Moms will do anything for their kids, especially when they are dealing with the emotional turmoil of a divorce. Read on to learn five common things moms sacrifice during a divorce and how to cope with the loss.
1.Keeping The Marital Home
In the middle of my divorce, I asked my oldest child, who was nine, what she wanted her life to look like in a year. Besides saying having mom & dad back together, she also wanted to stay in the only home she had even known. Study after study state, “children fare better after divorces if they can stay in their original home.”
Since her number one wish wasn’t happening, I decided to focus on her number two, keeping the house. Besides the financial burden on maintaining a house on a single income, the harder part for me was the constant memories of a broken promise and a life built with an unfaithful husband.
So I reclaimed the house and made it ours. I did a sage cleansing of the house. Rearranged the bedroom, and even got a cheap new vanity to put in there. The bathroom that was once his, got a makeover with new paint and a deep clean. I had some pictures taken of my kids and I and hung those where our wedding picture once hung. It was liberating! And, my kids got to stay in their home.
2. Putting Their Basic Needs Before My Own:
We all need food, clothing, shelter, sleep. When times get tough a mama will sacrifice her basic needs to ensure her kids needs are met. I remember one time going to the grocery store to pick up the bare minimum and walking past the deli with the kids. They begged me to buy the chicken dinner. I couldn’t afford it. But I bought the smallest one and omitted lunches for the week for me. When we got home, my oldest noticed there were only 2 rolls (one for her and her younger sibling), and I only had a little piece of chicken. I just told her, I wasn’t that hungry. Really, I wanted to make sure that they got to eat. And the joy on their faces for that deli fried chicken meal removed my hunger.
Sometimes we cope by seeing the joy of our kids and knowing their needs are met. Our needs will be met, another day, at another time.
3. I Gave Their Father Time He Didn’t Deserve:
For the first seven months after my ex left my children rarely saw him. In the first five months, he took our kids overnight only twice. So when he started to fight for 50/50 custody I was shocked! I wouldn’t give in, but I knew I had to give him some time with them.
I came from a divorced family and know the importance of having both parents in your life. I hate it when my babies are with their dad and away from me. I hate it when they call me crying wanting to come home. Yet I sacrifice time with my kids so that they can have a relationship with their father.
I cope with their weekends away from me by having a plan. I usually save what errands I can for that weekend they are gone.
4. Focused More On Their Healing Than My Own:
We all need time for ourselves, to heal during and after a divorce. There were so many times when I just wanted to break down and cry, but my kids were there. I spent so much time focusing on them and ensuring they would be alright I didn’t always take care of myself.
However, one thing I would do after they went to bed was make a cup of tea, draw up a bath, and spend a few minutes soaking in a tub while listening to music on my iPhone. Then I’d get out and go on with my evening, cleaning, making lunches for the next day or whatever else was on my to do list. Those few minutes of me time helped me heal. Slowly, but it did the trick.
We need to take the time to heal in order to be the best mother we can be for our children. Try to carve out some time, even if just a few minutes a day to take the time to do something healing, for you.
5. Kept a Dog I Never Wanted But Grew To Love:
My ex decided to get the kids a puppy a few weeks before he left. So he left me with the terrible task of breaking the kids heart by returning the dog, or keeping a hunting dog that would never hunt. This by far was the hardest decision I had to make. Break their heart right then, or find out later I couldn’t take care of the puppy and break their hearts later.
After much contemplation and an offer from our neighbor to have her son help us with the puppy, I decided to keep the little rascal. It was the BEST decision I made. It gave my children something to play with, something to love, something to care for, and a much-needed distraction from the world around them. When they are with dad they FaceTime their dog, and when they come home, they run right to Scout.
Of course, having a dog means that even when the kids aren’t home I have to run home after work to let him out, and I’m stuck with all the dog duties when they are gone. Yet, our dog is also a companion for me in an empty home. While at times I despise my ex for sticking me with a puppy I never wanted, I am glad it worked out this way. I get the dog, get to see the kids’ joy, and I know I didn’t break their hearts by refusing to keep the puppy.
Being a Mom isn’t always easy. It sometimes means putting the needs of your children before yours. All mothers sacrifice for their kids, especially during and after a divorce. What other things have you sacrificed for your kids? Which ones can you relate to? Comment below.
More from DivorcedMoms