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Fears All Divorced Moms Are Familiar With

4 Fears All Divorced Moms Are Familiar With

Fears All Divorced Moms Are Familiar With

 

I have now been raising my kiddos solo for approximately two years.

Something that had not entered my head prior to my separation was all of the fears that I would now face raising these two beautiful kids on my own.

The “what ifs” have kept me up at night for many nights and I am sure I am not alone with this. Some of us are afraid if we call out our fears we may sound crazy or irrational, or maybe it will manifest them to reality, or maybe we just are too busy trying to be brave that we are afraid to admit we are scared as fuck!

I will share just a few of my fears here and also some ideas on how to handle them or mitigate them, so if the worst does happen we can be prepared somewhat.

4 Fears All Divorced Moms Are Familiar With

1. What if I die? What will happen to my babies? (I am sure that this affects all moms, not just single ones, and probably most dads too but for me, it was almost an obsessive thought for the first year of my single mama life.)

Go talk to a lawyer!!  Make sure you have a will and a solid plan. This will give you peace of mind should the unthinkable happen. Talk to your family about your wishes as well. Ensure you have adequate life insurance coverage. And then let it the f%&$ go because it is out of your control and it will eat away at you to live with this fear each day.

2. What if I am driving and something happens to me causing me to be unresponsive? (Or maybe not driving but for me, I have always feared a car accident that leaves me injured and my kids to deal with that on their own)

Again, this maybe isn’t a single mama dilemma so much, but I certainly worry more about this now than I did when I was married.

At the recommendation of a first responder (a very handsome firefighter I should add) immediately add a contact in your phone under “ICE” which stands for in case of emergency. Police, EMS, and Firefighters may be able to access your phone and will look for this person to contact. Also, add this information to a piece of paper and put it in your wallet with your driver’s license.

Teach your kids age-appropriate ways to handle this. Show them how to call 911, have an emergency plan in place just in case. Once I made these changes and discussed a plan with my kids (ages 6 and 11) I was able to stop obsessing over this fear.

3. Who will care for my kids if I am sick? Or, “How can I get help or medication for one while the other is sleeping? Or various versions of this type of situation…I’m sure you have imagined several scenarios or maybe even lived through them already!

Find your tribe! Surround yourself with lovely people that are willing to drop off medication or ginger ale in the middle of the night while their spouse or older children hold down their fort. Have various medications, Pedialyte or similar, and ginger ale on hand.  And this, I will capitalize, as it was a huge roadblock for me at first. DO NOT FEEL GUILTY FOR ASKING FOR HELP! It does not make you a failure or make you appear incapable. Let the guilt go and allow your friends and family to help you.

4. Holding it together…

This is by far the biggest fear I’ve had to face so far settling into our new “normal.” There is NO one to tag out to at the end or a crazy day or night. What if we break down in front of our kids? What if they walk into our room while we are sobbing helplessly on the floor because it is all just so overwhelming?

Well, mamas…  I have learned that this will happen. And that it is okay. Our kids will learn that moms have fears, emotions, and moments where we just need to cry it out, just as they do. They will learn that mom goes down but always manages to find the strength to get back up!

Fears will always be present mamas! It is how we face them and prepare for them that makes us stronger.

The post 4 Fears All Divorced Moms Are Familiar With appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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divorced dad

Why Don’t Divorced Dads Turn To Each Other For Support Like Divorced Moms Do?

divorced dad

 

My Facebook feed is filled with divorced or almost divorced women turning to each other for support and there is one thing you won’t find on there:

Men.

Single dads and divorced dads are not gathering in tribes on social media boards or in person to chat about their plight and experience with divorce even if they want to.

Why not?

Why Divorced Dads Don’t Turn to Each Other for Support

A study published in 2000 in the Psychological Review, showed that stressed women “tend and befriend” while men go for the “fight or flight” option. Researchers suggest that this is due to the fact that when stressed, men’s brains omit less oxytocin, that feel-good love hormone than women. And according to statistics produced by the American Psychological association in 2011, women (70%) are more apt to do something to reduce their stress than men (50%) are.

No matter which way we slice it, research shows that men tend to go the solo route when it comes to working through stress while women look for company along the way.

Men don’t want to raise their hands and say, “Hey everyone, my life sucks,” or “I miss my ex-wife,” or “It’s really hard raising kids in a single-parent home.”

Doing that would mean admitting pain and hardship, something that isn’t considered a masculine trait and let’s face it, while women have been the oppressed gender from the start, men also suffer from unfair stereotypes and expectations. Men aren’t oppressed, they are REPRESSED emotionally!

It’s not OK for a man to cry.

Be a man, suck it up.

You’ve heard those phrases tossed around and so have I.

