Tag Archives: single parent

Divorce For Grown-Ups

Divorce for Grown-Ups: 5 Tips on Achieving Your Best New Normal

None of us is immune to divorce and I’m here to prove it.  Though I was trained and practiced as a marriage and family therapist, I have had my fair share of moments where it didn’t matter.  It didn’t save me from the ick.  And I’m grateful, because those experiences have taught me the most.

My ex-husband and I met in a doctoral program in Social Work. We waited to marry (we were 30).  We planned long enough to have a child that I was labeled a geriatric mother (I was 35).   And yet today, I am still the divorced mother of a twelve year old child.  What-are-ya-gonna-do?

Alas, there are no guarantees in life. And although divorce is difficult and challenges will always remain, I personally discovered you can make your journey to the new normal easier on you and your kids, with no Ph.D. required:

 

  • Respect Survival Mode. A friend introduced the idea of “Survival Mode” to me during my separation when I was (yet, again) revisiting the facts, feelings and current state of our marital dissolution…I was deep in my feelings and in my head. She stopped me and said, “You know, you don’t have to do this to yourself.  You’re in Survival Mode.  Let’s save the therapeutic analysis for when you are not trying to just put one foot in front of the other and be a good mom.”  Wait? What? I don’t have to do this to myself?

When someone is trying to survive in the desert, they don’t spend a lot of energy and brainpower on how they ended up there and how unfair it is.  Instead, they focus on getting out – on surviving.  It was a very freeing for an over-analytical person like me to give myself the gift of giving myself a freaking break—and just get through now, this moment, today. There will be time for the post-mortem—later.  And I did it, when I had the bandwidth to do it.

 

  • Take off your spouse hat. Stop viewing the world (including your ex’s actions) through the perspective of being that person’s spouse. You’re not anymore, so stop. When your ex does anything – the more view that action as their spouse, the more likely it will do a number on you.

The only hat you are allowed to wear is your parent hat. Period.  You will be amazed by how much you can take off your plate once you make this one adjustment to your perspective.  It is not your job to make your ex a better person, or at least not a jerk, in your eyes.  You’re done.  Not your problem.  Off the hook.  You only ask: How does this directly impact my kid and their relationship? And don’t try to warp the issue into being about your kid, when it’s really just about the spouse hat you’re still sporting. Hat off.  And see how much better you breathe.

And bonus: the moment you stop acting like something bothers you is the moment it may stop happening, so stop taking the bait. A little secret I discovered…

 

  • Don’t wait for the karma train. You feel wronged.  Treated badly. Undeservedly so. Yep. That sucks.  Not fair.  Stop screaming at the sky and demanding the karma train to hurry up and get’em.  Because each day that you focus on thinking your ex is “getting away with it” or has “won” is another day you have wasted not getting your best life.  Focus on you, your life. Things have a way of working out, but you are not in charge of the timeline.  So deal.  Go back to figuring out your new normal and living well.

 

  • Social media lives forever. Don’t Vaguebook about your ex. Don’t outright hash it out publicly on social media.  Your kids and lawyer will thank you.  Stop.  It’s a bad look and your friends are cringing for you.

 

  • You are a teaching tool. Remember, your kids are watching and learning important life lessons from you at this moment about how to be resilient, face disappointment (and reality), and conquer challenge—all needed life skills. It’s ok to show vulnerability though—they should also know perfection isn’t a realistic goal. Just be human with superhuman tendencies.

~Dr.L~

 

Dr. L is divorced mom with a global consultancy based out of North Carolina. 

Holiday Realness

I’m sitting writing something I wasn’t going to.

My sadness at being without G during the holidays.

It is the reality of being a single parent during the holidays. It’s a choice you make. It doesn’t make it any less hard.

On everybody.

Luckily we have gotten G to a place where she revels in multiple meals, knows Santa will find her and cherishes her different traditions.

Don’t get me wrong it’s not all lollipops and roses and my anxiety raises starting in October, because I know it means behind the scenes I have to start holiday negotiations and frankly it’s awful. It just is.

I try really hard to keep my chin up,but this year in particular I fell on my face. My chin dragged on the floor the minute I called her from my office to say goodbye. Knowing I wouldn’t see her for the next few days.

Truth bomb when she is here typically we are in the same room on our respective electronics, but she’s HERE.

It’s especially lonely when you’re alone. I don’t have anyone I go home to. OK, my golden doodle and while he is majestic…it’s not the same.

