I’m totally wiped out from Web 2.0. I’m in my hotel room in San Francisco, alone for a change. I just finished speaking to 1000 techies about my passion for the Internet and social media, and why it is relevant to my life. I wouldn’t really know what to do with myself being manless and kidless, but since I promised Part II of “My Take On Divorce” would be published Thursday, here goes….
My decision to separate from my ex was necessary. The fact that I had two daughters, 3 and 5 yrs old whose hearts were about to break was a different story. Little did I know that the pain I had been enduring for years was about to be overshadowed by a heartache I did not see coming.
Separating was hardest for my 5 year old. She wanted her mom and dad to be together and live under the same roof at all costs. She could not understand, nor was she expected to, the need for change and the lessons that would follow because of it.
I had never spent a day or night without my girls; they went practically everywhere I did. One of the biggest challenges for me was letting go so they could share time with their Dad. He was a good father and entitled to his time, but there was no preparation for that major change that took place over night. I did not have a schedule in mind that was in their best interests before the decision to live in separate locations took place. If I could change anything, I would have educated myself in the best way to prepare them for the months that lay ahead in an age appropriate language that they could understand.
There are so many emotions involved in the decision-making process of what’s “right” during a divorce. I consulted with a child psychologist to help provide me some needed tools to communicate a healthy message to my girls. I wish I had done that before any physical changes took place. I think when you are in pain it is hard to see things clearly. Our children do not feel what we feel, but they suffer the consequences.
One of the hardest parts for my girls was not having mommy when they needed me. They could not understand why I wasn’t there for them all the time. I wanted to be, but their father also had his rights to be with them and we were living in two different places over night. Those memories still break my heart. Separating from my husband also meant separating a bit from my children. I don’t think most people are prepared for that and there is no way to make it easy.
My kids did not like having two homes, the back and forth was really hard for them. At a certain stage my oldest daughter thought she was the only girl in school whose parents were divorced. Hardly the case, but she was feeling different from most families. She hoped that I would come home for many years and she wished that her dad and I would be a family again. I read “Love Is A Family” by Roma Downey to them and it shed some light on the possibilities of a different family structure than what they were used to. It’s a really sweet book.
I chose a very matter of fact avenue of communication with my girls. I let them know that the divorce had nothing to do with them. I assured them that their father and I loved them so much. I told them that he and I had agreed on a schedule that was best for them. I told them that I was missing them every time they were missing me and that if they ever needed me to just call. Many times, my kids worked both sides. I can remember driving over to their dad’s house, with his permission and giving them needed comfort. Thankfully he and I had an agreement that we would give our kids what they needed, which overrode what was convenient for us.
The bottom line is divorce was MUCH harder than I ever imagined. It changed my children’s lives. It gave them a different perspective on love and family, one, which I wish I could have sheltered them from.
It takes a lot of love, nurturing and communication to survive a divorce. There were many questions asked by them that were painful and difficult to answer. I valued professional advice when I found myself in unchartered waters. I made the best of an awful situation. Many hearts were broken.
BUT, I allowed myself the room to make a necessary change in my life that I believed was best for everyone involved. It was not ideal, but then again life doesn’t always work out as planned. It was not an overnight decision, it was one that needed to be made and the events that followed were the most difficult times of my life.
I am not willing to go into the very personal details of why and what drove us to that place, but I will say that
Leaving was harder than staying…
My children may never forgive me, but I do believe in love and forever, and I will show them that in their lives.
We are influencers in our children’s lives. Every step we take matters. When you are in an emotional mess, it’s hard to see through it.
Divorce will always be a painful subject to me. I’m telling it like it was – nothing to feel good about here. It’s still challenging in many ways for my family.
My children will grow up always missing someone, me at their dad’s and their dad at my house. It’s sad. It’s life for 50% of families in our country.
My thoughts are…make it work if you can, and if you can’t, make it as easy as possible for your children.
In closing, I’m scared to publish this blog because it’s so personal, but I know it is an issue that needs to be addressed in our ModernMom community. Support is a valuable thing. Wish I was the only one dealing with this, but sadly not the case…
Kids deserve to grow in a happy environment even if the struggle to get there is painful.