As the initiator of my divorce, I thought I had it all figured out. I had plans set in place for my new home and my new life and I thought I was one step ahead of the game.
I knew it was going to be hard but I think I had some warped ideas as to how I believed it was all going to pan out.
The idea of being a single parent didn’t phase me much as I had always been alone with the kids within our marriage, but suddenly being separated and going through a divorce made it all the more real that I was completely alone and it was hard!
There were so many things I didn’t consider before I got divorced, things I wish I had known about or been prepared for. It wouldn’t have changed my decision but forewarned is forearmed!
Here are some of the harsh realities I wish I had been prepared for!
As a mother…having to add more strings to your already loaded bow.
(By no way do I mean this in a sexist fashion but these are some of the things that I experienced or that I related to.)
1.) Having to plan every day with precision execution to manage everything alone…a job, school runs, bday parties, shopping, and extracurricular activities.
2.) Killing insects, rodents and other creepy crawlies like a warrior! (normally my ex’s department)
3.) Adopting the persona of 2 people to fit the role of both parents – learning to play football, play fighting and making paper airplanes – not my forte.
4.) Running the gauntlet alone with numerous kids…day trips to the beach (the planning and the stress involved in packing and unpacking everything, only to be told when you are finally settled on the sand that someone needs a wee and there is no one to look after your stuff ?). Visits to the zoo and traveling abroad; airports, airport security and the flight itself ? – all the wine in the world would barely make up for the stress you have to endure to make sure everyone gets there in one piece!
5.) As the main carer, you go from being the best mommy in the world to the biggest bitch on the planet. Everything at your ex’s place is suddenly bigger, better, and more fun. My 5 year old came back one evening and announced that she was moving out and going to live with her father because he had ‘loads of beds in his house!’ When I said I would miss her (in jest), she said that Nanny could make a teddy of her so that I wouldn’t be lonely! I laugh about it now but these are the types of conversations you need to be prepared for.
6.) The stigma that appears to follow you around once it gets out that you are separated or getting divorced. It is almost looked upon as something to be shameful of. It is NOT a shameful thing but you can become paranoid that everywhere you go, friends and acquaintances are looking at you and whispering behind your back.
You get sad eyes and pitying looks and you want to shout ‘I am separated, I don’t have some debilitating disease…stop looking at me that way!’ Remember you are the only one living your life and in charge of your happiness so hold your head up high and focus on looking after you!
7.) On the flip side, there are those you meet that don’t know that you are separated/divorced or that you were even married. Their reaction upon hearing that you are single at 34 is one of shock and disgust and they question if the fact that you are single is a ‘life choice’ !!!
8.) Friends and family WILL pick sides regardless of how the marriage ended. Although not pleasant, it is inevitable and something you are better off accepting now! Never let the opinions of others drag you down! I lived in a small village and for months afterwards everywhere I went people would look at me differently. Rise above it!
9.) People will always want to know what went wrong or why the marriage ‘failed’. Firstly it didn’t fail!!! It is the end to a story and every story has an end and a new beginning. Secondly, while it is up to you what you say to people, be careful about those that are just fishing for gossip. Resist the urge to tell all to ‘Betty’ from no.9 who is only dying to pass on an exaggerated version of what you said to everyone around town. This can come back and bite you in the ass if it appears you are bad-mouthing your ex! So don’t be so quick to tell everyone your version of events. Some things are better left unsaid.
10.) Divorce does get easier and it does get better. All the crazy thoughts and emotions that you feel are normal but you will get through it. There will be days you think about your ex, and about your old life, you will feel sad… that’s normal. You will also reach a point one day when you feel ready to move on and maybe meet someone new…you will adjust to blended relationships and a new way of living. You WILL be happy again! Don’t rush the process, just give it time!
Divorce is not the end, it is merely a bump in the road on this journey called life!