We tell men to be brave and strong and to keep a straight face. This doesn’t leave a lot of room for grief and sadness.

So it isn’t surprising then that single dads and divorced men are not looking for a support group, but to me, this limits divorced men and single dads from moving past divorce in a healthy way.

If men could form groups or did form groups, it could help them grieve divorce and learn new parenting strategies from other dads. If a man did reach out to another man to say, “Hey, how did you find a good custody schedule,” or “Is mediation the better route?” it would be beneficial for that divorcing dad.

Going solo on such a huge adventure like becoming a divorced, single dad seems risky, from my female-wired brain. It could also be the reason men seem to jump into new relationships, faster.

A new partner might just be the divorced man’s support group, but that is problematic too. Someone you’re romantically interested in shouldn’t be a springboard for grief and renewal.

So for all the divorced dads out there, why not see befriending or growing your support network of other divorced and single dads in a different light, rather than seeing it as a “b*tch fest” or gathering like a group of old ladies?

See reaching out for support as a:

  • Chance to network: Maybe your new friends will have good business contacts or even better, cute single female friends.
  • Chance to mentor: If you’re a single dad mentoring a man who’s going through the divorce process, you can be a father figure to someone going through the experience—an adoptive son or little brother, as it were.
  • Chance to learn from others: Use your man brain and be logical: someone who has been there or done that will know certain pitfalls to avoid as you go through the divorce process that you wouldn’t have known without asking someone in the “know.”

To all the divorced dads or “going through a divorce” dads, why not do things a little differently in your life this time around? Making contacts and building a support network isn’t just for women. It’s for smart people who want to make a huge life adjustment a bit easier or in other words, it’s for you!

The post Why Don’t Divorced Dads Turn To Each Other For Support Like Divorced Moms Do? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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divorced couples therapist

Confessions Of a Divorced Couples Therapist

divorced couples therapist

 

I was having a conversation with a friend recently, and she shared with me news that a mutual acquaintance of ours was in the process of a “messy divorce.” I don’t know them well. Certainly not well enough to know what their struggles are, or have been.

However, she shared a very detailed account of their relationship. She shared who did what, how each responded, etc. As I listened, I thought to myself; this is not my business. Only this couple really knows the truth of what is happening (and even they may not be perceiving it correctly!).

I knew that what I was hearing was:

  • not my business;
  • probably not the whole story, or entirely accurate;
  • going to be different, depending on whether partner A or partner B told it;
  • the source of a lot of pain for this couple; and
  • not going to benefit anyone for me to know their business.

So, I said, “It sounds like their family is hurting, and I am sure they both have a story that makes their choices make sense. I am certainly not one to judge!”

Two years ago, I could have just as easily been the topic of this conversation, and likely was for some people. Two years ago, I got divorced.

Divorce is a juicy subject.

I understand the compelling desire to talk about what’s going on in another’s marriage. My mom, who was a part of this conversation with my friend and me, chimed in with the comment, “I think a lot of people get anxious about their marriages when they hear about someone else divorcing.” Out makes sense that by hypothesizing about how “wrong” someone else has behaved, and how it “ruined” their relationship, we seek affirmation that we are not like them and that our marriage is safe.

Confessions Of a Divorced Couples Therapist

I have wanted to write a newsletter on this topic for some time now. However, each time I thought about sitting down to my computer to write this newsletter, I heard a knock on my door. So I would get up, walk down the hall, open the door and in stormed Fear. Fear would say to me, “If you share this information, the world will think you are a failure, and who would want to work with you if they knew you were divorced?”

A divorced relationship therapist. Fear convinced me this is an oxymoron, that these two concepts were contradictory. Helping couples make their relationships work, while meanwhile being divorced. Fear told me that I was like a car mechanic with an automobile that wouldn’t run, or a financial investor filing for bankruptcy, or a realtor with her own house on the market for a year and counting.

Fear was convincing and persistent, and I let her plant her seeds of shame, and then I watered them with my silence. Each time she came knocking at my door, I invited her in. Fear convinced me I was a failure.

Finally, I did what I would advise others to do in a situation like this. I got myself a Coach. Ironically, it never occurred to me to ask her if she has ever divorced. That didn’t matter to me, (isn’t that interesting, I thought to myself). We met regularly, and she challenged me to question what Fear was telling me. She gently nudged me to find my voice, my deepest truth, the part of me that is real. Imagine that, this coaching stuff works!

You cannot force self-awareness. That is the power of having a coach or therapist to assist you. A good coach offers you a nonjudgmental, objective, and safe space to sort through the details of your situation. Fortunately, I had a good coach.

