How I Reacted When I Saw My Ex’s Girlfriend’s Social Media Posts About My Kids

“What does she look like? What is she like?,” a new divorced friend asked of my ex-husband’s girlfriend. She’s wading her way through getting used to the idea her kids are spending time with another woman whom her ex-husband fell in love with not long ago.

No, I’m not above showing people my reality; my life, and doing some light stalking of the woman who now owns the heart of the father of my three children, and you wouldn’t be either if you were walking through my life.

It’s not something I make a habit of so I can wallow in self pity and compare myself to her. Rather, I think of it as a normal and natural reaction to have.

After scrolling for a bit and seeing pictures of her with my kids sitting on her front porch, my old family car, and on a plane trip to Florida with hashtags like #family and #love, there is a slight stir in my belly, a sting in my throat, and feelings I’m embarrassed to say I have:

It’s not fair.
She’s pushing it — those are my kids.
They aren’t her family, they are mine.

My new friend looked at me and asked how could I be calm and composed at a time like this when all the world can see my kids with another woman claiming them as her #family.

Oh, the cruelty. What will people think? Surely, they think I’m shriveled up in a corner somewhere because another woman has stolen my time with my kids doing things only I should be doing with them, right?

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Yeah, I’ve had my moments of crying so hard, I’ve wretched up the four cupcakes I’ve consumed. I’ve had nights where she’s greeted them at the door with my ex- husband after we’ve spent a wonderful day together and I’m not ready to let them go. The tears prick and sting my eyes so bad I have to pull over until I can make it home.

But the one thing that keeps me grounded, pulled together, and confident about the strength of my family, and the role I play in my kids’ lives is this: love cannot be spliced up, dished out, and gobbled up by one person.

Her presence in their lives (for over two years now) never has, and never will, make me less of a mother — their mother.

She loves them, yes. She loves them hard and it makes me feel lucky and grateful and strong. I know her love for them will make them better and get them through tough shit. I don’t have to worry they will be neglected, ignored, or talked to in a nasty way when she’s with them.

That kind of love makes hearts grow and kids flourish. And it in no way cancels out my love for them or their love for me.

This is not a competition to see who has the most to offer my kids, our kids.

My kids’ hearts are not a ball to be tossed back and forth.

Their feelings and emotions are not something you practice juggling with. This is not a game show where we make them choose between two women who want the best for them.

No.

This is my situation, and I’ll gobble it up when she wants to FaceTime my daughter before her first semi- formal dance so she can see her in her dress.

I will gladly message her to tell her my daughter needs tampons and Advil on a weekend she is staying with her because she’s too embarrassed to tell them. I don’t have to worry she is going to feel offended my daughter couldn’t come to her about this because all she wants is the best for them. And when your children’s needs are front and center, there’s no place for a score card.

Love is fluid.

Words like “family” hold their value.

Blood isn’t a factor when it comes to a situation such as ours.

What is a factor is teaching by kids that family and love and togetherness are things you make room for and welcome into your life when the opportunity shows up because they are rare and wonderful gifts.

I have to lead by example. I have to let her love them as big as she wants. I have to let them love her as big as they want.

I have to because that is what feels right in the pit of my being, and my only other choice is to white-knuckle my way through this, get in their way, and look for signs my kids love me more.

That’s not something I want. Not for me, and especially not for them.

And honestly, crying to the point I throw up four perfectly delicious cupcakes isn’t the way I want to spend my time ever again.

 

We are Scary Mommies, millions of unique women, united by motherhood. We are scary, and we are proud. But Scary Mommies are more than “just” mothers; we are partners (and ex-partners,) daughters, sisters, friends… and we need a space to talk about things other than the kids. So check out our Scary Mommy It’s Personal Facebook page. And if your kids are out of diapers and daycare, our Scary Mommy Tweens & Teens Facebook pageis here to help parents survive the tween and teen years (aka, the scariest of them all.)

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I’m Finally Leaving My Emotionally Abusive Relationship And I’m Terrified

I feel deeply wounded by my husband and the man he has become. Right now, It’s 10:30 p.m. He is asleep in the bed beside me, and I don’t know who he is.

He’s here. If I wanted to, I could reach my hand out to touch the curve of his back that’s covered with his own blanket. But it’s not him anymore. He’s not the one who used to open the car door for me, surprise me with random dates or days to myself, and he’s not a man still capable of happiness that lasts for an entire day.

I feel tricked. If I could go back and have my children here today, only with a different man, I would do it. Because I wish that I never had kids with him nearly every single day. There, I said it.

He’s hurt me deeply. To the point of no return. Just today, all before 11:30 a.m., I was called a cunt, stupid, lazy and a fat ass. Why, you might ask? There was too much laundry on the floor of the laundry room, and it’s “ridiculous” he has to deal with it laying all over the ground once a week.

I wish I could say this was the worst of it. But sadly, it’s not. Even through it all, I feel wrong and guilty for calling our relationship for what it actually is — abusive. But if I were an outsider looking in, if it were one of my friends living my same life, that’s exactly what I would call it. And I would tell her to leave. Because of that, I feel ignorant.

There’s been a ginormous part of me I’ve been shoving way deep down which screams at me to get out. And then there is the other side. The one I fear many will call stupid… kind of like I already feel. The one that reminds me not all days are bad. In fact, some weeks, and even months, are full of bittersweet smooth-sailing, almost as if I had the man I know and love sleeping with me under the same covers at night once again. I remember all that he does for me and the kids, how many hours of work that are put in, the bills he pays and the small ways he says I love you, and, for a moment, sometimes it seems like our broken pieces might just fall back into place.

Then the sun rises, real life sets in, and he’s angry. God, he is So. Fucking. Angry. The house is a mess. The kids are too loud. I’m not doing enough. My tone isn’t right. My body hasn’t bounced back quick enough from carrying our children… the list goes on and on and on. But because it’s not constant, because he says sorry and attempts to right his wrongs, I’ve somehow found ways to justify his mistreatment of me and stay.

But it doesn’t matter what I hope for or how many times I think he will change, because the hurtful words are never put to an end for good. And now, I’ve somehow adapted to and morphed into a different version of myself too. I’ve become so exhausted from him berating, humiliating and mentally tormenting me, that I’ve planned my life according to what might make his day smoother so my day goes smoother. Almost like I’m living my life for him instead of with him.

When I hear his car pulling up in front of our house, it’s become instinct for me to do a quick scan the floor for anything that might “set him off” that’s laying around. And if I were a fly on the wall, I would feel sorry for the way I feel like I need to please him. But because I’m not, it’s slowly become my norm without even realizing it.

