Grieving during and after divorce is normal. You have lost a sense of stability in your life, lost a lover and a friend and helpmate in the job of raising kids. The only problem is that you might not even have time to grieve because you are busy 24/7 as the primary caretaker of your children.
If the other person is completely absent, you have a lot on your plate, and little time to feel sorry for yourself! Grief can quickly turn into anger that your ex isn’t around to share the responsibilities at home.
Have no fear, help is on the way!
Getting It Done Without Help:
One rule of thumb when single parenting is to make a pact with yourself that you cannot do everything. No one person can take up the slack for two, so just sit back and admit that some things just aren’t going to get done. Make a list of the most important activities that absolutely have to be done and do those and give yourself a pat on the back that you did the “A” list. The “B” list was only if you had extra time. As the new master of your own destiny, and without help, you are going to make your first priority your own mental health.
Don’t Let Pain Get In The Way Of Parenting:
Another issue that makes single parents very tired is holding on to memories of the many hurts during the marriage. Letting go of the rocks of resentment in your little red wagon will make your trip through single parentland much smoother. If you can see yourself walking along with your children and asking them to take a turn pulling the wagon,you are now inviting them into the sad circle. That is not their movie. They aren’t divorcing their parent, you are. Don’t ask them to join your campaign against the other parent. The quicker you can neutralize your sad and angry feelings and move on, the quicker your children get a happy parent back in their lives.
Every time you change that channel from hateful thoughts to your to-do-list channel, you are giving yourself a resentment break. The load is lighter and that other parent is off the hook for a few minutes. The situation is what it is, and you aren’t going to make today better by sending hate in his or her direction. You can, however bask in compliments that you can give yourself for having completed another day of loving your kids and being there for them. High five for you for doing that!
Helping Your Kids Adjust:
The third attitude shifter in your life is how you present your break up to the kids. Their successful adjustment to the life event is directly proportionate to your daily moods. The compliments you give for getting themselves ready for school, the smile you give them while they are brushing their teeth, your lack of tears every time they go visit the other parent and, you better sit down for this one, your kind word about their other parent are the small gestures that are building your child’s emotional future.
For example, when you tussle your child’s hair and mention, “You have your dad’s cowlick,” you are, in a subtle way, saying you like something about your child that is like their parent. By saying something positive about your child’s parent, you are building your child’s self esteem and providing an environment for them to comfortably grow their relationship with their other parent.
When you don’t put the other parent down in the presence of your child, you are giving your child permission to love and like their other parent. Those kind statements show your grown up letting go behaviors. With an attitude that says, “Dad is over there, I am over here and we both love you”, you are giving your child a tremendous gift of acceptance. Yes, two people can’t live together, but they both love their child.
These concerted efforts will pay off big time. By shifting from the he done me wrong song to an attitude of gratitude for the great kids in your lives, you are, little by little, letting go. No one will tell you to stop being resentful. It is your choice. If you want to take on this project it will take three steps:
Step one, realize this is a very difficult time. You don’t have to do it all.
Step two, you may have been leaking your old memories into your present day life and darkening your mood without even being aware. Since you don’t want your kids having to carry this heavy burden of remembering the past, then Step three will come naturally.
Step three is the attitude shift that lets your children have their own positive relationship with their other parent unburdened by your own feelings for their parent that they love. You get to keep your feelings about your ex far away from your children’s environment as you sort out the many overwhelming feelings you are experiencing today. As you pull your little red wagon of resentment rocks you may find yourself dropping more than a few along the way.