I’m of the growing opinion that, just as your ex will be a part of your life forever, so will the ever changing emotional tides that seem to come with a divorce. Hang on … looking deeper, I say divorce, but let’s be honest; they come with life. A point I keep making to my kids, but need to be reminded of myself from time to time.
Our kids blame a lot of ‘bad’ things on the divorce. And we’re quick to tell them (at least I know I am) that being able to keep your room straight, get your school projects done on time and having to go with the flow are not the result of the divorce; they are part of being a responsible and easy going person. Our kids do not know a life that doesn’t include divorce and so they will always see that as an excuse.
I’ve been told, “Your parents weren’t divorced dad, how would you know what I’m feeling.” Which is true. But the point here isn’t about competing to see who’s childhood was harder. Deep down, as they get older, my kids are recognizing that each home has its own, shall we say, unique circumstances. Our job is to teach them that every human being on this planet has their own hurdles to overcome. Some bigger than others. For some, divorce would be a cake walk compared to what they’ve been forced to endure. The fact that our kids have two parents who absolutely adore them and love them unconditionally should be their first clue that they’ve got it
pretty good compared to some. The reality is, we all have our crosses to bare. How we choose to carry it is up to us. Yes the divorce creates some obstacles and challenges, but most if not all of them can be overcome with a little effort and the right attitude.
The other lesson, is to not blame our circumstances for our downfalls. Take responsibility for your situation and take steps to correct things. Chances are your circumstances are the result of how you approach life in general. Not the other way around. We have to look at ourselves from time to time and remind ourselves that perhaps the emotional tides we’re blaming on the divorce are actually a part of our own emotional make up. How we got here is the result of a long list of choices and reactions. Not just a signed document from a judge.
Divorce or happy marriage, we’re going to be concerned about finances, work, the kids, the state of the world and whether our home owners association is going to send us a letter for having our garbage can parked in front of the garage. Just like the kids, we’re faced with this reality and it’s up to us whether we’re going to embrace it and adjust accordingly or blame all of our trials and tribulations on the fact that we’re single parents with a pretty big load on our shoulders. It’s also up to us to consider taking a look at how we approach hurdles and whether we need to consider a little internal remodeling as well.
Yes, life as a single dad can be hell. It’s a lot. And chunks of it are more painful than others, especially when it comes to the kids and what you see them going through. All the more reason we need to set an example for our kids and make the best of our situation. How they define divorce is partly up to us. Let them see that we’re not going to use the divorce as an emotional security blanket. We’re not going to blame the world (or our ex) for our struggles. Pull up your big girl panties and make the best of it. Be introspective. Take responsibility. Be accountable. Let them see that yes, life sucks sometimes and not every day is perfect. But how you approach the tides is completely up to you AND them. Help them recognize all of the wonderous things they do have which, hopefully, includes a dad who is completely in love with them and thrilled to have them in his world. A dad who is there to help them overcome their own emotional tides when they rise.