To put it into perspective, because of him, I feel nervous when my kids lose our remote control. (With four boys who love YouTube, it happens quite often.) I don’t feel annoyed that I can’t find it like I have any other time in my life when I or someone in my house has lost something as silly as a remote; I feel nervous. Nervous that my husband will come home from work, find out, and raise all kids of hell over something that simply happens when you have little kids. Anger over fixable, forgivable and everyday things.

His actions, words and choices have left me to feel like I am just wasted space when he’s around. Like I can’t do things right and like I am incapable of truly succeeding. Somehow, he’s lowered the bar on how he believes I ought to be treated, and I’ve put up with it. I’ve fought through it, for him and “the good of our family,” but I’ve stayed far too long for all of it.

There’s no use trying to patch things up with him either. Because I’ve tried endlessly, and I’m only greeted with his narcissistic mindset which manipulates me into believing that, even though I’m not the one hurling insults, I am somehow the bad guy.

For months, maybe even close to a year, the negatives of leaving my husband had, somehow, outweighed the positives in my mind. But now, I don’t see how I can afford not to leave. If not for me, then for the kids.

When I think of what lies ahead, this parenting-gig I’ll be going at alone, it petrifies me. I feel overwhelmed, and sometimes, I’m sure I’ll just crumble and fall. But I’m also certain that it cannot be as awful as the way he makes me feel after a lash out. It cannot be as bad as the way my self-esteem has plummeted from his words. And it cannot compare to the years of mistreatment I’ve been through.

I’m ready to heal from the wounds my husband has caused and not just stick around while he picks at the old ones and digs for new ones. I can’t wait to not worry about someone coming home from work huffing and puffing, bitching and moaning, over fixable and forgivable things. And more than anything else, I’m anxious to just find myself again.

I don’t know what life looks like for us going forward without my husband. All I know is that there is a brand new life for us after my husband.

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I’m A Divorced Mom Of Teens And I’ve Never Felt So Lonely

Lately, I’ve been counting down the minutes until I can pick up my kids from school or their father’s house. I pepper them with questions about what’s time while we were apart, getting lackluster responses in return. I’m pretty sure they can hear the desperation in my voice.

I got divorced, then all my kids hit puberty one right after the other. We all went down like a row of dominoes as the vibrations in our house changed from happy and carefree, to solemn and angsty.

It wasn’t long after my ex-husband left that my kids starting going through puberty and choosing their friends on Friday night instead of staying in with me (as they should). As a result, I started feeling a loneliness settle deep into my bones and clutch onto my soul.

Honestly, this is like nothing I’ve ever felt.

The newness of my rare alone time wore off rather quickly. Sure, at first it was exciting to walk around my house in my underwear eating cake by the handful. I didn’t have to hide my sugar intake or worry I was making my kids uncomfortable. My kids who used to spend every single night here. My kids I rarely got a break from. My kids who were always pulling on me with their wants and their needs and their questions.

Now, their heads are in their phones. They are FaceTiming. They are taking some much-needed alone time in their room. They are out with friends. They are scooting off to practice. They aren’t as forthcoming with information. The questions have stopped along with them asking me (over and over and over) to take them out for ice cream.

You see, I used to be needed–so damn needed.

My ex-husband needed me to make doctor’s appointments for him. He needed to talk things out after a hard day. He needed me when his father died. He needed me to bake his favorite cookies because he didn’t know his way around a mixer. He needed me to tell him his shirt absolutely didn’t go with his pants before we headed out to dinner. He needed a hug everyday before he left for work.

He needed me.

My kids needed me to help them with their homework. My daughter needed me to help her braid her hair. My youngest son needed me to lie next to him in order to fall asleep. My oldest son needed me to calm him down when he was really nervous. They needed me to make dinner and plan fun events involving other families.

I still have a role to play here, but my kids need me in very different, hands off ways. Like picking up food for their slumber party on a Friday, dropping them off at the dance, and making sure they get up for school on time.

And they’ve shown me what they don’t need, too: constant questions and hovering and me projecting my need to be needed onto them. They are growing up really freaking fast and, damn, it’s hard to let them.

No one needs me to tuck them in at night or make them a grilled cheese sandwich. No one needs me to show them how to make their bed or kiss a scrape.

But when your teens do need you, it’s for something big and private. You can’t casually drop the issue at the local playground in front of a bunch of other moms because (1) you don’t go to the playground to get your dose of validation over how hard it is to be a mom any longer, and (2) because if you go to a fellow parent about the struggle of parenting a teenager, you risk invading their privacy and being looked at like you and your family are screwed up.

So you don’t talk about the parenting frustrations as much because the shit we deal with as our kids get older is heavy and weighed. The aftertaste it can leave if you open your mouth about it doesn’t wash away like the potty or sleep training struggles.

So you don’t open your mouth.

This whole divorced with teenagers thing has given me a real taste of loneliness. I can honestly say up until recently, I’d never been lonely before.

Having friends and family has made it bearable, sure. But the truth is, they have families of their own to tend to.

Sure, there are perks that make me happy, but it all also remind me of how lonely this new found independence can feel. At this phase in my life, I’m decorating my house my way. I don’t have to consult another adult because there are no adults living here. I can get out the paint cans and sharp, new objects without worrying if my kids are going to hurt themselves because they have zero interest in doing these kinds of things that used to draw them to me like a magnet.

I can sleep in whatever position I want because there isn’t a man who resides on the other side of the bed, or little kids who beg to sleep with me, or even crawl in my bed with me after a bad dream.

And with that comes not being needed a fraction as much as I used to be.

It’s wonderful and horrible all at the same time.

I know it won’t always be like this — there is so much the future has to offer. The love of my life is out there, I can feel it with everything I have in me.

My kids will get a bit older and need me a bit more, I hear. They will have kids some day and they will all pile in here and this feeling, this sinking hole in my mind and chest, will be a distant memory.

At least that’s what I hope because this isn’t something you just get used to. It doesn’t get lighter with each passing day. It’s not something you can sweat out or sleep off. Believe me, I’ve tried.

And really, I’ve had enough and I’d like to ask the loneliness to be on its way because shit, this is hard.

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I’m A Divorced Mom And I Can’t ‘Just Take A Break’

Lately, I’ve felt like a damn sponge that has been twisted to death, wrung out too many times, and has pieces of itself falling off and swirling down the drain.

