Most of us dream of providing our children with a happy and safe intact family situation. But when that doesn’t pan out, we have to move on to Plan B. Unfortunately, not everyone shares the same vision for what Plan B should look like, and if the two parents cannot reach an agreement, then it will be left up to a court to decide what your Plan B will look like, and let me be perfectly candid– that is a very nasty and expensive ordeal that thankfully over 70% of us will avoid.
Regardless of how you arrive at Plan B, the point is we all need to quickly learn to make the best of a bad situation, especially for our kids’ sake. To do this, there are a few key things you have to try and learn to do sooner rather than later after your separation/divorce:
1. Work Through the Emotions– You have to get past the anger, disappointment, anxiety, and/or feelings of betrayal in order to move forward. Harboring resentment is not healthy, and it’s not sexy.
The sooner you can let go of the past, the sooner you can be open to what the future has in store for you, including the possibility of finding love again.
2. Be Flexible– Certain provisions related to children are not necessarily written in stone– precisely because we know that over time 60% will remarry and have a new blended family scenario, plus it is normal and expected that financial circumstances will change and/or adjustments may have to be made to kids’ schedules. Revisiting these arrangements is normal, so you need to be able to roll with the changes.
3. Filter Information– Kids don’t need to know all the details about why their parents split up, nor do they need to hear about the issues you are arguing about or how afraid you are about the future. Every child is entitled to a childhood– and what that means is that they should just be able to enjoy life both at home and school, know that their parents love them and will provide for them, and they should feel free to express their sentiments without fear.
4. Find an Ally– Whether it is a shrink, your mom, or your best friend, it doesn’t matter– but you need to have someone you trust in your life that you can vent to from time to time. Navigating single life while raising a child is super hard because here you are trying to create a new life for yourself while also helping another start out his/her separate life, and the responsibilities are immense. When you are on parent-duty, it is intense because you have no one to tag-team with, and inevitably you will have melt-down moments– that is normal. Just find someone with good judgment that can counsel you and will talk you off the cliff– that life line is key.
It has not been easy raising a child on my own the last 9 years, but somehow I have managed to keep it together, especially by following these survival tips. Truth is being a single mom is by far the toughest job I’ve ever had, and on multiple occasions I really felt like I was getting my butt kicked, but the good times far outweigh the bad ones, and hands down motherhood is by far the most rewarding experience I have had in life. With these tips, I hope others will feel the same way too.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.