Alejandra Gutierrez, LCSW

How to crack part-time Parenting

What is a “part-time” parent?

Parenting is hard and a new generation of parents are facing unique challenges in optimizing their parenting time. The modern family has many parenting configurations but one that is frequently left out is part time parenting. Part time parents are parents who have parenting time for part of the week and spend the rest of their time without children under their care. If you only have your child for part of the week or are on a custody schedule you are a part-time parent. 

Day to day parental choices may look different when you’re parenting part time. Whether your children are with you or not you are always a parent. Here’s we’re talking about your parenting time vs. your role as a parent. You may at times experience guilt and feel a need to catch up and “make up for lost time.” There is no lost time. Time spent with you or your (healthy) coparent is valuable. Neither parent’s time is more or less valuable so you’ll find it helpful to transition out of the mindset that there is any lost time at all.

Let’s get into some practical tips to managing the unique difficulties tied to custody schedules and parenting time schedules.

4 Important things to remember

1.Quality over quantity

When you have your little for only half the week it’s easy to get into the mindset that you need to maximize your time. In part time parenting you are trusting that the other parent is also meeting your child’s needs. Focus on dedicated pockets of quality time instead of focusing on quantity.

2.Household Hacks

The smallest things become a bit more difficult with kids in and out of the home. Consider shopping in smaller quantities and weekly vs. bulk shopping. It’s easy to overshop but remember the kids won’t be there to eat everyday. 

3.Routine

The kids are with you for a set period of time. The transitions are hard on them and knowing exactly what to expect at your house can be crucial. Even more so if things are a bit chaotic at your ex’s house. Consider setting a detailed daily routine.

4.Mastering the transition

The transition is one of the most difficult days. When your children arrive ask them about their time at their parents house. Show interest and listen without asking information seeking questions. Try to keep a ritual around how they enter and leave your hose and most importly affirm that it can be difficult making this transition. 

Conclusion

If you’re struggling to find your stride in the midst of the revolving door. If by the time your child returns you feel as frazzled as when you sent them to your co parent’s house it may be time to get support. Counseling for you, a part time parent, can be a great resource. You can join our community here.