What’s going to happen to me now? This is the first thing you think when you find yourself suddenly faced with a divorce.
What happens now?
The fear of the immediate unknown is overwhelming. And it can be particularly frightening when you are a parent. How am I going to handle all of this on my own? How can I support a family physically, financially, and spiritually? How will I be able to take care of myself too? Will I ever sleep again?
I want to answer that for you. Yes, you will handle it and you will be astonished at the strength you have. The first thing you have to ask yourself is, am I going to let this be the end of me? Or the end of my family? The answer to that is a resounding No!
Your Mama Bear is on heightened alert and as all moms do, we just have to be flexible and forgiving of ourselves. No judgments. Because judgments lead to further fear. Like all moms, you can’t do everything. You just do your best. You are after all, human and of course, you worry about yourself and your children’s future.
But you have to use those emotions as fuel to propel you to the life you want! That is … a life with security, love, and most importantly joy! Just because someone else wanted to change their lives and leave their marriage, doesn’t mean they have the right to take your joy with them!
Will I ever feel love or be loved again?
Well, that is for you to decide. You have the power to make that happen; or not. In my case, I did love someone after the divorce. And he was wonderful. But I needed to deal with my baggage so that I could feel whole again. And so did he. Through the unpacking process, I realized how much I had changed and grown.
And as I unpacked my baggage of fear, self-loathing, and sadness, I realized that I was getting lighter and lighter. I had indeed changed and the love I was now seeking was different too. I learned that giving away all of myself to someone was not satisfying and I wanted someone to give of himself more than I had ever expected before.
I learned that even though I was able to love again, there were too many missing pieces still. Pieces that only I could put together. I realized that I wasn’t ready to commit to someone. I was starting to enjoy the pleasure of my own company with confidence, and I loved my independence. I just wasn’t ready to have new boundaries and expectations put on me.
When I first became a single mom I had this profound worry that I would not be able to take care of myself. In my head, the question of who takes care of me when I’m sick was always flashing on and off all night. That was the time that all my worries decided to come out and dance in my head. That was the time when the world was quiet, and the worries seemed monumental until daylight came, and they quietly surrendered back into my cerebral notebook until night would come again and I was left alone to think. That was the time I felt most afraid and apprehensive.
I am here to tell you that you will indeed get sick from time to time, and you find out that you are like every other mom on the planet that gets sick. You take a back seat to your children’s needs until you are able to indulge in your illness and just stop moving and if you are lucky…go to bed. If I was really sick with a cold or flu I learned to lean on my family and friends to give me the chance to recover while they helped with the kids. I learned that you must make your health a priority because you have to keep the machine on 24-7.
Will I feel joy again?
Being joyful and feeling joyful is not something you experience every day as you raise a family alone. The responsibilities that go with that are enormous. But just because you don’t feel it every day doesn’t mean that joy cannot exist in your everyday life. Joy can be as simple as a smile. When I look back on some of the harder days of raising my family as a single parent, I remember wondering if I was ever going to just be happy again.
There was always so much heavy lifting. So I started to just do this simple exercise. I smiled. Even if I was home alone and putting away the groceries or doing the tenth load of laundry. I stopped and just smiled. This crazy simple little action is what I do every day now. And it works. As silly as that may sound. I just smile. A smile lightens me up. It softens my worries, and it just pulls in some happiness that I didn’t think was around. I urge you to try it. What do you have to lose other than sadness?
Oh, I do remember in the early days of single Momdom that I literally felt like one with the mattress when I finally plopped into bed. In those days I had an infant and though rest felt wonderful I knew it would be short lived until I heard the baby monitor and my baby daughter waking up to be fed. But when sleep was possible I took advantage of it.
On the weekends that my ex-husband took the kids, I literally slept the entire weekend. It was my time to literally recharge my batteries. And that was mission critical in those days. I learned to be able to turn down the volume in my head for bits of time during those weekends. It was a pure rest that would not be interrupted. If your ex-spouse takes your kids for spaces of time, I urge you to use that as your recharge time too. It will keep you in balance.
So in the end, get your rest and don’t spend so much time worrying about what is going to happen to you. That is time you will never get back. And you are too amazing to be bothered with that. Head up, Deep breath. Shoulders back. Smile. You got this!