As time passed, Fear continued to visit. I stopped inviting her in, but I still opened the door, said, “hello,” and offered her a seat on my porch. Until one day, I went to my door and standing beside Fear; I noticed Freedom.

Freedom said, “Can you see me?”

And I said, “Yes, why do you ask?”

She replied, “Because I’ve been here all along, waiting for you to notice me.”

Freedom said, “I am here to remind you that you always have a choice. You can continue to focus on Fear. I will not take her away from you. She will always be available to you.” “However,” she said, “You also have the choice to turn your attention toward me. We will both always be here. It is up to you to decide which voice you will choose to hear.”

As I listened to Freedom, I began to feel lighter in spirit, and a sense of peace wash over me.

Freedom explained to me, “Fear has encouraged you to judge and berate yourself for the failure of your relationship.” She continued, “I am not here to convince you that you didn’t fail. I am here to help you see your truth.” She asked me, “Can you be at peace with your divorce?” And, she asked me, “What have you learned from this failure?” Freedom then inquired, “What good has come from feeling ashamed, and from believing you have failed?” And lastly, she wondered, “Can you fail at something without being a failure?”

I sat with these questions for a long while. Months and months. Over time, I noticed that Fear was no longer in sight. When I opened my door, I no longer saw her on my porch. Nor was she in my driveway, or down the street. Occasionally, I would think I saw her drive by, but she doesn’t stop and linger anymore.

What I know today is that that divorcing was simply the right choice for me.

I should have divorced. I needed to divorce. And, I did divorce. It has become that simple (not to be confused with easy or painless) for me. By staying, I would have failed myself. I had a choice. Fail my marriage, or fail myself? I choose to fail my marriage. (And, unfortunately, in the process I failed myself in some ways, too). It’s just that today, I accept my failures. I choose to learn from my failures.

I made a decision that was right for me. It took me two years to accept that it doesn’t matter who judges me as long as I cease to judge myself.

I wonder if Fear has been knocking on your door? If so, be sure to keep an eye out for Freedom. She is much, much better company.

The post Confessions Of a Divorced Couples Therapist appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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How to Heal Your Relationship With Your Divorced Dad During the Holidays

How to Heal Your Relationship With Your Divorced Dad During the Holidays

Often people think they should feel a sense of warmth, togetherness, and gratitude on the holidays. By managing your expectations, keeping your situation in perspective, and choosing not to be victim, you can reclaim your power.

The post How to Heal Your Relationship With Your Divorced Dad During the Holidays appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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divorced but still feel married

Divorced But Still, Feel Married? Here’s How To Cut The Cord

divorced but still feel married

Are you divorced but feel like the only thing that has changed is your address? Living in two separate households only to find that distance doesn’t always equal freedom?

Have you just survived the worst time of your life by the skin of your teeth, yet it still feels like you are in the trenches?

Divorced But Still Feel Married?

I thought divorce papers were my ticket to freedom.  I would sign the papers and somehow it would magically dissolve everything… cut all ties.  Boy was I in for a rude awakening!  Little did I know that a piece of paper didn’t guarantee that I would be divorced energetically.

Let me explain what I mean by being physically divorced, but energetically still married.  

Marriage is defined by a union of two people…a partnership, which can be dissolved at any time on paper.  Whenever we bond with someone, as in marriage, we physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, as well as energetically connect to that person. 

We are energetic beings that create many kinds of attachments.  Although we can physically divorce our partner, that does not mean that we energetically detach from them after the divorce is finalized.

This explains how you can physically be miles apart, yet still, feel like nothing has changed. They still have the same power over you just like they did while you were married.  

One text has the power to bring you right back to the darkest days of your life.  One phone call reminds you why you filed for divorce in the first place. Your thoughts about them have the power to paralyze your entire body keeping you stuck and unable to move forward.

What you have yet to realize is that you are still CHAINED, still TETHERED to what has rendered you powerless.

Let me paint you a picture. Imagine your intestines being tied into tiny little knots, and all the food you’ve ingested is unable to make its way down into your stomach.  This would stop you from eliminating waste, and your body would quickly build up toxins and make you sick.

This is what it looks like to be stuck energetically to something that no longer serves you. In essence, you have been tied in energetic knots. Unable to move and grow, and evolve into the next phase of your life.

So, how do you shake this??!!

How can you cut this energy cord after a separation once and for all?!

The first step is knowing your truth. 

Put the fight down!  Put down the need to prove or defend yourself to anyone.  See your ex as a mirror.  What are they triggering inside of you that you believe about yourself? 

Do you believe that you are unworthy of love, that you are a bad person, that you deserved to be punished? Do you have guilt or shame attached to your divorce? If you cannot put the limiting story down you will keep letting your triggers own you. 

