No one wants to go through a divorce and become a newly divorced mom. It’s not supposed to work like that. We get married and plan for the happily ever after, but…sometimes life happens and divorce may become a reality for many mommies. Case in point – my daughter was telling me the other day that the parents of one of her closest friends at school had recently separated and are going to get a divorce. I was stunned to say the least. Because I know her friend’s parents, just last year my daughter went to her friend’s birthday party, and her friend’s mom was pregnant with twins and the birthday party was held in the family’s newly bought house. Both the mom and dad looked happy expecting their babies – You see why the news floored me, I certainly didn’t see that one coming. I had to explain to my daughter that sometimes it happens and that it’s OK. I gave her the example of her dad, who’s parents divorced when he was 11 years old. We have explained to our daughter that sometimes two people can’t be together, and they can be happier apart. And surprisingly, our daughter gets it.
But I digressed, getting back to her friend’s situation, I truly felt so sorry for the mom. You see she has her nine year daughter, a 3 year old son and a set of twins that are not even a year old, and she just became a newly divorced mom. Pretty hard if you ask me – so in her honor, here I give you four things you need to do if you are going through a divorce:
1. Get Support – You need to get the help of your family and friends. You need to tell them you are going to need them while you get your life in order. Most will feel bad for you, but all will pitch in to help you. Just be specific about what you need. If you need help with the children, with the house and even time for yourself, just tell them and they will gather around you and help you. The support will there, but it’s up to you to tell them you will need their help. You cannot do this alone, so forget about putting a show of a strong woman. I don’t doubt you are strong, but you are human first and your life has taken a 360 turn, so accept the help and appreciate it.
2. Kids Come First – Put all your problems and difference aside with your ex and together decide how to help the kids adapt to this new situation and upcoming life changes. Don’t say bad things of your ex in front of your kids – take the high road because that’s what good mommies do. But you need to be really strong and talk to your ex-spouse straightforward about what you are both going to do about the kids. You need to discuss all the details in a civil, cordial way. By details I mean, where are the kids going to mainly live while the divorce is finalized, how each is going to help financially and in terms of time.
3. Legalities – Yes, you can’t ignore this or expect that your ex-spouse will handle it. Find a good divorce lawyer, make an appointment and go visit him. If you can’t afford a lawyer and your ex will not pitch in then visit your local government website and do a search for legal aid for newly divorced moms. Do your research, they are lawyers out there that do pro-bono work and organizations that can cover the expenses.
4. Finances – You need to have this talk with your ex as soon as possible. It’s the worse conversation but you really cannot do it on your own, remember the kids were made by the other half aka your ex, and he has to help. Figure out exactly how much help financially you will need from him and break it down by item. For example, who’s going to pay for the kids’ schools, activities and living arrangements.
If your happily ever after didn’t work, go ahead and cry, scream and break yourself down, but when you are done, do these four things I’m telling you, and pick yourself up. You are a strong, capable and beautiful mommy, you will work for your own happily ever after. Being a newly divorced mom is hard but not impossible and by doing these four simple things, you can get your life in order.