With the state of the nation right now, parents have to take extra precautions when it comes to our children. Some parents in the medical field have made the difficult decision to send their child(ren) away to a safe relative until the threat has passed. Others who share custody have agreed that exchanges which would require long travel or put a household that includes health compromised members at-risk is not a choice they’re willing to make. What they all have in common is that those parents are feeling the heartache of being apart from their children for an unknown period of time. As a mom who doesn’t have primary custody, I have more experience than I would care to have when it comes to bridging the distance when you can’t be together.
Here are my tips for surviving the hardship:
With my older children, I like to read whatever book they’re reading on my own so we can discuss it together. I’ve found myself really enjoying some of these titles like the “Spy School” series. For younger children, I would recommend reading to them at night via FaceTime or even just over the phone when possible. Even if you have to record yourself reading and send that file over for them to watch when convenient. Keeping this routine in place is a great way to continue to feel connected on a regular basis.
Get A List Of Questions To Ask
Phone conversations with some children can be difficult to keep momentum. To avoid awkward silences grab a list of questions to ask kids off Pinterest. I’ve enjoyed “100 Would You Rather Questions for Kids” and “50+ Funny Questions To Ask Your Kids…” These are really fun ice breakers that can help you to not only keep the conversation going but also build some fun, silly memories.
Be Pen Pals
If your child is old enough to write letters, use this time to help them stay sharp with reading and writing by becoming pen pals. Send a roll of self-addressed and stamped envelopes with your first letter so they can easily respond. For smaller kids, sending something drawings back and forth can be just as fun! If you have the ability, send them a coloring book from Amazon and send one to yourself as well. Then you can send back and forth the same colored pictures. It’s a way of doing the same thing together even though you’re apart.
Keep A Journal
For your momma’s heart, it’s important to process your feelings so they don’t bottle up and eat you alive. I highly recommend keeping a nightly journal where you process your feelings. Even if you only write out your daily ‘rose’ and ‘thorn’ (1 good thing and 1 bad thing) from each day you will find that it can alleviate some stress. I like to write down something funny my kids have said so I can look back on it when I am really missing them.
Mommas, if you’re in this position with me, I’m sorry. I know how much your heart is hurting and I am holding space for you. If you have tips to share with others in our situation I’d love for you to share those too.