Broke Single Parent Holiday

The buzz is on. Everyone is chatting about their awesome holiday vacations. The presents they’re buying for their spouses. The gift list they have made for their kiddos. The smashing New Year’s Eve reservations they’ve got in store. It sounds so thrilling and wonderful, but to you, it feels pretty god darn awful. This is the part in which your “Fa-la-la-la-la” is completely flat:

The part in which you realize you’re flat broke and there’s no awesome holiday getaway or hot spousal date or worse, an amazing list of gifts you’re dying to buy your kids.

Sure. Those things exist in your head but they’re not reality. Instead, you sit down and look at your budget. You look at how much money you have coming in and how much you can use to contribute towards the holidays, whether that be taking any days off or buying gifts for your children. You don’t feel so “Fa-la-la-la-la,” when you look at the bottom line that money is tight and that you’re going to be lucky if you can take vacation days because guess what? As a single parent, you probably used up quite a bit already.

It’s enough to make you Bah- humbug and honestly, feel inferior and sad that the holidays in your head aren’t living up to the ones you’ll have in reality. Does it suck? Sure, but is it the end of the world? No. No, damnit it’s not. Instead of feeling bad that you can’t make the holidays some huge smash, remember that your kids don’t need huge gifts and getaways to be happy. That being a broke single parent at the holidays is hard, but it’s not awful. Being a homeless single parent on the holidays IS awful. And even still—it doesn’t make you a bad parent. Being an unloving and unresponsive or absent parent makes you a bad parent. Not buying your kid every one of his or her whims and fancy does not qualify you as a bad parent. Having to work Christmas- New Year’s Eve vacation does not make you a bad parent.

Read More: Broke Single Parent Holiday

Jingle Bell Broke,

Laura

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Ending Your Bad Marriage for Good

There you are each day, unhappily married.

It’s to a point in which the people that love you including your kids, (if you’ve got them) don’t remember a time in which you were happy. And if they do, it was in a galaxy far, far away.

The unhappy you. The depressed you. The quietly miserable you is the one people get to deal with, day in and day out.

Every day people ask when or if you’re going to divorce finally and you say the same thing:

I’m working on it.”

And while you’re “working on it,” which is really just a BS excuse covering the fact that you’re doing nothing but panicking over how and when to make the decision, your life is passing you by.

Days, weeks, months and maybe even years go by…in which you spend such little time happy. At this point, you’re used to it.

As unhappy as you are, you are comfortable. The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t, you tell people.

You make excuses and say it’s easier this way. You say you don’t have the money. You say you’ll do it when this happens…or that kid gets older…or you finish paying that bill or this bill.

There is always something that is keeping you from ending your dead decaying marriage, but while you delay, the smell and rot from that decaying marriage is growing stronger and bigger.

The space between the two of you is getting so big, you could place another galaxy in-between you both, and there would still be plenty of room between the two of you.

The bickering or the intensity or the distance between the two of you are so bad, it impacts everyone from your families to your friends.

Honestly, from the outside in, it’s hell to watch. It’s like watching an impending car crash and knowing the end result, but not being able to stop it.

So how do you finally cut off the dead marriage and start over? How do you stop ignoring the elephant in the room and start calling it quits?

Here’s how to do it. For good.

Read More: Ending Your Bad Marriage for Good

It’s Time,

Laura

7 Ways to Build Gratitude For Your Life After Divorce

” … you can build your gratitude muscle by consciously choosing to be more grateful, and thereby you will be happier.” (Harvard study finds strong link between gratitude and happiness – http://www.phillyvoice.com/harvard-study-finds-strong-link-between-gratitude-and-happiness/)

It can be hard to have gratitude for your life after a divorce because so much of it can look so greatly different than your life did before, and some of it may not be happy changes. And if you have kids, they could be struggling with the same feelings. There’s always the feeling that you “lose” when you divorce because, in reality, you do usually lose money, objects, time with kids and properties, etc. You actually lose things.

However, we wouldn’t divorce if we felt we would simply just lose, lose, and lose. The flip side to all of this sad sack stuff is you win when you divorce. You really do. And if you find these “wins” then you will really be able to build true gratitude into your life after divorce.

When you are feeling like a grouchy sore loser, do these things to feel like a winner again!

1) Remind Yourself of Your “Wins”:

I don’t mean your literal wins like alimony or getting the family home…I mean the wins of divorce that you can’t see or touch. The wins of divorce that are daily manifestations of how you live after the divorce like:

– Winning peace in your home—no more fighting!

– Winning the chance at love again…the right love, and not the wrong one!

