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children thrive after divorce

Here’s How I Helped My Children Thrive After Divorce

children thrive after divorce

 

After my divorce, the biggest thing I worried about was being able to raise my children after such a traumatic event in their lives. How could I possibly provide a positive and healthy atmosphere for them when I’ve just gone through something that I never saw coming and never intended to happen?

Even though it seemed impossible in the beginning I have now come to a place where I know that just because I have separated from my children’s father doesn’t mean I can’t raise them to be happy and motivated children. My goal is to help other mothers understand that your child can thrive even after divorce.

Here’s How I Helped My Children Thrive After Divorce

I was there for my children and made them a priority.

I wasn’t the only one whose world was turned upside down by my divorce their world was changed drastically as well. I took this into consideration and made sure they knew they were the most important thing to me. I put them first!

I gave my children time to heal and process the divorce.

It’s important that they understand they can express negative feelings and questions to you without feeling censored regardless of how long it takes.

I respected my children’s father.

Although, divorce is due to unresolved issues within the relationship under no circumstance do I speak negatively about my former spouse. Sticking to this principle is crucial because the last thing you want to do is have your child feeling like they are stuck in the middle of being forced to choose sides.

I made sure they had a regular routine and schedule.

Working together with my former spouse as far as creating an effective schedule for our children is what keeps my kids happy. Our children understand we are no longer together but still enjoy seeing us come together for their benefit.

A strong co-parenting relationship can remove the stress from your child’s shoulders when it comes to spending time with you or your spouse. Successful co-parenting also allows us to change our schedules and be flexible without unnecessary tension and arguments.

I assured them that the divorce wasn’t their fault.

Another hard thing that I had to do was to help them to understand my divorce was not their fault. I neglected to do this early on and it wasn’t until they came to me and asked was it their fault that daddy and I couldn’t live together anymore.

It broke my heart that for so long, unknown to me, they were walking around thinking that the divorce was their fault. So I urge all of you to take the time and let your children know that no matter what the situation is there is nothing they did to cause the split.

I don’t introduce new relationship partners to them.

I’m currently not involved with anybody but have had to deal with my former partner’s string of new partners. I think it is important to not introduce new, partners, to your children until the relationship has become serious and has been serious for some time.

Children don’t need to see a revolving door of partners it teaches them lessons that will be harder to undo in the future. And I don’t know about you, but if rather not have to teach my children later on in life that they need to be in a relationship to feel whole or get fulfillment out of life.

And lastly, I respect my children’s boundaries.

Being that they split their time between two places means there are some things they feel more comfortable talking to your former spouse about than you. And you’ve got to be okay with that.

As long as it is not something that can be harmful to them, it’s important to not overstep or breach their privacy. That can cause them to lose trust in not only you but also your communication line. And can end with them closing themselves off to you permanently.

It is harder to improve trust once it has been lost and can set your child up to not trust people in the future. Which can leave them feeling alone and cause a host of issues for them later in life.

I hope that reading my story will help you to get through your journey easier than I did. Remember, children need to feel heard and seen by their parents especially during a time where a life-changing event such as divorce has happened.

The post Here’s How I Helped My Children Thrive After Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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self-care after an affair

Self-Care After An Affair: 7 Things That Helped Me Survive

self-care after an affair

 

I can’t stress enough the importance of self-care after an affair. Living in a state of trauma, chaos and stress are bad for your body and mental health. Stress causes cortisol to rise and can wreak havoc on your body.

I knew that I needed to find some peace, calm and serenity during this dark time, but I didn’t really know in the early phases what would create this kind of environment for me.

There were days where I didn’t want to get out of bed, so the thought of self-exploration and reflection to reclaim a calmer state of mind sounded exhausting.

Self-Care After an Affair

Acknowledge and Validate Your Feelings

There’s a fine line between distraction and avoidance when dealing with a traumatic situation. You can’t avoid it forever and inevitably when your feelings arise or you are triggered, rather than trying to push it out of your mind, instead try to understand what you’re feeling and why.

Nailing down the feeling (sadness, pain, abandonment, loneliness) and what caused the trigger is helpful. Acknowledgment and validation, even to yourself, makes you realize it’s ok to feel what you’re feeling because it is. You are where you are and that’s ok. Identifying what caused your emotions to flare up can help you recognize it in the future to prevent it or soften the blow.

The Art of Distraction

While it’s important to not constantly avoid your feelings, you can’t live in your pain all day every day. Once you’ve acknowledged your feelings or triggers at the moment, go do what you enjoy doing, if that feels acceptable to you. Try something new or default to an activity you love with someone in your inner circle who you can trust.

Journal/Write

I’ve never really been into journaling, but I will say – if you have the time and you are seeking better or different ways to cope, writing your feelings down can be therapeutic. Ahem…I did end up writing this book!  Write a letter to your partner if that helps you articulate the pain you’re in.  It’s up to you whether you share it or not – it’s more for you than your partner. Burn it, share it, whatever feels best to you.

Meditation

I’ve also never been into meditating but out of necessity, this felt like something worth exploring. There are many applications you can download on your phone for a guided meditation which may help calm your mind when it’s wandering on repeat with all those negative or painful thoughts.

It also can include the practice of gratefulness. It’s hard to be grateful in your trauma, but I’m willing to bet there are things in your life you are grateful for that bring you happiness and joy (your health, your job, your kids, your family, your friends).

 Yoga

You might be noticing a theme here, but again…I’ve never been into yoga!  My friend told me specifically about yin yoga and we’ve jokingly referred to it as a “guided nap.” Sorry if this offends any yogis out there. There’s science behind the benefits of tapping into your parasympathetic nervous system and how that correlates to a reduction in stress. I did this once or twice a week during my most stressful months and I always walked away from the class feeling relaxed. I’m still not a die-hard yoga fan, but I recommend it for the above mentioned reasons and it did help calm my body and mind.

