This is one of the most frequently asked questions from parents in our community - it's SUCH an IMPORTANT conversation you need to have with your kids.
This is definitely one of the hardest conversations you'll ever have.
It's heart wrenching, it's terrifying.
You don't want to disappoint your kids. It's all true.
And it's totally human nature to want to avoid this kind of conversation. Any kind of hard, shitty conversations really.
BUT please don't avoid it.
Don't brush over it with a rose coloured brush either.
Sit in your discomfort and talk to your kids about Divorce.
I know that your love for your kids is WAY BIGGER than your discomfort and fear about your marriage ending.
You can do hard things. Your kids are looking to you to guide them through this.
You can do it.
Ok, Deep Breath.
Now, that we are clear that you will have this conversation with your kids. Here are some simple...
The top TWO things Co-Parenting has taught me:
.1 Good things can come from a difficult situation. Let's face it, I would have probably never talked to my ex again - if we didn't have kids. Way simpler and way less work. But in the dust of our marriage ending, co-parenting has forced a different sort-of relationship to bloom. It has expanded what I thought I was capable of and what I thought my ex was capable of. We've grown as individuals and as parents, after years of negotiating and balancing everyones' schedules - as annoying as that is sometimes!
.2 My communication skills could be improved :) Cause when nearly everything is in writing over email or txt, for reference, it’s easy to see where something could be misinterpreted or just not written clearly enough. And you want to make sure you express yourself without ruffling any feathers, if that's not actually your intention. So, communication skills become fine tuned like...
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.
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...
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.
Below is an article I wrote for Elephant Journal - I hope you enjoy it! Within it, I discuss four key ways to ensure you move on in a healthy way. If you have anything else you want to see added to the list, leave me a comment below or send me an email - I'd love to hear from you!
This was such a terrifying question to me initially because I didn't feel that I could ever explain the situation well enough to really have the kids understand. Keep in mind my kids were 6yrs and 3yrs old when their dad and I separated.
I spent a ton of time, as my marriage was ending and during the first year or more after we moved apart, being paralyzed by this immensely terrifying fear and doom, where I thought that by separating, our kids were now officially damaged beyond repair and essentially ruined BUT at the same time wishing and hoping and praying that they would completely and always be happy through it all. Like the slightest tear was a sign of my complete failure as a mother and needed to be wiped away and replaced with a smile as quickly as possible.
My marriage ending was my cross to bear for eternity. I was a shitty mom because my kids were grieving the family unit they’d known since birth. My failure in a marriage had caused them...
When you're in the early months or years after Separation or Divorce – decluttering and minimizing your life is a must! Your life depends on it.
When my ex and I had first separated several years ago, I remember feeling completely overwhelmed by the way my family life had changed in such a short period of time. I had never lived on my own before, and while I’d call myself very independent, it was amazing to me how much I had to learn or relearn to completely run a household on my own. Not to mention the mountains of emotional baggage I needed to sort through at some point.
At my most overwhelmed, I remember making a mental list - while I lay on my bedroom floor - of all the things I HAD to do to keep my life running. The bare minimum. Just the things required to ensure that what was left of my life wouldn't implode. I had to work. I had to feed the kids. I had to do whatever was required to ensure the kids were...
I LOVE to read! Books are what I turn to first, when I need to learn anything or just to escape into another world. I read to relax, I read to learn, I read to go on an adventure, and lots more! So, as you can imagine, I read a lot as I went through my separation. And figured if there's any other book lovers out there, then perhaps you might enjoy this list!
So, here they are, in random order, books I lived and died by when I was first Separated and in the midst of chaos, figuring out what my next steps were going to be – and figuring out WHO WAS I AS A SINGLE PERSON ANYWAYS??
1: Mom’s House, Dad’s House: Making Two Homes for Your Child by Isolina Ricci.
Our mediator gave my ex and I a copy of this book to read while we were going through separation mediation. I found it fantastic at outlining and suggesting compassionate ways to run the basic day to day logistics of a two house family. It was also the first time I got a more...