This is when you need to work on reprogramming those beliefs of yours because if you didn’t believe them their words would have no power over you.

Subconsciously we believe these ugly little lies.  Most of the time we are completely unaware of it.  Unaware of the inner chatter that has the power to bring us to our knees.

The second step is owning your story and walking away from the victim mindset. 

You are not a victim of your divorce! I don’t care who wanted the divorce and who didn’t want the divorce.  So many people feel the need to cast blame after divorce.  They feel the need to make one party the victim and the other party the culprit. 

The truth is if you label yourself as “The Victim,” you will disarm yourself of all your power.  Is that what you really want…a constant pity party?

Put the story down!

Your marriage is over…the end! No need to rally the troops to fight a battle only to keep the energetic cords alive.  Do you want to win or do you want to be happy?

The third step is doing the work to figure out what brought you to the unconscious relationship in the first place. 

Let me tell you that the answer to this will not be outside yourself.  Ask the questions that you didn’t have the courage or awareness to ask yourself prior to the relationship. 

It’s shocking to think that I never asked myself these questions until my mid-thirties, and I know I’m not alone in this! They are the most basic and fundamental questions:

WHO AM I? HOW DID I GET HERE? WHAT AM I INTERESTED IN? WHO WAS I BEFORE I WAS WHAT EVERYBODY ELSE NEEDED ME TO BE?  

Let me tell you how powerful the universe is. The minute I asked the right questions I got the answers loud and clear…like the very next day! But this doesn’t happen without surrender, without letting go of how you think things should be and accepting what is. 

Accepting what is takes work. It takes courage. It takes owning your part and wearing it like a badge of honor, not as an anchor.

I am guessing you don’t know how to do the “work” otherwise you would have done it already. So, let me give you a taste of what doing the work meant for me…

Once I was ready to put down the sword and really step into my power, well this was where the journey began. I realized I needed support.

The box I created for myself didn’t have the necessary tools I needed to get out.  I sought after counselors and coaches. I found mentors virtually because they were far and few between in my circle. I read books, I went to women’s retreats, I created new friendships that supported my journey, I listened to podcasts.

I did anything and everything to empower myself, and even when I didn’t feel powerful I let this virtual family that I created hold me up until I could do it alone. And I did it all with grace and compassion for myself.  I wasn’t in a race to some imaginary finish line. There is no finish line!

The fourth step just might be the most difficult step of all…FORGIVENESS. 

I’m not going to lie, my ego will still try and pull one over me at times. I still get triggered and it brings me to a place of righteousness.  When that happens, I forgive myself for being human and having a human experience. 

I have realized that most of these feelings come from generations of women before me. Generations of women living in lack, in fear, in comparison, in the need to defend or prove themselves.

The truth is nobody has the power to make you feel this way unless YOU give it to them. So, in forgiving my ex I was forgiving myself.

The Hawaiian’s have a beautiful prayer of forgiveness and healing relationships called ho’oponopono, which goes like this…

 I’m sorry.  Please forgive me.  Thank you. I love you.  

 I know, the thought of saying this might make you cringe, but this prayer really is about setting yourself free.  This is what is going to allow you to cut the energetic cord, the cord that still binds you.

The fifth and final step is to actually cut the energetic cord.  

Physical relationships create the strongest of energetic cords.  At one point you bonded with this person in the most intimate of ways, and divorce papers won’t wash that away.  Why is it necessary to cut these cords?

So that you can break the attachment that causes you to still react to this person, and step into a place of self-love. It’s a great way to disarm them and empower you.

In intimate relationships, cords are typically attached from the heart center.  Begin with closing your eyes and putting one hand over your heart, or wherever you feel the attachment stems from.

You can visualize your ex standing in front of you with an energy cord that attaches you two together.  Set the intention of not allowing any more energy exchanged with this person.  

You then move your hand up and down as if your cutting a rope with an axe.  Visualize yourself cutting the energy cord once and for all.

This is what worked for me in order to sever the chords that attached us.  It is a process that takes lots of intention.  

You will see for yourself that the power they once had over you will disappear, and you will have new-found freedom you never thought possible.

The post Divorced But Still, Feel Married? Here’s How To Cut The Cord appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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divorce and life insurance

Getting Divorced? Don’t Forget about Life Insurance

divorce and life insurance

 

If you’re a divorced woman, chances are you’ve got a lot on your plate right now. The chaotic and difficult process of getting divorced means you’ll spend lots of time weeding through the marital assets, separating finances, and sorting out vital things like custody of children. Getting financially stable after a divorce is no easy feat, and there are lots to manage.

