Divorced Moms – Parent Yourself First To Be A Better Parent

By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC

It’s that time of year again when all mothers feel the connection with their children. Often they reflect and wonder whether they are being the best they can be for the kids they love. Since none of us are perfect, Mother’s Day can be a highly emotional time for many mothers.

It can be an even more stressful time for a divorced mom!

That’s because divorce is a life-altering experience. It takes its toll on your physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Its ramifications not only turn your own world upside down. Divorce can also seriously affect your innocent children – a dire consequence every loving mother wants to avoid.

Since divorce is a process, often a lengthy one, there are days – yes, weeks and months – when life can seem awfully low. Often overbearing. The weight can seem just too much to carry. The many life changes related to divorce can play a part in these difficult circumstances. And when you’re a parent at the same time … well, you know how it feels!

Then Mother’s Day comes along. Frequently it reminds us of what once was that isn’t the same anymore. We compare our lives with happier times. We question whether we made the best decisions in recent times. We can also dive deep into fears of what may lie ahead for us and for our kids.

If you are being triggered by any of these thoughts, keep in mind: you’re not alone.

Parenting is tough for everyone, even under the best of circumstances. Parenting through and beyond divorce takes enormous focus and a continuous need for compassion, both for yourself and your children. If you take it day by day, it can be easier to find the strength and the insight to make decisions that tap into your innate wisdom and love for your children.

But it’s also essential to parent and nurture yourself at the same time. Take a tip from the airlines when they instruct you to put your oxygen mask on first before providing oxygen to your children. You need to be alert and functioning well before you can make vital decisions on behalf of your children. Because they matter so much to you.

That means it’s crucial that you seek out the help you need to recharge.

De-stress and unwind from time to time. Share your frustrations with a caring friend or family member. Find a compassionate coach or counselor who specializes in divorce issues. Join a support group for divorced Moms. Reach out to community and spiritual resources that empower you. Treat yourself to a massage, concert, evening out, weekend away from the kids or other activity that energizes your psyche.

Don’t suffer or brood alone. We all need help, support and encouragement when times are tough. Find a source that you value and respect. We can’t always give what we need to ourselves. But we can and must let others know when we need a shoulder to cry on, a babysitter for an occasional indulgence or a team of reinforcement when the burden of moving on feels too heavy.

Your kids deserve the best mother they can get.

Remember this as well: sometimes all you need is to take care of yourself for a day – and you’ll be better prepared to handle tomorrow. Stepping away from your routine structure can often give you the clearer perspective you need to make sound decisions on behalf of your children. Unburdening yourself in the hands of an experienced professional can lesson your load and remind you there are other options available when you need them.

Whether you’re a divorced co-parent or single parent, remember your first obligation is to parent yourself with loving compassion. Your family will thank you!

Happy Mother’s Day to you all!

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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is a Certified Divorce & Parenting Coach, founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! For her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting as well as articles, coaching services, co-parenting programs and other valuable resources on divorce with children, visit: www.childcentereddivorce.com.

© Rosalind Sedacca  All rights reserved.