Life after divorce as a divorced mom with two kids is not easy. Some days I feel like a trainwreck and other days I wonder how I even remember to breathe. If you're recently divorced and you say it has been a piece of cake, you’re either lying or you're delusional. It has been an uphill climb from day one and will continue to take some hard work. But during all of the chaos and adjustments, I've learned some things that have helped me along the way:
1. Forgive yourself: Everyone has that divorce guilt, whether you initiated the divorce or not. It is normal to have some remorse or guilt - especially if you have kids - but you have to forgive before you can move forward. For me, I’ve acknowledged my mistakes and accepted that what’s done is done.
My kids are happy and my family loves me, so why should I keep punishing myself? Yeah, I still have my days where that guilt creeps up, but all I can do is learn from past mistakes and move forward!
2. Find what makes YOU happy: If you are anything like me, this may take some deep reflection and thought. While married, I was so busy taking care of my family I lost sight of who I was as a person and what made ME happy.
As parents I think we all lose sight of that sometimes. After the divorce, it took me several months to learn who I am again as my own person, and what gives me satisfaction and fulfillment. I’ve started running again and I am currently training for a 10k. I like to cook for my kids and invite friends and family over for dinner. I enjoy 90s music, tattoos, and I’ve taken a liking to craft beer. Oh, and I can watch HGTV whenever the hell I want!
Do what makes you smile! Your happiness will shine through, and you'll become a better person and parent for it!
3. Surround yourself with love: Yeah, I know. Times are tough and you feel emotionally drained. Find a support system that can help lift you up, including your friends, family, co-workers, Starbucks barista, etc. Talk to someone and don’t go through it alone.
There are people around you who want to help. Staying occupied with friends and loved ones is the best! I have become so much closer with my friends and family, and I've even made some new friends along the way!
4. It is OK to feel: It is perfectly OK to feel something, anything! Whether that be anger, sadness, joy, relief - it is normal and healthy to express these emotions. Maybe not expressing your anger by burning your ex's house down, but you get the idea! I know I am going to have my bad days and, when I do, I am not ashamed to cry it out alone and/or eat chocolate ice cream while watching old episodes of Grey's Anatomy.
Every day is not going to be perfect. I've learned bottling up my emotions inside is not good for me, my kids, or anyone around me. Learning to express those feelings helps to release the tension and move on.
5. You don’t have to be in a relationship to be happy: Go back to number two. Reflect on who YOU are as a person and what makes YOU happy. You don’t need to be with someone 24/7 and that person has no bearing on your happiness. This one has been hard for me and I am still working on it, I won’t lie. But I have found that it is OK to do things alone.
The good thing about it is you can experience things maybe you wouldn’t have if you were in a relationship. If you're a parent, spend more one-on-one time with your precious kiddos!
Life after divorce is hard, but it gets a little easier and things do get better. It has taken me several months to believe that, but it is true. We just need to learn to ease up on ourselves a little bit, forgive, accept the past, move forward and enjoy the life handed to us!
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