Peers and Proof: Essentials for Surviving Divorce

I’ve been reflecting on what got me through that critical first year post-divorce and after talking to a few other single moms, decided that these two things are essential. I needed peers: I cherished times that I could be with or talk to other moms who were going through divorce too — who better to understand, in a truly visceral way, what I was going through? Who could cry AND laugh with me? These women and I share a unique bond, one rooted in our shared stories. [Read more…]

How to Begin Processing Post-Divorce

It’s been called the post-divorce rut, the single parent the rut, and a few other choice things…whatever you call it, one thing is for certain: it’s no fun being there.

I had been waiting and waiting and waiting for sixteen long months for my divorce to end. Every single day felt endless, like I was the smallest hamster on the hamster wheel. Motions, court dates, piles of attorney bills.
And then POOF!! SPUTTER!! SPUTTER!! It was done.

A simple stamp on my divorce decree that said “FINAL” branded me as a single mother, branded my daughter as the child of a divorced household, and branded her father as a single dad. It was surreal.

My first emotion? Being utterly, down to the bone, down to the marrow in my bones, tired. Not too tired to smile, mind you.

Friends took me out to celebrate. I had dinners, I had drinks, and, I had desserts. Lots of people called, visited, and emailed. It was a whirlwind. Then, a few weeks later, [Read more…]

How to Know If It’s Time to Go

Remember last year when some publishers/publicists/agents had contacted me asking me to do book reviews? And I had said “of course” and then I received free copies of their books? Well, I’ve been *procrastinating*…but am now giving them the attention they deserve…

This book is one I wish I had in hand as I began thinking about my marriage and divorce. Not because it would have changed my decision, but because it would have helped me move forward with more determination and confidence. Why? Because this book explores what characteristics make a marriage or a relationship foundation-ally solid. And understanding those characteristics is worthwhile, whether you are hitting a rough spot or not.

I was hooked from page one, as a woman named Ann experiences one sleepless night after another and finds herself in a fantasy: leaving everything behind and running away from her broken marriage (that’s exactly what I did; actually, I went beyond the fantasy and moved out with babe in hand, in just an hour). [Read more…]

How to Get Your Child to Open Up

“So Mom, do you want to play this game with me? You go first with the ‘I feel…’ part.”

“Okay…,” said distracted me to my eight-year-old daughter, who had been wanting to play a game. “I feel like eating ice cream.”

“I feel sad when my dad lies to me.”

Whoa. I stopped doing the dishes, while emptying the dishwasher, while making lunch, while cleaning off the counter, while changing the trash bag. We were playing a game, weren’t we?

Seeing the look on my face, my daughter said, ”Want me to read the instructions again?” And she continued without pause: “Talking about feelings hurts no one. If I say,’ I am angry,’ that doesn’t hurt you. If I say,’I am lonely,’ that lets you know me better. The secret is to start by saying, ’I think, I feel, I want.’ Ready Mom?”

I nodded.

But let me back up.

My daughter had gone to my desk in my pseudo-office in our living room. On it, she went to the *stack* of books (er…eight of them now) I am committed to doing reviews on. And she gravitated towards Liking Myself by Pat Palmer.

In case you are new to my single mom world, the summary is that her dad enjoys talking about me constantly when she is over there. It’s been almost seven years since my divorce and guess who was just in court again? Yes, me. This is one tumultuous divorce that keeps on giving.

“Okay mom, I’ll go again – but why don’t you come sit here with me? Ready?”

I nodded. Again.

And my little lovely says,” I want my mom to stop worrying about me.” Umm…okay? I can’t? I know you have it tough over there – so I’ll try not to? I pause for an eternity. [Read more…]