My friends and family tell me it’s a sign I need to take more time for me. I need to “get away from it all.” Perhaps I should pack my bags, travel alone for a while. Take a break. Blow off work and leave my kids with their dad for a few weeks and find myself again.

I know I could do those things. Maybe it would make a big difference and I wouldn’t feel like a moldy hunk of cellulose. Maybe I should just “get away from it all” for a bit. But then I think, What if I get sick? What if I need surgery? What if the roof caves in or the basement flood or terminates eat their way into my house and I need to take care of it?

I don’t need to find myself. I know who I am and what my role is right now. I am a woman who wears many hats and talks about being tired and stumbling quite a bit, but I’m fine. I really am. I have a lot of jobs to do and I’m going to fucking do them.

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I simply cannot take time for me because it is all me. Yes, my kids go see their father — he is a wonderful person and adores them so I don’t worry about much when they are in his care. I am not a true single parent as many people have told me; I am a co-parent so I have that going for me. I should take advantage of the fact that my kids’ father would love to spend a week with them.

But that doesn’t take away the weight I carry around with me, the one that makes me feel like I’m walking through quicksand. My name is the only name on the mortgage. If I don’t show up for work there is no second income coming in to assist with expenses. If I’m having a shitty day, there’s no emotional support available. If I’m sick, there’s no one bringing home ginger ale and saltines and taking care of dinner and telling me to go to bed early.

All the wheels must keep turning. And guess who needs energy to keep them spinning? Me. I am the turner and if I stop, everything else will stop and I will worry even more than I do now. I can’t afford to worry any more than I do now, so I keep going.

When I’m with my kids, I want to be all in. I don’t see them as much as I used to and it feels so unnatural to me. When they are with me, I want to savor it, eat them up, and do right by them.

 

Taking off by myself to decompress for a week feels selfish to me, even though I know it’s not. I know they will be fine, and probably kick me out the door, but my anxiety about not being enough during the hours I see them, much less cutting them short, makes me feel inadequate. I know it’s not the truth. I know it, and yet I can’t relax into the thought of slowing down enough to actually do it.

If I take time off work, I’m afraid I’ll lose ground and never pick back up where I left off. I work when I’m sick, I work when my kids are sick. I rush home after a game to meet a deadline. I work when I go away for the weekend. Again, gotta keep it spinning for fear everything will get rusty in a few hours and stop.

It’s easy for people who are partnered to lecture others about taking some time off and getting some time to yourself to regroup, but I literally am not in the emotional place to do that. Being a single, divorced mother with three kids has its precious moments for sure. But it’s also one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I don’t just have double the worries I used to, my stress level has quadrupled. And the best way for me to stay on top of it right now is to delve into my life and keep trying to manage it all.

If I take time for me, it all has to be scheduled. It’s literally an hour at a time because that is all I can afford right now. I don’t know how to do it any other way. And honestly, at this point in time, that little getaway so many people are suggesting I take because they can see me white knuckling my way through life right now would probably be lost on me.

Right now, I need to be all in. And that means I don’t feel like I can just relax, or slow down, or take off for a week to a tropical island and have hot sex with a stranger while sipping an alcoholic slushie by turquoise waters.

I hope to get there some day, but for now, I need more practice on running my life as a divorced, working, mother of three before I can allow such luxuries to happen.

There’s no slowing down in my life right now and probably won’t be for a while. I’m not here to complain, I would have it no other way right now. This is what I need to be doing and I know the day will come when my kids don’t live here any more. Maybe I can slow down then.

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My Ex And I Are Divorced, But We’re Still A Family

My daughter has been struggling lately with everything: boys, friendships, school work, and going back and forth to my house and her dad’s house. She just turned 14 and is ripe with hormones, backtalk, and feeling really shitty about herself at every second.

I know this because I remember feeling it myself at her age. Throw her parents’ divorce on top of the pile of shit she is shoveling, and it feels like doomsday in our house. I’m not exaggerating.

My ex and I have not been married for over two years, but we are very much a family. This was a choice, and a promise we made when he was getting ready to move out. I knew I didn’t want to parent our kids alone, ever. And because my ex is around, very present, and a fantastic father, I don’t have to.

“Promise me something,” I said standing in the bathroom watching him brush his teeth over his sink for the last time. “Even if we hate each other, even if there comes a day when we can’t be in the same room, we will still act like a family and come together as their parents for those kids.”

“I promise,” he said.

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So, when she came to me and told me she didn’t want to go to her dad’s as much because she was having problems with his live-in girlfriend and her daughter, I had to get him involved.

I listened to her, let her cry, and then I told her we’d figure it out. This problem could not be solved by me making a decision about the way things should go by only listening to my daughter’s side of the story — as tempting as it was.

Instead of getting heated, I forced myself to pick up the phone and call my ex-husband to get the whole story. He thought it would be best to come over for a meeting so it could be talked out with all of us, because something like this affects the entire family and everyone should have a voice here. Together, we came up with a solution, one that we were all comfortable with, including my daughter.

A few weeks earlier, I smelled gas outside our house and immediately called me ex . He was there in 20 minutes to figure it out — and not because he is at my beck and call, or because I depend on him too much, or because he still wants to be married to me. He came because his kids live there and he wants us all, including me, to be safe. Those feelings don’t dissolve when you sign divorce papers even if you pretend they do.

We couldn’t keep our marriage together, but we’ve been able to keep the promise to one another for those three people we gave life to, those kids who never asked to be in a situation where they are being shuffled back and forth and splitting up their holidays.

It hasn’t been an easy promise to keep some days. There are many times where I’ve felt angry with him because I feel like I do all the heavy lifting. I remember the doctor and orthodontist appointments. It is me who checks their schedules and picks them up from school every day. Sometimes I get mad at him because he doesn’t really know what’s going on unless I fill him in and it takes a lot of time and energy to keep us all on the same page. It would be easy to drop the ball and take it all on myself and leave him out of it.

But I’m determined to still be a family no matter what it takes, no matter what it looks like, even if we aren’t married because it has been the one thing that makes all of the mess divorce brings feel semi-okay to all of us.

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There is constant communication with us between text and phone calls — we have teenagers who need their parents to be one on the same page about everything. And right now, that is what matters the most. In my book, that’s called a family.

There is no, “well, dad lets me do this.” We do not put up with, “I’ll ask mom since you said no.”

It’s hard. It gets confusing. We don’t always want to come together and talk about the dynamics happening in our separate households.

If he’s had a chunk of time with them, he calls to give me the rundown and tell me about any issues, or things that have happen during that time. And I do the same.