While at work I watched as the families are excited about plans with loved ones. Running errands at Target, families stuffing carts. At my favorite wine shop where I got two bottles of wine, couples making negotiations about how Thanksgiving is going to go.

So I wear a lot of waterproof mascara, try to stay away from social media and keep to myself.

Pro tip: maybe John Mayer’s song Stop this Train, while an absolutely beautiful song should be avoided. You may burst into tears. In you car. In the Target parking lot.

Here’s the thing, G needs time with her Dad and his family. It’s so important to have those traditions and I wouldn’t dream of taking that time away. But this is the same guy who lets her stay up late and thinks pizza is a food group. So I worry. I miss her. I get lonely. As much as people say the holidays are hard for people and be compassionate, when it’s in their face it isn’t as easy to deal with as they post on Facebook. Sadly those are things you find out as a single parent. Not everyone is here to hold your hand. Friendsgiving invites are few and far between.

I think it’s harder this year for me because she’s hitting an age where she needs me less. Which will DEFINITELY be a blog for another day.

I’m a pretty independent person but I’m human.

“I have a happy personality with a heavy soul. Sometimes it gets weird.”

However, I am lucky. I have some people I can reach out to. Which as a guarded girl I still struggle with. Here’s the thing being sad doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human. So last night I poured a glass of wine, and chatted with one of my favorite fellow single Moms. I set some boundaries for myself. I had a good cry.

I snuggled with my majestic doodle. I let myself be sad.

The holidays are hard. Remember not everything is easy and that’s ok. You don’t have to be tough all the time. But maybe remember to let people in. Breathe. Share. I know it’s hard.

Let people love you. Let people hold your hand. Find the people you can chat with at 1030 at night who let you swear like a pirate, cry and make silly promises.

Give yourself a moment.

You got this Mama.

I believe in you.

~~Caprise

Single Mom of the amazing Dbl G
Teacher
Sometime DJ
T-shirt collector
Henry Rollins Middle Aged Punk Prom Date

Who Cares How You ‘feel’ ????

So raising a teenager is an interesting exercise and raising one as a single mom without the Dad involved is sooooo much more interesting…a discussion a moment ago:

Me: do your oral presentation, you need to video it and review everything before you do.
Boy: that’s sooooooooo much work, I don’t feel like it, it’s too hard.
Me: I don’t give a flying xxx how you feel, get up and get moving on it.
Me: NOW WHAT ARE YOU DOING????
Boy: Looking for an apartment, I can’t wait to get out of here.
Me: I can send you to Grammy and Papa Steve, then you will really see what’s it’s like to have to work.
Boy: Just let me film this, you will do it wrong if you help me, just go in your office and DO NOT listen to me making this video.
Me: (Leaving the room, laughing to myself)
Me: (from my office) It sounds great!
Boy: STOP LISTENING!!!!!
I share this moment in time with you because it illustrates the point I want to make today about how it doesn’t matter how you feel when you need to get something done. Effective and successful people pay very little attention to how they ‘feel’ in the moment and it certainly never stops them from getting anything done.
We are producing results when we are sad, ill, pissed off, worried, happy, tired and sick of everything. Too many people out there right now operate based on how they ‘feel’ and then they whine and complain about how their lives don’t look the way they want.
There is NO easy button, if you want to make something happen, get off your ass and do something about it…don’t tell us how you ‘feel’ , it doesn’t matter to us because we are BUSY producing results. If your life isn’t what you want –DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
My son says I am mean:)—yet here is what I know for sure when this kid leaves my house he will be an effective, contributing member of society able to take care of himself, pay his bills and give back in service to others. I don’t care if he ‘likes’ me, I care that he learns how to produce results and serve humanity. Most of the time I didn’t like my Grandfather or my Mother—I thought they were awful and soooo mean…however if it wasn’t for their ‘meanness’ I would likely have given up when life got really hard years back…some days it is still really hard, yet I am up to the task, well-trained in how to be a warrior…I can thank my ‘mean’ Italian relatives for that! Thank GOD they had the courage to be ‘mean’ and that they didn’t accept weakness or excuses or whining…because now I am successful in spite of tons of things that tried hard to get in my way.
You can do WHATEVER you set your mind too, you just have to keep pushing through the crap no matter how you feel in the moment. Just keep moving, after a while the obstacles give up and fade away…