– Winning focused and concentrated time with your kids in which you can parent and breathe easier when you’re with them.

– Winning the chance of starting your life over again. Just think about all the miserably married people in the world who wouldn’t love that shot!

Read More: 7 Ways to Build Gratitude For Your Life After Divorce

Winning,

Laura

Why Don’t I Have What Everyone Else Has?

When you get a divorce, the comparisons will increase. Many of us compare ourselves to our friends, but when your life sort of falls apart and you have to make a new one, it’s very easy to start wondering why your marriage ended. Why you are struggling or heartbroken. Why you can’t make your ends meet. It’s very easy to get engaged in a metaphorical war of “Why don’t I have whatever everyone else has?”

But engaging in a pity party/comparison war isn’t going to make you happier. It’s just a bunch of negative energy that you don’t need. With every comparison you make, you’re literally throwing your own damn self into the gutter. Quit it!

The next time you go to compare what you have to someone else, engage in this exercise. I guarantee you it will help your view point on life and your attitude, post-divorce.

 

1- You Don’t Have Cancer

Now you may indeed, have health problems, but if you don’t, remind yourself that that’s right! You don’t have what everyone else has! You don’t have cancer. You aren’t sick. You are healthy and capable of caring for yourself and your kids, if you’re a parent.

You feel healthy and well. You are able to make a living. Many people do not have that honor. Watching my friend’s mother go through chemotherapy and radiation reminded me that even if I couldn’t pay for my groceries, heck—I am healthy!

Read More: Why Don’t I Have What Everyone Else Has?

You Have More Than You Think,

Laura

8 Mental Mantras To Adopt After Divorce to Find Peace

One of the worst parts about divorce and separation is the initial marching band that’s going off in your brain, and no—this isn’t a nice “in-tune” band. There’s like a cacophony of clashing notes…a melody in constant “minor” and the feeling as if your brain never shuts the heck up. How do you, after the divorce papers are signed and you’re walking out into the world as a newly single Mr. or as Ms., find some peace as you make a whole new life?

You adopt mental mantras that you say daily, or as needed, in order to fool both you and your brain into believing you’ll be ok because guess what? You will be! You just need to make yourself believe so.

 

1) For the DiscouragedThis Too Shall Pass:

It was my saying of the summer! I am still saying it.

You will encounter some new hardships as a divorced person and if you have kids, they’ll also be going through major changes.

As hard as things are today, remind yourself that they won’t be around tomorrow.

Indeed in time, everything changes.

This too SHALL pass. Repeat.

 

2) For the Brand New Single Parent: I Am Only One Person:

I tell my daughter this often.

I am only one person, with one set of hands. Be patient.

Be patient with yourself. Be patient as you adjust to doing things on your own. Be patient as you learn a new rhythm.

Read More: 8 Mental Mantras To Adopt After Divorce to Find Peace

 

All in a Mind Set,

Laura

One Reason NOT to Get Divorced

When I was hemming and hawing over whether to divorce or not and my husband at the time was as well, I asked my friends who were divorced for advice.

Should I get a divorce?

How will I know if it’s right to divorce?

I wanted someone else to make the decision for me. I wanted someone else to call the shots for me. I wanted some sign from the heavens like written in the sky saying, “Hey Laura, It’s Me. G-d. Do you need to get a divorce, ok? Glad we had this talk.”

Of course, life doesn’t work that way and neither does divorce. Knowing when it’s time to call it quits is different for everyone. For some people, it’s an event that drives them to sign the papers. For another person, it’s a gut feeling. But one of the things that struck me so very deeply was when I asked my divorced friend if I should divorce, she gave me one reason not to get a divorce.

She told me, “Don’t get a divorce to meet someone else. You may not meet someone else. You may never. Leave because you absolutely can’t take another minute with this person you’re married to. Leave because being alone is better than being married.”

It was a sobering piece of advice.

Not meet anyone? How dismal.

But how sound! How practical!

You can’t divorce someone simply because you think there’s a better model out there for you.

Read More: One Reason NOT to Get Divorced

 

The Right Reason,

Laura

Enjoying The Treats of Divorce

It’s easy to focus on the “tricks” or downsides of divorce only because that is usually what people focus on and talk about, whether inside or outside of the divorce. The money spent on lawyers…or the time spent getting divorce…or both. The paperwork. The loss of assets. The fighting. The splitting of custody. The kids’ heartaches. Your heartaches. Your spouse’s heartaches. The drama.

People tend to focus on all the sh*tshow aspects of divorce that make it like a soap opera because it can be that devastating and for the “outsiders” who aren’t getting the actual divorce, it’s fodder for gossip.

