Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Category: Divorce

Tips for Surviving Life as a New Single: From Self-Care to Online Dating

(contributed post)

Life as a newly single person can be rather daunting in today’s society. Every day, lots of people find themselves coming out of relationships and having to navigate the world of singledom once more. It is natural for this to be nerve-wracking, especially if you have spent a long time in a relationship in the past.

However, people make changes to their lives every day, and you can make the right kind of changes right now. When you become single again, it’s the perfect time to think about doing some things (maybe you’ve been neglecting) that make you happy and feel peaceful. There are a lot of things that can change while you’re living a single life, especially if you were married and had children with your ex-spouse. Of course, it is important to deal with these changes, and not ignore them. Here are a few tips for navigating life solo once again.

Single Parenting Will Be a Challenge

There is no denying that being a single parent is a challenge, and you will want to consider ways of easing the burden a little. Having to look after your kids alone can be very tiring and stressful, but routine and organization, along with communication and fun, can help with these daily stressors. Of course, you also realize how hard a divorce will be for your children as well, so reach out to other divorced parents you know for tips and/or even sharing in childcare. Spending time together as a family, just having fun or being silly, can also help your children feel safe and secure in your home.

Self-Care is Essential

So many newly single people don’t take the time to make sure they are looking after themselves effectively. You have to give some time to self-care, and to making sure your physical and mental well-being is a priority. If you were married and splitting up, using divorce mediation , instead of attorneys, can be helpful for your mental well-being, as it can ease the burden of a stressful process. Focus on yourself and how you can improve the way you are moving forward: eating healthy and regular meals, getting enough exercise (family walks?), and sleeping well will also help with self-care. 

Time to Tackle Your Finances

Now that you are single again, your financial priorities may have shifted, and it is time to think about how you can stay on top of your finances. There are plenty of techniques that will allow you to thrive as a single income household, and you can take some time to look at how to implement the ones that work for you and/or your family. Prioritizing your spending is also important, and look at trying to cut costs wherever you possibly can is also helpful.

Back in the Dating Game?

Getting back into the dating game might seem like something that’s on the bottom of your list of interests right now, but you will feel the urge sooner or later. There are plenty of ways you can get back on the dating saddle, and online dating is going to be one of the best ways you can do this. With a lot of different sites to choose from (see the link just above), you may find one that works for you, and you can start setting up some dates.

There is a lot to think about when you find yourself freshly single once again. Life will go in a different direction to what you might be used to, and it is important to be adaptable. You and your kids are going to be impacted by this, of course, but with planning, thinking smart, and being easy on yourself, you can make this transition work for your family. It’s not impossible! In fact, as Meryl Streep says, “Start by starting.” 

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Strategies To Save Your Marriage From Divorce

(contributed post)

There are more divorces than marriages in the world. The reasons why this is happening at such a rapid rate are still being studied. Yet if more people are getting divorced, there are still some strategies to attempt before your marriage ends. What can be looked at are some preventative measures. Taking it slow, spending time apart, and working on communication skills may be what you need to save your marriage from divorce. 

Acknowledge the Deterioration

Notice that you raise your voices at each other more and more? In the beginning, these arguments may have been about big things that matter for the whole household, but then it got a bit petty. You started getting annoyed with your partner’s mannerisms. Something about the way they talk or do something quirky made you lash out. Arguing over nothing, but occurring on a regular basis, is a clear sign that it’s really more than just these little things, like the laundry and dishes. Pent-up anger can spiral into one giant ball of frustration. It’s rarely just one thing that sets you off.

So if you’re noticing how you argue day in and day out, and you dread the next time you have to communicate with each other about something important, then it could be time to take a break. You have to acknowledge the deterioration of your relationship before it actually dissolves. If this means you don’t sleep in the same bed together, then make this known and make a decision as to who moves out of the bedroom. Taking a weekend apart from each other and doing different things, so you can clear your mind and have moments of peace, will give you time to think about what’s really bothering you. When you feel as if the tension has calmed down, then you can slowly build communication with each other and address the issues calmly.

Talking it Out

A breakdown in communication can destroy any relationship. But talking to one another does not automatically qualify as understanding one another. So it’s time for some action. Both of you need to talk to each other and set up a time where it’s just you two in the home. Make sure that there is nothing else pressing that needs to be taken care of on that day. It might be helpful to write down your points, so sit down and think carefully about the things that you personally believe are destroying the marriage. When you both meet, remember to be civil and conduct yourselves respectfully. Try to stay on the topics that you have written down. Use I-statements, instead of you. For example, “I feel frustrated when I see you haven’t helped with the kids when I get home from work,” instead of “You never help me with the kids.” 

