Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Family events become work.

Hello All

Dealing with events that involve all members of the family, including new spouses can be tricky, complicated and just more work.  This is especially amplified when not everyone gets along.

Lets face it, family events are stressful enough as it is, throw in the extra dimension of people who may not get along and things go from bad to worse. When it is things like moving a Son or Daughter to or from school everyone wants to be involved, leaving someone out will caused bruised feelings. Everyone in tight quarters while packing and unpacking creates a situation just waiting for someone to say something inappropriate of for something to get taken the wrong way and then things go down hill quickly.

The solution(and it ain't a magic bullet), is for the adults to be just that ....Adults.  Remembering that we are there for the kids, that arguments among the adults just makes the kids uncomfortable and no good can come from it.  No kid, no matter their ages wants anything to do with their parents or step parents fighting. when fragmented families get together kids can sense the tension immediately, they know the parents don't want to be in the same room, if they did, they would still be together.

Like I said, the only way to get through this is to be an adult, be a good example to your kids. Take the pressure off them by behaving and being polite.  Be a good example to them of putting someone else needs ahead of your own feelings.

When everything is done you can go home and vent frustration in a productive way.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

everyone profits except the poor people who are involved

It can never be understated the financial devastation(and that is not too strong a word) that divorce causes.  There are so many people/business that profit from a family splitting up, it seems everyone profits except the poor people who are involved in the situation and suffering the worst.

When  I have had this discussion before the first thing people jump on is the lawyers.  I have no issues with the job they do, they are there to insure that everything is done civilly and that no one gets taken advantage of.  So, this is article is not to beat up on lawyers.  I don’t hate them, and I don’t love them, they do their jobs as required.  The less I see of them the better and it is for me and my pocket book.  If your spend thousands of dollars on a divorce lawyer that is not their fault, that is yours.

As the family is dissolved the expenses go up and suddenly you need two of everything.  A family together has 1 home phone, 1 cable bill, 1 electric bill, 1 heating bill, has 1 bank account, 1 home insurance policy, pays 1 property tax bill. The one or two incomes coming into the one house pays for all this.

When a family splits up usually the one home is sold and two homes are bought.  Now the income pool is still exactly the same, but it is now paying for 2 home phone, 2 cable bill, 2 electric bill, 2 heating bill, pays fees for 2 bank account, 2 home insurance policy, pays 2 property tax bills, 2 mortgages, furniture for 2 houses…….. see where I am going for this?

So many companies that would normally sell their goods/services to one family now get to sell to two.  Parents feed into this as well because I know when I started out on my own that if they kids had something at Mom’s I had to have it at my place.

So the expenses have doubled, the income has not. And this is something that unless the Lotto God’s smile on you that you will never recover from.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How I have Changed in 6 years

Hello All

It is amazing how looking back how much I have changed over the past 6 years, when I was in the middle of it I didn't realise what was going on, or that it was even happening. I wish I could take credit for it being part of my grand plan but a lot of it was just dumb luck.

Here are 4 different situation that happen and how my reaction has changed.

Situation 1: Kids were not coming over for the weekend.

Before, OMG, what did I do wrong, don't they love me any more, They have to come over it is my weekend. What did my X tell them.

Now, Glad they are having fun and busy doing something that interest them, I know they still love me, it has nothing to do with the X.

Situation 2: Kids having Fun with the X

Before, I have to think of a way to be more fun then her, why don't they have fun with me, they have forgotten about me and don't love me any more.

Now, Glad they are having a good time with their Mom.

Situation 3: Did hear from the Kids for a few days

Before, they don't want to talk to me anymore, they don't love me, what did my X say to them to cause this, what have I done wrong?

Now, Glad they have their won lives and interests to keep them busy and they have friends to hang out with.

Situation 4: Home alone

Before, I am so lonely, what have I done to deserve this?

Now, Time to clean the house, walk the dogs and then relax and have a Beer.

My have things changed.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

How do you explain to your kids that it would have been worse if we stayed together


I can talk fairly easily to my X now, as long as we avoid talking about the our personal past together and avoid discuss that involves laying blame for who did what.  It is done, and no amount of arguing will change anything or make any difference other then raising both our blood pressures.

Being single parents does make aspects of life more difficult, financially it is harder and there is more demands on your time when you are with the kids when they are younger.

But, both my X and I agree that if we stayed together things would have been way worse. We are both happy now, enjoy life with and without the kids, we both struggled for quite a while adjusting to not having the kids around.  Now we are both okay.  We are both confident that if we stayed together the atmosphere in the house would be intolerable. I am confident that the fights would be none stop and both of us would have been tense all the time.

