I’m very British in that I’m not very comfortable talking about money sometimes. It’s not that I have anything to hide, I just like to keep some things private (yeah, that’s right, a blogger who keeps some private, you can’t put those eye brows down.) This is one thing I’ve had to overcome though recently as one of the huge downfalls of divorce, part from the blindingly obvious, is that you have to disclose every single penny you earn and spend to your solicitor and future ex spouse.

So while I’m on this big money sharing adventure <cough> I thought I’d write a post on one of the things I’ve had to do recently to help keep a roof over my kids heads and start a new independent life and that’s remortgage my house. No mean feat I should add at this point given the fact I’m self-employed and mortgages are pretty hard to come by at the moment.

Throw in the fact I’m a single mum of 3, working like crazy to try to raise said mortgage, so time is not in abundance to scour the internet. Which is why I am putting the task into the hands of the professionals and using digital mortgage broker habito.com to see if they can work miracles for me.


After an initial 5 minutes quick round of questions which helped give me a general idea to find out my maximum borrowing amount, along with an illustration on how much my payments would be, it was onto the next round. There are no credit checks at this point which is a relief!

It was then onto more detailed set of questions, still in the friendly, easy to follow format and again didn’t take much time. Finally I answered a few future plans questions, like do I intend to have more children, move ect which gave little snippets of advice on which style mortgages would be better for me.

My experience of using a digital mortgage broker

 

Once that was all completed it was then all down to the option of having a chat with an adviser either though live chat or telephone. I’m a huge fan of live chat as I often have an equally chatty 3-year-old who battles for my attention the minute I get on the phone.

And that’s where I’m going to leave it there as my British-ness has kicked in again and what goes on between me and Habito.com stays between Ali & Habito.com. But I can say that it’s was quick, stress free and that I’m still sticking by my claim that some things are worth leaving to the professionals.

My experience of using a digital mortgage broker

Disclaimer

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I have received a voucher in return for writing this post.

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It’s been quite some time since I wrote about my separation, to be honest I’ve never been more uncomfortable sharing something so personal and there are still aspects I will keep to myself. But there are also some things which I wanted to share, things I’ve leant and never expected to feel. No one can truly prepare you for what lies ahead, everyone’s story is different. Yet there are things, or rather, situations which most people experience but never really tell you.

You will have to use every core of your emotions to put your children first

Right from the start I wanted to make my divorce as pain-free for my kids. They were entering a whole new lifestyle which had never been predicted. One day they were looking forward to a future with a mum & dad; A wedding day with all the family, mum and dad on the top table, not a step parents in sight and weekends doing family stuff, always in their own house. Holidays would carry on as normal and when they left home they’d come back to mum and dads for Sunday roasts.

All the things they’d taken for granted suddenly swept away.

I know how that feels, I’m a child of divorce too and that whole uncertainty of what life is going to be like is pretty scary, especially when you haven’t got a lifetime of experience and adult reasoning to rationalise things.

So one thing I had to do was put myself in their shoes, this meant sending myself right back to how I felt all those years ago, not a nice memory to try relive, I might have been 19 but divorce is hard on kids no matter what age . Yet if the boys and I were to come out of this storm unscathed, they had to come first and I had to try and remember how the whole thing felt. 

You will have to learn to be fake happy

I never want to wave them off to spend time with their dad, I want them with me. I want life as normal as possible, I want a noisy house, clutter everywhere, weekends spent driving them around to friends, early wake up calls from my toddler and pizza on the sofa on a Saturday.

My boys want to see their dad.

So with a fake smile and over jolly voice I open the door, lump in my throat, and watch them leave. The silence when they go is deafening and not something you ever get use to. But my kids need and want  to see their dad and so they should. That’s me, once again, using every core of my emotions to put their needs first and not be selfish. What went on between him & I is no business of theirs and who am I to dictate whether they see him or not? 

divorce is tough on everyone & if I'm going to make sure my kids come through it unscathed, there's a few things i need to do
You will have to encourage a good relationship with step parents & family

While we’ve not quite crossed this path yet, there have been new partners. I’ve been very careful not to ask too many questions or quiz them when they return home after a weekend with their dad. I wanted to, believe me, but I know that they’ll feel like their loyalty is being tested. My way of coping with the times away from them is to not think about it, not pry and try not to moan about what they have or haven’t done, eaten or watched.