 Don’t hold back during the discussion because this is your chance to be completely honest . When your partner speaks, be courteous and don’t interrupt; be mindful that you may not like what you hear but allow him or her to finish each point. When you’re both done, you can take a minute to drink some coffee and think over what was said before responding.

 

 

What If It Can’t Be Fixed?

Sometimes, marriages are broken beyond repair. Moving forward with a divorce is a big step in your life. Not only will your children be living new lives, but your financial and marital status will legally change as well. Your children may be lost and trying to figure out why their parents can’t get along. No one prepares you for this moment when you have to explain what divorce is to your children. But Spruce Grove Divorce Lawyers have a great video that goes over the points that you should be covering when talking to your kids. There’s also helpful advice for parents and how they should behave around the children, and this includes how you behave towards each other as soon-to-be former spouses. Children’s lives must continue to be as normal as possible. This includes you and their other parent sharing the responsibilities of everyday life, such as making dinner, doing the laundry, taking them to the doctors, and helping them with homework. In fact, you should enjoy these moments as a custody agreement will have to be reached, and both of you will have to share the time rather than being able to be with your kids whenever you want.

If at all possible, notice the signs of cracks forming in your marriage and take evasive action before it escalates to divorce, if you can help it. Take some time apart from each other. Talk the problems out face to face and be as honest as you can. If you cannot stop the crash, then it’s time to go ahead with a divorce. But don’t allow your kids to be victims of your decision, let them live their lives as they were before as much as possible.

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Love and Loss: Some Healthy Things To Consider When Life Goes Wrong

(contributed post)

You have always considered yourself to be a positive and outgoing person with high prospects for your life. There aren’t many things that could hold you back from being the person you have always wanted to be. You practice self love religiously, and you have a caring family who is always there for you through thick and thin. But what happens when the amazing things in your life crumble right before your eyes? Whether you lose a loved one or suffer an unexpected break-up, there are many healthy ways that you could approach these life-changing situations. Follow each of these ideas below to help get your life back on track quicker than you could ever imagine.

Dealing With Death

The phone rings and you receive the news that you have always dreaded. Your close family member has died suddenly, and you are completely shocked. You don’t understand how this could have happened. If it is natural causes, you wonder if something could have been done to avoid it. If it is an accident, maybe you feel it is the result of someone’s negligence. If your loved one has died wrongfully you might want to take legal action. You can learn more about it here and explore your options when it comes to pursuing your case.

Grieving Takes Time

A legal battle can take several years to conclude, and it can be very difficult to grieve whilst you’re in the midst of it all. Don’t rush the grieving process, as it is going to take a while to learn to live differently. Find a healthy way of grieving that works for you, whether that involves counseling, talking to a friend or taking some time off work to recover. You will be able to come to terms with what happened, but you don’t have to do it alone.

Love-Life Loss

When something takes a drastic turn for the worse in your love life, it can be truly crippling. You never expect things to go wrong, so when they do, it can be very difficult to come to terms with. Dealing with a break up is much like dealing with death. You can’t ignore that it happened, but you also can’t let it consume your life. Start to do things that make you truly happy, and you will be ready to love again one day.

Positive Thinking

Whatever kind of tragic loss you have suffered, try to remain positive at all times. You will be able to move forward in your life quicker if you try to maintain a positive attitude.

Wallowing in self-pity will never allow you to deal with the awful problems that life can sometimes throw at you. Face the issue head on and know the right way to deal with it. Try not to dwell on the past too much, but don’t let your loved one slip away from your memories altogether. Allow yourself time to grieve and heal; think about the happy qualities this person brought to your life and re-channel your outlook into a more positive and upbeat one.

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Tips for an Amicable Divorce or Break-Up

(contributed post)

All adults should refrain from point-scoring and acting like children when they reach the end of their relationships. Nobody wants a messy breakup because that will cause a lot of hassle and headaches. The situation is even worse when there are kids involved, and so it makes sense to take a friendly approach. The tips on this page will show you how to end your relationship and ensure everyone gets a fair deal. Use this information to limit the amount of time it takes to find solutions and guarantee nobody leaves the relationship feeling ripped off or downtrodden. If you do that, you could have everything sorted within a couple of months.

