Getting a divorce is for the brave only, and sometimes when you need to get that courage, it can be excruciating to reach down within yourself to find the strength you need to make that call. Cutting the cord for good is incredibly painful, but when it is the right choice, eventually that pain turns to gain. The rain turns into a rainbow. If you are making the choice to sever your marriage in 2016, here are some resolutions you need to make as a mother.
Stick to It
I vacillated back and forth on the decision to divorce, and I let my ex come back into my life repeatedly, which only hurt me more. He would have a change of heart out of the blue that would disappear into thin air, leaving me sad and starting the grieving process all over again. Remember: you are not a convenience store or a quickie mart. You're a person of value. Don't let someone in and out — if this marriage is done, say goodbye and wait for someone who believes you're the high-priced item behind the glass! So pull the trigger and don't turn back. Obviously if your ex-to-be does a 180 you might reconsider, but most of the time people do not change, and the past is best left in the past. The fact is the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior! If you choose to divorce, there will be many times you may question your choice or feel guilt about your children, but you must keep moving forward. As a mother, your children need to be surrounded by love, not toxicity and contention. As hard as it can be and as unsupportive as some may be of your choice, forge ahead. The rain will end and the rainbow will appear. Life after divorce does get better and can be fabulous!
I hope for you that you and your ex-to-be can use a mediator, since lawyers are so expensive. They'll get you at every nickel and dime, but not all divorces can be done through a mediator, sadly. Either way, whether you predict a friendly divorce or an ugly one, seeing a lawyer to get a general idea of where your finances may fall with the divorce is key. Visiting a financial advisor and learning how to set a budget is also a big must. Rebuilding your credit and/or building your credit from the start is a must as well! Now that you will be head of your household on your own (you may be now, but two incomes are greater than one!), you need to understand how to stretch your dollars, potentially rebuild your credit, and prepare for the financial effects of divorce. I turned to Savvy Ladies, a nonprofit organization, when I needed help going from being totally dependent on my husband to being the head of my household, and it was one of the best choices I made in my divorce.
Commit to You — Date Yourself
Start dating yourself. Get to know who you are and were before your marriage. Write down your life goals. What is important to you to achieve now? Is it buying a home? Making a career change? Going back to work? What makes you happy? Have you left hobbies behind due to your marriage and now perhaps you would like to revisit them? What are some things you would like to change about yourself when you consider your role in your unhappy marriage? Invest in you. It is the sole best thing you can do for your children and yourself.
Line Up Priorities
Line up your priorities. Is it finding a home? Is it financial? Getting a job? Managing a special-needs child in the face of divorce? Jot down your most important priorities down to the small things that can wait. Having these priorities in line can help you systematically cope with the difficulties of divorce.
Learn about the effects divorce has on children, and yes, there are positive ones as well. Read about children of divorce and what they have had to say. Try to get perspective on what your kids may potentially face. As you make the call to divorce, reach out to your child/children's favorite family members, teachers, guidance counselors, spiritual advisors, and more to create a support network for your little ones. Try to remember even when you get heated and emotional that ultimately, your children are the priority for you and your ex and they should be allowed to have a relationship with both of you.
Forgive Yourself and Learn Your Lessons
What was it that made this marriage fail? Where did you go wrong? Take notes and jot down patterns in your love life to banish these bad habits and choices for good.
Most importantly, forgive yourself. The world is harsh. People comment on my articles all the time how terrible divorce is and that I failed my kid and gave up. Little do these people know I tried marriage counseling at least three times. Yeah. Forgive yourself for this and grow beyond. Take this moment as a moment to transform and go out into the world and kick some serious butt.
Build Your Own Network
Making the choice to divorce is hard and not everyone will be there by your side to help you, as sad as that is. Some family or friends may be more absent than you had predicted or hoped. Gather yourself tightly around those who do support you and don't be afraid to ask for help. Going through a divorce, especially with children, is tough. A smart mom knows when to say she has too much on her plate. Ask for help!
If a divorce means returning to work or searching elsewhere for more pay, start to touch base with your contacts and go to any and all networking events that you can. Ask colleagues or former colleagues to take a look at your résumé and explain you're looking for work. Boost your résumé using active verbs and include anything and everything, including volunteer work if you are a stay-at-home mom returning to the workplace after a long absence from the working world.
The year 2016 is going to be a roller coaster if divorce is on your calendar, but you will survive, and this is not the end of you or your kids. It's only the beginning. You can do it, Mom! I'm rooting for you!