What I don’t know what hurt me or ignorance is bliss

There are moments when I want to pick up the phone and yell what do you think you’re doing to my ex husband and his family. But truth be told, I never agreed with their ways when we were together, as if they’re going to give a stuff what I think now. I remind myself I have to beg to differ. And when a new girlfriend is on the scene I will have to be positive, sharing my kids was never something I bargained on, but if they have a good relationship with her, their dad will be happy and with any luck, together they’ll pu our kids needs first. 

Put simply, I need to set an example and not bitch.

You can’t dis their other parent in front of them

Now that was and still is a hard one. Slagging off my ex, their dad, to the kids is dangerous to say the least. While I might feel better getting a few things off my chest, I’m also aware it can totally back fire and make them more protective of him, they’ll also get to see a not-so-nice side to me. On the other hand I could end up totally trashing their relationship with their father & causing some serious issues. My children have a right to a life with 2 parents, whether I like it or not, and I can’t jeopardise or control how that pans out. Friends and my family are my go to’s for a bloody good moan, not my kids.

Instead I only say good things, I don’t want my kids growing up being scared to talk about dad in front of me and luckily my family are doing exactly the same. Fake smiles and words all round, we’re getting quite good at pretending!

And the good? There’s always a silver lining

Going through a divorce makes you look for any and every inch of positivity. I’m not perfect,  I’ve had my moments where it’s stressed me, upset me and battered me back and blue emotionally. It’s during those times when I’ve had to dig deep to find the positives in what I’m doing.

And there is, it’s called resilience and optimism – looking ahead to a happy future.

Our house is much calmer and my kids know it, I just need to remind them. I’m also showing them that you don’t have to accept a situation which feels wrong, you can make changes, however hard they might be and sometimes you have to do things which scare you to see the long term benefits.  They’ve whitnessed me stepping into the unknown as life as a single parent and being a much more relaxed, happier person because of it. Divorce is never the easy way out, it takes a whole heap of guts to admit something isn’t right. Staying is much easier. 

I came out of my parents divorce alright and I know that my boys’ll be building up resilience to any future emotional wobbles. I’m teaching them they can handle anything, they might not feel that way now, but one day, I’m hoping they’ll look back and realise they handled it pretty bloody amazingly and can take on any future emotional upheaval with the same gumption. 

And Finally, I’m also teaching them that there is no normal when it comes to family, everyone is different, and in a world where difference is not getting a good rap right now, I think that’s a pretty good lesson to learn.

divorce is tough on everyone & if I'm going to make sure my kids come through it unscathed, there's a few things i need to do

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Not one to reign doom and gloom on what should be the happiest time of year, but it’s given that many couples decided to part in the new year . I can only guessing it’s a case of out with the old, in with new which trigger most people to make such a momentous decision. Or maybe the stress of having extended time together makes people realise that they simply can’t abide another year or for some the drinking and partying led to extreme behaviour which couldn’t be forgiven. Who knows?  What ever the reason, though, it happens. My own parents are testament to it,  January 4th, if you need dates.

So if this is you,  lets put those extreme emotions aside and look at the practical side. First thing first, it happens, shit happens and it’s not a failure or a dirty word. It takes a strong person to stay in an unhappy marriage but an even stronger one to say I tried but it’s time to walk away for my own sanity and that of my family.  So for those with an inkling it’s on the cards, I’m dishing the dirt  on some of my own experience as I face the first Christmas on my own. (Not that I’m ever truly alone, I have my rock steady tribe of friends and family that see to that, but you get the gist.)

Lets begin by facing facts; Separation and divorce  is NEVER a private affair no matter how hard you try. Everyone has their opinion, it’s only natural that people take sides, whether it’s Team Husband or Team Wife. It’s where true friends show their allegiance and families stand firm and proud. It’s great if you can split amicably, I’m not saying in a grown up way as lets face it, how many grown ups do you know who wouldn’t want to defend their friends or family in this situation. There’s nothing grown up about it, quite the opposite, part of being grown up is supporting each other in their time of need. It’s the bitterness and nastiness that needs leaving at the Jeremy Kyle / Jerry Springer studio.

