You never thought it was possible, did you? Be honest, it’s okay. The first thing you need to do is stop the endless Google searches, of “life after divorce.” No doubt that’s what landed you here. Admit it to yourself it just sounds too good to be true. You can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, through all the bills, school runs, washing and ironing and not to mention holding down a nine to five, or lack of sleep.
Don’t be so cynical, don’t be so deluded to honestly think that there is no truth in a life that is more joyful than it was before you even got married, had a child(ren) and then sadly, called it a day. It’s not some kind of false hope that’s unattainable, whether you’ve been dumped or you did the dumping, it’s neither here nor there. The fact is it is possible, very possible. If you’ve landed here in your search looking for that validation, that life as a divorced person and parent can be good, fulfilling, worth living and that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, the first thing that needs to happen is a change of your mindset. Second, stop looking for validation and take action.
It’s totally understandable though why you might have been looking for this validation. Once you say to people “oh no it’s just us,” they look at you like you’re some kind of charity case. Like you need to be patted and told that “you’ll be all right.” Of course, you’ll be all right. But it’s this kind of attitude from others, maybe even the shame you might feel about being on your own, that is holding you back from a joyful life, with “just us” = you and the little one(s). Snap out of it. Right away. There’s no shame, and you have everything to gain from this life changing event.
The last time I looked at my rather large and pretty rock on my left hand, all nice and sparkly snug next to my wedding band, I winced. Thought about how much I’d get if I pawned it. Then gathered up my eighteen month old son, (who is now three) not hoping but knowing that I’d make a better life for us with it being “just us.” There just had to be a better life than the one we were enduring. I placed my wedding ring and engagement ring on the table and said it out loud “it’s over, I want you out by Friday.” Instantly, I felt better once I said it. And that’s the first step to the joyful life of the divorced parent, once you’re confident that it’s over, you must know not hope that there’s a better way of life, with “just us.”
Children understand more than they let on, any parent knows this. They also can feel the impact of an unhappy marriage, poor communication, a tense atmosphere more than you think. Some children become clinging, needy, and never want to leave your side. They are in fear of the “cloud” that is looming in the household e.g. your ex-husband or ex-wife. If you look at your child and notice this put them first. They deserve better than to be brought up a household so tense, they kick off if you leave the room, or never want to leave you.
If you’re sitting there pondering if you can make it on your own, with a small child or even children don’t ponder, plan to make it. Now. While this is not about advocating divorce, or splitting up families it is about raising awareness that as a parent, you can’t parent if you are an unhappy person. In addition, believe it or not there are some serious joys, once you have become brave enough and let go of the wedding ring and what it once meant. Joys that no one will tell you about, or even want to admit maybe out of guilt.
If you’re a soon to be divorced parent it is sad, it’s not nice when people make such heartfelt promises, produce children and one them feels they need to be out of the marriage to keep their own sanity. Many people often compare divorce to death, hmm? Okay fair point something has ended. But it’s not the end of life which is clearly to opposite of death. So, in that respect, it could be suggested that divorce is far from death … The contrary my friend, for you this is a rebirth, a serious one too. This is time to put things into prospective. What kind of life do you imagine for you and your little one(s) to have? And what do you need in order to achieve it? What about you? What have you always wanted to do that your ex or previous marriage held you back from doing? There are some serious joys post-divorce, especially as a parent with little ones on under five!
Joy #1: Bonding: Find a new routine for you and your little one(s), something that breaks the norm of what you used to do, when your ex was around. Remember this is a new dawn, a new day and a new life for you and your new family, shake things up. It could be simple things you add into your week that allow you to bond. A weekly trip to the library, swimming pool, park, cinema whatever! Get creative and find a weekly activity that you’re able to do, just you and your little one(s). The joy is you’ll see the bond, laughter, fun, carefree feeling return in your heart and theirs. If they are under five the new routine and bond will do wonders for them. Children this young, are so innocent and loveable they may not be able to say “I love you” to express their feelings, but you’ll feel it in the endless hugs and kisses and laughter you have. The benefit from this new routine is that you and your little one(s) carry on with family life, a new family life. After all, that’s what you are– a family right? It might be a smaller one with one person less, but it’s important to ensure your little one(s) that you are still a family. And do family things.
