I know other moms who envy my life. I get regular breaks where I can sleep in, go on dates, get a mani-pedi, or go out with friends, and I don’t have to pay for a babysitter.

I get to do all of those things because I share custody of Smiley with his dad. I’ve only had a babysitter three times in the past 16 months, in fact–a very close friend of mine twice, and once my stepmom. It’s reassuring to me that he’s either with me or with his father (or his grandmother–but that’s fodder for another post in itself). I worry about the upheaval but the fact that he’s almost always with one of his parents is important.

I love that I can sleep in (and sleep soundly) when Smiley is with his dad. I love that I can have a couple of drinks and not worry about being “on.” I love having the freedom.

But I hate it.

I miss my boy so much. It’s heart-wrenching to drop him off at daycare on a Friday morning when I know I won’t see him again until Monday evening. That’s way too long to go without seeing him. I have no idea what goes on in his head–he’s only 16 months old, and we’ve been on the same schedule since he was 3 months old–and I hope he doesn’t miss me. (There’s a teeny, tiny part of me that does hope he misses me, but I don’t want my child in any pain, and I’d rather he just have a great time no matter where he is or who he’s with.)

I am learning to live in the moment, but those days when I know I won’t see my son for three days…it just kills me. I get updates from his dad (irregularly), but knowing I can’t just grab him and squeeze him and cuddle him whenever I want really sucks. I have an actual ache in my stomach…an emptiness… Smiley is part of me, and I cannot bear being apart from him.

I don’t mean to be melodramatic, but that’s the way it feels. The most important person in my world, my heart, is not there, and I ache.

A mani/pedi just doesn’t make up for that.

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