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Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Weight of Their World

I feel incredibly fortunate to have kids who will let both myself and their mom know what they’re feeling. Many amazing insights come from this truth. Sure there are things they keep to themselves, and it pains me to know that from time to time they likely sit in their silence living through the pain of the divorce thrust upon them. But on more than one occasion they’ve offered insights as to what our divorce means to them and how it affects them.

One such insight is how easily they can feel completely caught in the middle. Wanting so badly to please both their mom and I but being forced to choose. They often feel that to make one of us happy they’re going to havedo-you-ask-your-kids-to-take-sides-after-a-divorce to let the other one down. To come to that realization is hard. It’s also a wake up call as to how easily they can feel torn between the two people they love the most in this world.

Neither their mom nor I consciously try to put them in that position. Life simply reminds them from time to time that their parents have separate lives. That we don’t live together. That more often than not, we aren’t going to all be together at the same time. And that to spend time with one of us, usually means leaving the other behind. And for a kid, that’s the definition of hell.

With three kids, we often shake things up, especially on weekends, to provide the kids one on one time with both of us. It can be tough though as it often means breaking the schedule. To innocently ask a child of divorce, who has great relationships with both parents; “Do you want to stay here or go with mommy / daddy?,” can at times unintentionally be the same as placing ten 1000K barbells on their heart. For some, especially the sensitive ones, it is an immense weight beyond anything they can bare.

When we talked about it later, I was told quite plainly, “I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. If I didn’t go I
sad%20child(1)knew I’d probably regret it, but if I did go I was afraid I’d cry myself to sleep knowing I left mommy behind on her day.” Now, both our child’s mom and I knew that there had been plenty of days where it was the other way around. And despite the reassurances and attempts to just make the decision for them and move forward, the very idea that they had to let one go to be with the other simply broke their heart. It was as simple as that. They were caught in the moment; frozen as there was no clear correct answer for them.

Eventually we guided them through the “now.” And in the end, all was fine as we knew it would be. To have that time with just the two of us was pure gold. No other kids to compete with, no work, no TV, no facebook. Just the two of us building legos together and sharing a cup of tea before bedtime. Breakfast was epic as was the calm, quiet ride to school.

I share this with you for no other reason than to remind you to once again be aware. No matter how crazy the timing, no matter how hurried you are, stop and consider what your child may be going through before you act. Not always easy when you’re rushing or transitioning. But these are defining moments. When they occur, simply be as reassuring as possible that it’s not a big deal. Guide as much as you can as opposed to “pushing.” It may very well mean putting your ego aside and saying something reassuring that may not come from the heart. But know that once you get over the hurdle that is that moment of angst; they usually do just fine once they realize their worlds are both very much in tact and everyone is more than OK.

 

 

 

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Homemade Rainbows

Let’s face it. Being a divorced parent can be a tough row to hoe with many days truly challenging your ability to find the positive. As one friend put it when I posted this photo on my personal facebook page: “Sometimes when there aren’t enough rainbows to go around, you have to create your own.” Here’s to creating your own rainbows! Have a great week!

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Posted by on September 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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In Sync with the World

I’m fairly confident that one common reaction to a divorce is a conscious decision to protect yourself both emotionally and physically. You tend to become more rigid as a natural reaction to the pain and confusion suddenly thrust upon you. Trust takes a holiday and you begin your divorce with an initial inability to be open to compromise and find yourself going by the book and following the rules of the arrangement.

In doing so, it becomes impossible to truly get into any kind of rhythm as everyone involved has gone into a similar mode of protection with their own agenda and thoughts on how to move forward. But to successfully navigate through the pain, the anguish and the confusion, it’s crucial that we learn how to open up a bit and become more flexible in our approach to life in general, not just your ex and your children.

I recently found this video on-line that demonstrates how metronomes that are started at different times will eventually start to work in unison under the right circumstances.

If placed on a rigid surface, all of the metronomes continue to run on their own unique timing. While those placed on a surface with some give to it, eventually come together and work in sync with one another. As I watched the video I couldn’t help but compare this to my life as a divorced dad, or just my life in general. When we’re unwilling to budge and instead create an environment where there is no flux, it can quickly turn to chaos as everyone just continues to go off on their own tangent. But when we offer just a little bit of flexibility and have an ability to accept the energy around us and then redistribute it, life seems to find a way of working with a little more synchronicity.

When we can let go of our fears, our paranoias, and the negativity that come with them, we can start to once again find a way of working in rhythm with the world around us. And when that happens, everyone wins. When Insyncwe’re working against each other, all that happens are battles, fights and arguments. There are no victories only continued struggles and battle plans. And not unlike a rowing crew, the more the rowers are in sync, the smoother and more efficient the motion.

Figuring out the balance that allows you to have your own life while working in conjunction with your ex is not an easy task. It doesn’t happen over night and continues to evolve even after your divorce has been final for a while. And believe me, when the kids sense a lack of synchronicity they then fight even hard against the grain. Suddenly everyone is out step with each other and frustrated and it just feels like the entire world is crashing down in front of you.

There will be times when bending just isn’t an option and others when it is. It’s up to you (and your ex) to learn when to adjust, when to maintain structure, when to bend and when not to. Just be sure to communicate and try to be reasonable in your explanations as well as your expectations. You can’t be expected to live your life according to your ex’s schedule, nor can they be expected to live according to yours. But a little give and take goes a long way in assuring the kids get what they need, which is a good relationship with both of you. When the kids feel a sense of unison and know what to expect, it’s a win / win for everyone.

 

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Scream To High Heaven!

O.k. guys.

Tomorrow morning. You’re going to wake up. You’ll think; “Man, I should really go out and run or something.” Then you’ll lay in bed thinking about it for another ten minutes. You’ll get up. Check your e-mail. Go to facebook, waste another hour. Check the headlines. Weather.com. And suddenly it’ll be too late.Image

So tomorrow break the pattern.

Wake up. Get your ass out of bed. Throw on some treads and head outside. Sweat. Use your stress and pent up anxiety as fuel. Put that negativity you’ve felt building up to good use. Sprint. Scream to high heaven while you’re doing it. Get it out! Just do it. Walk once in a while if you have to. But get out there. Work it out. Move.

Push yourself. I don’t care if you’re in your pajamas. Let the neighbors ask their spouses, “who’s the idiot running through the neighborhood in his boxers?” Just grind it out. Sweat brother! Sweat! For a minimum of thirty minutes focus all of your energy on working every muscle in your body, including your mind. Go until you can’t go any longer.  Then collapse for thirty minutes.

The following day, tell me you weren’t calmer the rest of the day and that you didn’t sleep better. Tell me you weren’t in a much better mental state. Tell me it didn’t feel good to just sweat without twenty seven people pulling at you from all sides. It will change you and your ability to cope with everything you’re going through.

I dare you to prove me wrong.

 

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