When I first realized my marriage was over I thought about what life would be like without my spouse. What changes would be made to my family now that we were a family minus one. What would it be like sleeping in bed alone? Never having someone in the house to delegate tasks I realllly didn’t want to do to? What about when bedtime gets bad and I could use a hand, but that hand lives somewhere else now?
I wondered about losing a spouse and partner in the home and what that would mean for our dynamic and how our home would function now with one less person. But I took me a while to realize that in divorce, you lose so much more than just your spouse.
You lose friends. People pick sides. Whether they intend to or not, they seem to feel the need to form alliances and mutual friends tend to lean one way or the other. Many of my ex-husband’s friends were made during our marriage, which made this especially hard for me because in my eyes, they were just as much my friends as they were his. But they didn’t see things that way. I lost a lot of friends, which in turn meant I lost a lot of support I could have used.
You lose your confidence. Nothing makes you question your ability as a human being like realizing you made the CATASTROPHIC desicion to marry the wrong person. If your divorce is ugly and harsh, like mine, it chips even more away at your self-esteem little by little as you wonder how you could have stayed this long, how this man you shared your life with could do and say these TERRIBLE things about you, and how stupid are you that you didn’t see him for who he really was sooner? You question your judgement, your ability to move on, you wonder if you find someone new if you’ll make the same mistake(s) again. You feel fragile. Broken.
You lose your family. My ex and I were together for 12 years. His family became part of my family. And whether or not we had a great relationship, they were still family. And they are always family to my children. But during (and even after) divorce the relationship changes so drastically. They are no longer people you would want to turn to in crisis. You don’t want to confide in them or rely on them any longer. You feel like they are judging you. And you know that they are on his side, they are HIS family in blood.
You lose time with your kids. You know you’ll have to split holidays and birthdays. Share special days throughout the year or spend them in awkward silence with your future ex, but you don’t realize how much that time really adds up and how much it HURTS until it happens. And it doesn’t get easier. The minute they leave, you miss them. And the minute they get home, you’re already worrying about the next time they will leave again.
You lose STUFF. It sounds like a #firstworldproblem to be concerned about material things, but it’s true. You lose your favorite couch or your best towels. You lose your house when you’re forced to sell it and split things down the middle. You lose your credit limit because it’s no longer a shared entity. Your cars, your plates, your blender, you lose HALF OF EVERYTHING. And you don’t think about this at first, but rebuilding an entire life from 50% back up to where you left off can be hard (and costly) to do.
Which means, you lose money. Between splitting your finances and your assets, you also spend thousands on attorneys, mediators, babysitters to help you get through it all. You spend so much money on divorce that the idea of getting divorced ever again means you’ll probably never accept another proposal because you can’t risk the financial hit it sends rippling through your accounts.
You lose your pets. Maybe you are the one who keeps them, but in divorce pets can’t live in two places at once so one of you will be bound to lose your furry friend’s companionship on a daily basis. In my divorce I was so worried about my children and what would happen with them I didn’t even think about my animals until my divorce was almost finalized. They weren’t an item that came up in our talks with our attorneys and if you ask me, that’s not right. My pet stayed with me, but he’s not the same. He lost someone too.
Divorce is hard. It turns your world upside down and forces you to find yourself all over again after years of thinking that this is your “forever life.” Everyone around you gets effected by the residual effects of your mood, your change in lifestyle, your new independence. But you don’t think about how much you really LOSE when you decide to call it quits. It’s more than just the partner you’re divorcing. And that part hurts enough.
Moms everywhere are always complaining that the morning shit show of trying to wake, dress, feed and get their kids off to school on time is overwhelming, to say the least. And frankly, I just don’t get it. I have my kids up and out the door with minutes to spare every single day and I do it all in just under 2000 simple steps.
Follow me on my morning journey and get yourself some much needed guidance on this disaster you claim is such a “hard job” and you’ll be spinning your wheels up to the doors of the school right as the bell rings just like I am every day!
- Make sure your kids clothes are set out for them before they wake up. If this means setting your alarm clock to get your ass out of bed at 2 AM so that you don’t have to be bothered with nuisances like your completely dependent children in the morning, then do that. Just make sure the clothes are out. Never mind that they won’t want to wear THAT outfit once they wake up.
- Pack lunches the night before. Between cooking a six-course meal, struggling your way through endless sight words and spelling tests, and hosing down your little angels in the bath while they scream in agony over the pain that tear-free soap brings to their eyes, you can find a spare couple of hours to cut free-range, hormone-free, NON-GMO, and antibiotic and cruelty-free meats into faces of their favorite Disney characters. It’s not that hard, mom. Slap some gluten-free crackers and homemade fruit leather in there too.