But we keep on because it works, it has helped us all tremendously, even during the days I feel like throwing up my arms and giving up because being angry and blaming him would be easier than picking up my phone, calling a family meeting, or telling him I need his help or parenting advice about something.

We loved each other once. That love has flooded onto our children and they still need us in many of the same ways they did when we were married. We decided not to give up on that slice of our family life when we parted ways.

We don’t do it perfectly, but it’s the best we’ve got and I’m proud of us for being able to come together and figure the really tough stuff together. Things look different now, but we are still a family, and that kind of love is still very much alive no matter where out kids are.

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What Not To Do When Blending Families

In my 30-something years of life, you could say that I’ve successfully fucked things up a time or two. Thanks to my masochistic penchant for consistently having to learn things the hard way, I’ve been accused of being slightly impulsive and making mistakes so major, I’d never forget the lessons they taught me. And then I got divorced.

Divorce, in my opinion, was the most royal fuck-up of all, or maybe it was marrying someone I only knew for less than year and hoping for the best. Having left my now ex-husband with a two-year-old in tow, I learned a cold, hard lesson about thinking things through.

So, when it came time to for my fiancé and I to blend our two daughters and create a new family dynamic, you can imagine why I was determined to get it right.

Perfection has never been my goal – that went out the window a long time ago, around the same time I tossed all the skinny jeans I saved from my pre-baby life. But happiness, harmony, and contentment were the new goals, even if it seemed impossible in a home built after two divorces, with two daughters in two very different age brackets.

Hearing horror stories from friends, articles we googled, and even the child psychologist who helped us with the transition, put my fiancé and I on edge. Our anxiety was through the roof as we prepared the girls for the move, made arrangements for movers, and started the official blend just four months ago.

Liuda Lebedz/Reshot

But as it turned out, our visions of miserable, angry children and our fairytale love story turning to resentment and anger never came to fruition. All of our fears dissipated when we saw the happiness in our girl’s faces each time they entered our home.

Maybe it was our level of care and attention, or the self-awareness that comes about when you realize you have little room for error, but whatever it was, we’ve learned a ton in the last few months. I’m not saying our way of doing things in this new blended life is on-point 100% of the time, but we’ve definitely learned what NOT to do to keep the recipe as close to perfect as possible.

1. Hanging on to expectations and assumptions

Get rid of these – asap. Your expectations and assumptions of what your blended family should look like, feel like, and sound like need to not exist. Why? You cannot expect anything from a situation you’ve never been in before. You cannot assume your child, new partner and/or his children are going to do things the way you’re used to them being done. You’re blazing a whole new path here, one that requires a lot of bravery, and also a whole lot of patience.

Your partner’s bedtime routine with their child is going to be different than yours. Their discipline habits, ideas on how much dinner needs to be consumed before dessert, rules about TV and technology will to. Your child may leave her wet towels in places your new partner will balk at, and vice versa.

Expecting anyone to do anything the way you did before you lived with them is like expecting to know tonight’s winning lottery numbers – six thousand percent impossible. 

2. Brushing issues under the rug to avoid confrontation

There will be things that piss you off about your new blended situation. There will be things that piss your partner off about your new blended situation. There will be days that suck so hard even though the days before seemed like heaven. You need to be able to confront these issues to move on from them – building resentment has no place in your new blended home.

Communication is your lifeline. If you and your partner have not learned how to successfully communicate before moving your families in together, I suggest you learn quickly. You may be scared to have any moments of discord with your new partner in front of their child, knowing full-well that you now live in a fish bowl and everything that happens will go back to that child’s parent, but so what? Who cares? This is your new life, and you have to do what it takes to make it right.

3. Fearing the fish bowl

Yes, it sucks, I know. You now live in a world where everything you say or do will be repeated to a person who likely doesn’t support your new living situation all that much. From the way you look when you wake up, how you parent your own child, how you messed up your new stepchild’s favorite dinner recipe, to how cranky you get at the end of the day – this will all be discussed behind your back at one point or another.

GET OVER IT.

The worst thing you can do is live in a way that is unnatural just to avoid being talked about. This is your home now, your world and comfort zone, and if you can’t live in it peacefully because you’re scared the gossip might fly, there is no way you’re going to enjoy this new adventure.

4. Not being mindful of the other parent

My child has a father. My stepdaughter has a mother. Both of these people still play crucially important roles even though they are not under our roof. Moving in with someone else’s child and thinking that you, for one second, can replace the parent who is missing them on the other side of town is a huge mistake.

So is trying to be the “fun” stepmom or stepdad.

For example, my fiancé and I make a conscious effort, every single day and in every situation, to remind our children that their parents matter too. When my stepdaughter asks me for something or wants my advice, I always check with her mom first before giving my opinion or purchasing anything. When my daughter wants to do something that my fiancé knows her father would not approve of, he reminds her of that. This is not only crucial for your relationship with your partner’s ex, but for your stepchild to understand that even when they are not with their biological parent, that there is a level of respect that must be maintained.

5. Trying to spend every minute together

Newsflash: before you blended your family, your partner and his child(ren) got endless alone time together. Having divorced parents often means that children get their parents all to themselves for a while, so having to share them again is tough.

Being a blended family is exciting – it is so damn nice to have a family unit again. But it’s important to remember to allow for some space too, and that overkill is deadly here. I am a staunch supporter of my stepdaughter’s alone time with my fiancé. I encourage daddy/daughter dates, days, trips, and anything that reminds her that she is still the number one lady in his life – and he does the same for me and my child, which makes for a lot more love and respect in our new blended life than we ever anticipated.

Look, blending a family is a constant work in progress. Just like in a typical family dynamic, issues will always arise – but it’s in how you handle them that determines your success, and of course, remembering what NOT to do.

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When You’re The One Who Doesn’t Want The Marriage

“I don’t want this marriage anymore.”

I can’t imagine anyone wants to hear this. It’s heartbreaking. It’s scary. It wasn’t part of the plan.

I don’t know what it’s like to hear the words come from someone else, but I heard them come out of my mouth as I said them to my partner of nearly 20 years.

It was heartbreaking. It was scary. It wasn’t part of the plan.

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I had said I do years ago, and now I was saying I don’t. I can’t. I don’t want to. While there was a bit of relief in being honest and revealing my unhappiness and need for something different, there wasn’t joy or even a sense of validation. I was hurting someone I love. It didn’t matter that I had been hurting for a while. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t in love. It didn’t matter that I no longer felt an emotional or sexual intimacy with this person. It didn’t matter that I was starting to feel more resentment than compassion and patience. All that registered was that I was choosing to hurt another person with words they didn’t expect or want to hear.