One area many divorcing couples overlook is life insurance. As a divorced woman, the challenges addressed by securing life insurance are two-fold. First and foremost, any existing policies will need to be adjusted to change beneficiaries and ensure the protection of child support or alimony payments. Secondly, you’ll need to consider the best kind of life insurance policy for your situation and how much coverage you’ll need moving forward.

Here are a few items to add to your to-do list as a divorcee to ensure you and any dependents are financially protected, both in the short term and the foreseeable future.

Getting Divorced? Don’t Forget about Life Insurance

Changing Beneficiaries

When you were married, your spouse was probably listed as the primary beneficiary on your life insurance policy. After all, the entire point of life insurance is to shelter your family and loved ones if your income is lost through a tragic death. A life insurance policy is a crucial contingency plan for meeting financial obligations like mortgages, car payments, and putting food on the table.

After a divorce, much of that calculus changes. If you are divorced without children, chances are you’re not keen to see your spouse benefit on the event of your demise. No matter your marital status, life insurance companies don’t dispute who receives payouts on a policy. For the company, it’s a simple contract between the insurance carrier and the policyholder. The beneficiary is whomever you documented when you took out the policy, and that won’t change unless you file a specific request with the company.

Changing beneficiaries is usually a straightforward process of contacting your life insurance carrier. Unless you have a policy with irrevocable beneficiaries, you can specify someone new to receive the payout upon your death with minimal paperwork and fuss. Some insurance carriers provide ways to accomplish this online, while others require going through a broker or submitting notarized documentation.

And remember, life insurance isn’t the only thing you’ll need to update. Remember to switch over other insurance policies, including health, home, and auto insurance. It’s also essential to change the beneficiaries in any legal documentation that might survive you, like a will and a power of attorney.

Policies with Cash Value

Some permanent life insurance policies, such as whole life or universal life policies, accumulate cash value. As you pay premiums, a portion of the money goes into an investment fund that can expand as the stocks rise. If you’ve had such a policy and recently divorced, you probably discovered the balance in that fund is considered part of the marital assets. You’ll typically have two options—keep the policy and continue paying premiums or cash out and divide the spoils.

For typical term life insurance policies, no payout is made until death occurs or the policy period expires. However, for whole and universal life insurance policies, you can choose to decline any potential death benefit in lieu of taking the current cash value of the policy. Therefore, these kinds of permanent life insurance policies are considered part of your net worth as a couple and get divided as assets during the divorce settlement accordingly.

You may also want to speak to a financial advisor in addition to your divorce attorney before making any critical decisions about dissolving or dividing assets. Financial experts can give you advice about how to handle transitioning not only insurance policies but also other assets like 401(k) and retirement plans in a way that’s equitable for both spouses and avoids tax penalties.

Protect Your Income

When you get divorced, life insurance isn’t solely about covering your lost income for the dependents you leave behind. It’s also about replacing any potential child support or alimony payments if you or your former spouse should die. For the parent who retains primary custody after a divorce, a life insurance policy is a crucial safety net that can cover the costs associated with raising children, including future financial necessities like supporting them through college.

There are several ways to handle securing life insurance coverage on your former spouse. Some couples choose to make the stipulations about the policy and premiums part of the divorce decree. The court may even order the head of the household to take out a life insurance policy as part of the settlement. In cases where the court requires a spouse to maintain a life insurance policy after divorce, the coverage and duration mandated usually reflect the obligation. For example, if the life insurance is intended to cover a significant loss of income and child support for the custodial parent, the policy term will usually need to extend until the dependents are 18 or 21.

Financial Security for Children

If you carried a life insurance policy during the marriage to provide for your children in the event of a death, that need still exists. Plus, in an acrimonious divorce, things don’t always work out according to plan. If you have concerns about whether your former spouse will follow-through on making payments, take control of the life insurance policy yourself and pay the premiums to avoid any risk of coverage lapse. Even if the coverage was specified as part of your divorce decree, it may take time and significant hassle to get follow through on those stipulations enforced by the court. In the interim, you want the assurance that your policy is paid up and your coverage current.

When you’re raising children as a single parent, protecting your own income becomes doubly important after a divorce. In the event of your death, while arrangements may be made for someone you trust to care for your children, you’ll still want them to enjoy financial security through a generous life insurance benefit. The simplest way to calculate how much life insurance coverage you’ll need is to take the number of years until your child turns 18 or 21, then multiply it by your annual income. That amount is the bare minimum of insurance coverage you should be securing per child.

You can name your child as a beneficiary, but be aware that policies typically don’t pay out to a dependent under the age of majority. Instead, the court will appoint a custodian, usually the surviving parent, to supervise holding the funds in an account until your child is of age. If you don’t want your former spouse to be appointed by the court, specify a custodian as part of the policy.