Joy #2: Learning: You’ll be surprised how much you learn about your child once your ex is out the picture. As in, you’re no longer together, they have contact with the little one(s) however they are no longer in the house taking up your time with worry, resent, or whatever emotion it was you were feeling when you were under the same household. You’ll understand your child a lot more from spending more time with “just us.” You’ll really get to know what they are and are not capable of. Together you’ll learn about each other. It’s a joyful feeling and experience for you and your little one(s). One that sets you up for a promising future as a stronger more resilient unit.
Joy #3: Growing: We all grow at some point in life obviously physically and mentally. However, as a divorced parent you’ll grow mostly as a person. Let’s back track slightly, to where it was suggested that you start to think about a future you see for you and your little one(s). When you start to build this future you and your little one(s) deserve, you grow you have no choice but to, it happens without even thinking about it. New ways of thinking, new ways of feeling, new emotions, a new outlook on life, new wants and needs. You may start to look at the world a little bit differently. Possibly, this is because it’s all down to you now. You have two choices make it work or make it work! There is no trying. So naturally you will evolve and grow as you make it work. This can be such a joyful experience for you personally. Once you start to develop these new thoughts, desires and dreams the repercussions are so positive and powerful, for you and your little one(s). It could be the biggest joy you will ever feel. Right after the new bond you and your little one(s) experience.
Joy #4 Goal Setting/Achievement: Following on from the growth, once this kicks in, with a bit of positive thought and a dose of will power you’ll be brimming with ideas! Go forth and make them happen because you can. What’s stopping you? Certainly not your dead weight of an ex husband or wife. It could be that you start off small like planning your first family holiday with just you and your little one(s). There are some fantastic short breaks and even full-blown holidays to exotic places out there, especially for single parent families. http://singlewithkids.co.uk/ is a great place to start. You’ll find something for your budget, especially for one parent families, with the option to pay off for your family holiday in small instalments. Once you start the journey to your destination you may be nervous, once you arrive you might be so nervous you want to throw up! But all the other parents are in the same boat, you could even make some lifelong friends, or even a new potential partner. Whatever the goal is start small once you’ve achieved it you can aim higher and keep climbing. Just you and your babies, leave your ex in the dust.
Joy #5 confidence: Once you’ve bonded strongly even more with your little one(s), grown, achieved a few goals, there is only one joyful emotion you will feel. Confidence, like you’ve never felt before. You and your little one(s) are home free! You’ve gone full circle and well on the road to a great joyful life as a small family. With it being “just us” until the right one comes along again. And this time you’ll have better judgement at picking your life partner.
Don’t be under any disillusion it is a challenge at times, but if you have just decided to rid your wedding band with children to then take care of, or you are considering getting rid of your wedding band. If you keep an open mind to the challenges that may be ahead and face them with no fear, take the time to bond with your new little family, learn about your child, allow yourself to detach from your old life and partner in every way, grow with your head turned in a new direction with goals, that aim to build the life you want. The ultimate state and destination for you is a new confident, unashamed, bullet proof parent, with resilient happy bubbly little one(s). Once you experience those joys it’s some kind of nirvana! That can be promised to you. It’s a joyful life a divorced, and a parent life. So, let this be the last time you ask Google about “life after divorce with small kids” or “life after divorce.” Instead, get yourself a journal with blank pages, fill them up with your thoughts, feelings and reflections. Reflection on the past, see how you can use the learning curve of how you ended up where you are, to fuel your future. Then crack on with walking the road to reach your nirvana as you carve out your new life, as a family post-divorce, and in a joyful state of mind.