldest, week 6
My oldest, week 6

Where has the time gone? I’ve had almost 10 years with my boys and I have no idea where the time went. They have birthdays coming up and what have I done to celebrate them? Where are all the pictures and scrapbooks commemorating their lives? How do I remember how little they were and celebrate what they are becoming?

I just watched a time lapse video of a girl from infant to 14, *so before reading any farther watch the video.

I find myself grasping at memories of what was.  I am trying to picture their little faces. I want to hear the

Week 52
Week 52

cute things they used to say. I want to smell their freshly washed skin again. And all to no avail. I am undone.

As they sleep upstairs in the quiet morning, I see how much they’ve grown and how far they will go. As a divorced mom, I will only see them half of the time they are growing up. I did the math. My oldest is almost 10. He has 8 years until graduation. With 52 weeks a year times 8 years, there are 416 weeks left until he’s moved out. But, I will only have him in my home 208 weeks. 208 weeks sounds like a lot, but 520 have already passed… I am undone.

Week 468
Week 468

I let the reality seep in. My mission is clear. I must make the most of my time with my boys, it is valuable to me. I must schedule my time around according the value I place on being available to them. They only have one mom. There is no other mom who can do the job of being mom to these boys. God placed them in my hands.

I’ve discovered 5 ways to make the most of 208 weeks:

  1. Hiring a babysitter. I’ve just decided if a girl’s night out, fun event, date or anything else that requires a hiring a babysitter lands on my weeks, I will most likely say no. When my boys are at their Dad’s I have free reign. When the 208 weeks is over, I will have all the time in the world.
  2. Helping with church or other volunteer opportunities. Unless my boys can be involved, I will protect their time and say no. I value helping and serving, but I value my time with my boys more. It may be a no for now, but not forever.
  3. Make weekends fun! I have set aside a budget for weekend activities. We decide ahead of time what we’d like to do and make a plan. We don’t always agree, but we pack in as much as we can.
  4. Turn the radio off in the car. Car time is great talking time for us. So much about their lives is revealed while we’re driving to school, the grocery store, to football. I get to hear about life with their dad, their friends at school and what kids these days are into. It’s also a great time for us to talk about the hard stuff like, “why are you and dad divorced, I wish we all lived in one house.” Somehow, not being face to face is a little less intense and my kids open up more.
  5. Evening time is kid time. After a long day working, making dinner, showers, I’m beat and crave some time alone watching real grown up shows and catching up on Facebook. However, I have discovered a beautiful little window into my boys’ world by watching what they watch, playing the games they play with them and just getting some shoulder to shoulder time. It’s even very relaxing and a great way for me to unwind too.

Are you a divorced parent? Have you done the math too? I’d love to hear what you do to make your time more meaningful with your kids! Share your ideas here.  Allowing ourselves to be undone by the reality of 208 weeks moves us into action so the time isn’t wasted.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Robin Saunders says:

    Tough reality. Beautiful insight. God – driven plan. Mom – driven heart. Thank you for sharing it. You’re amazing.

  2. gretchen lapham says:

    I love this, my friend.

  3. tedthonus says:

    Nice read! I have one at 156 and one at 130 (weeks left until 18)…Best recent bonding experience was suggested by Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel – they called it “Stair Prayer” and it’s been awesome! Regardless of what’s going on, at 9:00 pm we all meet at the staircase and pray for each other, thank God for the day and read the bible together. Prior to this my prayer with them was spotty at best – now it’s consistent and being received really well.

  4. Lydia Au says:

    This is a beautiful article which captures and describes how precious is the time with our children. I am a biological mother and a stepmother. Both mothering roles are unique and important, and no one else can relate to my sons in the special ways that I relate to them.

    About your children, you wrote:
    “They only have one mom. There is no other mom who can do the job of being mom to these boys. God placed them in my hands.”

    Your boys are indeed blessed to be so cherished. One day, they might also have a stepmother. I hope your boys will be supported if they decide they’d like to love her as a mother too. Both biological mother and stepmother are equally important, yet unique in their roles. Your boys will need both sets of your capable hands to co-parent them well, especially as they spend half their time in each household.

    Thank you for writing as a divorced mom. No matter what story we each have, or what kind of mom we are (step, biological, adoptive), we are all mothers, and can support and celebrate each other.

    God’s great blessings to you and your family!

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