I came from a "married family" so when I knew it was time for my ex-husband and I to divorce, I was devastated. I grew up in a time in which there was a lot of "hush-hush" and shocking quality to divorce because very few parents were splitting. So when it came time for me to be a single divorced parent, I felt a lot of shame—I'm not going to lie. I felt like a failure even though it had taken two of us to tango, and I had begged for marriage counseling and we went on three different occasions. The "broken home" family image really shook me: was my daughter now to be pitied by others or frowned on as just another "kid from a divorced family?"
No and no!
It took me some time but now I can say with full honesty that I love the time I have as just the two of us. We aren't a broken family—we are a different family. She has time with her dad and time with me and the time she has with just she and I is fabulous. And while from time to time I wish I had a nice partner to spend time with and someone to enjoy romance with, I never feel as if we AREN'T a family! That's ludicrous. Here's why your family isn't broken, it's just different, after divorce or after perhaps being stranded by your child's father—whichever your personal case:
- Literally, your family is not "broken"(completely):
- Does family have to include two parents? No!
- Your family most likely functions better, not worse, from divorce
- Your kids may miss the old family, and that's Ok!
The dictionary says broken is an adjective that means: not working properly, amongst other definitions. Look at yourself and your kids. Are you not working properly? Are your kids not working properly? Perhaps when you first start the divorce process, yes—you may be functioning poorly, but otherwise you are just fine! My daughter and I are working well and enjoying our life together and she enjoys her time with her father. We are working differently than we did before but just as efficient and in fact, more so because now my daughter doesn't live with two fighting parents.
Every family looks different. Some have one parent, some two, some one mom and dad, some two moms or two dads. Your family is valid. Mine is valid. Family is the love you have for the people you call family, not the number, gender, race, or status of the people that make up your inner circle. Don't let old points of view make you feel bad about your family!
Are you poorer and perhaps busier and overwhelmed due to divorce? Probably, but is your life full of fighting, loneliness, and heartache? No! Your family functions better when mom is happy rather than when mom is miserable. A broken family is the family you were before the divorce — fighting, stressed, and sad. A happy family is what you are now, after divorce.
Your kids will most likely miss that family and their two arguing parents together because no matter what, you and your ex are their parents and they love you both. Address and acknowledge these feelings and always respect them. Never put your bad feelings onto them about the situation. They're just kids. Not adults!
Your family is different, not broken. Do you miss your old family and the good memories you had together? Of course, but have pride in the job as you do as a single parent. Your children only need love—not a societal stereotype of a family. Besides, would you rather they grow up with two fighting parents? How damaging is that? If divorce is bad, the alternative is certainly worse. Have pride and hold your head up high!