Massages (or any spa treatment)

Now, this is something I’ve always enjoyed. A little pampering and relaxing are good for the mind and soul.

Being in Nature

I started to seek out environments and landscapes that made me feel at peace. Being in nature or on the water for me was relaxing and it fed my soul. Enjoying views and watching sunsets made me feel calm and gave me a sense of serenity I desperately needed.

I live in a big city with bumper to bumper traffic and that did nothing to bring me the feeling of calm I was seeking. I started to do day trips away from the city and a handful of trips alone where I’d rent a place with a view, near the water and far away from the hustle and bustle of both the city and my internal thoughts.

Identify how you can best take care of yourself will greatly help you in your journey after infidelity.

The post Self-Care After An Affair: 7 Things That Helped Me Survive appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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move on after my divorce

How Taming My Ego Helped Me Move On After My Divorce

move on after my divorce

 

As a married woman, I lived a comfortable middle-class wife type of life. Life, if not always great, was easy. I took comfort and some pride in the fact that I had a husband by my side. Awful as it is to admit now – I was a ‘smug married’. Being a wife was a balm to my somewhat fragile ego.

I assumed I’d be married forever. I had no reason to think otherwise. Suffice it to say then I was completely blindsided when, during our seventeenth year of marriage, my husband announced that he wanted a divorce. I was paralyzed with grief – grief not just for the loss of him, but for the life I’d so carefully and neatly constructed.

And the funny thing about grief? It has a way of clouding judgment – of telling us things that simply aren’t accurate. In my pain, I somehow convinced myself that every successful woman who had ever lived had been married, and remained married, for the course of their entire lives.

Truth is, being ‘abandoned’ was a massive blow to my ego. And, I eventually realized, taming said ego was key to my healing and moving on from divorce.

Here are 3 things I did to tame my ego and move on after my divorce:

I removed my wedding and engagement rings

This was a BIG deal for me.

I used to take comfort in the fact that I had two rings on my ring finger, and would often find myself gazing appreciatively at them. To me, they were badges of honor. They were a symbol, to all who cared to notice, that I had made it in the world. That I hadn’t been left on the shelf. That somebody had clearly thought that I was good enough to marry.

And when that somebody suddenly decided that he, in fact, didn’t want to be married to me anymore, the idea of losing those badges of honor damn near killed me. I didn’t want to take them off. Yet in my pain and heartache and grief I still somehow instinctively knew that I had to let go. That there was no chance of reconciliation, and therefore no need to keep those rings on.

So reluctantly, I removed them. And for a time I acted a little crazy because of it. On very bad days I would scan the ring fingers of everyone in my immediate vicinity (usually the local shops) to see if like me, they were social rejects, or if they were lucky and whole and perfect enough to be married.

I would then construct ridiculous stories in my head about how happy and normal the marrieds must be, and how desperate and lonely the unmarrieds surely were. If a professional could have seen inside of my head during those moments, I am quite certain I would have been diagnosed with a disorder of some sort.

Eventually, I’m happy to report, I came to my senses and realized that I could not – and would not – be defined by a couple of pieces of jewelry. I accepted it was my EGO that had been telling me otherwise for years.

I eventually came to love the freedom of a bare ring finger. And I eventually moved on.

I reconnected with single friends

Let me be clear here – I never actually stopped being friends with my single counterparts. Over the years I guess I just fell into the routine or habit of hanging out more with other married people. It seemed that I had more in common with the marrieds – married since twenty-two, I actually had very little memory of what it was like to be single. And my ego liked it this way.

Suddenly single, I had no idea what to do with myself. I assumed that I probably just wouldn’t leave the house much. Then a single friend (actually my best friend since high school) suggested a night out with her. During the early part of the night, I was nervous. I just couldn’t shake the loneliness that came with the realization there would be nobody waiting for me at home.

Yet as the night wore on, I could feel myself loosening up. I ordered drinks on my own, I talked, I laughed. I saw couples being cozy with each other – this didn’t kill me. I saw singles mingling – this gave me hope.

Over time, hanging out with a variety of people – single, married, divorced, widowed, whatever – helped me realized that essentially we are ALL single. We are all single souls just doing the best we can with the life that we have been given. I realized that there are plenty (plenty) of unhappy married people on the planet – and PLENTY of insanely happy single people.

I realized that happiness does not come as a result of our marital status – it truly comes from within.

I practiced calling myself a ‘Single Mother’

In my previous life, I very much felt sorry for single mothers. I guess I unknowingly bought into the stigma and assumed that these poor women were more often than not sad, down on their luck, low on money and lonely. The thought that I may one day join their camp seemed incomprehensible to me, a married mother.

Then, just like that, I did join. With the breakdown of my marriage, I was a single mother. Needless to say, I had to work pretty quickly at letting go of my (completely inaccurate) notions about single mums.

As with most mothers, I love my children more than anything – being single changed nothing in this respect. This realization alone helped quell my fears and worries about single parenting. Yes, things got a little harder at home. Some days were a complete struggle – physically, mentally and emotionally. Some nights the loneliness was near debilitating.

But, it is in our struggles that we find our strengths and those early days of being a single mother taught me that I was a LOT stronger than I’d previously given myself credit for. In time, I came to relish my new status as ‘single mother’. Once I let go of both my ego and the stigma, I truly thrived. And now, I can’t imagine life any other way.

The post How Taming My Ego Helped Me Move On After My Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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