Let’s face it – as your marriage ends and you start your new life as a family with two homes, the shitty situation seems enormous, almost unmanageable, and whether or not you can actually climb over a shit pile that huge appears doubtful a lot of the time.
And for a long while you may not even be able to tell which way is up and which way is down, and if you’ve made any progress out of all this shit at all.
It sucks. It really fucking sucks.
So, what can you do?
Believe it or not, you have choices.
What will you do?
I hope you’ll see beyond the shit. To your version of a great life.
Where you have someone to unconditionally love you and be your cheerleader in life. To raising well adjusted and resilient kids. Having the freedom to travel and vacation more often. Those are just a few of mine :)
Let that dream be your fuel, when you don’t think you have anything left in the tank.
This photo is of my ex’s printer, in my front entrance. The story of how it got there is why I am so grateful for my ex and his willingness to co-parent as reasonably and lovingly as possible, for the sake of the kids.
Last week, one of my daughter’s came home from school and announced that she had a project she HAD TO FINISH that night. To complete the project she needed to print off a few things.
Doh. My printer has been out of ink for AGES. So, printing anything off wasn’t going to be as easy as pie.
So, I tell her this, and she immediately says – we can just go to Daddy’s place and print the pictures off there.
:) Not wanting to put words into my ex’s mouth (..like presuming he’d say no and that we should just go out to buy new printer cartridges), I figure I’ll txt him and see if this is possible. Cause I figured it probably was the easiest way to get things printed.
We’ve all been there, a friend or loved one is going through something really difficult and you just don’t know what to say or how to begin to make them feel better.
And we’ve definitely all been there, when you have a well-meaning friend or loved one and everything they try and say about your marriage ending just falls so flat or worse - actually offends you. Or even super worse, people just avoid you all together because they don’t know what to say and feel like avoidance or saying nothing is actually better.
So, this got me thinking about when my marriage had newly ended, and how many people just never discussed it or ask how I was doing for what seemed like FOREVER. Or if they did ask and I actually gave them a brief but honest answer, they simply weren’t prepared to just hold the space for me – they had no idea how to respond and just ended up standing their awkward until the topic of conversation was changed. It never...
If all else fails and your marriage has to end, then let’s at least make the most of a bad situation and ensure a healthy gender balance going forward. Might as well start as you want to go on!
I mean, who really wants to look after their kids solo - 24/7 - until they are off to college/university? Not me. I mean not if I have any choice in the matter. I kiss the feet of single moms and dads out there, which is an incredibly hard gig.
No martyrs necessary.
Who cares if you think you can make a better meal than your ex. Or can play a better game of baseball with them. True fact: the kids certainly don’t care.
What they do care about is both of their parents being in their lives. In a meaningful way.
Even on the odd time, when my ex and I don’t alternate weekends, we do two or three weekends with the kids in a row, because the other is travelling. During these times, one or more of the kids always mentions that they...
What do you enjoy most in life and who do you love most? Where do you spend your money? Do you spend money in a way that is aligned with your values?
Now I know, Money can be a HUGE stress during those initial months & years after your family becomes a family with two homes -- or at any time frankly! But this is also an opportunity to give yourself a reality check.
I’m pretty good at math, so when my marriage ended, I knew the basic logic sucked – me and my ex made the same amount of money we did before we separated, except now we had to run two separate households – YIKES! And most people aren’t rich enough to have had two homes beforehand, unless you’re a celebrity!
Having money fears is totally normal BUT that doesn’t mean you need to ignore the whole topic and not deal with your budget and current financial situation.
I did this for a long while and my money fears didn’t subside – funny enough.....
I just had the worst Christmas of my life!!
But wow, am I ever brimming with gratitude for my community in a much deeper way than I’ve ever felt it before! And I thought I was a pretty grateful and appreciative person before.
To back up a bit, my boyfriend got a sudden and life threatening illness just days before Christmas, while I was out of town visiting with my family on the East Coast. So, I flew back for several days, until I knew for sure he wasn’t going to die or need to be amputated, and then flew back out East to spend a few days with my kids and get a bit of a ‘normal’ Christmas in. And then we drove back to Ottawa early, so I could get back to ensuring my boyfriend would make a full recovery.
What a nightmare.
He was coming down with a bit of a flu or something seemingly typical before Christmas, but wow. He ended up spending just over a week in the ICU and then another 2 weeks in the hospital recovering, and now he’s...
How do you intend to live the rest of your life after Separation/Divorce'?
Write it down. In detail. Let's get real here.
I imagine your response is similar to what mine was, I just want to be happy, I want to be a good parent, and have good relationships with the people I love - especially my kids. I want my relationship with my ex to have a flow and ease to it. All great stuff!
Now close your eyes and in your mind's eye - really see it happening, imagine your life the way you want it to be, as if it's happening right now. Who would be in your life? How would you act towards others?
How would it feel?
Please, really do the visualization. It's so powerful.
It only needs to be for 5 mins or so! You know you're onto something when you can feel your body physically responding to the visualization - like happy tingling and just an overall positive feeling building in your body.
Continue on with the visualization daily or weekly or...
Let’s face it – we all have days when we just want to keep our head in the sand, pull up the blankets in bed and stay there all day. When it all looks too daunting to bother. This is always when we are in dire need for a change in perspective.
Whether we want to admit it or not :)
Since this weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada, I’ve had my fair share of being outside and enjoying the leaves changing colour recently. Going for a hike or just walking around a park, it’s amazing the way the landscape changes based on the season, and fall is one of my favourite seasons!
The enormity of it all always blows my mind – the look offs with their vistas, the beach looking out into an endless ocean. The smallness of you and me. It’s breathtaking.
Get your head out of the sand, out of your own problems, and look around – nature is spectacular!
And for me, it is a continual reminder that the world goes on – through good...
Loneliness is a funny thing – I know that sounds weird but for me it is true.
Like a lot of people, I have the tendency to become a bit of a hermit when I’m hurting and upset and generally don't know what to do next.
In retrospect, I can see how becoming a temporary hermit helps me quiet down my life, so that I can hear my inner voice, or inner knowing, that silent sureness – whatever you want to call it doesn’t much matter :) That inner voice always seems to need to be more desperately heard in times of great turmoil.
So, I figure that’s why I hermit when life gets too impossible.
Which is great. For awhile. Except a hermit is a lonely existence overall.
But please - don't rush this phase. It is the magic of the universe dressed as loneliness. Just be lonely for awhile. Try and become comfortable with loneliness. Trust that it'll pass, but let it serve you while it's around.
Get to know yourself...
Last week, a friend’s brother committed suicide. He was going through a hard divorce and he had very limited access to his kids, because his ex requested full custody. He had little community resources at his disposal. Eventually, he could see no way out except one. He isn’t the first and he probably won’t be the last.
What a devastating blow to his children who love him immensely.
So, here I am, asking all mother’s everywhere, who may be considering Separation/Divorce or who are in the midst of mediation or court. Please. Think of your children first. And when thinking of your children, remember that the two people your children love most in the world are: you and their dad.
And having been in your shoes, I understand full well that you and their dad probably aren’t seeing eye to eye on much these days. And that you feel as though you know how to care for your children far better than he does.