The first Mother’s Day following a divorce can be especially tough on so many levels. Being bombarded with all the Hallmark images of perfect nuclear families is bad enough and then comes the parade of photos on your Facebook feed with everyone you know all smiling happily with their still in-tact families.
I know for me, it was all just another huge slap in the face reminder of every reason I was still mourning the loss of my less than perfect marriage. I was terrified of my life as a single, middle aged, divorced mother of three.
If only I had known then what I know now, I would of saved my tears and relished in making that Mother’s Day my first declaration of independence.
But it took a lot of healing, self-work, self-love and many steps forward on my own two feet before I would finally discover what many other women are also finding out about themselves and life after divorce.
Women Are Happier Than Men After Divorce
Today’s reality is very different from the stereotypical image of divorced women as bitter and jaded, and the men happy to break free of them. As times have changed our roles in the workforce and home, studies now show that divorced women are faring much better than men:
- A survey conducted in the US by research firm Avvo, found 75% of divorced women reported they had no regrets ending their marriage compared to 61% of divorced men.
- A UK study by Kingston University surveyed 10,000 divorced men and women between ages 16 and 60. Participants were asked to rate their happiness before and after their divorce, and again the women were found to be much happier for up to five years following the end of their marriages.
- The UK study also found that divorced women reported feeling more content than they had in their entire lifetimes. The findings also indicated women were more likely to seek the support of friends, improve their health and lifestyle, seek out new experiences and discover more about themselves.
Divorced Moms See More Positives In Single Parenting
There is no question that single parenting is a tough and time-consuming job. But parenting is already tough no what the situation is and you’re less likely to be a good parent in a bad marriage.
In fact, for many women such as myself, breaking free from an unhappy marriage not only allows us to become better versions of ourselves but much better mothers all around:
Independent Role Models: One of the best gifts a mother can give her children is being a completely whole and healthy adult. An independent woman, who runs her own show and enjoys life is a much better role model than a broken woman clinging to a bad marriage that robs her self-esteem and has her constantly arguing and exhibiting negative behaviours in front of her kids.
Women of the House: The best part of being a single mother is running your household and ruling your children the way you think is best. It’s much easier to be a consistent and solid parent on your own turf than with someone constantly questioning your decisions, challenging your authority and forcing you to compromise your views of what is best for your children
Stronger Connection With Kids: Being yourself and creating a healthy, happy household will allow you to develop a much stronger bond with your children. In fact, children of divorce often develop a stronger relationship with both of their parents because they’re spending more quality, one-on-one time with each parent giving them their focused attention.
Make This Mother’s Day Your Own
While everyone’s situation is unique and everyone has their own healing process, just know there is a much brighter road ahead of you is possible, even though it might be hard to see right now.
The first step is to start from wherever you’re at right now and celebrate this Mother’s Day in a way that is meaningful to you and your children. Whether you continue with favorite family traditions or create new ones together, the important thing is to reassure your kids that you are still a family.
Make a list of your favourite ways to spend time with the kids that bring you the most connection and plan to incorporate them into your Mother’s Day
A day at the beach, creating art together, a game of tag…
What are some new things that you would like to try with them?
Build a special fort together, have a “fam jam” where everyone plays an instrument, a nature hike…
What values do you want to share with your children on this special day?
Be kind to others, help those in need, be grateful for what you have…
How about creating a family mission statement that reflects these values?
i.e.) “In this family we are loving, kind and caring and we practice theses values every day.”
What are some ways you can put your family mission statement into action and make it a new family ritual?
Helping out at a homeless shelter, visiting an animal shelter, doing yard work or visiting an elderly neighbour, bringing a surprise gift to someone in need…