Recently a divorced friend shared, completely unabashed, that her goal is for her daughter, who is now a teenager, is to grow up and have a child with a great man who will be a great co-parent, then end the relationship and find a loving romantic partnership with someone else.
My friend, who is an entrepreneur after having a successful corporate career and authoring several books, asked to remain anonymous. She casually mentioned her stance at a party, and the backlash was unnerving. “I’m not wired for this kind of controversy,” she said when I asked if she’d share her story here. But she encouraged me to run with it anonymously.
I really appreciate her stance. Not only is it really, really honest, I do share her sentiment, though not entirely from personal experience. My kids are with their dad one afternoon per week, and 24 hours on weekends — plus usually a few weeks in the summer. But I will say: I always look forward to that alone time, even if I’m using it to work. I am 100% a better mom because of those breaks, which afford me the time to develop parts of my life that are not focused on my kids.
Here is what my friend told me:
My dream for my daughter is that she be in a loving relationship, and have a good ex-husband who really does a great job with the kids, 50 percent of the time.
People forget the joys of divorce — sharing your kids without guilt and having alone/me time.
I am a better mom as a divorced mom than a full-time mom who was stressed and distracted. Even though I love my child, having time away from her has allowed me to have and live a more complete life — and be a better mom when I am with her.
Thanks to the fact my daughter is with her dad half the time, I have been able to nurture a lucrative career that I am very passionate about and proud of. There is so much less ‘mommy guilt’ when I have to attend evening work events or travel, because it rarely means working around my child. I just go.
I also have time to exercise, enjoy vacations that are relaxing and involve lots of book-reading, and I have had time to nurture a relationship with my new husband, with fewer of the stresses of blended families.
Plus, by the end of my kid-free week, I am recharged and ready to be a mom. If you have your kids all the time, they suck your energy, and you have little opportunity to recoup. My married friends could never compete kids afternoon events and activities. I’m the mom who throws the sushi parties, and spends afternoon with my daughter and her friends making cupcakes. I gave my daughter some wonderful experiences because I missed her and wanted our time together to be special and memorable. And because I work full-time, I have the financial resources to take her on trips and other special activities.
My sister is a married, working mom with two kids and she can barely get away to go to the gym. She feels guilty when leaving her kids with nanny or babysitter because they are in daycare all day. If her husband takes the kids, then she spends time alone without him. They lose their connection as a couple and become work horses sacrificing for their children — the very reason so many marriages end in divorce.
When I shared this stance stance with other women, they thought I was a terrible person for encouraging divorce, splitting up families and for wanting time to myself. “What kind of mother doesn’t want to be with their kids fulltime?” But the moms I see are stressed out and don’t enjoy their children as much as they could — if they had consistent breaks.
What do you think? Is she a better mom or worse mom for this stance? What is your experience? Does co-parenting make you a better mom, or worse? Share in the comments!
Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post’s ‘Must Read” list.
Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.
A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.