As I got up this morning I realized I was likely to drop one ball or another. I had kids to feed, get to school and had to be “tv” ready for an appearance, in collaboration with Worthy, by 8:30am. As a middle-aged divorced mother, I was often lucky to make sure everyone else was where they are supposed to be on time. How was I supposed to package myself, and them, successfully so early in the day? I called a smart friend who shared with me a brilliant idea about using an app (Priv) to get my hair and makeup done. So, while I supervised breakfast, I sat like the Queen on a kitchen stool while two lovely young women did my hair and makeup. Although not everyone’s dream, it sure felt like mine! By the time the kids were dropped, I was dressed to the nines, even though I wore more practical boots instead of stilettos, and arrived at the television station only a couple of minutes late.
My appearance was to promote an event, in conjunction with Worthy, to support those navigating separation and divorce during the holidays. I wrote a piece about the event for Worthy earlier and it can be found right here.
My focus today is more personal. As a divorced mother I had to get used to shifting my perspective from the old to the new. Did I ever imagine I would go on tv to talk about that? No way! How did I do it? It took time, to be sure, but eventually I noticed my life was no longer about my former marriage but was, instead, about my kids and my new life. For me, it took a conscious shift of energy not to think about how things “used to be” (good and bad) but, instead, to think about what is possible. As I made the journey, I decided to support others in their journey of divorce and found my calling as a lawyer turned divorce coach. I’m so passionate about what I do now that I can’t imagine not having each life experience that led me right here. I certainly would not have said that just a few years ago!
So, what worked, for me, that you might find useful in your transition from married to divorced? The tools that work for me may not be right for you but I do find common threads as I coach my clients. They include:
Start each day by reminding yourself of what needs to happen now instead of reflecting upon what has been;
Remind yourself to manage your time with the kids in the way that works for you and them and to let go of that control (which you don’t have) when you don’t have them;
Take opportunities that arise, each day, to build your new life. A new friend, a new opportunity or another unexpected event may be the path to the life you want to build. Try new things and don’t get stuck in what used to be.
If you begin to feel sadness setting in, move your body! It’s good for us when we get moving and often allows a lot of “stuck” energy to shift elsewhere, away from us.
Understand yourself: If you need to be busy when you don’t have the kids, make plans; if you prefer time alone and some peace, plan for that;
Plan for the support you need–Often, a divorce coach can remind you, gently, of the values you have set out together and bring you back to acting in line with your priorities.
When I appeared on the tv segment, I was asked to share my perspective by the host, a young woman new to step-parenting, how to manage the holidays with her new bonus children. My advice to her and the audience was the same coaching perspective I share with clients: take new opportunities as gifts to find out what’s next. Spend time with your children in a way you’ve always wanted to but couldn’t in your marriage, start a new hobby as you look for that next professional opportunity, allow space for the new in your life! We concluded the segment with the host sharing her plan to create a new tradition with her stepchildren from her own nuclear family. She allowed the shift to be a positive one and used the past as a stepping stone for the future and not as an anchor to it!
As I left the tv studio, I felt proud of the message I gave other women in divorce about how they might overcome what feel like insurmountable obstacles. I was especially invigorated by the way I allowed myself to figure out how to make what I do possible: a tv appearance for my coaching work while also parenting my children. Use the resources you have, including friends, colleagues, and family to build your new future. You are limited only by your imagination as you build a new life for you and your children. It is, truly, up to you!
For support or more information, you can reach Cherie at [email protected] or 301-928-4695. She’d love to hear from you today.
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