That said, so rarely do people dish and share all the “treats” of divorce. And for those people who do enjoy such treats, there may be a guilt factor like, “Why am I not mourning this?” or “Why am I so happy now?”

Well, you wouldn’t be getting a divorce if your marriage was sunshine and kittens, now would you?

Read More: Enjoying the Treats of Divorce

Trick or Treat,

Laura

9 New Traditions to Make in Your Life After Divorce

If you’re recently divorced or just divorced, it’s sort of a baptism or conversion by fire. Suddenly you’re single. Suddenly perhaps, you’re raising children alone. Suddenly, your money is gone…you’re back in the workforce…

Whatever the case may be, divorce brings up sudden, and in many ways, irreversible changes to your life. And while some of these changes may be joyous, others may not be. You’re essentially sitting there with the pieces of your life saying, “Hmm, what is the best way to put this together in such a way that my life is better than it was before?”

Because we divorce to have a better life, don’t we? To have a better marriage. To have a better love. To have peace within our hearts and our homes and our children’s homes. To start afresh. To accept that sometimes, relationships end.

And to start your life off right whether you’re newly divorced or perhaps divorced for years and realizing that hey, I haven’t been doing this whole “post-divorce life” right….

You need new traditions! You need milestones and “evaluations” that symbolizes who you are and maybe even who your family is now, after divorce. These traditions will make your life feel and be special and positive.

These traditions will show that your home is not broken, just reconfigured.

1) Annual Divorceaversary

I don’t see this to be crude about divorce or trite but, each year as your divorce anniversary comes around, why not take it as a moment to evaluate:

  • How far you have come and maybe even how far your kids have come
  • Where you need to go to next
  • What things are you still struggling with? What are things your kids struggling with still?
  • Have you made peace with the divorce?
  • Are you having meaningful relationships, romantically and with friends and family?

Use this time to reflect on all you have done…and all you need to do still.

Read More: 9 New Traditions to Make in Your Life After Divorce 

All Fresh,

Laura

Why Saying Goodbye Can Mean Saying Hello To A Better Start

Saying goodbye is probably the most painful thing, ever. It’s the worst word to ever utter. It’s right up there neck and neck with, “I don’t love you” or even worse:

Telling someone you love him or her…and that person not saying I love you back.

Goodbye is final. It’s depressing. It’s heartwrenching. It cuts you right in the gut.

Endings are the worst. Truly. There is no torture worse than a breakup or divorce, right?

Right…very right. And wrong.

When love is real and right, it doesn’t end. It doesn’t end for a few weeks or months. It doesn’t die. It might ebb and flow. You might have times in which your “love tank” for your partner is low.

But it doesn’t end. It doesn’t say goodbye. Real love persists, even when sometimes, g-d damnit, we wish we didn’t love someone …

Real love with someone is forever because it always exists.

So if you’re saying goodbye or someone is leaving you in the dust it is very painful, but sometimes?

It’s very right.

Saying goodbye means that there is a “Hello” about to come right around the corner.

Saying goodbye to someone who isn’t right for you, isn’t right to you, or you two aren’t right together…means a fresh start.

Saying goodbye means you are back on that train platform, waiting to see what destination awaits you.

Where your heart will take you next.

Read More: Why Saying Goodbye Can Mean Saying Hello To A Better Start 

Start Fresh,

Laura

5 Things You Should Not Be Ashamed to Do During and After Divorce

Imagine a huge knotted ball of yarn in front of you. Imagine you’re trying to untangle each knot. Have you ever done that? Untangled a gold chain? A knot in your hair? Your shoelace? Your ball of yarn?

Can you recall the feeling of frustration and annoyance, as every time you thought you had the knot free and clear, you really didn’t? Can you remember the patience and persistence it took to get that knot free?

That my friends is divorce. Untangling your life from another’s. Learning to build another life as you pick away at “knots” often frustrated, but always, always requiring persistence.

With that said there will be things you may have to do during and after the divorce process that will feel frustrating and require you to be persistent and patient. Despite those feelings of discomfort and aggravation, please don’t be ashamed to do these things in order to cope with both the divorce itself and making a life for you once the divorce is done.

 

1- Get Financial Help

You may not have financial stability during this process. You may have once been comfortable. You may have come from a comfortable or middle-class family.

You may now be completely, financially unstable.

You may feel desperate at times and may wonder, “Which bill should I pay and which should I risk letting go?”

Here are things you should do—and don’t feel ashamed:

Read More: 5 Things You Should Not Be Ashamed to Do During and After Divorce

 

Stay Positive,

Laura