A Word of Warning

If you’re still in the process of finalizing a divorce or in the beginning stages of filing for one, consult with your divorce attorney before taking any action. In most cases, assets are frozen during the process of a divorce and both parties are required to be fully transparent about any financial obligations, including insurance policies. Changing beneficiaries or coverage during divorce proceedings could raise red flags and unnecessarily prolong and complicate your settlement.

You should, however, do your research and be prepared to suggest any policy changes or premiums you want specified as part of the divorce decree. While divorce can be a painful process, it’s also an opportunity to take charge of your financial future and secure stability for both yourself and your dependents.

The post Getting Divorced? Don’t Forget about Life Insurance appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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summer child care options

12 Summer Child Care Options for the Divorced Mom

summer child care options

 

Once I was divorced and did not have the financial resources I’d previously had to send my children to enriching or fun day camps and away camps, or hang out at a local pool with them all day long I had to sew together a patchwork quilt of summer child care options to get us through the summer while I worked.

It was always a near miss in which I was thinking, “Oh no, what will I do for this week or that week?” But, somehow, by using every single one of the options below plus some I may have forgotten, we made it through, mostly in one piece.

12 Options for Summer Child Care Options:

1. Counselor in Training: If your kids are 13 or 14, they may qualify for some counselor-in-training programs. I got my 14-year-old into one and it has served her well ever since (even though she opted not to continue that program the following summer). Most of these DO cost something. Swallow your pride and resolve to sit down with the financial aid application for these programs. We got an excellent deal. I did pay some of it, but my ex also chipped in seeing as he couldn’t babysit either.

2. Camps Offer Financial Aid: Even if you don’t think you qualify for summer camp financial aid, you might. I did not think I would, but I did qualify. No matter what the child’s age, there are camps all over the place and the issue is deciding which ones work for your kids and for your situation. Most of them offer scholarships and financial aid. Again, try to jump over the pride hurdle. And do your best to jump over the “I don’t have time to fill out the paperwork” hurdle. I say this in a loving way, of course. I had to give myself pep talks over and over again. I never liked asking for help, but, lo and behold, I needed help and so did my children. I did what I had to do.

3. Neighborhood Teens: Babysitters in my area make more than some of the divorced moms I know. However, one thing I have learned in business is that you can negotiate anything. ANYTHING! You just have to ask for what you need and tell people what you can and cannot afford.

4. Craigslist: Post for a sitter on Craigslist. I tried posting on college campuses but the youth in my area responded to the Craiglist posts. I had some excellent candidates. Of course, I couldn’t pay top dollar but they were still willing to work with me. Somehow, someway, you can find a sitter who will work within your parameters. This doesn’t come challenge-free, but you can find a solution—even if it is a stop-gap measure. One day I will write about the fiasco of hiring a sitter to pick up my 12-year-old child who refused to answer her phone and refused to be where she was supposed to be for pickup. That was one frustrated and unhappy babysitter. But, it worked for a little while.

5. Tweens can be Mother’s Helpers for Others: Line up mother’s helper gigs for tweens and younger teens. This worked for one summer with my middle child and has served her well.

6. Get a Job: I strongly suggested to my son that he get certified as a lifeguard. I had to make it all happen, but this has provided income for him ever since. Even now in college, he lifeguards on the side.

7. Swim Team: Swim team is a mixed bag. On one hand, your child gets good daily exercise and something to do. On the other hand, you’ve got those five-hour-long meets. And our teams wanted all parents to work the meets. Eventually, we had to bow out of that commitment. But for some of you, it might work out.

8. Grandma Camp!: First I had to package the idea of my kids coming to visit as “fun.” Then I had to package going to their grandparents’ house as a “vacation.” Somehow, when we could manage it, it all seemed to work.

9. Friends! I never would have thought of this one myself. However, I had several friends offer to have my kids come to stay for a week with them over the summer. Thank goodness for friends, is all I can say.

10. Vacation Time: Save your paid vacation time for summer as much as you can. It’s great to go away for holidays and all that but the summer is more pressing. You will probably be providing your own childcare for some of this time.

11. Dad Camp!: Don’t withhold time that the kids can spend with their dad. Use it! Let HIM do some of the work. You need a break. Also as a child of divorce, I can say that even though my dad was/is a piece of work and not the greatest dad, I still relished the time I spent with him. Parents can be jerks, but we still need them. Your kids will like extra time with dad as long as he isn’t truly neglectful (legal definition) or truly abusive.

12. Vacation Bible School: Hear me out on this one if you are not particularly religious. Most of the VBS’s I have observed operate much like any other preschool or daycare program. They color, they sing, the eat watermelon. It isn’t usually a bigtime dose of religion. And if you are desperate, churches are good for things like desperation. This is actually where they excel. They can be a safety net.

