When rebuilding after divorce focus on what’s important for you and your family and what will give you space and time to heal.
One of the ways in which I organize my life is to make to-do lists and when I was rebuilding after divorce, I knew I needed a list that would help me to stay focused and on task. When you’ve been hurt and feel disoriented, it’s often difficult to keep track of what needs to get done, especially when you have children, a household and a business to manage.
I remember sitting down one evening, pen and paper in hand (yes, I’m old fashioned like that) and making myself a list of the things I needed in order to manage all the things in my life; it wasn’t easy but I got through it.
The reason why it wasn’t easy for me was because I already felt very overwhelmed by what had happened to me and, everything that came to my attention and needed taking care of on top of the things I was dealing with, felt like a ton of bricks piling up on my shoulders.
When you’re going through a major break-up, the last thing you need is to think about what else needs taking care of. Would making this list add to that feeling of being overwhelmed? Turns out, it actually helped me to see what I needed to get done now and what could wait. It put things into perspective for me and it ultimately allowed me to maintain my sanity when problems came up.
In no particular order, here is the list of things I had on my to-do list when rebuilding after divorce:
- Find a handyman you can call when you need help with a project around the house. I consider myself pretty hands-on when it comes to home projects but I also knew I had tons of other things I needed to pay attention to. Having the name and number of someone I could contact if and when I needed help gave me some peace of mind. It also meant I didn’t have to ask my ex to help anymore when I needed a second pair of hands. He was always willing to help but I also wanted to be more independent now that he had left.
- In addition to the handyman, have the name and number of an electrician and plumber. We all know the expression, “When it rains, it pours” and a few weeks after my ex had left, I had to deal with a few plumbing and electrical issues.
- Along the same lines as the items listed above, find a mechanic. When your car breaks down or you need to bring your car in for maintenance, having the name and number of a trusted mechanic can give you peace of mind.
- Find someone who can help you clean your house. I often prided myself on being able to clean the house by myself but when you’re emotionally taxed, coming home to a clean house does wonders for the soul. Again, this is all about finding ways to get help and focus on the priorities in your life: healing, spending time with your children, work, etc.
- Get your own bank account and start to manage your finances. Ask for help if you need to figure out how to set up various accounts (e.g., savings, retirement, emergency fund, etc). I reached out to a local mompreneur group where I live and sure enough, I found a fellow mom who could give me professional advice on how to manage my finances and help me to understand my options.
- Child care. I hired a mother’s helper a few times a week because sometime, I just couldn’t handle the kids on my own. I needed to retreat and take care of myself and when the babysitter arrived, I was able to get some alone time in my bedroom and know the kids were taken care of.
- Reorganize your living space. For me, I found it extremely therapeutic to go through my closet and toss anything I didn’t want anymore. I also walked through my home one evening, after the kids had gone to bed, and tried to find ways to make the house my own. Sometimes re-organizing the furniture and the decorations you already have go a long way. I also found that going to discount stores or IKEA and buying decorations and accent furniture really helped to make my space my own and it lifted my spirits.
- As a mom who works from home, I made a point of keeping a morning schedule for myself. I often found that I would get the kids up and going in the morning and then after dropping them off at school, I would go back to bed or sit somewhere trying to figure out how I would spend my day. It was awful. When I started to get myself ready for the day by taking a shower, applying some make-up and getting dressed, I felt my mood shift. Along those lines, I made a point of scheduling something for myself right after the kids had been dropped off. That way, I had somewhere to go and it made me feel good about myself.
Finally, the most important piece of advice I could give to anyone trying to get themselves back on their feet is: show kindness to yourself and allow yourself to feel this experience and to tell yourself it’s okay if it doesn’t all get done. Focus on what’s important for you and your family and what will give you space and time to heal.