But how do you explain to the kids.  Kids will believe that everything would have been great if my parents stayed together. Part of that is true, I believe a 2 parent family is better IF and only IF the parents get along.  If they can't it is worse, I believe way worse.

I have tried very hard through this entire adventure to divorce to never bad mouth the kids Mother. I think that has given the kids the impression that everything was good between me and my X.

How do I explain to them that it would have been terrible if the two of us were under the same roof.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Just because you love a new partner does not mean your kids will


I have a new love in my life, I love her but it doesn't mean that my kids will, in fact there is a really good chance they won't.   But that is okay.

The worst thing you can do is to become frustrated or angry at your kids for not feeling the same way towards your new partner as you do. you can't force love and if you try what will likely happen is your will make it even worse.  Let face it, it works both ways, my kids have friends they like and I really don't.

If your lucky everyone will get along and cohabitation will go semi smoothly.  This will vary with the age of the kids, toddlers will be easier them hormonal teens.

the key is not to force it, there will be time you do stuff with your kids and your new partner will not be involved, and that is fine.  You will do things with your new partner and not the kids and that is equally fine.

Your new partner can't take it personally if the kids don't want to be around them all the time.  Even as parents there are plenty of time that our kids don't want to be around us.

You can't force a happy home life.  family dynamics change and sometimes they ae good and other times it is awful.  the key is to let things develop on their own.  Only stepping in if someone is being rude or disrespectful.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Parenting is a journey not a destination


One mistake I made early on when I just got divorced was to over react when my kids were doing the slights thing that didn't seem "right"  I was over analysing they every mood, their very habit or action. Not realising that a single day in a bad mood was going to have absolutely zero effect on how they were going to grow up to be adults.  If they were going through a phase where they were slobs or dressed weird it was just that...... a phase and didn't need to be immediately corrected. if left alone the phase would pass in time and just be a funny story after time had past.  Immediately trying to correct the behaviour would make the kids rebel and entrench it even further.

We expect our kids to be perfect all the time otherwise we start thinking it is a reaction to the divorce instead of realising it is just a phase they are going through.  Kids need the ability and time to "find themselves" a chance to discover who they are and develop personality.  Correcting them at every turns ensure they will never develop skills to be on there own and make life choices on there own.

Kids now a days(and I am so guilty of it) are overly Micro Managed.  If our bosses Micro Managed us like we do out kids I am confident we would all quit our jobs. If just puts incredible pressure on these kids to not screw up. they are so worried about making a mistake that they may not try.  They need to make mistakes to learn.

I have learned to back off with them, I realise that even if they are mad at me, or don't want to see me it is just a phase.  I give them time and space and they eventually do the right thing(usually after doing it wrong the first time).  They are learning, I tell them all the time that they need to make decisions on their own, I am here to provide advice if they want it, but only if they want it.

It is hard, but i am getting there....and so are they.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Many many parents(including myself) over compensate

Hello All,

Many many parents(including myself) over compensate when it comes to their kids to make up for the pain and turmoil caused by divorce. We feel guilty for what has happened. We try and do too much for them because we are so worried that if we are strict parents that we will lose our kids to the former spouse.  It can develop into a battle between the two “X”’s to see who is the “cool” parent.  All the while the kids are not learning discipline and are not being taught the lessons of life and to be self-sufficient.

As parents we loose long term perspective on raising kids, we think they have to be perfect all the time and happy.  Kid wakes up one morning sad and we think the needs to be on meds or go to the therapist.  this is a topic all on its on which I will get to next time....or the time after that.

back to the topic at hand.

On top of this I have also discovered another area where kids are lacking because of this over compensation by parents..  They can’t handle friendly ribbing, busting balls, busting each other chops…..whatever you want to call it.  They are so use to being told how great they are that they don’t know how to handle good natured ribbing, they are incapable of laughing at themselves.  

As you go through life you will make mistakes, be embarrassed, screw things up and if you can't laugh at yourself and take the ribbing you will not survive.  You have to be able to handle it as well as you dish it out.

It is a true art to not only be able to throughout a verbal barb but to be able to take one and laugh it off and fire back a witty comment.  This is a learned skill, you pick up from parents and friends. 

Prior to the split up I would poke fun at my kids(not in a mean way) and they would do the same to me.  Once the divorce happened I stopped doing it because I was so worried.  This was a complete disservice to them.  

I have luckily be able to repair not only my relationship with them but also my own self confidence that the kids(actually young adults now) can joke around once again.