When I was younger I imagined that one day I would meet my prince. He would sweep me off my feet and we would get married in an elaborate way. We would have little princes & princesses and live happily ever after in a beautiful, large home.
That didn’t happen.
Truth is, I met a guy and finally convinced him to marry me. He left me at the alter and eventually married me at the court house. I never even got a photo on my wedding day. Three kids followed as we struggled to make ends meet as we both worked really hard.
Ten years into the marriage, we divorced. Divorce, in case you don’t know, is like a living death. It was the hardest thing in the world and being a single mother has proven even harder. Hardest part of being a single parent? The loneliness – it consumes me at times, and at holidays it is even worse. Most depressing day of the year? Christmas Eve. Nothing like wrapping gifts all by yourself.
If you are going through a divorce, or have just went through a divorce, I wish I could tell you that it isn’t that bad or that you’ll be fine. That would be a lie and I like to think of myself as an honest person. Truth is, you’re going to cry, feel lonely, get mad and probably even want to scream at times. Divorce sucks!
A lot of people deal with situational depression when they divorce. The difference between that and clinical depression is that situational depression is typically caused by a loss, like death or divorce. It is part of the normal grieving process because of all the losses the end of the marriage brings. If not dealt with appropriately, situational depression can linger for much longer than it needs to.
Suffer from clinical depression? It’s going to be okay still. Divorce is naturally a hard time in life and it’s okay to be sad about it.
Here are 5 ways to make being a divorced, single parent better:
- Maintain a daily routine – I have learned that if I try to keep to a routine that it seems easier to make it through my day. Get up at the same time, dinner at the same time, baths at the same time, etc. It just makes it easier to get everything done that needs to be and kids respond better to it.
- Crock pot – Oh my goodness, what would I do without my crock pot? Seriously, give it a try. Take some time and write down some recipes. Crock Pot Recipes Kids Will Actually Eat!
- Map out finances – Take the time to sit down and write out your bills. Section the bills to match your paychecks. Get paid twice a month? Then pay bills twice a month, etc. Then look at what’s left. Take out your budgeted grocery money, gas money and spending money. The rest goes into your emergency fund.
- Put the kids to work – Teach your kids age appropriate chores they can do. Put down on a calendar who is responsible for what chore that day. Delegate those chores! Age-Appropriate Chores
- Pray – Even when you don’t feel like it, pray. Pray when you first get up in the morning and try to do it a few times a day. Sometimes just stopping and having a conversation with God can make all the difference. Praying doesn’t have to be done with fancy words and motions. Just close your eyes and talk to God. Let him know what you are dealing with and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You might be surprised!
You will get through this, I promise. Four years after divorce and I am still a single mother, but I have definitely gotten better at it. Become friends with other single parents so that they can share with you some tips that help them. Being a single parent isn’t ideal but it is possible!
Remember that the number one thing you can do is to not neglect your mental health. Mental health is just as important as physical health!