For My Girls: What I Learned by Getting Divorced

Divorce filings spike in January, and continue to increase through March. If your new year started off with a decision to end your marriage, please remember that you are still an excellent mom.

coping with divorceFor my girls:

Once upon a time, I wasn’t married to your father. I know that may seem hard to believe, but it’s true. Once upon a time I was not married to anyone at all, and then, for a little while, I was married to men who are not your daddy. I’ve tried to tell you all your life that sometimes even grownups make mistakes, and that mistakes are really just opportunities to learn. I’d like to share some of the things I’ve learned from getting divorced; hopefully that will help you avoid a divorce of your own, but, girls, this is the most important lesson I learned: even if you get divorced, it will be okay. Plus, your daddy and I will love you both no matter what happens.

Here’s the first thing I want you to know: people aren’t always what they seem. Sometimes it takes a really long time to figure out who is really there behind the early efforts to show off only your very best traits. If your boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancĂ©, spouse, whatever starts showing you sides that you don’t like, it’s okay to bring it up. You probably won’t ever find someone who has nothing but good traits (even daddy has stinky morning breath, and he’s late all the time), but the bad traits shouldn’t be things that scare you, or things that make you feel insecure. Trust your instincts, and if you need support, just ask.

Here’s another lesson I learned: it’s okay to walk away. Even if you’ve already spent money on a big wedding, even if it would make people mad at you, even if you’re dressed all fancy, and even if you’ve already said, “I do.” Can I tell you a secret? If I had been more confident, and less scared of being alone, I would have broken up with my first husband about two weeks before our wedding. My second husband would have gotten a big fat “no” when he chose to propose to me in a way that suited him fine, but gave me an awful panic attack. That said, sometimes you don’t realize until afterwards that things were already broken. That’s okay, too – don’t beat yourself up about it. Remember that you are loved, by me, by daddy, by each other, by God (if that helps). Aunt Kathy, too – you know she would go to the mat for you. She’s a bruiser.

This one is really important, I think: it’s unrealistic to think that you and your partner won’t fight, and sometimes they will make mistakes that hurt you, but they should act in ways that make you feel good most of the time, and they should be willing to work hard to support you and make you feel good. Katherine, I don’t know if you remember how sad I was when I was pregnant, or just after Izzy was born. I actually had postpartum depression with both pregnancies. I’ll never forget how hard daddy worked to take care of me during those times. He adjusted his work schedule so that I could go to therapy appointments, he assuaged my fears about taking the medications I needed to make me well, and when things were really bad and I was scared to be alone, he would come home to me, and if it made him angry, he never showed it.

Finally, this one has been the hardest lesson for me to learn, and I’ve had to learn and relearn it again and again. My darlings, my sweet ladies, you must trust me in this: you deserve to be loved. No matter how imperfect you feel or look; when you are at your best, but also when you are at your worst. You are worthy, you are good, and you deserve to be loved.

Love you always,

Momma

This post was originally written for the Writing Through Your Divorce workshop, which is hosted by Magda Pescayne.

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