For too long, I had hidden my discomfort. To be fair, I have always been good at this in many aspects of my life. I also recognize it wasn’t fair that I didn’t speak up sooner. While my partner recognized that there had been a disconnect, she was willing to power through. She was willing to wait it out until things got better. I just could not do this.

I think she felt blindsided. How did it get to this point? Was there anything that could have prevented this end? Why can’t we work on this?

I have been working on it. I have been on a long journey of healing, of sobriety, and of growth. As I grew, I seemed to move away and out of what was once home. I felt like a hermit crab that had become stuck in their own shell. The shell itself was perfectly fine; it just didn’t fit anymore and in order to feel better I needed to expose myself in an effort to find a new home. I outgrew the person I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with. It hurt to admit that. It hurt more to say it. It was absolutely crushing to hear it.

On the surface, my marriage seemed wonderful. In fact, most people complimented our ability to communicate and work well together. There was no abuse or infidelity or arguments about money or the way we were raising our kids. It was all fine.

But at some point, “fine” didn’t feel like enough. Sobriety lit a fire, lifted a veil, and put a very bright spotlight on all that I have been missing and all that I want to discover. I am not sure if I became a different person or if I was finally able to reveal exactly who I was always going to become. Either way, I began to settle into knowing myself. And in doing so, I became unrecognizable to my partner.

How I wanted to spend my time changed. My goals changed. What I envisioned for my future changed.

Was that fair? It depends on who you ask. I know it felt unfair to her. I was the one driving the end of a relationship she wanted to continue. She felt like the passenger on a very miserable trip.

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We tried counseling and that helped us communicate in a safe and guided space, but I had already made up my mind. I had been unhappy long enough to know I needed, wanted, and deserved more than this person could provide.

Should I have tried harder? I don’t know.

It takes two to make a relationship work. I actively overcompensated and romanticized elements of my marriage in an effort to make up for the shame of my drinking and the guilt from the lack of feelings I thought I should have for this person I married. I was actively trying not to feel lonely with someone while she was passively hoping to never be alone. I had been trying hard for a long time. I was trying to avoid hurting anyone. I know she wasn’t actively trying to hurt me, but passivity hurts too.

It sucks to be the one causing the pain, to be the one making choices and saying things another person does not want to hear. It sucks to know I will potentially be perceived as the asshole who walked away from a stable relationship and who disrupted my kids’ idea of what their family was. It sucks to know I hurt people I love so that I could stop hurting.

I wanted nothing more than to protect all of the hearts, but mine was the one that needed the most attention and protection. I know that choosing myself will ultimately be what is best for everyone.

Resentment and a sense of loss were eating at me. I need to be seen and taken care of in ways that feel affirming, natural, and easy. No relationship will ever be without work. But should it require so much trying? It’s hard to take responsibility for my actions and for the upheaval and pain I have caused.

I know neither one of us are solely the asshole or the victim. I also know to want something else means acknowledging what I don’t want.

“I don’t want this marriage anymore.”

It’s hard to hear those words. It’s hard to say them too.

The post When You’re The One Who Doesn’t Want The Marriage appeared first on Scary Mommy.

My Divorce Changed My Relationship With My Sons

My son can tell I’ve been having a hard week. I’ve been trying to keep it to myself, but just like everyone else, I can’t play Pollyanna when I feel like Eeyore. I try to keep things light and airy and don’t talk about my private emotions with them when I’m struggling, but I also know the importance of being real for my children. I don’t want them growing up thinking everything has to be sunny and cheery all the damn time.

Since my divorce, one of the hardest things to figure out is when to put on a happy face and hold my sad feelings back, and when to let my kids know my true emotions when I’m struggling.

When their father lived here, I could vent to him. I could hold in most of my angst until the kids went to bed and then I’d have a safe person to confide in. Sure, I’ve always had girlfriends to talk to, but when your marriage is happy and your partnership strong, nothing brings you comfort like that other person does because you know you’re in this shit together.

As my marriage crumbled, I began to feel the void of having “my person” around for support in a big way. Girlfriends, family members, and my therapist can only offer so much support and compassion. They have their own lives; their own problems. Not to mention the general void that’s felt when you go from being a married person to a divorced person — it’s inevitable.

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When your marriage ends, deep down you know you are doing life alone whether you have kids living with you or not. When they are with you, it’s all you. You want to be “on” and bring your A game because you don’t get a second chance when it comes to their childhood. Your job is to be there to guide and support them, and your time with them is more limited now.

Without an easy outlet for my feelings, my kids seem to be tuning in to my emotions more — especially if I’m sad or having an off day. Like yesterday when we were driving home from school, and my 15-year-old son kept trying to peek under my oversized sunglasses — the ones he knows only come out when I’m struggling to hide my sad eyes.

He started making jokes and tried to cheer me up. “Mom, when you get home you should relax and watch your show.” He asked me twice if I was okay.

I told him I was fine, but I couldn’t snap myself out of my sadness no matter how hard I tried. So then I finally confessed that I was sad. I reassured him that I was going to have sad days, that it’s normal to feel a bit down sometimes, and that I appreciated his concern, but it’s not his job to fix things.

When we got home, he took out the trash and mowed the lawn without being asked — a miracle of sorts. My son usually isn’t such a go-getter, and for a fleeting moment I wondered if the key to getting my kids to do shit might be to put on those oversized sunnies and sulk.

I’m kidding. For the most part anyway.

Since their father moved out over two years ago, there has been a shift in my kids, especially my sons. They’ve always been semi-conscious of my feelings — they weren’t completely oblivious — but they really started paying closer attention and checking in with me more after their dad and I separated. There is a kind of anxiety that surrounds my sons when I’m not having a good day, and it’s not easy to watch.

Divorce has many twist and turns, and I’ve tried not to take my kids along for the ride. They have their own feelings to deal with, after all, and as the adult, I need to be available to help them sort those out.

I’m thankful to be raising compassionate boys who notice when I’m feeling down, but I don’t want them to feel as if they need to replace part of their father’s role. Because that’s a heavy emotional burden for anyone, let alone a young kid. I want them to be concerned about their school work, who they are going to ask to the dance, and whether they can get a ride to the game — not whether their mom is feeling a little weepy.

They always ask me what my plans are before they leave to visit their dad. I started noticing if I told them I was just staying home, they’d text me a lot while they were away, and I could sense their concern. So I’ve started saying,”I’m not sure what I’m doing, probably going out” — even if my plans consist entirely of a date with my sofa and Netflix.