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Getting Divorced is Hard: Here’s How Women Can Stay Healthy

getting divorced is hard

 

There is no denying that divorce is an incredibly painful experience. The range of emotions you might feel, from anger to depression, can be similar to the kind of grief that accompanies a physical loss. Fortunately, there are ways to find, and maintain, your emotional balance during this difficult time.

According to US News & World Report, self-care can have both immediate and long-term benefits. It can reduce your risk of chronic health problems and keep you mentally sharp. Here are four tips for staying healthy during a divorce.

Getting Divorced is Hard: 4 Ways to Stay Healthy

Get Exercise

Staying fit doesn’t need to involve anything fancy. According to the Mayo Clinic, any amount of physical exercise can have immediate benefits. You can improve your mood, maintain your weight, and help you get better sleep. All of these are important during a divorce, when things may feel really out of whack. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator at the office or walking around the block during your lunch break. Exercise can also be a social experience.

Get your friends together to power walk at the mall or commit to a regular spin class. Getting out and staying social can help you avoid falling into a mental rut in the midst of your divorce.

Eat Healthily

Maintaining an exercise routine and eating healthy go hand-in-hand. We all respond to stress in different ways. Some of us might stress eat or avoid food entirely, which can cause our weight to fluctuate.

Take control of your diet by eliminating unhealthy foods like chips and soda. Try your best to eat three square meals per day that balance carbs, protein, and healthy fats. You might feel like eating is the last thing you want to do. Something simple like a smoothie or comforting like a grilled cheese sandwich can give you the nourishment you need when you’re hungry without the effort of making a full meal.

Stick to a Routine

Mental Health America advises against going through a divorce completely on your own. A smart smoke detector can send you alerts on your phone so you can focus on your daily routine knowing your home is protected.

Make sure to get up and go to work at the same time every day and do your best to maintain connections with the friends and family that care about you. It’s also okay to give yourself permission to grieve and be angry or frustrated. Emotional healing takes time. It’s perfectly normal to not rebound immediately.

Explore your interests away from the activities you enjoyed with your partner. Invest in yourself and the things you’ve always wanted to do. Sign up for a painting class or volunteer at a local charity. Things might not feel the same anymore but broadening your horizons can help you focus on the future as you begin to build a new life for yourself.

If you have children, take time to listen to their worries. Reassure them that the divorce is not their fault. Keep their daily and weekly routines as stable as possible. If there were activities that you all did together as a family, you can either adjust them or create new ones.

Create a Mind-Body Balance

Self-care isn’t just about tending to the physical body; our emotional bodies need love and support, too. Work either on your own or with a counselor to build a mind-body practice that makes sense for you. It might involve meditating, yoga, prayer, or deep breathing.

Most importantly, remember to value yourself. You are important and worthwhile, and nothing can change that. These tips can help guide you towards finding your equilibrium in the chaos.

The post Getting Divorced is Hard: Here’s How Women Can Stay Healthy appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Divorced Moms: A Few Father’s Day Do’s and Don’ts

father's day

 

As a single mother on Father’s Day, sometimes it can be a little lonely when the children are not by your side, but it is essential to recognize the importance, in your children’s eyes, of spending time with their father – particularly on Father’s Day.

Just as on Mother’s Day, when, as it should be, the mother is properly recognized for all of her contributions to the family, it is equally as important that the children are able to spend time with and recognize their father on their special day.

A Few Father’s Day Do’s and Don’ts

In order to help prepare for not spending time with your children on Father’s Day, here’s a helpful guide of “Do’s and Don’ts” that I have found to be useful in my consultations with clients on the topic of Father’s Day and visitation when the parents are separated.

It should go without saying these suggestions apply equally to Mother’s Day when the children are spending time with their mother, but since Father’s Day is rapidly approaching, we will start from there. So without further ado, here is my helpful list of do’s and don’ts for a single mother on Father’s Day:

Do’s for a Single Mother on Father’s Day

  1. Do encourage your children to spend time with their father on Father’s Day. Keep any negative feelings to yourself until after the children have left so that they can enjoy a guilt-free day with their dad.
  2. Do step aside for the day and allow the father to shine, even if only for one day.
  3. Do make sure your children – if they do not reside in the same geographical area as their father, or if Dad is deployed or working overseas – contact and speak with their father. If possible, connect them through some video conferencing, Skype, Facetime, or a similar application that allows the children and their father to see each other while they’re talking.
  4. Do have the children create a Father’s Day card and/or encourage your children to make a homemade gift for their father.
  5. Do take time for yourself and enjoy some quality time with your family or friends. Make plans that don’t involve the children, such as brunch, a movie, or a spa day with friends.

