Divorce is a difficult transition and one can become a stronger, more patient person through this process. When facing monumental changes, divorce teaches us to let go of the smaller, insignificant details, and to focus on what really matters.
This applies to parenting too. Instead of getting upset with minor bickering between siblings, as I did when married, I now concentrate on the bonding aspect.
When one’s cup is full, a few more drops leads to overflowing. I was barely making it in an awful marriage, so my cup was always full with just surviving. When squabbling or attention getting tactics were used by my sons, I felt like my cup could not hold any more. I had nothing left to give.
Since my energy is not used placating a spouse, or walking on egg shells around him, I have so much more to give to my children. I never realized how much energy it took just being in a toxic marriage and trying to create time with my sons.
Here’s how divorce helped me become a better parent.
I asked my younger son what is different with my parenting post-divorce and he responded, “More in tune with the child’s needs.” When married, I talked to my sons on the surface, and did not dive below to see how they were really feeling or what was required. I wanted status quo and not to rock the boat. Now this is no longer necessary. If there is a problem, I have the energy and interest to see what solutions are available. If I am the problem, then can deal with negative feedback to reach a compromise. It is amazing how living in a battlefield can suck the life right out of someone.
My son also said that I am a better parent because I am more communicative now. I issued orders like a commander to keep things conflict-free when married. Now we talk things over. My intelligent sons have ideas and creative solutions that were not voiced in our past. We tip-toed around their father, trying to keep his temper from exploding. Now we can disagree, make noise and act silly. Even our cats are opinionated and “talk” a lot more. Our house is freer, happier and I am totally focused on my kids.
Divorce taught me not to be an autocrat, so we share some decision making. When my sons are a part of this process, they are inspired to make it work. They have selected some great vacation destinations and worked hard to save money to bring this into fruition. We recently went on a quick one week trip to India that was life changing. We bond more when traveling, without the distractions from work and commitments.
Divorce taught me that my time with my kids is precious and I can never get it back. I am stretching my dollars so that we can have adventures in different cultures. Going through the trauma of divorce has been worth it, for the happier lives that we now lead. Being in a calm state transfers into better interactions with my children.
My other son in his twenties, said that I used to give him much less time and attention when still married. He did not resent this, but felt that there was a wall between us. I was in survival mode and merely going through the motions of family life. He said that I put too much effort into perpetuating the facade of the happy family. I learned not to be an enabler for someone’s public persona and to be genuine all of the time. Getting divorced was like removing a straightjacket and letting loose my giddiness and joy. These happy feelings spilled over into my other relationships resulting in a stronger social network. Divorce is about loss tinged with sadness, but it is also about strengthen and renewal. Notice how your other relationships are become more fulfilling.