But they just don’t seem to believe me. Because kids know.

And this has been one of the hardest things about adjusting to post-divorce life. I don’t want my divorce forcing my sons to grow up too fast, or to feel like they need to give me emotional support in a way that crosses a boundary. I want them to have a fun, carefree childhood and to not have the burden of feeling like they need to take care of me.

So I’m working to find a balance. To teach them that we’re entitled to our feelings and to being authentic, but without putting an emotional burden on them to boost my mood. It’s a struggle to find that balance, and I’m still working on it. But I’ll keep at it. Because I want them to know that it’s okay to notice others’ feelings, but it’s not their duty to fix the situation — or me.

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Why I Went to Disney World With My Ex-Husband

“Are you nuts??!?!” This seems to be the standard question from everyone in my life recently. In fact, the texts and DMs haven’t stopped pouring in. We are now just past two weeks since returning from the Disney trip heard ‘round the world.

Over 50,000 people visit Disney World each and every day – so why did my trip, the one I took with my four-year-old daughter and her dad, matter SO damn much?

Oh, right, because we’re divorced – and divorced parents don’t often make family pilgrimages to the happiest place on earth together. At least not these divorced parents.

My daughter’s father and I separated just days after she turned two – a split that may not have shocked some, but nonetheless rattled our worlds. Once the proverbial shit hit my South Florida ceiling fan, lawyers stepped in to create nauseatingly detailed rules of co-parenting engagement. While we figured out schedules, number of overnights, vacation breakdowns, who-pays-for-what, and all of the other complexities of divorce with kids – one issue simply couldn’t be solved:

Who would take the kid to Disney first?

This may seem like a real ridiculous riddle to solve to some of you, but as residents of Florida, the home of the Happiest Place on Earth, it’s not unlikely for parents to start taking their children for some Disney magic fresh out of the womb. By the time Bella had turned three, some of her friends had been there multiple times, and she would come home from school bummed that she hadn’t yet had her way with a few fast passes and some Minnie Mouse ears. The only answer I could muster up, time and time again, was the promise of a trip in the future – even though I knew damn well it would be a lot more difficult to figure out than that.

But I get it – no parent wants to miss out on their only child’s first trip to the magic of the Magic Kingdom and everything else that goes along with it.

Michelle Dempsey

When the realization that my four-year-old wasn’t getting any younger and that this princess obsession of hers would eventually make way for more grown-up things, I knew it was time to take the leap. Before I knew it, I had planned the trip of a lifetime.

The trip of a lifetime with my ex-husband in tow.

Before I get down to business here, I’ll tell you a little bit more about my ex-husband and I, so you can understand why everyone in the world seems so blown away by the notion that we spent three days together. We’re not the co-parents from the movies, who lovingly wish each other well on a daily basis. We’re not the co-parents hanging out for the sake of hanging out.

We are not that at all.

But I knew in my heart of hearts that it was time to be – or at least try to be, for that matter. That this wall of tension between us needed to come down – not for me, but for our daughter.

So, with our pride in our back pockets and Disney magic bands on our wrists, my ex-husband, my four-year-old, and I, hopped in the car – the same car – for the long haul up to Orlando. My sweet daughter, so fixated on the fact that her parents were in the same car with her, never even bothered to question us about our destination – a clear indication that us being together was enough to satisfy her soul. Having not sat in a car with my ex-husband at the wheel for well over two years, the emotions were real – for both of us.

It started out tense. Uncomfortable. Frantic. Tension from so many unsaid things. Uncomfortable because, well, this was no longer our norm. Frantic because we were frantically grasping at straws for normalcy, trying to reignite a friendly rapport for the sake of the innocent child we brought into this world, sitting behind us and observing our every move.

Nearly four hours later, the “Welcome to Disney World” sign appeared. My daughter knew instantly what the surprise was. Her dramatically adorable reaction had us both in hysterics; half-tears, half-laughter and with one look of the excitement in her eyes, the walls came down, and we were ready to tackle happiest place on earth. Because even though the happiness between us had ended, the love we once had for each other produced the most important thing in our lives – her. And her happiness is what we care most about now.

I know what you’re wondering, and the answer is no, we did not stay in the same hotel room. We didn’t even stay in the same hotel, though Bella emphatically asked if we could both put her to bed on our vacation. We kept this part separate, though, because confusing our child was not our goal – showing her harmony was.

Was it a perfect trip? No. Was it easy? Not at all. Were there moments when we were both reminded of why we’re better off apart? Absolutely.

But, would I relive this experience again?

Yes.

Yes, because she deserved it. She deserved a once-in-a-lifetime experience with both of her parents, even if we don’t both tuck her in to bed together anymore.

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15 Things Your Divorced Friends Want You To Know

We were all once like you. We once had a spouse and kids. We had a family. Maybe it was picture-perfect but was wrecked by an affair or betrayal. Maybe it was never as perfect behind closed doors as it looked on Instagram. Maybe it was always a hot mess and everyone knew it.

But, regardless, we had what you have, and now our family is no longer the same. It has changed. Our lives have changed.

One of the hardest things about joining the Divorced Wives Club is that it can be isolating. Whether our old friends just feel like they can’t relate, if they think divorce is contagious (it’s not), or if they think all newly single friends want their spouses (we don’t), many of our married friends seem to disappear.

I choose to think it’s just hard for some of our married friends to understand this new phase in our lives. Maybe they have questions they’re afraid will be uncomfortable for us to answer. Maybe they don’t understand why we’re only available at odd times (every other weekend we are all in, but the once-perfect Thursday nights are now out). Maybe they think they’re hurting us by talking about their husbands or being invited to family events.

Anyhow, I’m hoping this list may clear a few things up.

1. We are worried that our kids will be treated differently.

Our kids have been through a lot, and we know it. Many of us carry guilt about not making our relationship work, even if we did all that we could. We have to answer questions that our kids have, hear them complain about going back and forth between parents, and see them miss out on events because they are with the other parent on that weekend.

We, just like all parents, just want our kids to be healthy and happy.

Our kids know that a lot of their friends have parents who are married. They know they are different.

Anything you could do to include our children, to treat them as you did before the divorce, would be so appreciated by us.

2. Being divorced/separated is not the same thing as having a traveling spouse.

While I personally have had a traveling husband, and I know how difficult that is, it is not the same as being divorced or a single mom. If you happen to suggest as much or call yourself a “single mom” because your husband is gone for a few days or a week, just be aware that you are probably offending a single mom you know. I know you probably mean nothing by it, but while you may run the household alone, you do still have someone to do life with. True single moms do not.

