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Divorce Let's Talk

5 Ways to Make Children Feel Secure During Divorce

Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

Divorce is devastating, not just for the two people going through it but for the children. Parents are the foundation – the solid stability – beneath the feet of children, and when that crumbles, it takes a lot of work to protect the kids. While I hope you don’t ever need this advice, here are five ways you can make children feel secure during divorce:

Avoid Conflict

For some couples (and their children) divorce comes as a relief because the fighting during the marriage was so bad. But whether the relationship was volatile or not, now is the time to avoid conflict. Don’t fight in front of your kids.

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say…

Even worse than fighting in front of your kids is telling your kids how awful their other parent is. No matter how much you detest the person you made babies with now, you made babies with him or her, so deal with it. Keep your negativity to yourself in front of your children and let your child grow up to have a positive view of both parents. If your spouse is really that horrible, your child will figure it out on his own.

Provide Stability

Children are resilient and ultimately flexible, but that doesn’t mean their living situation should be upended completely. If you’re going through custody battles or fighting over who gets to keep the house, do what’s best for your kids until the dust is settled and let them stay as stable as possible. If they do have to move, make sure you take all the things that keep them secure with you.

You Are the Adult

Do not use your kids as therapists or friends even when things are going really badly for you. You are still an adult and a parent, and sometimes you simply have to deal with the fact that your life is sucking and still get up and do what you have to do to take care of your kids.

No Blame

Your kids will figure out as they get older who did what to cause what’s happening now. You don’t need to drag them into it and disparage their other parent. Don’t ever say things to blame the other parent.

When it comes to getting divorced, your kids should not get caught in the middle of the conflict. They should be insulated and protected as much as possible and reassured that nothing they did caused the problem and that everyone still loves them.

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Doing it Alone Let's Talk

The Generosity of Others

Getting Real With Sara Haley
It’s true what they say–it’s not about the money in your bank account or the belongings that you possess.  It’s about the friends and family that you have around you, that love and care about you.

It’s coming up on a year since I left my husband. My divorce has been long-winded and dramatic. I went from being a stay-at-home mom to a work-from-home mom struggling from paycheck to paycheck. I’m not going to lie, it has been hard for me. Going from a single income married family with two children (my daughter and step-son) to a single mom of one trying to make it on her own was quite the transition. But through it all, I have kept my head held high and have had a positive outlook on everything that has been thrown my direction. Although things have been hard, I have been amazed at the generosity of others.
Getting things together for my own place was difficult. I had taken the bare minimum with me, and I suddenly felt like a college kid headed out on her own with not a single thing to her name. I had even left some essential basics, figuring they would be divvied up sooner or later in the courts. I ended up without a kitchen table, a bed, and a few other “niceties” that I would have enjoyed having, like a couch and a coffee table. But it wasn’t long before offers started coming in. I ended up borrowing a twin bed in order to have a place to sleep. A friend of a friend had a kitchen table to spare, and I was able to have a place to sit with my daughter and eat our meals. Over time, I was slowly able to replace everything. I was able to get a hold of an inexpensive mattress and return the one that I was borrowing come spring. I was able to find the most adorable dining room table at a garage sale for $20, and was able to “re-gift” the other kitchen table to a couple that needed it.
In addition to help with furniture, I have had a lot of friends and family that have been offering things to help out. I am able to swap with friends for “babysitting nights” so I can go out and enjoy an adult evening out without the munchkin and avoiding having to pay a babysitter. I have a number of friends with little girls that provide me with hand-me-down clothes for my daughter. I have family that doesn’t think twice about coming over and sharing a bottle of wine and help me catch up on spring cleaning my apartment. And this last spring, I was able to enjoy a nice two week getaway to Arizona because a friend was nice enough to let me stay at her house the entire time. My daughter and I were able to enjoy a nice little vacation and enjoy a little time away from all the drama of home without having to shell out for food or a place to stay.
I cannot say enough about the generosity and caring nature of my friends and family over this last year. All I have the words to say is “thank you.” Thank you to everyone who has helped me get on my feet and has continued to be there for me when I need them most. I will always look back on these times and remember how amazingly appreciative I was for everyone’s help, and I know that when my friends and family are in their own time of need, I will be one of the first to step up to the plate and give from the heart.
Categories
Divorce

We’re All Affected When Family or Close Friends Divorce

Getting Real with Jennifer Poole

Recently there have been many people in my life who are deciding to divorce. Even if I agree that it is the best thing due to issues in the marriage, it is still heartbreaking. The parents of one of my daughter’s friends are divorcing. This has caused my daughter to ask us many questions about what happens when people divorce and if daddy and I fight does that mean we will get divorced. It has allowed us to have open discussions about relationships and how just because we may get upset from time to time it does not automatically mean we are getting divorced.

