The months and years immediately after a divorce can be extremely challenging, and often overwhelming. They can be an emotional roller coaster and a period of transition as you learn how to be single again. If you’ve been married for a long time – maybe since your early twenties – then finding yourself again can be difficult, especially if you are now left with the challenge of raising children alone. You will need to go from being a married woman or man and co-parent, to a singleton and sole parent. These are by no means easy tasks.
If you’re going to move forward with your life, you’ll need to begin by focusing on you. Take this painful experience, and use it as an opportunity to rediscover who you are.
Realize you’re wonderful
Over time, you may have forgotten the many unique gifts and incredible qualities that you have – not as part of a couple, but just as you. One way to remind yourself of this is to write a list, starting today, which contains all your most enviable qualities, and to read this list daily until you really believe it. Examples might be: kind, loving, intelligent, witty, generous, humorous, beautiful smile, and so on. Start to see the qualities within yourself, and remember they’ve been in there all along!
Take 5 (or even 10)
A few minutes a day, well spent, can make a huge difference. The period after a divorce is often similar to the process of bereavement, when we mourn for a friend or relative who has passed away. One chapter has closed, yes, but another is waiting to begin. The old adage is that ‘The happier you are, the happier your children will be’, and there’s some truth to this. Often, however, we make the mistake of focusing so much on making sure our children are okay when Dad (or Mum) is no longer there in everyday life that we forget about ourselves. The fact is, though, that if our children see us upset or stressed, it can have a huge effect on them too, even if unspoken. So take those few minutes out every day to take a long bath or have a quiet cup of tea, and relax. You’ll really see the benefit.
You may now be faced with added responsibilities. As a newly single parent, it can be very hard to know how to manage everything without reaching breaking point in the process. So start living in the present. You can do this, and your children know you can. You need to know it too. Laugh more, enjoy life – and if the dishes aren’t done, so what? They’ll still be there tomorrow, but the children won’t always be children. If the ironing’s piling up, the socks haven’t been paired up or the floor needs sweeping, it doesn’t have to be done at that second. Take your children’s hands and play a game with them. Roll around on the floor, crack a stupid joke. The beauty of children is that they love those moments, so take the time to soak up that beauty. Appreciate them for being part of your life, and never forget the importance of a hug! Just remember what they say: ‘You’ve got years to do all that cleaning and cooking, but children grow up when you’re not looking.’
Rediscover your social life
Almost all the single parents I know have found that their social circle has widened since they’ve become single. If you and your former partner share custody of the kids, then use the time away from the children to rekindle friendships, make new friends and enjoy yourself (and maybe catch up on some of that housework!). If not, call in favors from grandparents, aunties and uncles for a spot of babysitting. You deserve a little fun. Another way of widening your social circle is to plan some exciting activities or trips with the kids. A single parent holiday where you will be spending a week in the company of like-minded parents and their children will give both you and the kids the opportunity to make new friends in the same situation and make you realize how much fun can be had a single parent! Learn more about and see a range of single parent holidays here.
Divorce isn’t easy but acknowledging that you can and will get through this chapter of your life is the initial step. Just remember you divorced for a reason. Although you shouldn’t hold on to this reason, and should try to move forward without being full of anger and hatred for your ex, remember that reason if doubts begin to creep in as your new single life begins. Living life after divorce will show you just how strong, able and amazing you truly are.
This post was supplied by Mark Stubbles, Mark was divorced about 7 years ago and he thinks life is too short to be unhappy.