Another Big Life Passage Is Upon This Full-time Divorced Mom

Posted by Delaine - September 28, 2010 - Career & Money, Career Growth & Change, Healing, Identity, Parenting, Phases/ Stages, Single Moms, Strong Mind & Spirit, Time Without Kids - 5 Comments

divorce-evolution-womanThree weeks ago, the youngest of my three children started school full time.  And as she disappeared into the school with a brave look on her face, I stood in the school yard waiting for ‘it’ to hit me: sadness…or at least nostalgia.  I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for ten years after all…

But I had tears.  No sadness.  No wanton daydreams of  days gone past.  Instead, all I felt was peace.  Like I was ready for this.  Like it was time to finally HAVE time, and focus on me. 

A part of me insisted that I should be feeling sad - isn’t that how Good, Devoted Moms feel when their babies venture further from the nest?  But I quickly called bologna on that thought train - I know I AM a great mom and always have been, even when my divorce situation was so dire I could hardly afford to put food on the table.

When my kids’ father and I first separated, we both agreed that my being at home with the children was very important.  After all, he worked out of town for large chunks of time.  The kids were accustomed to me always being there, and it was in their best interest I continue to offer them a safe haven, especially as they too, adjusted to the divorce.

But plans changed. ..agendas changed…priorities changed.  And for most of last year, I found myself living below the poverty line with my kids – for it takes two adult parents to value the role of a stay-at-home parent, does it not?

I made a choice at that point, not to return to work.  Cause when I sat down and did the math around potential wages earned verses daycare costs and the emotional cost to my kids, living frugally and ‘going without’ seemed the best option for my children.  Deep inside I always knew that the love and care and TIME I gave them was the greatest gift I could offer them.

We somehow made it through those tough times, in large part due to the amazing support of my family and friends.  My kids came out the other side of it with a new understanding of what it means to be ‘rich’ – that it’s defined not by money alone, but by love, sharing, and counting the many blessings already bestowed upon us.

There’ve been times these past few years since divorcing where I’ve let exciting work opportunities pass me by.  And I felt their lure – God, how a part of me ached to find out who Work Delaine could/would be…  But I swallowed my restlessness, my desire to put me first.  I had made a committment to be with at home with my kids till they were all in school full-time.  And in my heart of hearts, I knew honoring that vow was right for us all.

So as my kids disappeared into their elementary school on that first day,  I think the peace I felt and continue to feel, was well-deserved.  Cause  I’ve worked SO damn hard.  Been tested in SO many ways.  Grown SO much as a Woman and human being for the choices I’ve made.  And Goddamnit, I’ve molded three absolutely AMAZING kids as a result.  So no.  For me, this big life passage is not a time for sadness, but a time to celebrate all that I’ve experienced and accomplished as a mom.  Beyond that, my eyes are straight ahead: I can’t wait to see who Delaine the Career Woman will become…!

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5 comments

  • barry says:

    Take what you are feeling and multiply times 10. Now you will get a sense of what it was like to have my youngest of 3 go off to college this fall. The question of who you are and identity explodes. Often visions of my kids at young ages flash through my mind. Enjoy the time your kids are in “day” school. It will go by in a flash.

  • CJ says:

    Good for you Delaine! If only we could always remember that life should be about celebrating, not morning. That each such milestone in life is a GOOD thing that opens new doors and gifts us with new opportunities.

  • Megan says:

    I relate to sooo many of your articles Delaine. I too, am a mom of three and my divorce has been ongoing for over a year now. We were always so anti-daycare, and wanted nothing but me to be the [email protected] mom, while he focused on his career. I was honored and relished this role always. I also relsihed that I was his cheerleader also and did everything I could to make his job easier. Now, after six moves in seven years and since he has moved on to pursue his “dream” job, I am trying to continue my role as the stay @ home mom, for reasons similiar as to what you shared. I have had A LOT taken away financially, but, like you said there are riches in life that flow from the simpler everyday experiences. I am getting my inner spirit back (dealt w/ emotional/verbal abuse) and the children are experiencing their mom and who she “really” is…With that, I want to be able to give them the time with me that I feel they missed out/did not see before. I must say, I dance, sing and we have lots of laughs over the little things than ever before! I am hoping to stay home also until the children are all full-day. I get impatient at times, as I feel like I should have everything (goals, life plan, career, etc) figured out right now, but I am learning that patience is essential and taking one day at a time…learning from everyday experiences and others’ experiences. Many unknowns still, but I am not afraid, for I have only gotten stronger! Thank you for your thoughts and good luck! You are very inspiring! I look forward to your future writings! Megan

  • Delainem says:

    Barry, I can’t even imagine being at the stage you’re at – makes my heart ache to go there at all. Guess it brings a whole new defining period to any partnership you’re in too.

    CJ, I think one other thing that contributes to my not mourning per say is that I still see them for the remaining 7 hours of the day 95% of the time. Luckily, I can shift my work schedule around to when they’re in school only, then late at night. But when/ if that changes, if I have to go work ten hours a day without being around them, then I think it would be much tougher. But in the meantime yeah, I feel pretty fantastic and embrace this new stage!

    Hi Megan, and thanks for your kind words. I remember one of the things that hit me most after my kids’ father and I split was that I felt like I could EXHALE *grin. The insanity of being with the kids, then readjusting to his being back in the scene after weeks at work was very difficult and I hadn’t realized how uptight and stressed his presence made me until after he was gone – always waiting for the next critique, the next back-handed comment or put-down. Plus, there was the extra work involved in keeping HIM happy, and family stuff wasn’t enough for him – it had to involve going out, bars, live bands – the stuff I did all the time before we had kids. I was always so paranoid about becoming “Mrs Lame and Boring After I had Kids – don’t men complain about that? I didn’t want to be ‘that’ wife. And it took a lot of energy for me to be what I thought he wanted/needed, even though what I was experiencing was warranted and totally normal.

    My point is that I’ve danced and sung too – I know what it’s like to experience those feelings of freedom. They are so real and so sweet, so goddarnit girl, belt it out and boogie like there’s no tomorrow!

    Your time for career will come… hey, you may even find one of your budding interests turns into something monetary. And on that note, I need to start writing about this whole reemergence into the workforce thing…cause that time is upon me. And I really am excited.

  • albertadivorcefinances says:

    Alberta Divorce Finances is Alberta’s only divorce financial practice. Sharon L. Numerow is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA™), and the founder of Alberta Divorce Finances Ltd. For more than a decade, she has consulted with individuals, couples and family lawyers to help people understand how an impending divorce will change their financial future.

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