Don’ts for a Single Mother on Father’s Day

  1. Don’t make plans or schedule other activities on Father’s Day that would deprive the father of the opportunity to spend time with the children on Father’s Day.
  2. Don’t disparage or otherwise denigrate Father to or around the children. This tip should apply year-round – not just on Father’s Day
  3. Don’t prohibit the children from spending time with or contacting Father on Father’s Day.
  4. Don’t allow the children to dictate the terms of their timesharing with Father over Father’s Day.
  5. Don’t despair: Mother’s Day occurs in May, so make sure these same do’s and don’ts apply for your special day when it comes around each year!

While certainly not an exhaustive list, I hope these do’s and don’ts will help to provide some guidelines on how best to handle – and ensure a smooth timesharing experience for your child – Father’s Day after divorce.

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The Value of Divorced Dads: On Father’s Day And Every Day

divorced dads

Lessons of love always begin in childhood with the parent/child relationship. If children feel authentically loved by a father they will grow up knowing how to love others.

 

Father’s Day is just another day around my house. My father passed away13 years ago and my ex-husband has no relationship with our two sons. I was blessed with a loving father who earned celebrations every day of the year.

My boys, bless their hearts, ended up with the kind of father that perpetuates the old stereotypes about deadbeat dads. I’ve been divorced from their father for 19 years, during that time I’d venture to say that 90% of the time he has been a no-show when it comes to fathering.

When I began this article I was stumped, what can I, a mother whose sons don’t have a father say to divorced dads on Father’s Day? I then realized that the absence of their father has taught me quite a bit about the importance of fathers in a child’s life. Not just on Father’s Day but every day.

Whether you have full custody, 50/50 custody or you are an every other weekend Dad, when your little ones give you a gift and card this Father’s Day it isn’t because you are special to them on one day but, because you add value to their lives every day.

A Divorced Dads Value on Father’s Day and Every Day:

Showing up:

Showing up in spite of a difficult visitation schedule or conflict with your ex teaches your children persistence. If you continue to be involved in your children’s live after divorce, engage in quality time with them regardless of how little quantity, you are teaching your child that when something is important to them, it is worth pursuing with persistence. What a wonderful lesson to teach!

They learn they matter:

You not only teach your children that they matter but, by example, you teach them that what they do matters. You showing them that they matter teaches them to care about others. You teach them that actions, words, and deeds are the true measure of a person when you show up and you show them they can trust your actions, words and deeds.

You give them someone to go to:

If they are hurting or confused over a problem they know you are available. You make a difference when they are down and out. By being there for them, you teach them to be there for others. You have a direct impact on how empathetic and compassionate they become.

You impact their ability to learn:

Children with involved, caring fathers have better educational outcomes. Fathers who are involved and nurturing with their children impact their IQ scores as well as cognitive abilities, verbal skills, and intellectual functioning. So, show up as often as possible because you are raising geniuses!

You impact their mental health:

Children with good relationships with their fathers are less likely to experience depression or exhibit disruptive behavior. Boys with involved fathers had fewer school behavior problems and girls have higher self-esteem. In other words, by showing up you teach your boys the importance of proper behavior and your girls to never settle for that ne’er-do-well boy that every father fears.

You teach your sons how to be good fathers:

Fathering involves commitment, self-sacrifice, integrity, and unconditional love. Responsible fathers are concerned with the well-being of their children, and their desire is to see their children succeed in all areas of life.

Nurturing your relationship with your sons trains them “up right,” as my grandmother used to say, it educates them and fosters healthy development. Do this for your sons and your grandchildren will be rewarded with loving, attentive fathers.

You teach them how to love:

Lessons of love always begin in childhood with the parent/child relationship. If children feel authentically loved by a father they will grow up knowing how to love others. The ability to give love is directly related to the love we receive, especially during childhood. Showing up and filling your children with love will play a huge role in the kind of romantic relationships they involve themselves in as adults.

And that is just the short list! Raising two boys on my own has taught me a lot about the value of a father. Working through the years with clients and hearing from fathers via email, I know that my ex-husband is not representative of the vast majority of divorced dads.

We hear a lot about single and divorced moms but very little about divorced dads. We place value on the mother/child relationship and at times dismiss the father/child relationship. It is my wish on this Father’s Day that divorced dads know that, although others may not be paying attention, their children are.

They are waiting for your phone call, watching out the window, looking for your car, counting the days until your next visitation. They are eager to see you, share their lives with you and love you. And every time you show up your value to them increases tenfold.

If you are a divorced dad who shows up, every day spent with your children feels like Father’s Day to them.

So, Happy “Father’s Day” today and every day.

The post The Value of Divorced Dads: On Father’s Day And Every Day appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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