Newly Divorced and Single Mom You Are Going To Make It

I know right now it seems like the world is closing in. There are so many things to figure out. Maybe you’re not quite sure how you even feel yet. And that is ok. You’re going to get there. I know you will. You know how I know? I use to be you.

Suddenly I found my self divorced with two little babies, just 2 and 5. What was I going to do? How would I provide for us? How was i gling to afford a home for my family? How would I be able to give my children a life they deserved? How could I possibly do all of this on my own? And on top of that I had feelings of anger, hatred, bitterness and any other negative emotion you can imagine. I can’t do this, I thought to myself.

Here’s the thing that we don’t realize at the time because we are so full of emotion, a mother will always find a way to provide for her children. Because the one thing that trumps everything you are feeling and thinking is your children. Our instincts kick in. We do what we have to do to survive and provide.

Some situations are better than others. In mine, my children’s father was very involved in their lives. We had shared custody and he never missed any time with his children. We might have hated each other and wanted to kill each other at the time, but oh how we loved our children. If nothing else, that will be the one thing to keep you going throughout these next few difficult months. But you will get through it. I know without a doubt you will because you are a survivor. You can do this.

Emotions can really cloud our thoughts and judgement when we go through things. We almost always look back and say I should have done this or I shouldn’t have done that. So I want to help you. Shed some light and give you a head start on the rest of your life. In all the fighting, yelling, and crying remember this #1 thing, the children come first in every way no matter how you feel. Here are a few important things to remember.

No bashing each other in Front of the children or allow any family or friends to do so either. This one is especially important. The two people they love the most they see tearing each other apart with their words and actions. That is something that could really scar a child for life. They feel guilty for being with one parent when the other is upset and vice versa. The bashing is not fair to the children. They should be able to make their own opinion about their father or mother based on how they are treated. Not what they are told or how you feel about that person.

This next one I see so often it may be the number one thing that many women do that is absolutely wrong. Do not keep children from their other parent because you are upset or they don’t do what you want. 

No matter what happens, or how much you hate each other and fight. DO NOT use the children as a tool to get what you want. You get angry at the father and decide to keep the children from him to punish him. Please, please don’t go that! Because guess who suffers the most – the children. That is their parent whom they love and adore and can’t wait to see. By that parent being kept away the child is getting more and more hurt.

Keep the arguments away from the children’s ears. Argue when they are not around or walk out of the room. This makes them feel like they have to choose sides and that is not right.

This next one happens all too often. Don’t question the children when they come home about what is happening at the other parent’s house. This will open doors for things to go badly in so many ways and none are good for the children. Any number of things could come from questioning the children. Maybe Dad took them somewhere too extravagant and you don’t like it – argument. Maybe Dad introduced them to a friend – argument. Maybe Dad let them stay up all night, watch movies and eat candy and cake until their bellies hurt – argument.

We have this saying in our homes, “what goes on at Mama’s house, stays at Mama’s house” and “what goes on at Daddy’s house stays at Daddy’s house.” Of course there are exceptions that the children are very aware of like if they are being hurt, then it is Right for them to and important for them to tell.

Taking care of the important parts making sure the children are taken care of physically, mentally and emotionally is half the battle. That is half the stress gone. The other part is taking care of you. If you don’t take care of you, you won’t be able to take care of the children and they need you.

Making sure you are taking care of you can be a little more difficult. At least it was for me. Really what it comes down to and I know you don’t want to hear this, is time. Time to heal. If your time healing means medications from doctors or therapy or support groups, then do that. Do whatever will help you get past this. Because what most people don’t understand or realize is after divorce you are grieving just like a death. Death of your family as a whole unit. Death of your hopes and dreams for the future of this family. Take the time you need. Use what resources you have. If there’s one thing I can take away from my mistakes (and I made plenty of them) is this: don’t try to numb the pain, self medicate, or bury feelings because I promise you one day they will come crashing down and it will be ten times harder than if you had handled it from the beginning.

When you get all these things taken care of you have won the war. Everything else is minor. All those questions you had at the beginning, now you are thinking about them with a clear head. Now you will see, you got this! It will be hard almost seem impossible at times but remember what I told you earlier. You are a survivor. You will do what it takes. You might have to work extra hard, or lean in family members. But that’s ok. You are doing it and you are doing it all for your children. So it’s worth it!

After you do everything that is necessary and make the sacrifices for your children. That happiness you feel. That peace you feel. You deserve it! You are worth it!

family life

Is your child ODD?

Oppositional defiance disorder or ODD is a behavioral disorder in children and teens. ODD is characterized by persistent patterns of disruptive, argumentative, unruly and hostile behavior towards parents and authority figures. Typically, this behavior starts around 8 years of age. About 20% of school age children are effected by ODD. It is more common in boys. One third of children with ODD also have Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Symptoms of ODD include:

  • Frequent temper tantrums
  • Excessive arguing with adults, especially those with authority
  • Refusing to follow rules with no fear of consequences
  • Deliberately trying to annoy or upset others
  • Blaming others for their mistakes
  • Frequently having an angry attitude
  • Easily annoyed by others
  • Swearing or using obscene language
  • Frequent outbursts of anger and resentment
  • Seeking revenge or being vindictive

The symptoms are usually seen in many settings but are more noticeable at home and school. It may be hard for parents to realize their child has ODD. Parents often think the child is “acting out” or “being difficult.” In children with ODD the behavior parents refer to as “being difficult” occurs more often and is extreme. This disorder is usually diagnosed by a psychiatrist or mental health professional. It is important to have a comprehensive evaluation to look for other disorders. Children with ODD often have other disorders such as, ADHD, learning disabilities, mood disorders, depression and anxiety disorders. ODD may not improve until other coexisting disorders are treated.

Medications may be helpful in controlling some of the more distressing symptoms. Parent management and training programs can also help parents and others manage the child’s behavior. Psychotherapy to develop anger management is very effective.

Parents and caregivers often struggle with how to handle this type of behavior. Parents need support and understanding. There are many methods parents can use to help their child such as:

  • Always build on the positive
  • Give praise and positive reinforcement
  • Take a timeout when conflict is about to arise
  • Pick your battles
  • Set up reasonable limits with consequences and enforce frequently
  • Try to get suport from other adults (teachers, coaches, spouse) to help deal with your child

The cause of ODD is unknown. However, other factors may contribute to the condition:

  • Family members with mental illnesses such as, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders
  • Dysfunctional family life
  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Inconsistent parental attention and discipline

Children with ODD often do well with early treatment. Many children are free of behavioral problems after 3 years of treatment. Some children may outgrow ODD by early adulthood. But that is not always the case. For this reason treatment is crucial to avoid long-term consequences.