Cutest Blog Layout

Monday, November 23, 2015


This week we will have another quiet Thanksgiving Day.  Divorce alters traditional family celebrations forever and spending big days without some of those you love the oat is one of the most enduring markers of a divided family.  Holidays will never be the same.  My children requested a Thanksgiving celebration at home this year, and so we will enjoy a feast on Saturday along with traditional holiday decorating.  Mr. Wonderful and I have reservations for lunch on Thursday.  Thanksgiving is such a family-focused holiday that I struggle against the sadness.  I'm glad I'll have Saturday and Christmas to uplift my spirit.

Yesterday at church, I was sharing our Thanksgiving plans with a fellow solo-mom.  I mistakenly assumed that she might understand the challenge of celebrating without the presence of your child.  "I haven't ever had a holiday without *Kaley, I just can't imagine." she said.  I just nodded, but I felt even more isolated and less understood.

I'm very conscious of many blessings I have been given.  It's so easy to notice what I don't have and long for more: time with my children, clothes in the closet, updated furniture, modern conveniences, etc.  These thoughts are very me-focused, and I am practicing looking outward.  The news displays clear evidence that I have so very much and am rich in material goods.  My family and children reflect how deeply I am blessed in relationships.  Mr. Wonderful is such a tangible presence of understanding, partnership and love.  The comfort of knowing he "gets it" is so monumental.  The very fact that we have walked similar hardships bonds us more closely together.  Those I love most are healthy and cared for.  It's hard to ask for more.

And so it is with most things.  If we look, we can find the blessing even in what is negative.  We miss our one who went away to university this year.  Yet we are so grateful for her intelligence and what she is learning, experiencing and the way she is growing.  Middle school has been so challenging and yet my son has matured and is stretching himself.  When I practice gratefulness, my perspective shifts and I feel so rich.  Let's be intentional about noticing the blessings.  It's a practice of perspective that has the power to change your life.

*name changed for privacy.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

How to Stay Calm When Your Ex Pushes Your Buttons

There is a reason that you and the father of your children are "Exes" and not still a couple.  Because you were once close enough to make a baby together, he is close enough to know the things that get under your skin.  The patterns have probably long been in place for you to react to certain topics or to become emotional under certain circumstances.  But you have the power to stay calm when your ex pushes those buttons.  You do not have to go down the path of reacting.

During the process of our separation and divorce, it was my mantra to Keep it Classy.  You get to keep your dignity and maintain composure, even when it's emotionally stressful.  Employ calming practices and prep in advance for any necessary comebacks.  Keep these principles in mind:

- Don't talk "business" at family gatherings, school events or sporting events.  Save it for a quick call, email or whatever form of communication works best for your parenting dynamic.

- A little distance is healthy.  He doesn't need to know all your plans and thoughts, so remember it is okay to not include him in the decisions that do not affect his time with the children.

- Keep the past behind you and beware of becoming immediately defensive.  Ask yourself if this situation is worth the emotional expense that conflict will bring.

- Before you respond, smile.  This will force you to pause for a beat and communicate good will.  It may even signal a cheeky understanding that he is trying to manipulate the interaction, but you are still in control.

- Be Consistent.

- Keep trying.

- Determine to be a grown up and never make your child or teen choose between you and your ex.

- Commit to emotional integrity and determine to live by your values, even in a challenging relationship.

You are only responsible for yourself.  If a conversation begins to deteriorate, simply walk away.  Detach.  Disengage.  Depart.  You've got this!  Then call a supportive friend and hash out the crazy.

I hope this Thanksgiving season finds you counting blessings.  Look for them - they are out there!  I'm grateful for any who come here to read.  I'd love to hear from you through this season.