I personally have been trying my darn hardest to do things a little different. When I finally accepted that our time was up, I made a conscious decision to exit my marriage with grace and respect, to not play the victim and to hold my head up high,

And I’m not going to lie, it’s been one of the hardest approaches to something I have EVER made.

Inside I was screaming for injustice and revenge but as the fire died down and I reflected on what was and what could now be, the right and only course for me to take was the calm one. I’m not a drama queen by nature,  neither am I vengeful or scheming. So I had to go with what I do and know best and be calm, collected and in control.

Bonkers you say? “Get out there and fight” was that?

Just think about it, where exactly will it get you? You can’t fight fire with fire and there’s no more damaging emotion than hate and anger. So why be everyone else’s drama topic of the day? Nope, it’s the low road for me, plus karma does a pretty good job of sorting out the deserving & not so.

And while the practicalities of the situation mean you will have to exercise your own opinion in some shape or form. Keeping your counsel and letting the professionals do what they do best. You need to try mediation prior to any divorce proceedings. This is involves sitting with a trained mediator who is completely neutral  while you discuss between you how to approach childcare arrangements, divving up your assets and anything else you need to discuss with your ex partner.

Once that’s all done and dusted (and whether it worked out or not, it’s not always suitable, especially in cases where there was domestic violence) Next step it to make it official by moving on to the divorce proceedings. If mediation worked out ok (which is the MUCH cheaper option) you can file for divorce by enlisting a solicitor firm online  check out Slater Gordon divorce solicitors to give you an idea of how this works, or  visiting a local firm. Most offer an initial mini free session which helps you get a feel if they’re the right person to take charge  of such a whopping great big life choice.

What’s important here is to try not to air your dirty washing on social media. Once those words are out there they’re permanent and can’t be unsaid. Choose your sounding out boards wisely, gather up the fun ones who’s distract you and  filter out the trusting few who you can vent to and know that it’ll go no further.

And while I’ve still got a lot of ground to cover before I’m out of the woods, I’d like to think that there is still a possibility I can exit this  marriage gracefully, even if I do trip up a little along the way.

If you’d like to read more posts on my journey from married to single try these;

 Status update, theres something you should know

What The Early Days As A Single Mum Feels Like

end of a long term relationship

why you need to hit rock bottom How To Exit A Marriage With Grace And Respect  

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This is a collaborative post. 

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I’ve been over analysing life a lot lately, trying to evaluate and understand the whats and whys in an attempt to understand me and what I do next. I’m playing many new roles right now; The (single) mum, the vulnerable daughter, the sister, the friend, the girlfriend, the business woman and the soon to be ex-wife. These life changes haven’t just effected me and I’m very conscious that it’s not just me that’s analysing me too.

With so much change and so many new experiences I’m taking a baby steps approach to life. Never wanting to plan too far ahead as I float through each week in survival mode. It’s a strange and exciting feeling when your life plans take a sudden change, and that over analysing I’ve been doing is a product of the uncertainty of what I thought the future might be like. That old future is now a stranger to me now and I’m a little scared to dare dream of what the new one brings.

When people ask how I’m doing, I know what they’re really asking. But the truth is you could ask me that question every day and it will be different. Today I’m feeling good, I’m living for today. With a tired fuzzy head my focus is on what I’m doing today and how good my bed will feel when I crawl in at the end of the day,

Today I’m too tired for planning and over analysing.

Today I’m not thinking about the holiday we’re off on next month.

Today I’m not thinking about what to do on my childfree weekend and fretting about being away from my boys.

Today I’m not thinking about the things which are lacking in my life and how I can change that.

Today I’m not thinking about how I’m going to get my new business thriving and bringing in enough money so I don’t lie awake at night thinking about all the bills I need to pay.

Today I’m NOT over analysing.

Today I’m giving my thinking brain a break.

I spent too much time doing that last night and I’m tired.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon clearing out the messy junk room under the stairs in an attempt to clear my jumbled thoughts. Decluttering and housework seem to help, it’s like osmosis – decluttering my mind. I’m still the optimistic, easy going me, just  a little more distant at times as I fall down the rabbit hole of thinking.

