I get it, May. When you look at it as a nebulous concept, losing time with your children feels absolutely impossible. But then you define it, and you start to rationalise how to live with it. And looking at it rationally— would I wring my hands if my son had a weekly sleepover with his grandparents? Or with friends? Or even with his father if we were all under the one roof? Honestly, I wouldn’t, and neither would you with your girls.
That being said, I’d struggle with a 50/50 arrangement. My parallel parenting situation and my personal beliefs about early child development do not align with the concept of equal shared custody. I’m fortunate that I still get to see my kid every day, even if he doesn’t sleep at home with me. But if I didn’t, it would still be okay. I would make it okay so that he never had to feel any guilt or discomfort or responsibility for wanting to spend time with his dad.
Maybe it would alleviate some of your fears to play around with some custody calculators/calendars online and visualise potential schedules. A lot of them have examples of standard schedules for 80/20, 70/30, 60/40 etc share time. I found that plotting out some different options helped me put things in perspective. You can figure out what your comfort levels are with various arrangements and what you might be able to do with your free time.
A year ago, I’d have cried at the thought of a 70/30 schedule, but now I’m the one suggesting it. 30% is considered substantial and significant time for a three-year old by the court, and he deserves to have that time with his dad, regardless of the circumstances of our divorce. You’ve said all along that your girls have a caring and involved father. When you put your feelings aside, I know you’d do it for them, because they deserve it.
Doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be terribly, terribly hard. (((May)))