So, what does THIS mean? This may mean how do I co-parent? How do I start a new relationship? How do I raise my children by myself? How do I move past abuse, sadness, or feelings of failure? What happened? How did this place become my new reality? Well… we will cover all of this in this blog– and even more!
First things first, you have to worry about yourself a much as your children–now do not go over board and become self-absorbed. That is the last thing that you should do. Your children are the #1 priority and sometimes in this journey we have to be reminded of that. It is very easy to lose yourself in your children’s lives, and also lose track of your children while attempting to maintain life. They need to be our number one, but not the only one. I will go into this much deeper in other blog posts I promise this is such an important part of the process.
Second, how you react is up to you!!! You can choose to be a devious, mean, spiteful mom and co-parent who uses her children as a weapon. Or you can be a mom who chooses to co-parent WITH her ex spouse for the love of her children, and for their future wellness. The choice is yours, and the choice is very important. I chose to be the second option, was it easy? No, was it worth it? YES! Did I want to make his life hell like he had initially done to me? YES, did I see more value in raising my daughter as normally as possible, without any worries about her father and I? YES!!! I decided when it became just her and I, that I was going to raise a warrior, a well-rounded child with a minimum of scars from her parents divorce that would become a well rounded, established, kind, smart, caring adolescent, and eventually an amazing adult. She knows that she is the utmost importance, she knows without ever being told that she is reason for my sacrifices, and the reason for my successes. Love has kept us together and kept us strong.
Back to how your react– again, this is up to YOU, and you only. You decide if you cause issues in all of his future relationships, you decide if you are going to sleep with his friends or do a variety of other things. Now, if you feel the need to do some running around, I will never tell you not to hahahaha… lord knows there are a few things I will have to answer for when I get to heaven. Trust me. No one is perfect, and that is the beauty of it all.
Now, here is what I did– he was unfaithful, he disappointed me, he made me feel terrible about myself based on his actions. I was terrified of what each day would bring Olivia and I; but what kept me strong was… well, being strong because it was the ONLY option we had.
I was terrified after the house we shared sold, and my father left my house after helping me move my entire life into storage but, I had this beautiful little human being that made it all worth it. I cried, I was very sad and years later I look back and realize that I should have just quit my job, and crawled up in the back seat of my dad’s friends van and went home with my daddy. I could have lived with my parents and I would have dealt with whatever legal ramifications my ex-husband threw my way, but I didn’t. I moved in with my friends, lived there for 6 months, got myself together and decided that the best thing at the time was to stay to ensure that Olivia and her dad had a secure relationship, I knew no matter what her and I were going to be good. I told her so many times that “nothing else mattered, as long as we were together.” I said it so many times that she eventually in her toddler wisdom would see that mommy was having a bad day– and in a little voice she would tell me “mommy, nothing else matters as long as we are together.” This became out battle cry~ this was the choice I made. I had no hopes that her father and I would get back together but I had a job, friends, and a support system because ironically I had a dear friend who was getting divorced at the same time. We had each other.
The reaction was to be civil, be kind whenever possible, be RESPECTFUL of her father and as much as it hurt me, be respectful of his girlfriend who he had cheated on me with. It was hard, but you know what, each time I did not react, each time I did not lose my cool, or say terrible things about him, I won a little battle each time, I won a small ounce of respect from myself, and others around me.
My sister-in-law said to me a lot (now this is my brother’s wife and she is my lifelong friend) “I do not know how you do this all by yourself. You are so strong.” Well, as I said before, “you never know how strong you are, until strong is the only option you have!”
Please keep in mind that all these years later him and I have a wonderful, respectful relationship that is focused only on our daughter. She is the only thing that matters, and her father is my friend and she knows that. She also knows that if she disrepects me, does anything wrong and I call her father for support– I GET IT!
At the end of the day ladies, who cares really what anyone thinks of you but your children need to see that no matter what, you are taking the high road. You are respectful to their father, and you are the strongest most admirable women on the earth. Others will try to brainwash your children, they may play games, his family may try things, but I will tell you if you remain above reproach YOU WIN!
Remain calm even when the storm is right on top of you, find an outlet (not drugs or drinking because that would be counter-productive) find creativity, here are a few things that I did:
* Write poetry
* Write in a journal
* I created an outline for a book that I want to write, that is most recently becoming this blog
* Take a class, I went to school online and am almost finished with my Bachelors degree
* Make a schedule and stick to it— there is a blog coming about how important this is
* Play games with your children that you haven’t played since you were a kid
* Find other single mommies to support you, and you support them (did I mention that I was 11 hours from my family when this all started)
* Join a church and become active in it
* Read books, listen to motivational speakers like Les Brown, TD Jakes, Tony Robbins, Dave Ramsey, Suzy Orman, and so many others
* Join an online dating site or a discussion board for those times when you just want to talk to others your own age
* Organize our home to ensure that things are easily located– the last thing you need is a cluttery mess where you cannot find anything to make more stress— a blog on organization is coming as well.
* DREAM! Dream about the things that you want, dream about the way you want things to be
* Hold your babies as much as possible because as you know, they grow up way to fast.
THIS is not going to be the easiest time in your life, this is going to challenge you, and rip you from your comfort zone, you will have amazing days where you are on top of the world, and you will have days where you are very sad. That is totally okay!
YOU choose how you react, you choose if all the extra is necessary– you choose to put your children first and what is best for them–and that may be for them to not see their father if he is not a good person with the childs best intentions at heart. YOU are in control, you determine YOUR reaction and no one else’s.
Be calm when you want to scream, think about your next step– be your childs calm place in this storm. Their life is changing too, and they need both you and their father to keep things peaceful and easy–but, the only person YOU can control is YOU!
Much love and respect ladies
Stay Savvy & Stay STRONG~