- Early risers should be celebrated! When your kids wake up at 4AM, take this as an opportunity to get a jumpstart on the day. Don’t ask them to return to their beds in the pitch-black night. Make sure to seize this good fortune as a chance to get a few extra hours of screen time in while you dream about the millions of chores you should be completing as you doze off on the couch to the sounds of YouTubers and Jojo Siwa streaming from the iPads waiting for the sun to rise.
- Set an alarm, for God sake. Don’t assume your kids will wake you up before you need to get up. We all know Murphy’s Law of parenting doesn’t work that way. Why would you leave something like timeliness to chance? Get up hours before your kids that way you can enjoy a hot cup of coffee while you cry into your kids cereal because you stayed up far too late last night scrolling on Instagram when you should have went to bed early.
- Wake your kids with the sound of a soft bell and ocean waves. Set the mood for the morning waking up your slumbering babes with soothing nature sounds. This will surely keep them from screaming into your face because they aren’t READY TO GET UP YET! They will wake up naturally calm and serene ready to take the day by storm. Shit storm.
- Have your kids dress before breakfast. This really saves time, because when they spill their cereal and milk all over their fresh clothes, they can scream in a traumatic fit of rage because they didn’t like that outfit and suddenly, now that they can’t wear it, it’s their FAVORITE!
- Get your shoes and coat on before your kids. Modeling the behavior you want your kids to perform shows them your expectations. If I have my shoes and coat on before I even wake them up in the morning they are fully prepared for my requests for THEM to get theirs on two hours later. And, it makes it so much easier to get their lunches into their bags, help them tie their shoes, zip their coats and wrangle them out of the house when you’re bundled up for below freezing temps like a snowman.
- Give your kids a warning and count-down every five minutes starting an hour before you have to leave. Experts say that instead of telling your kids it’s time to go NOW, by giving them a 5-10 minute warning it mentally prepares them for the task at hand. I say, why stop at 10? Start the night before when you put them to bed and repeat every five minutes screaming, “I’m serious you guys, we are going to be LATE if you don’t HURRY UP!” This way, they have no excuse for their tardiness and you can throw in their faces that you’ve been telling them for A DAY they needed to be ready to go. As if we don’t complete this same ritual every. damn. day. and they shouldn’t already know that leaving is part of the routine.
- Set an actual fire (kind of). Ten minutes past the time you are supposed to have walked out the door, start a fire alarm in the house. I find that LOUD NOISES really get my kids to jump to attention. If they haven’t been phased by your incessant countdown from the previous 12 hours, it’s time to bust out the big guns. Tell them this is the sound of the school bell they are hearing and it’s TIME. They are already LATE.
- Do a thorough check as each child walks out the door that they have everything they need. You should have done this the night before, but you were too busy “liking” strangers status updates so now you’re behind. Line them up like little soldiers and make sure to double and triple check they have every item they need to get through the day. Let’s be honest. Even if you complete this step you’ll realize some field trip form you left sitting on the counter the minute you get a block or two away from the house.
- When you can’t get them in line, don’t start panicking… yet. This is not how this was supposed to go. You are PRE-PLANNING. There is a method to this and the process is tried and true! You did it ALL RIGHT! It’s not time to give up yet. You’re not a quitter and this isn’t your day to lie down and roll over. Today you fight. So when all else fails, scream until a vein pops out of your neck. You mean business.
- -1923. Give up. It’s already past the bell. You still don’t have one of their shoes on. One is in their room changing for the third time and one of them hasn’t finished their breakfast they started an hour ago. Now you panic. Start threatening to leave without them if they are not IN THE CAR in TWO MINUTES! Now you start contemplating the list of excuses you’ve already given the school this year for your impeccable ability to roll-up sometime between the starting bell and lunch. Have you blamed the dog running away yet? Let’s go with that one.
Getting your kids to school on time might take some extra planning on your end, but isn’t that your job as a mom? If you aren’t prepared for every anticipated meltdown, sock seam, missing shoe and cereal fiasco, what are you even doing with your kids every morning? Kids are predictable and reasonable, especially first thing in the morning. What could possibly go wrong?
If you haven’t managed to master how to gather up a bunch of sleepy, grumpy and irrational beings by now… try again tomorrow. It’s bound to work eventually, right?