Jaded After Divorce?

I over hear conversations in the nail salon, at happy hour and at the gym about how jaded some people get after a divorce. I gave it a lot of thought and queried my friends to hear what their feelings about it were. Are we really jaded after a break-up – and do we broadcast that without even knowing it? WOW. Have I become jaded? Untrusting? Nonchalant? Waiting for the other shoe to drop and therefore not moving forward?

I know from raising my son from Kindergarten through High School that most of the kids in his classes are from divorced homes. And I know that a lot of the men I have dated post-divorce should have come with warning labels, when they are newly divorced. It is so painful to hear about the ex or their attorney or the poor kids on a first date, although I understand how hard it is to move through the death of a marriage, or relationship. We all have wounds and memories; we are all children somewhere inside.

I always wondered if my own son will grow up with certain issues that actually stem from the loss of living with his mom and dad in a home together. Kids have a way of getting away with things when they move from one house to another. And we all know OUR parents ‘did the best they could with what they were given’…however, how many hours of therapy did THAT take to really get it.

There are no shortcuts, but there is a get real time we all have to go through, facing who we are and taking our own inventory. Am I kind? Am I honest? Am I carrying the pain of someone else’s lies with me? We certainly don’t want to be punished for someone else’s mistakes and neither do we want to project onto a new date or partner what happened to us in the past. Therefore, it is important to make sure we have gone through a healing, however we do it (with friends, a trusted counsellor, anyone you feel safe with). It is important not just for us and our future, but also for our children’s future relationships. Remember, we are role models. Gulp…..YES, our children’s eyes are upon us!

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Joint Custody (IE: Sharing the Children)

The hardest thing about divorce can boil down to sharing your child with the ex. It can feel like a part of you is missing an arm, a leg — a piece (peace) of your heart. It’s a challenge for your child as well, and all we can do is love our child and ourselves enough to move through the feelings of loss and create a new way of being. It’s called “independence” from our old way of being, a restructuring and redesigning of the framework we held dear in marriage (if that’s where we came from).

What we can do, as single parents sharing custody, is be the best we can be while we have our children with us, and be the best we can be for ourselves when we’re sans children. In other words, learn to take care of our own selves once again. How do we do this? Are the methods stored somewhere in our cells? Can we actually learn to be women and men outside of our mother and father roles? Yes, I know we can and once we get the hang of it — we can start enjoying it too! And, so can our children. Children don’t want to feel guilty or sad when they leave us to go to the other parent’s house (that sad look on our faces doesn’t help their separation process either).

So, as we get used to and acquainted with, the new lifestyle we have, our children will also adapt and adopt new ways of living with the two parents they have. For those single parents who say goodbye to their children every other weekend, this may be less traumatic — but still an issue in letting go and an opportunity to create a life for oneself (whether it means a time to date, take up a hobby, travel, or read a good book).

Being a single parent is defined as being a multi-tasking responsible parent in today’s world and being a single adult in this new millennium, neither of which are no small feat. Don’t forget to get all the emotional support you can get by joining groups, networking with other parents, learning who is a single parent in your neighborhood or school district.

Remember, you were single before, try and tap into that memory (ouch) and recall where the solace was. Did you write, did you go out with other friends in your situation, did you exercise more, did you join a dating service? It’s important to treat yourself like you would your child when she is in need, take good care of YOU when you have the free time to do it. Your child will thank you for it when she sees how much happier you are.

Empty Nester Checklist

Empty Nester Checklist

 

By Jodi Seidler

The finale of being a strong and successful single parent is when we segue from solo parenting to the sans-child art of empty nesting.  All the juggling acts of finances, balancing work, homework and play dates comes to an end as we send our child off to college.  As much as that can sting, it also creates a new phase for us!

HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO HELP:

1.  Letting Go Is Part of Life.
Just know that teenagers try and separate from their parents in ways that might astound us and make us sad.  We might even utter words our parents used, like “You don’t appreciate all I have done for you.”  The truth is – they do, it’s just part of the dance of moving away and starting their own life.

2.  Make Plans For Your New Life.
Just as we have to set up our kids for their own new life, we must do the same for ourselves.  As adults, we’ve had to begin a new life after divorce and now we begin OUR life; and it can be scary.  Time to let friends know you are more available to go out, plan get-aways and ways to meet new people.

3.  Keep A Journal To Ease The Way.
Empty Nesters have to be careful not to email, text or call our kids TOO much.  There are a lot of feelings flying around, and its good to express them (in an appropriate manner).  Journal writing is great for cathartic reasons, but also allows us to feel our feelings without making our children feel responsible for our feelings in missing them.

4.  Plan For Those College Emergencies.
If you’re afraid your child might get into trouble with their newfound freedom, there are a few things you can do to oversee their world.  Giving them a low limit credit card (which you pay for) is a good way to establish their own credit and it has a hidden blessing of seeing what they spend their money on.  It can be emergency money or used as an allowance.

5.  Thank Yourself For The Job You Did.
Treating yourself during this transition is very important as well.  Go to more movies (matinees or first show of the day are less money).  Take yourself on a date, a day trip or spa or to dinner; remember you succeeded in raising a child on your own.

Carrying Pain from Divorce?

I over hear conversations in the nail salon, at happy hour and at the gym about how jaded some people get after a divorce. I gave it a lot of thought and queried my friends to hear what their feelings about it were. Are we really jaded after a break-up – and do we broadcast that without even knowing it? WOW. Have I become jaded?  Untrusting? Nonchalant? Waiting for the other shoe to drop and therefore not moving forward?

I know from raising my son from Kindergarten through High School that most of the kids in his classes are from divorced homes. And I know that a lot of the men I have dated post-divorce should have come with warning labels, when they are newly divorced. It is so painful to hear about the ex or their attorney or the poor kids on a first date, although I understand how hard it is to move through the death of a marriage, or relationship. We all have wounds and memories; we are all children somewhere inside.

I always wondered if my own son will grow up with certain issues that actually stem from the loss of living with his mom and dad in a home together. Kids have a way of getting away with things when they move from one house to another. And we all know OUR parents ‘did the best they could with what they were given’…however, how many hours of therapy did THAT take to really get it.

There are no shortcuts, but there is a get real time we all have to go through, facing who we are and taking our own inventory. Am I kind? Am I honest? Am I carrying the pain of someone else’s lies with me? We certainly don’t want to be punished for someone else’s mistakes and neither do we want to project onto a new date or partner what happened to us in the past. Therefore, it is important to make sure we have gone through a healing, however we do it (with friends, a trusted counsellor, anyone you feel safe with).  It is important not just for us and our future, but also for our children’s future relationships.

Remember, we are role models. Gulp…..YES, our children’s eyes are upon us!