Start divorce proceedings straight away

The first thing you need to do is contact a reputable family lawyer and start divorce proceedings straight away. There are specialists in every city that deal with everything from divorce resolution to custody battles. Explain the situation to your legal representatives, and instruct them to start the ball rolling as soon as possible. You have no time to waste, and any delays will increase the chances of arguments in your household. Make sure both parties agree to sign all the documents and refrain from placing stumbling blocks in the way of the legal teams.

Agree on lists of personal possessions

Splitting your possessions is often the most challenging aspect of relationship breakups. If you can prove that you paid for something, and you have access to the receipts, place that item on your list. Instruct your ex-partner to do the same thing, and then compare. Hopefully, you will both take a fair approach. If there are items in dispute, mention them to your legal team and ask them to come up with a solution that benefits both parties.

Refrain from talking about the breakup at home

There are times and places to talk about your relationship breakup, and your home isn’t one of them. That is especially the case if you have children who might become stressed or upset. Ensure you only discuss matters related to your divorce through your lawyers for the best outcomes. Don’t try to start arguments in the house, and they might escalate into problems that will prolong the breakup. If you remember to do that, there is a reasonable chance you can find some fair solutions and get everything over and done with in a couple of months.

The suggestions and advice on this page can help ease stress at the end of a relationship. Remember, you loved your ex-partner once; and even though you now have issues, it’s sensible to remember that fact and treat them with respect. That may encourage your former partner to do the same thing.

 

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How Hard It Is To Be Still

Lately, more than one person has said to me: “You have trouble being still. You are never still.”

My initial reaction to this statement is always millions of unspoken thoughts of how impossible it is to be still. Try living my life and see if you can be still. As a single parent, I ask myself: when am I supposed to be still? Maybe you can relate. If you’re a parent, a working parent, a parent of multiple children, a caregiver for elderly parents, or any combination of these roles, you know how hard it is to be still. There is always a to-do list, and it is always impossibly long. You’re always being pulled in multiple directions, and sometimes, those directions are physically and mentally exhausting.

For me, I must add to the trouble of being still the desire to be involved in activities (I’ve always been a joiner), my fear of life being too short and missing out on anything, ambitious goals, and my avoidance of tough, emotional issues—and that equals being too busy, never being still, and feeling completely overwhelmed.

But it’s catching up to me. I’m exhausted. And my loved ones would not be telling me that it’s important to relax and be still if they didn’t see the negative effects of my current lifestyle.

This is a blog post that’s difficult to write because at this point, it has no ending. I’m not writing this because I have a magical answer for how to be still. I try to meditate. I say no to some requests for my time. I prioritize tasks. But this problem for me goes beyond that busy calendar–this problem is because I am uncomfortable with myself, and that is the root. How do I get comfortable spending time with this person underneath all the labels and responsibilities, tasks and to-do lists, flaws and quirks and joys, and be still with her?

If I can figure that out, then I think I can be still.  It’s similar to the saying: Being comfortable in your own skin. If you are constantly moving and exhausted, you don’t have to worry about any of that because you don’t have time for it.

How about you?  Are you still?

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MOPS 28-Day-Truth Challenge Days 1 to 5

I am in MOPS–Mothers of Preschoolers, and I recommend if you are a stay-at-home mom or part-time working mom of children under 1st grade, FIND YOURSELF A GROUP NOW. These women have become some of my best friends and have been with me through thick and thin. Through the divorce and surgeries, they have helped me with Katie, provided support with cards and messages, organized two meal trains, and paid for lawn service for an entire spring/summer/fall. I don’t need to explain more, right? I love them! But that’s not what this post is about.

This year, MOPS has a 28-day challenge to do either a TRUTH OR DARE each day, and then work toward a BIG THING. I’m still not sure what my BIG THING will be. I thought running a 5K, but I’m not sure training for that in February is the best idea; so I’m still on the fence with my BIG THING. But I am going to do this challenge; and like everything, I am behind.  This post is for days 1 to 5. On Monday, days 6 to 10 will post. Then I will hopefully post 11 to 14 on Tuesday ,and will be caught up along with knowing more what my BIG THING might be. I also have been mulling around going on a short trip with Katie, so maybe my BIG THING will be actually taking the plunge and planning it during spring break. So far, I’ve just talked about it.

