The pressure to be a good mom can be daunting when things are going well in life. But when life throws curve balls like a divorce, pain and upheaval are added to that pressure. Being a good mom while going through a divorce is possible. I went through a divorce after 30 years of marriage. It was a very painful experience. My youngest was a senior in high school. She needed to feel safe and loved, and I was the one to provide that for her.
Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts that helped me when it felt like things were emotionally, financially, and even spiritually, overwhelming.
DO reassure your kids that everything will be okay.
Kids really need to feel secure. They need to know that even though life is currently hard, it won’t always be that way. I’m a person of faith, and one of the things I told my daughter that helped was that God was taking care of us. Also, let them see that even though you are sad, you have hope. My daughter could see in my face that I was in pain. I often reassured her that yes, I was hurting, but I would be okay.
DON’T share the details of the divorce or tear down their dad.
They will have a lifelong relationship with him, you won’t. They will need your support in that. You don’t need to defend yourself at his expense. If he chooses to tear you down in front of the kids, it’s important that you don’t add to their confusion by defending yourself. Remain the bigger person by being steadfast and true to who you have always been to your kids. They will recognize the truth for what it is. Your kids will respect and admire you as they watch you grow through the divorce process and work on your own healing.
Your kids will respect and admire you as they watch you grow through the divorce process and work on your own healing.
DO talk to a therapist, counselor, or mentor.
It’s important that you have other people helping you process your emotions and guiding your perspective. Find someone who listens with empathy but also challenges you to grow and move forward. There are also support groups available at local churches, in communities, and online. Having the freedom to talk and process away from your kids will help you remain emotionally stable for them.
DON’T fall apart in front of your kids or rely on them for support.
Some days it was hard to get up and face the day. But I had to keep it together in front of my daughter. You can fall apart when you are alone or with your counselor and friends. Your kids are not your support system.
DO keep routines as normal as possible.
Kids feel safe when there’s routine. This is especially important when their world is being turned upside down during a divorce. This may seem challenging if you have to move or get a job where you are away from them more often. Do what you can to help them experience what they’re used to. Cook their familiar meals, take them to the same park, sing together, and watch favorite family movies.
DON’T make them choose between you and their dad.
They love you both, and they don’t want to betray either of you. You may see him as the enemy and you may despise what he’s doing. You may also hate how he’s hurting the kids, but don’t influence them with your pain.
DO let your heart process the pain and emotions you are experiencing.
But do that in private where your kids can’t hear you. I did this in my walk-in closet with my face in a pillow. I didn’t want my daughter to get pulled into my pain.
DON’T move onto a new man too quickly.
A new relationship too soon adds more changes to a life that’s already changed in so many ways. Let your counselor help you decide when you are ready to move on. It’s so tempting to fill the hole your husband once filled. Again, as a person of faith, I ask God to give me what I need, in the meantime, to fill that void and he has.
Tell us! What are some do’s and don’t you’d like to add?