Divorce – to party or not to party?

D-day is almost here and I’ve been thinking about the best way to handle it. As Divorces go, it’s been ok I guess, that could just be down to my general approach to life; keep positive and look forward never dwell. Sure, there’s been hiccups and moments where I’ve wallowed in a massive pool of self pity, I’m an awful mother for putting my kids through this and I’ve failed at being a wife days.

There’s also been moments of complete and utter excitement as I anticipate what the future brings. I don’t dare plan too much, that’s the knock on of separation. After a long relationship is you realise life can always throw you a curve ball, and I’ve no idea if there will ever be a Mr Right in that future I don’t dare plan. I’m still an old romantic at heart and love the idea of happily ever after, but I’m not going to make that my sole mission in life.

For the first time, in a very long time, I’m quite happy being me, myself and I.

One thing no one warns you about, when you and your husband go your separate ways and you take on the role of My Single Friend, is you become a go-to and confidant for everyone else’s marriage troubles, that’s a great reminder of how much better off I am right now. That could be a reason to party.

So that clears up where I am on Separation Street, the perfect time to put it out there, that conversation which keeps popping up;

Are you going to have a divorce party?

Is a divorce ever something you should celebrate? After all, it’s a failure to maintain a relationship, and one which I worked bloody hard to keep going, but come the end, the lows far out weighed the highs, it was a pretty dark place for us all then things came to light which made the fight to stay together futile.

If I’m honest, there’s no denying I’m much happier with how life is right now, but do I celebrate the reason for why I’m here with a party? My release into my new life….

should you celebrate the end of your marriage with a divorce party?

I’m not the angry, bitter, man-hating soon to be divorcee, so I don’t need a freedom style party. Neither do I feel the need to burn my wedding photos or dress. My current status is what it is and there were moments when married life was ace, 3 amazing kids being the ultimate showcase, and my best coping mechanism is to not dwell on the past or revisit old wounds.

And while I’m not proud of being a statistic; a single mum of three, purveyor of a broken home. I am proud of the life my boys and I have now, we may not be a home of 2 parents, 2.4 kids. But we’re a happy, relaxed set up.

What constitutes a normal family these days anyway?

So the alternative is to celebrate new beginnings and continue to look to the future. For me, divorce is an end of an era and stepping stone onto my next adventure. I’ve reflected on my part in the break up and learnt what not and what I should do next time.

And I’m sure I’ll have the odd moment of ‘what if I’d done this’ which I’ll then put it aside, raise a glass  and wish my ex husband well with the hope that we’ll both go onto have happy, healthy lives.

While he’s stands there,

burning wedding photos.
should you celebrate the end of your marriage with a divorce party?

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This Is How I’m Helping My Kids Through A Divorce

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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How To Exit A Marriage Gracefully

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  

Disclaimer

This is a collaborative post. 

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So you’re wondering how I’m feeling about my divorce?

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 daughter, the sister, the friend, 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.

've decided the best thing I can do is pull up the anchor and see where the wind takes me

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.

Everyone tackles a divorce differently, you never really know how you'll be feeling until you're going through it

 

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A Simple Way To Celebrate Valentines Day

Here’s a No Nonsense Way To Celebrate Valentines Day, For Those With No Imagination…..

I’ve been giving this whole romance and valentines day thing some serious thought lately. It’s funny how your perspective on things change once you find your self ‘out there’ again. If I’m honest, I’d fallen out of love with the whole idea of romancing your nearest and dearest on one particular day. I’d even go as far as saying I hated the whole pressure to join the masses, in a restaurant, paying overly inflated prices on a one-off heart adorned menu.

To me, romance should be impromptu and not something which happens because the card shops tell you it should. If there’s a Valentine’s day equivalent of Bar Humburg?

However……I’ve reassesed my whole vision of what constitutes romance and more to the point, what I think would help show that special someone you’re smitten with them some thoughtful gift ideas. Look away now if that makes you want to barf because this, my friends, is a smoochy, lovey dovey, heart infested romance post!

So, let’s think of an alternative to declaring your love and affection. You’ve toyed with the idea of dressing in black, slipping through the window and leaving a box of Milk Tray and a note. Flowers? Teddy bears?

Really?

That’s so last decade and not in a good retro way. Is that all you can come up with? Well 70’s lover boy/girl, think again.

Gifts with a Little Thought

How about knocking together a bundle of mixed messages?  A copy of the well known “Guess How Much I Love You Book” matching colouring book and a  bottle of champagne  giving a subtle way of saying

  1. I love you more than you’ll ever realise. Cute Straight to the point and ‘awwwwwww’ .
  2. I want to you relax, take a night off, escape the everyday do something mindless so you’re not thinking about all the chores. RELAX
  3. and the champagne, that will help, not to mention put that unique, this is no ordinary mid-week glass of Pinot spin on the night.


Take it one step further still; come the evening’ tidy the lounge, light some candles, turn the TV off, create an ambience. (make sure kids are in bed, that’s a total romance killer)

Set the scene

A new fragrance in the air will liven the mood. My current fave is I am A Woman reed diffuser by Joan Collins *, it smells devine! The sensual musk and woody aroma will be the perfect romantic atmosphere.  plump up the cushions and set up a Spotify play list of all her favourite songs. Ones which will spark happy memories of the 2 of you, or if it’s a fairly new relationship, try some popular ones from her teens coupled with recent ones with undertones of love and happiness.

I’d avoid Barry White, that’s waaaaaaaay too presumptuous.

Get a take away in, super markets are doing some great Valentines day meal deals if you’d rather cook it your self. Have some conversation starters to avoid your usual topics; tell them everything they love about them, reminis about the time you met, plan for the future. Try and avoid – kids, family, DIY which needs to be done and Brexit/Trump.

So there you have it, it’s quite simple, set the scene, make an effort, relax in each other’s company. THAT’S what Valentines day should be about.

Disclaimer

This is a collaborative post

* I am Woman is available to buy from QVC, M&S and Urban Retreat at Harrods

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