To add to my daughter’s concern, her former babysitter and the sitter’s spouse are divorcing. This has been difficult for all of us as I grew up with the husband and I am like a little sister to him. I was at their wedding 20+ years ago and his soon to be ex-wife took care of my daughter from the time she was six weeks old until she started kindergarten.

At first they were battling things out on Facebook for the whole world to see. Eventually the husband, Sam deleted his account, but Jan continues to post about her new life and her soon to be ex. I am happy she is finding a new life and enjoying herself but her comments like “I used to think I would be upset about seeing my ex with another woman but my parents taught me how to give away toys I didn’t want any more” are painful to read when we care about both of them.

Why they are divorcing and the details of the process are none of my business, and I don’t want to be drawn in to it and don’t want to be asked to pick sides. I just want to be able to support both of them in their quests to find a happy and fulfilling life even if it means they are not doing it together. I refuse to “like” or comment on her posts about her ex and instead focus on her posts about finding herself and new happiness.

That brings me to the most difficult pending divorce – my parents. After almost 26 years of marriage my mother and step-father have decided to divorce. Do I agree with this decision? It is none of my business, so I try to keep my opinions to myself and just be supportive. My mom will often vent to me her frustrations with dad, the pending divorce and its impact but I try to stay neutral.

I validate her feelings and offer her suggestions on how to approach a discussion or express a feeling. I know if I was still a child my mother would never talk negatively about my step-dad but since I am an adult I guess she does not need to protect me from the negativity and the reality of it all. I haven’t discussed the issues with my step-dad so I don’t know what he is truly thinking about all of this. Overall, I guess I am still in denial about this divorce. I know they are not happy but part of me still hopes one day soon one of them will swallow their pride and try to get things resolved.

At this point I just continue to validate and support all of those people and their children and grandkids because regardless of why they are divorcing it is a major life change for them and the people that care about them both.

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Divorce Let's Talk

Fighting Over Money and Control Make Divorce Ugly

Getting Real With Tammy Bartholomew

Divorce can be ugly, and the bottom line is, divorce is about money and control: Who is paying the money and who has the control of the kids. My parents have been both married and divorced 4 times. My mom is still with “old #4” as he calls himself after 18 years. They are to the point they finish each other’s sentences; it’s cute.

Cute as it is now, it wasn’t always that way. After my mom divorced my real father, I lived full time with my mom, never really seeing my father. I knew him but I think because of the control my mom exerted, he never really reached out to me as he could have. He also went on with his life, new wife and kids. My mom remarried a military man and we traveled, moving a lot.

Money was also a variable with child support. I am not all justifying this or making an excuse not to see your child, but sometimes it is a factor. My ex-husband is ordered to pay all the travel cost for our 3 children. I was very adamant about this in the beginning, because I was not the one who moved out of the state; he was. He moved, so he pays. After a while, I saw him struggling as I did.

Who does it hurt when the kids can’t visit both parents? Our kids.

One day I called him and said, “I will not always be able to help, but if I can I will.” I still know it’s ultimately his responsibility. Luckily for my kids sake, my ex and I try to be civil. He lives in a nearby state and we have a very set schedule for the kids visitation. I have to admit, in the beginning I was controlling.

They are my kids and I don’t want them hurt. I don’t want them being taken and raised by anyone else but me.

Then, I started to remember about my dad and how he wasn’t around. Who did it hurt? Me. That is exactly what path my kids were heading down. They were paying the price for us.

It amazes me. As a couple we were fine paying for whatever they needed. Now that we are divorced, no one wants to pay. Everyone has what they think they are entitled to in divorce.  I realize not all divorces are fair, or amicable. They are physically, emotional, and mentally painful. My parents try to get along, but still don’t like each other and pull the control card when it comes to my children and me. Its extremely sad.

In the end kids should always come first.

