Divorce can be a horrific experience. However, one thing that I’ve learned is that once the dust finally settles, the aftermath can be what you make of it. It can be a fresh start and an opportunity to seize the day and become a better version of yourself, or it can be a miserable pity party that can last for decades. From day one I was determined to use mine as a fresh start.
My ex and I were like an out of control forest fire, and an ocean full of gasoline. We brought out the absolute worst in one another. So much of my time and energy was spent just trying to hold the marriage together. The minute we separated, I realized that without my time being consumed trying to hold onto a failing marriage, I had a lot more free time.
Even as a single working mother, I still noticed little things like the house stayed clean longer so I wasn’t spending nearly as much time cleaning the house. The refrigerator stayed full longer, so I made fewer trips to the grocery store. All of the time that I used to spend arguing with my husband was now freed up to spend more quality time with my daughter.
All of this free time was suddenly available all at once. The only question was, what was I going to go with that time?
5 Reasons I Become a Better Parent After My Divorce:
1. I chose to use my free time wisely.
Rather than turning on the television every time I have a free moment to spare, I use that time wisely. I play tea party with my daughter or work on teaching her to read and write. I ask her about her day and her relationships with her friends. I check in with her teachers and research new learning opportunities for her. I ensure that every time I have some free time, I use at least half of it doing something for her.
2. I make a conscious effort to work on me.
Our children grow up to be just like us in more ways than not. If we are broken and fragile and we haven’t moved toward being the best us that we can be, then we leave a legacy of brokenness for them. As part of my fresh start, I have dedicated time to counseling, self-help, and prayer. This has allowed me to work through my own personal issues so that I can be the strong Proverbs 31 women that I want to raise my daughter to be. That has dramatically changed my parenting style and made me prouder of the women that I model for her.
3. I use “me time” constructively.
Because I have more free time, I am able to make more time for myself. Being a wife and mother can be an amazing and rewarding experience when you are in the right marriage. But when you’re in the wrong one, it is exhausting and overwhelming. Making time for yourself gets pushed further and further down the priority list. Then one day, you look up and you haven’t done anything for yourself in five years.
This makes us short tempered, stressed out, and physically exhausted. It is difficult to raise happy children when we haven’t mastered being a happy parent. And trust me, our children do notice. One day shortly after the separation, I was playing with my daughter and all a sudden she stopped playing and looked at me and said, “Mommy, are you happy or not?” That hit me like a ton of bricks.
Here I was doing one of the few things that truly brought me joy, and yet my daughter could still see the stress on my face and not the joy in my heart. That was it for me, I was determined to work on myself and get to a place where I could truly live in the moment and enjoy everything that life had to offer despite my situation. I then documented my journey in my online course in an effort to help other do the same. This is one of the few things that I have been able to do for myself. Seeing my own personal transformation as well as the transformation of those benefiting from the material, has done wonders for my own personal development and happiness.
4. I became more sensitive to my daughter’s needs.
The sudden change in my life and the impending divorce has made me hypersensitive to my daughter’s needs. As parents, we tend to kind of get into a groove of work, housework, and parenting and all of the other things that we have to do. So it’s very easy to become complacent with our parenting, especially when our children aren’t experiencing a significant behavioral issue. We are so busy focusing on homework and potty training, that we can easily overlook teaching things like integrity and compassion.
But when divorce rocks the core of your household and your family, you immediately develop a hypersensitivity to the needs of your children and how well or poorly they are moving through this difficult time. That in and of itself makes you a better parent. Now you are more attentive and paying closer attention to the needs of your child and any changes in their behavior and temperament. For me, I have absolutely found that this has made me a much better parent.
I have noticed bullying issues at the daycare, muscle spasms that needed to be addressed etc. Things that I may have overlooked before because I wasn’t paying close attention, I was able to catch the issues early and deal with them head on, making it easier on her. So often when I address a temperament issue in her, people around are amazed at how well I know her, and thus how quickly I am able to deduce what is really bothering her. I attribute 90% of that to my relationship with God and Him speaking to me, but the other 10% is the experience of being so in tune with her needs.
5. I feel more appreciative for my life since my divorce.
Lastly, I am more appreciative. Divorce is one of those things that makes you reflect on what is really important. Seeing how uncontrollable your marriage was and how you didn’t have the power to make it work for you teaches you to be grateful for the things that are working in your life. Whether it’s a thriving career, fulfilling family relationships, or amazing children. Divorce teaches you to appreciate every second that you have with your children because no matter how bad the marriage was, they are still a huge source of light that resulted from your darkness.
Divorce is only worth it if it is used as a stepping stone to something bigger and better. Here’s to becoming a better parent. For further discussion on this subject, be sure to check out my “Divorce Recovery” online course.
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