I’m navigating unchartered waters right now so I’ve decided the best thing I can do is pull up the anchor and see where the wind takes me. I can’t plan a future right now, I can’t plan as I have no idea what it’ll look like.  The back pages of my story have been ripped out and replaced by blank ones, the words DIVORCE taking the title of the next chapter.

So excuse me if I’m a little vague in my answer about “How am I today?” or if  throw a question right back at you and change the subject. I don’t always know exactly how to answer and each day is different, and I apologise if I double book you or forget an arrangement, my fuzzy head can’t always see past the end of the day.

I’ve tried planning out my weeks and weekends and it unnerves me when those plans get changed. It sends me into a panic and reminds me that even tomorrow is still a little uncertain. So right now I don’t dare plan too much as recent events have taught me, even the best laid plans have a habit of going astray.

And that right now pulling up anchor and going with the flow is the only way to go.

I've stopped planning too much as my impeding divorce has re written the rule book and my future plans are looking a little uncertain.

 

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I’ve decided it’s high time I shared the experience of what happens following the end of long term relationship. Some of you reading this will recognise what I’m about to say, some will completely disagree and some won’t really give a stuff, you’re just intrigued and passing time before East Enders starts. But I thought it may (or may not) benefit someone who’s just stepped onto the rocky road of singleton. So here goes;

First off, keep focused, keep positive and most importantly, keep looking forward. If there’s one piece of advice I can give anyone in this situation is that there WILL be a positive, even if you’re struggling to see it right now. Dig deep, even if it’s something as simple as having full hold of the remote control, there is always something.

Sure, there are things you will miss which will try to hog your thoughts from time to time. I really missed having someone bring me coffee in bed, stupid I know, but I’ve decided a coffee machine next to my bed is the way forward. See, negative thought gone and shopping trip scheduled.

There will be good days and bad, and the bad days will catch you unaware. I shocked myself how well I handled the fall out of my marriage breakdown. Surely it wasn’t supposed to feel this good? But just as I thought life couldn’t get any better, one little thing brought it all crashing down. And that is all it will take. For me if a was a little comment which brought home the reality of what had happened. So I wallowed, moaned, listened to Alanis Morrisette, searched out quotes on Pinterest which matched my emotions.

And then messaged a friend.

And that leads me seamlessly into my next snippet of advice. NEVER under-estimate the power of your friends and family.  I have an amazing support network which I can call on and who I know will pull me out of the doldrums, even when they don’t realise they’re doing it.

I have my funny, crazy bestest friend who never fails to make me giggle. We swear, we laugh, we send silly GIFs, I rant, she rants, and we plan. I don’t even have to tell her I’m feeling crap, she just knows. Same goes for my sister, 100’s of miles away and living a crazy busy mum life, she’s the one to tell me how it is. Facts are facts, straight talking but caring. Lecture if need be, but always says the right thing and, along with my mum, dad and brother, is my rock.

And then there’s the ones who I coffee with, drink wine with and talk about our children with. They’re my distraction, where I don’t have to disclose too much and stop me going to where my negative thoughts are trying to take me.

Get your support network in place, it doesn’t have to be huge, but you will need it.

how to survive the early month of the end of a long term relationship. this quote is a perfect reminder of how to see the situation

Look after yourself, your emotions are taking a battering right now and you need to be able to take what ever life throws at you. Don’t let yourself get too stressed. This has huge implications on you mentally and physically. I’m a huge fan of reflexology to help balance and restore. I tend to internalize stress resulting in unexplained aches and pains. The problem with this is that pretty soon you get over loaded and you find little things you could once shrug off start to bother you.

Think of your body being a vase, each stressful situation is a cup of sand, filling it up until you can’t hold it anymore. It over flows. Think of the mess & how heavy the glass now feels. If you can find balance & ways to offload that stress and overloading you emotionally  (talking is always a good way of doing this too) you can cope with so much more. Keep that space in your head for when you really need it.

And I’ll say it again, keep looking forward. Don’t look back in anger (sing it Oasis style if that helps) Embrace the occasional down days, your body & mind needs to process what’s happened and move on, but don’t let the bad outweigh the good or play the victim, you’re the navigator of your own happiness.

What’s done is done. Be graceful in your departure from the old you, things happen for a reason and sometimes beyond your control. Embrace the next adventure on which your life is leading you,

Exciting times are ahead.

I promise you.

 

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