Keep Smiling, Tammy

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Divorce Let's Talk

Learning to Live Again After Divorce – a Poem

MomsGetReal™ Poet Extraordinaire Tammy Bartholomew

The Little Girl

We all have

A princess in our heart

Father the protector

From the start

She’d been hiding

For a long time

Bursting to get out

Not willing to cross the line

Wanting to

Be taken care of

Needing to feel

She was loved

Never to be laughed at

Nor leaning on others

A giver too many

Perfect wife and mother

Many reminded her

Of her human side

Where life is not perfect

Not to run and hide

Most important lesson

The little girl had been taught

The love she needs

Is the love in her heart

She has grown to become

A woman of confidence

Just needs it back

All this to make sense

Make mistakes

Be financially broke

A girl as her best friend

Maybe crack a joke

She can be loyal to all

Trust in others

A good partner

And a great mother

Laugh at herself

Just enjoy life

Smiles on her panties

Not be so uptight

Kids to enjoy

Dreams to come true

Learn to live again

Being true to you know who

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Divorce Doing it Alone Let's Talk

Divorce is Like a War – and There Are Casualties

MomsGetReal™ Poet Extraordinaire Tammy Bartholomew

Casualty of War

Casualty of war

Words you would say

When you called me

That cold winter day

Tears started to roll

Asking what did I do

Making you so mad

The end to lose you

I’m angry

Even at myself

Not worthy

Of you or anyone else

Divorce not in my vocab

Not ever to me

What was the lesson

You wanted me to see

I racked my brain

Trying to look back

Where did I miss the bullets

This vicious attack

You weren’t even home

How would I begin

To learn to live

Over again

Then it hit me

Not to be left behind

What you were saying

The future was mine

You’re mean and cruel

Things your head

Get over you

Isn’t that what you said

Didn’t like what I saw

Or know you anymore

I will go on but

Not being a casualty of your war

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Divorce Doing it Alone Let's Talk

True Fears

MomsGetReal™ Poet Extraordinaire Tammy Bartholomew

True fears

Locked deep inside

Some days

Run and hide

Stand for what we believe

Afraid to be put in our place

A deep scar

Left upon our face

Fear of being alone

Not knowing what to do

Someone not there to hold you

Your whole life through

Jealousy

You might have been replaced

Not knowing where you stand

In a moment you’re erased

Trust you have built

In the face of another

Knowing it to be broken

Crushed and uncovered

Your soul

Torn apart

When he said I have

No more love in my heart

Death

From the day were born

Knowing when we leave

Our loved ones left to mourn

Sit in silence

Waiting the next move

Who’s will it be

Don’t know what to do

Overwhelmed

How this will end

This chapter over

How to live again

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Divorce Doing it Alone Let's Talk

Spell From Hell

MomsGetReal™ Poet Extraordinaire Tammy Bartholomew

My makeup goes on
Over my swollen eyes
Can’t you see
It’s just a disguise
Hide the pain
This evil spell
Trying to get out of
This living hell
Smiling friends
They think I’m alright
Know something is wrong
From the pain I fight
Makeup comes off
To discover
I have just lost
My best friend and my lover
Sharing is too painful
Start to pretend
Get up in the morning
Do it again
Days go by
Just pretend
Hopefully soon
This spell from hell will end
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Doing it Alone Health Let's Talk

Marathon Mama – Mom Power in Action

Getting Real With Sara Haley

This last weekend, I did something amazing.

I ran a marathon.

26.2 miles of running. 26.2 miles of quiet time. 26.2 miles to figure out exactly why I was actually running this marathon.

Running a marathon was something I never would have imagined doing years ago. No way. Not in a million years would I ever do that–even the thought of running around the block sounded completely and utterly exhausting. But on New Year’s of 2009, I made a resolution I would never forget: to run a 10K in 2009, a half-marathon in 2010, and a full marathon in 2011.

I did it. All three races, and then some.

Sunday I ran the Lincoln Marathon in Lincoln, Nebraska. During my divorce, it has been hard to find the time to properly train. Training for a marathon is like a part-time job. No joke. Getting the mileage in, avoiding injury, keeping the endurance going to be able to run for hours on end. It’s not easy. But that wasn’t why I was doing it.

You see, my divorce has been very difficult, very messy and very stressful. Running has been my saving grace in getting through the days. I was able to get a membership to a local gym, which provided me with daycare for my daughter while I busted out the miles on the treadmill during the winter to keep my endurance. I also threw in some strength training, some stair climbing, spinning classes and religiously attended two yoga classes a week with the “boot camp yoga” instructor. My local gym knows me by name. Yeah, they kinda have to when you’re there every day! (And the bonus is I am down to my goal weight and then some, having shed some stubborn pounds I had been fighting since childbirth!)

The persistence paid off. Although I wasn’t considered “properly” trained and ready because of my time limitations and child-restrictions, I was still determined to run it. Standing at the starting line at 7 in the morning with ten thousand other participants on a windy, cloudy day, I started to second guess myself, wondering what the heck I got myself into. But the starting gun went off, the group started migrating towards the start line, and I realized there was no turning back.