That being said, I personally think that being a divorced mom holding down the fort at home is a bit easier than having a traveling husband in some ways. When I was married and my husband would come home on the weekends, he would kind of rock the boat of everything we had going on. Sleep schedules, routines, meals, etc. would be thrown out of whack. Also, I felt like I had to clean like a madwoman every Friday before he got home. AND I still missed out on some girls nights, etc. when he was traveling because a sitter was so expensive. So, while you aren’t a “single mom” while your man is out of town, that doesn’t mean that it is easy or that you have nothing to complain or be frustrated about. Just know that particular phrase tends to get under some single moms’ skin.

3. Unless you got married less than 5 years ago, your dating advice is old school. But we still love it when you try to talk dating with us.

We LOVE that you care about our dating life (if we are talking to you about it…unsolicited questions are not so welcome). It’s nice to have someone to talk to about that cute guy we met or the last date we went on. But wow! How times have changed! Not only is dating in general totally different with dating apps galore, but dating with kids is light-years different than dating without them.

Just remember, we are trying to figure out this new dating world too and may make some mistakes along the way. If you can just reserve a bit of judgment and try to be encouraging, that would be great! And, yes, we do appreciate all of your advice…we just might not take it.

Also, the phrase “I’m so glad I don’t have to date these days!” is probably meant as a way to relate, but it can kind of sting. Most of us aren’t exactly thrilled to have to go out into the dating world the second time around.

4. Complaining about your spouse to us may be a bad idea.

There are three types of divorced women:

TYPE ONE: The well-adjusted ones who are not bitter and who want to hear everything about your life. You can have an occasional vent session with these girls and they are not offended or bothered in the least (I fall under this category). But not every divorced woman is there yet.

TYPE TWO: The ones who are hurting. Complaining to these friends about your husband is like complaining about your kids or pregnancy to someone who just had a miscarriage or is dealing with infertility. Unless you know for sure your friend can handle your vent sesh, try to be sensitive to her feelings. While you may be pissed that your husband didn’t take out the trash last night, your divorced mom friend has been taking it out by herself every single time since her husband walked out.

TYPE THREE: The bitter ones. These should be easier to spot. If your friend is a little too gleeful of your irritation with your husband, and especially if she encourages separation or divorce, stay away from her. She is toxic to your marriage. A good friend (married or not) would suggest counseling or reconciliation if you are having issues. I personally hope my married friends have life-long and happy marriages! If your friend isn’t on your marriage’s team, drop them.

5. Please don’t leave us out now that we’re single.

We want to be invited on that girl’s trip or to the family cookout. We miss you. Our kids miss your kids.

I was so thankful for those friends who still invited me to things after I was divorced. A few of my friends truly made me feel as if nothing had changed. They still invited me to adult events where couples were, and to be honest, since the guys usually hang out with the guys and vice versa, I didn’t stick out like a sore thumb. We were still invited to family parties and cookouts and events. They made me feel normal. They made my kids feel normal.

I also had other friends who no longer invited me. It was as if since I was a little different, I wasn’t welcome. Or maybe they thought that I would feel uncomfortable, so instead of leaving the decision of whether to attend up to me, they made the decision for me. Either way, it hurt. It made me feel weird, out of place, and alienated.

So, if you are on the fence about whether to invite us or not, please invite us. We’ll make an excuse if it feels too uncomfortable, but we will appreciate the invite all the same.

Oh, and another thing…if you go to church, invite us to sit beside you on Sunday. It can be weird to get used to sitting alone at a service where almost everyone seems to have someone with them.

6. We may have changed, but we still have things in common with you.

I know that having a husband is a big part of your life, and it used to be a big part of ours. But even though we no longer have that in common, we still have other things that we share with you.

After all, we still have kids and all that comes with that. Most of us probably originally became friends over our kids anyway…that’s what moms do.

Plus, even though we are no longer wives, we are still women. We still love neighborhood events, shopping, dancing, trying new restaurants, laughing over a glass of wine, girls trips, etc. Whatever we did with you before, we still love now! We can still be friends.

7. We try to make the most of our “free weekends.”

For those of us who have our children every other weekend, that time is precious to us! I know that I personally have my kids 80% of the time. That means that 80% of the time, I do it all. I don’t have anyone to pick up the slack or to pass the kids off to if I need a break. On the flipside, I’m totally alone 20% of the time. No kids. Not as many responsibilities  So, in that 20% of the time, I try to do the majority of my socializing, dating, etc. as well as catch up on housework and my to-do list. There is nothing worse to me than a wasted “free” weekend. So, if you do have a weekend free when you would like to have some girl time: grab brunch, get a little pampering, etc., call up your divorced mom friend. If it is her free weekend, she would probably love nothing more than to have some time with you.

8. But when we are with our kids, we don’t want to leave them.

I cannot tell you how many times I have said no to a kid-free event on a weekday or a weekend when I have my kids. Yes, I need a break. Yes, the 12 days straight with my kids without having help can drive me insane. But I work full-time. I spend most of my evenings shuttling kids to afterschool activities. When I have time to spend with my kids, I want to hang out with them. I DO know I need time for myself and so once in awhile I will do something for me, but don’t get offended if I say no, even if I have someone to babysit.

The worst part of becoming a divorced mom is that almost every single MNO takes place on a Thursday, no matter what it is: Bunco, Book Clubs, Wine Nights, etc. It’s hard to justify getting a babysitter for a Thursday night when my kids are going to their dad’s for the weekend the next day.

9. Our kids are going to miss important events because they are with their dad, and we hate it.

My kids have missed out on a lot when they were with their dad. Even though he and I co-parent very well together, he lives three hours away. Which means that my girls miss a lot of birthday parties, sleepovers, playdates, and other events.

Our kids are sad to miss out and we are sad that they have to miss out. But don’t stop inviting them. They may be able to make it next time.

10. Our stress level is high.

Oh what I wouldn’t give sometimes to have someone to share the load with. If anything, I think I miss that the most.

Just someone who could watch the kids while I run to the store. Or who could unload the dishwasher. Or do the nighttime routine so I could just have a little break. Someone who could help with taking the kids to their afterschool activities. Someone who could be there with the kids so I could run out to a girls’ night without feeling guilty about it. Someone to share paying the bills. Someone to take over with discipline when I’m burned out. Someone to back me up when the kids want to keep arguing with me.

It is stressful doing it all on our own.

