No one gets married thinking that someday the marriage will end in divorce. No one plans their wedding thinking that the next step will be divorce court. But it happens. And no one in a marriage has children hoping that someday, those children will become children of divorce. But that happens, too. And when it does, that transition from a married parent to single parenting can be difficult. Single parents face the very real challenges of parenting on their own in addition to dealing with the pain of a failed marriage. Here are some strategies to help you cope with the transition into becoming a single parent after divorce.
Take Care of Yourself
It’s a cliche, but it’s still true: you can’t take care of other people until you take care of yourself. Single parenting can feel exhausting. Do your best to make time for self-care, whatever that means to you: a cup of tea all by yourself, getting a manicure with friends, or hitting the gym, for example. Finding some time for yourself when you don’t have a partner can be tough. If you have family nearby, ask them to babysit on occasion, even if it’s just for twenty minutes so you can take a walk by yourself. If you don’t have family, it might be worth it to hire a babysitter now and then. Many gyms provide childcare for members while they are working out. Carve out some space for yourself, even if it is as simple as reading a book alone after your kids are asleep.
Allow Yourself to Grieve the End of Your Marriage
Sometimes, single parents feel like they have to be strong for their children. While there’s truth to that, it is possible to be strong and sad at the same time. Divorce is a loss, and there’s nothing wrong with admitting that. Grieving your divorce gives you a chance to model appropriate coping skills for your children. It’s okay to admit that you are hurting over the loss of your marriage even if you accept that divorce was the best choice. You may choose to seek counseling for yourself, your kids, or both. That’s a great way to show them healthy mechanisms for handling hard times.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
When you were married, your kids had two parents in the same home. Now they have one. No one expects you to do everything by yourself that you used to do as a couple. So why should you expect that of yourself? Give yourself a little grace and maybe take this opportunity to change your family’s routine. If you come home from work too tired to cook, there’s nothing wrong with a bowl of cereal for dinner now and then. If the only way for you to catch up on laundry is to let the kids watch cartoons on Saturday mornings, then so be it. The transition to becoming a single parent will be that much easier if you don’t place too many expectations on yourself.
Making the transition from part of a married couple to a single parent is a challenge, but it’s not insurmountable. If you are going through a divorce and are looking for a good family lawyer, reach out to the law office of Paul H. Bowen. He has years of experience helping single parents navigate divorce. He can help guide you through the process.