I know, nobody explicitly desires to be a divorced parent. We're all familiar with the hardships, frustrations, and inconveniences that result from a divorce between adults who share children.
However, for those embarking on the process, I want you to recognize that there are also benefits to this type of family structure. If you're feeling guilty and glum about your situation, read on for some hope and inspiration.
Your House. Your Rules.
As the Supreme Parental Figure in your home, you can set whatever rules you'd like (within reason, of course) without having to compromise with your parenting partner about what's important to you. Bedtime at 8 p.m. Set it. Homework before playtime? Schedule it. No electronics at the dinner table? Ban them. No violent video games? You get the idea.
New Relationships With Your Children.
Following a separation, parents are forced to step out of the traditional roles they may have played when they lived under the same roof. As a result, you can expect relationships with your children to shift as your involvement with them changes. Perhaps, in this new chapter, you'll be more than just the disciplinarian. Or maybe now you'll be the one setting boundaries, and you can communicate the importance of the rules you set. Consider the opportunities for connection and deepening your relationship.
*Bonus: In combining these first two benefits, you also have to ability to create fun and meaningful new traditions for your family.
Now that you're divorced, there's less pressure to present the image of a picture-perfect family. You can breathe a sigh of relief that you no longer have to keep up a façade, and admit that you're a human being with hardships and flaws. Go ahead and embrace all the beautiful messiness of your life. Ask for, and accept, help when you need it. And offer compassion to others in similar situations. We're all doing the best we can.
Because you're a human being who has gone through a divorce, you'll receive plenty of opportunities to create an example of your experience. Use them! You'll find your journey provides many moments to teach your children about cooperation, communication, respect, teamwork, and resilience.
Assuming your children regularly spend time with their other parent, this affords you a much-needed break at scheduled intervals. This is a chance for you to relax, recharge, and invest in yourself. Learn new skills, go on adventures, or simply schedule some quality time with your friends. Use your alone time to your advantage.
I know it's hard to be a divorced parent, but it's not all bad. Be good to yourself, take things one day at a time, and focus on the benefits as you step ahead. You might find that you (and your children) can benefit from this new kind of normal.