And on top of that, we are the breadwinner in our family. And we’re worried about our children’s well-being. And we’re trying to make sure our kid doesn’t miss out, because they already miss out on having both mom and dad there in their home together like all of their friends whose parents are still married have.

And if we’re dating too….oh boy. Have you seen the people on those dating apps? Remember how stressful and nervous you were to go on a date in college when all of your girlfriends were there helping you get ready and sharing in the experience with you?

Well, now it’s just as nerve-wracking, but you’re getting ready on your own, and most of your friends can’t really relate because they have been married for eons. Plus, if you end up going on a date when the kids are with you, you’re trying to get your kids settled with a sitter and battling “mama guilt” before you head out.

So yeah, it’s stressful. And it never ends.

11. We are exhausted.

I’m not 100% saying that I am “having a newborn at home” exhausted, but I’d say I’m pretty close to that most of the time.

Look at everything I listed in #10.

My days are spent:

– Getting kids up for school, packing my child’s Gluten-free & dairy free lunch, getting myself ready for work

– Going to work for 8 hours

– Rushing (always rushing) to pick up my kids from daycare and the sitter’s to get them to dance (one of them dances or tumbles every day).

–  We get home. I cook dinner. Because not only is it expensive to eat out all the time (and out of budget), but my oldest can’t have gluten or dairy, so I have to make special meals for her.

– After dinner we: practice dance/stretch/sometimes watch a tv show/play basketball/walk to the park on our one early dance day.

– We do bedtime routine/devotion/prayer/my youngest begs me to sleep with her. I try not to fall asleep and give myself a time-limit on how long I will stay. I stay about 30 mins longer than I tell her I will. She still cries when I leave.

– I do dishes and laundry and clean if I can muster the energy. Or I fall asleep in bed with my clothes on. Or I have already fallen asleep in bed with my youngest and stumble to my bed in the middle of the night.

–  I set my alarm to do the same thing the next day.

While not every divorced mom shares my exact schedule or circumstances, almost all of us have one thing in common: We are trying to be everything to everyone, while trying our best to support our kids and help them have the best childhood possible. All with no partner to help.

And, yes, those of us who have every other weekend off can sometimes catch up on sleep on that off weekend.  But we’re also so busy making the most of the that time (we have so much to do to get caught up around the house) that if we DO catch up on sleep and rest, we are behind a day when the kids come back.

12. When the kids come back after a weekend with their dad, it’s hard.

So, picture what it’s like when the kids spend the weekend with Grandma and then you get them back. We all know about that “adjustment period” right? Well, for many of us divorced moms, we deal with that every other week.

When kids see dad only every other weekend, they tend to get a little spoiled at his house. I’m not faulting the dads for that. It’s just that…when you don’t have to actually be a parent to your child every single day, you can let things slide. You want to make the most of the time the child is with you, and you want for the visit to be a great experience. It makes sense, and I would probably feel the same way if I were in an “every other weekend” dad’s position.

My kids definitely have different rules at their dad’s. There’s more candy and sweets, a lot more screen time, and no responsibilities. My youngest sleeps with her dad (she is very cuddly), which makes it SUPER fun when she comes home and wants me to lay with her until she falls asleep.

Very doable two weekends a month. Not practical or feasible when I have to use the time after the kids are in bed to get the house in order.

13. We are on a tight budget.

No matter what kind of lifestyle we had when we were married, no matter whether we have gone back to work or if we get child support, we are probably on a tighter budget than we were when we were married.

I had a sweet friend once who was trying to help me house hunt. She told me that the house down the street from her (in our old neighborhood) was for sale. While I could have afforded that house when I was married (and I do receive child support and have a great job), I couldn’t move into the same type of house that I’d had before my divorce. Some may be able to fund a similar lifestyle, but most of us have had our budget take a bit of a hit.

14. We can do it all (almost). But sometimes we do need some help.

We are strong. We can do almost anything.

Since my divorce, I have learned to kill bugs, conquered my fear of being in a house alone, started paying all the bills by myself, taken up every household chore…

But when you or your kids are sick with something major, you never wish you were still married more.

When I had the flu, my friends dropped off soup, crackers, tea, and medicine to me. When my daughter had the stomach bug and I couldn’t leave, my friends dropped off Gatorade, Pedialyte, and saltines. While we don’t want to be pitied, and we can do a lot on our own, there are just some times when we need some help.

There are also some household issues that I can’t tackle alone. A friend sent her husband to help me hang a light in my house. My brother-in-law checked out my car when it was acting funny to see what was wrong. My dad and boyfriend helped me put the furniture together in my house. Even though we have to do almost everything alone, it is nice to have a little help when we need it.

15. Please don’t trash our ex-spouse or get involved in the drama of our divorce.

We all have our moments when we want to vent about our ex, but it isn’t healthy for us to dwell on the past or on his bad traits.

I know you may have things you want to say about our former spouse, especially if you didn’t like him or the way he treated us, but please don’t use our time hanging out as a trash session. Also, please never say anything negative about our child’s dad in front of the children! After all, no matter what you think of him, he is still the father of his children, and they love him. They don’t need to know everything their father has done wrong, just as we don’t want them to know everything that we could have done differently.

If you get too involved in the divorce drama, you aren’t going to be able to be supportive of a healthy co-parenting relationship (which is best for the children and all involved). Your negative behavior could even cause us issues in court as most custody agreements include a clause about disparaging remarks made about either parent in front of the children.

Instead of bashing, keep our mindset positive and help us find solutions to our problems. Encourage us to make some time for us (maybe even offer to watch the kids for a bit so we can relax). Remind us to keep our eye on the prize of a healthy co-parenting relationship so our kids can be healthy and happy! That is what we really need…even if we don’t realize it!

As an added bonus, if you don’t get overly involved in the negativity, you can treat our ex kindly if you see him at a band concert or dance recital without feeling weird and awkward, which is a win-win!

The Verdict

Even though some things in our lives have changed, your friendship is still valuable to us. Don’t give up on our friendship or shy away just because you don’t understand exactly what our lives are like now. I hope this post helps those married mamas who are having a difficult time relating to their newly divorced friends, but if you are having a hard time connecting to an old friend who has gone through this huge life change, just ask her about her life now. She may be dealing with the same things as me, or she may have other challenges, but either way, the path to understanding begins with open dialogue.

I’d like to thank those friends of mine who have been there for me through all of the changes in my life, who have never ceased to include me, and who always made my kids and I feel like part of the group. I love you.

The post 15 Things Your Divorced Friends Want You To Know appeared first on Scary Mommy.