So let’s get to it:

Day 1: Swell Seasons: In what ways do you feel out of control in your life?

Answer: In what ways, don’t I? Ha! I think the biggest ways I feel out of control in my life are the demands of single parenting and my time management and amount of daily energy. It all boils down to priorities. Since I have a full-time job and a child and relationships with other human beings, then I need to prioritize what is important to me and what goals I want to accomplish on a daily basis. If I don’t and I waste a lot of time on something like arguing politics on Facebook, I feel out of sync, out of control, because time is precious. More and more, I realize how little of it I actually have.  And how I want to be choosy where and with who I spend it. It’s all about balance, and I still struggle with that on a daily basis.

Day 2: Blessings in the Night: What is your favorite thing that has happened in the dark?

Answer: That’s a loaded question, huh? I really had to think about this one because I am much more of a morning/afternoon/early evening person, than a night-time owl; and so I decided to just look back over this past year, and be very literal about this question. My favorite thing that happens on a regular basis in the dark is my 6-year-old daughter’s night time routine, complete with reading (and now sometimes she is reading to me!) and snuggling. I always tell her it is my favorite part of the day, and I am being serious. It is peaceful and sweet and calming–so much so that I often fall asleep myself. . .oops!

Day 3: Becoming Our Mothers: What are two things you hope your kids will talk about as adults when they describe their memories of you?

Answer: I want her to talk about how much fun we had on a daily basis, using our imaginations (the stuffed animals all have voices and talk a lot; my fingers are actually tickle bugs;  the gremlins come if we don’t get dressed by 9am) and how in our home, there was a lot of singing, dancing, and laughing. I also hope she remembers the little life lessons I am trying to teach her, such as being kind, entertaining yourself, not always thinking of yourself, work before play, and remembering to say I love you to people you love.

Day 4:  Sister Courage: What do you value most in a friend? Are you that kind of friend?

Answer: I value kindness the most in a friend. I want someone with a kind heart and a positive attitude. They don’t have to always be up, of course, and I am willing to listen to anyone about anything; but I hope that when they are looking at the world, they are doing it with kindness and optimism because that definitely wears off on me. I think I am pretty kind and optimistic. Sometimes, with some friends, I can be more opinionated than others, and I probably need to do a bit more active listening.

Day 5: Dear Fifteen: What do you need to give yourself permission to feel? What hurts are waiting to be seen and healed?

Answer: This is going to sound crazy, but I need to give myself permission to feel happiness. I will not feel guilty because I also feel happy. I know it sounds crazy, but I think divorce or any really hard life struggle does this to you. It is almost like you are scared to feel happiness because you’re always waiting for the next terrible thing to happen. I have worked through a lot of hurt over my adult life, so I don’t feel like I have any deep, buried issues that are waiting to come out. They have all been pouring out and now I am looking to find peace.
Feel free to answer any of these questions in the comments! 🙂 You don’t have to be a MOPS member to do so. . .

 

 

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Every Time She Leaves

_DSC0354I recently heard someone say that when you become a parent, a little piece of your heart is now living outside your body. Isn’t that the truth? Every time, my daughter leaves to go with her dad, it makes me, well, sick to my stomach. I know she has fun. I know she loves her daddy. I know she misses him. But the transition is tough–she often says things like, “I don’t want to be without you, Mommy.” She’s not choosing me over him; she’s just stating how much it sucks in her little Kindergarten world that she cannot be with her mommy when she wants to.

And that does suck.

I was the one who asked for the divorce. I’m not going to get into why. It’s not even important to anyone but the two of us. But I will tell you that although I feel like I made the only decision I could after many struggles, I still doubt being away from my daughter, like I have to be, because I chose to divorce her dad. It is the hardest thing for me–still–and we have been separated since May 2015.

I cope by trying to do things I could not do while she is with me. I try to sleep more. I try to get our house organized. I try to see my friends. I try to plan fun things to do when she comes back. I try to remember that she needs me to set boundaries and discipline her when we are together, even though I want to make every moment precious.

I’m a lucky mom. I have a healthy, vibrant, strong-willed, beautiful little girl, and I have to trust that I have made the best decisions I could make for her, regardless of what anyone else thinks. And when I miss her–I am lucky that I can call her or Skype with her, and that we will be together again soon.

It’s not easy to stay positive. But that’s how I make it through…every time she leaves.

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