I’m not gonna lie. Divorce was not part of my grand life plan. I married because I was totally and utterly in love, and I truly believed “this is it!”.
Anyhoo, that turned out not to be the case, and nine years ago I became (gasp of horror) … a divorcee.
But, I’m here to tell you it’s not all been bad, in fact, far from it.
I wish our children were brought up in a happy two-parent home, but hey, that wasn’t an option for us, the same as for many separating couples.
On the upside, becoming a single mother totally changed me in many ways … all of them positive.
I’ll tell you why in this article.
You might read it and resonate.
Or you might be newly separated and worried about the journey ahead. If that’s you, I hope this article will give you hope that all is not lost … and many good things are in store for you.
I’M SO GLAD I DIVORCED WHEN I DID BECAUSE …
IT MADE ME SUPER INDEPENDENT
Being part of a couple is great when you delegate tasks. For example, I never took the bins out in my married life. Aren’t I lucky? Neither did I fix a broken tap or do pretty much any DIY chore. My husband did it all.
It was like I had only half the skill set for life.
Now, as a single mum, I can do it all. Well mostly.
It took a lot of learning, determination and many YouTube videos, but now I’m super independent in all areas of my life.
I actually feel a tad embarrassed about how incapable I was before. The thought of still being married actually scares me as I was so inept! Now, I am proud to be able to work through everything in my life on my own, or if not totally alone, I know how and where to reach for support.
(And no, I didn’t need a YouTube video to show me how to put the bins out!)
Further reading: Where to get support as a single mother.
I BECAME MORE RESILIENT
The single mother journey is tough, whether you are co-parenting or bringing up your kids alone. Things like: Adapting to life on one income; not having anyone to bounce decisions off; no-one to cuddle or share special moments with.
But it’s these challenges that make us stronger.
I didn’t realise it at the time (and you may not either) but every difficult task I faced and overcame, made me more resilient.
Whereas before, I would quiver at the smallest problem, now I am rarely phased. Honestly, bring it on … there is nothing I can’t handle.
Determination, perseverance, strength … whatever you want to call it. I have it by the bucket load and it makes life so much easier.
I CAN LOAD THE DISHWASHER MY WAY
Ok, so it’s not all about loading the dishwasher. Although that was a bone of contention in my marriage.
My point here is that I am free to do things my way.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying my way is always right, but it allows me to make my own mistakes and to learn from them.
Here’s an example for you …
My beautiful cousin is happily married and they recently redesigned their kitchen. I am now redesigning mine, meaning taps, work surfaces and cupboard handles are our current hot topic. I recently complained that it was hard to make decisions about colours etc on my own, without a second opinion. To which she replied that their new kitchen was mishmash of compromises, and neither of them really got what they wanted.
So yeah, feeling happy to be doing it alone. If I choose the wrong cupboard handles, there’s only myself to blame.
(And maybe I am a bit of a control freak as I don’t even let the kids load the dishwasher.)
Further reading: Is being a single parent twice the work?
THE UPSIDE OF DIVORCE (CONT.)
I ROLE MODEL THE VALUES THAT MATTER
Earlier I talked about independence and resilience. These are wonderful attributes that represent the post-marriage me. They are also characteristics I want to instil in my children. And there is no better way to do this, than to role model them.
Parenting alone, even when co-parenting, has allowed me to be a more defined role model to my daughters. Not just in how I act (mum fixed the kitchen tap!) but in how I think i.e. values, ethics, principles and so much more.
Our home is not a jumble of contradictions between mum and dads parenting styles and beliefs. I have clear path to channel my principles into my kids. And by doing this, it keeps me on track to live my life to the max whilst showing compassion and kindness at all times.
I CAN (AND HAVE) WRITTEN MY OWN STORY
Sharing your life with a partner can be truly wonderful, especially if you have the same aspirations for the future.
Yet all too often this is not the case. Or, you may have once shared similar dreams, but you have changed and now want different things. This is perfectly normal.
Once I was divorced, I was able to focus solely on my own goals. No longer did I have to compromise and help another person to reach theirs.
Sounds selfish? Maybe it is.
Ultimately, I own a home and my own business. Two thing I know for a fact would not have happened while I was married.
And the most rewarding part is that I did it on my own. Role model THAT!!
For more about defining your pathway and kicking your goals as a single mum see my “You’ve Got This” eCourse.
I KNOW WHO I AM AND LOVE HER
I didn’t like the person I was when I was married. And I didn’t like who I was when I first became a single mum. Scarily, I think it took separating to change this.
Having the freedom to tread my own path, albeit a difficult one, changed me intrinsically.
It has been onehellava journey in which I found and shook the dust off my authentic self and self-actualised for the first time ever. With this came clarity about who I am, what I want from life, the kind of mum I want to be, my capabilities and what really matters.
Today I’m a sober introvert. My life consists of my girls, my work, long distance family, a small network of friends, the herbs I grow on my balcony … oh and loading the dishwasher MY WAY.
I’m not going to get a silver wedding anniversary (we barely skimmed through the 10th) but that’s OK. Life threw me a curve ball. Now, all these years on, I know it was a good one.