I did well. I did some splits with my music, running to one song, walking to the next, and kept up with the 4:55 pacer for quite some time. Stayed on top of fluids and food, chomping on a Power Bar around mile 8 and saving my next one for mile 16. The crowd was amazing, and cheered everyone on.  What a rush! Come mile 13, I was still doing great. The turn-off for the half-marathoners was coming up, and I knew it was now or never. Sure, I could have turned off at 13.1 and finished with the halfers, and would have actually had a PR (Perfect Race) beating my previous half-marathon time. But I ran forward, knowing I had to do exactly what I did the last 13 miles all over again to the finish line.

About mile 14, I began to think about exactly how crazy I was to do this. At mile 16, I slowed down to enjoy my second Power Bar. Somewhere between mile 18 and 19, my left knee started to give out. It hurt. Not too bad, but enough to make me stop running. I started to power walk it, as I knew knee injuries are never a good thing and didn’t want to push it too hard. Around mile 22, I wanted to cry. I wasn’t sure why–from the pain, the exhaustion, from the amazing realization of exactly what I was doing that day. My power walk slowly became a fast limp come mile 24. The Sag Wagon (the car that drives near the end of the race to pick up injured individuals or those who want out) was following closely behind me. The pacers for 5:30 passed me. But I was okay with that. I refused to let the Sag Wagon pick me up–I didn’t come all this way, prepare all these years and train all those months to drop out and take a ride on the Sag Wagon two miles before the finish line. I limped my way to the finish line. 26.2 miles behind me.

I got my medal, a rose, and a wave of amazing accomplishment. I did it. 5:47:10. That’s no amazing time goal by any means, but I wasn’t going for time: I just wanted to finish.

Before my run, I wanted to try and make it to the prayer service beforehand, but ended up missing it because I stood in line for a good 20 minutes waiting to use the bathroom. But even then, I stood in silence with all the nervous, anxious people around me and thought about exactly why I was doing this. What was my reason for running a marathon? What was my reason for investing the time and energy into running 26.2 miles? Was it insanity?!

I knew exactly why I was doing it. I was doing it for my daughter.

In reality, I’m just a boring, stay-at-home, work-at-home single mommy. My days are filled with tantrums, tears, meals, laundry, bills and coloring books. I spend my evenings cuddling with my daughter, reading to her, and playing Barbies with her. I keep thinking to myself that I’m nothing extraordinary. But then I realize, no, I am. I’m a mom. I’m my daughter’s superhero, no matter how much I screw up, no matter what sacrifices I make for her, no matter what I do right or wrong. I will always be her hero.  I’m a single mom. I’m making it paycheck to paycheck. I don’t have any luxuries in my life, but I am blessed to have a roof over my head, my daughter in my arms every day, and my health. She’s three, so at this point in time, she doesn’t quite understand the magnitude of what I did the other day. But as she gets older, hopefully this will be an inspiration to her. That no matter who you are or what your personal situation is, you can do absolutely anything you put your mind to.

This Mother’s Day, remember no matter how old your children, you will always be their number one hero. Whether you’re single or married, have one kid or two, you are–and always will be–a true superhero in their eyes!

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Divorce Let's Talk

Take the High Road

What happens when the war never ends? What do you do when it has been several years since your divorce and the war continues on? There have been changes over the years. There have been changes in jobs. There have been changes in residence. Yet one thing remains the same. Your ex-spouse still feels the need to belittle you and bad mouth you to your children, or at the very least they allow their new spouse to carry on in this way. What do you do? Well, as hard as it may be, YOU TAKE THE HIGH ROAD.

The only ones this behavior hurts are the children. As hard as it is, you have to refrain from joining in this juvenile behavior. Rest assured that as your children grow and mature and become young adults, they will see where the manipulation originates. It is of utmost importance for you to protect your future relationship with your children by not partaking in this sort of behavior. You will ensure that you have a clear conscience knowing that you have never talked badly about your children’s other parent.

This is certainly not the easiest thing you will ever do, nor the most difficult. But taking the high road and maintaining your own personal dignity for the sake of your children is definitely worth the effort. It will pay off in the long run. And all of this will be clear to your children as they grow up and have families of their own. They will see right through what was happening. You have to decide now which end of the spectrum you want to be on. What light do you want your children to see you in? I know for myself I want my children to know that I did the best that I could possibly do and I put my own feelings aside for the benefit of them and their well being.