8 Ways To Help Your Children Get Through A Divorce (While Keeping Your Own Sanity)

In late 2016, my marriage was over.  This is not about who was at fault or who wasn’t, nor is it about anything regarding the marriage.  This is about how I learned to walk with my children through the process and how I learned to keep my sanity during it all.

  • Safe Space:  No matter how “well” your child seems to be dealing with the transition, they have their own thoughts and feelings that need to be processed properly to help them.  Sometimes the way kids interpret situations can be incorrect.  They need a safe space to be able to voice their feelings, thoughts, and concerns.  They need to know they’ll be heard, and their thoughts and feelings will be respected.  Naturally, they are going to have questions, answer them as appropriately as possible.  While they don’t need to know all the details, they do need to hear some truth.  In other words, don’t pacify them.  If details are not appropriate for them, let them know you don’t want to share that with them at this point in time because you feel it’s best for them.  Don’t shut down on them though.  They need you.
  • Take Care Of Yourself:  Your kids will watch you for cues on how to care for themselves during this transition.  You have to show your kids by example that they need to care for themselves as well.  Spend time in prayer, meditation, exercise, or whatever else makes you feel good.  Personally, hot baths are therapeutic for me, so I try to take the time to take one once a week.  Allow your children to take some “me” time and recoup for themselves.  For my kids, that means spending time drawing, reading, kicking back, etc.
  • Never badmouth the other parent:   Trust me, you will get angry and frustrated with the other parent.  It’s inevitable.  However, when you badmouth the other parent, your child or children can’t help but take it personally, as they love their other parent.  It can make them feel like they’re in the middle and have to choose between their parents.  That’s a conflict that your children really do not need, especially during an already trying time for them.  More than likely, the other parent will assume that you are bad-mouthing them.  Don’t prove them right.  Be better than that.  It’ll work in your favor later on when you see you never put your children in the position to have to choose or to listen to the negative about their other parent.
  • Keep the details to yourself:  Unless the details of the breakdown of the marriage have to deal with the children directly, it’s best to keep the details to yourself.  Children should not have to bear the burden of learning the details of the breakdown of their parents’ marriage.  Some children internalize and can perceive the details to be due to them.  Either way, the details are unnecessary to be shared with the kids.  If you need to share, share with your girlfriends that you know you can trust.  Just don’t share it with the children.  Some details can forever alter the way the child looks at their parents.
  • Nurture your village:  Every woman needs to have a village.  You need to have that circle of people in your life that you can turn to for laughter, restoration, love, and more.  This village is helpful for the children too.  There will be times when you can’t be everything to your children at the same time and sometimes one of the people in your village can help your children.  An example of that is when my son came home from school with math problems that I was unfamiliar with.  I grew up in an era where common core was not the norm.  Now, it is and I have no idea how to get on board with it.  So my brother was able to figure it out and help my son.  My son and I were both pretty frustrated, but having that village able to help when we need it makes a huge difference.  I also have a friend who has 2 sons.  My kids love to go to her house and spend time with her kids.  She’s one of the few people outside of my family who I trust with my children, so it’s a huge help when my kids can go over there and enjoy themselves.  It gives me a small break and allows me to unwind and get some much-needed rest.
  • Acknowledge the good days and the bad:  You will have both good and bad days.  There is no getting around that.  The process of a divorce is very similar to the death of a loved one.  You and your children will go through a cycle of different emotions.  Remember to be gentle with yourself, and to apply that same gentleness to your kids.  Just like your emotions are on a tailspin cycle, their emotions are doing the same thing.  While you have the better understanding of the situation, they may also be going through feelings of helplessness because they have no say in the situation.  Allow yourself and your kids to process those emotions and be gentle with yourselves.  Acknowledge that some of the days are good and some will be rough.  Be okay with the rough days.  They won’t last.
  • Let your kids be kids:  This is a transitional time for you and the kids, allow them to be children.  Let your kids run around outside and play.  Let them play with friends and get together with family.  When possible, encourage them to get active in extracurricular activities they may be interested in within their schools.  Take weekend trips as a family, even if they’re local.  Let your kids know it’s okay for them to still be kids and enjoy themselves.  It’s important to them. 
  • Isolation is a dangerous thing:  While it may be easy to retreat into your own space and isolate, it’s not good for you to your children.  When you isolate, your children can feel like they were abandoned and left alone to go through this emotional process.  Isolation can be a very dangerous thing for you and your children.  Isolation can lead to depression and other issues, even suicide.  My daughter has a habit of isolating when she’s emotional.  It’s her coping mechanism.  I allow her to spend a certain amount of time alone, but then that’s it.  It’s time to rejoin the family and spend some healing time together.  When people isolate, it rarely turns out to be beneficial for their mental health.  That goes for adults and children.

While this is a trying process to go through with children, please know that it does pass.  In some cases, the parents can peacefully co-parent and even attend functions together to celebrate the children.  After all, that is the ideal situation.  So it may feel like this storm will last forever, it won’t.  It’s just a storm and will pass.  You and your children will weather the storm and can come out on the other side even stronger.  Here’s wishing you the best of healing for you and your children.  If you have any other tips to share, feel free to comment.  We’d love to hear it!

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5 Ways To Tell If You’re The Side Chick (Valentine’s Day Exposed)

The day before Valentine’s day is more of an underground holiday for men seeing women outside of their main relationship.  In other words, “side chicks”.  The unfortunate women who don’t know that they are side chicks are the ones who will hear their man come up with excuses as to why they can’t take them out for Valentine’s day.  You’ll hear something like “we can go out the day before, but I gotta work on Valentine’s day”, or “we can’t go out on Valentine’s day, but we can go out the day after”, or better yet “let’s do breakfast on Valentine’s day, I have some things to take care of later in the day”.  If you hear any of these excuses, you might be a side chick and not know it.

Of course this doesn’t mean that any man who’s working on Valentine’s day, or can’t spend it with his woman is seeing a side chick.  However, it may be enough to start your spidey-senses tingling.

Here are 5 ways you can tell if you’re a side chick:

1) If you can’t reach him on the major holidays, including Valentine’s day, you’re probably a side chick.  If you get nothing but his voicemail, and the next day he responds with some lame excuse, then you may need to rethink that relationship.

2) If his idea of a Valentine’s day gift is taking you to an early outing wayyyyyy out of the way, he’s probably trying to hide you.  Or if he takes you out the day before or day after Valentine’s day, and you couldn’t reach him on Valentine’s day, you’re probably a side chick.

3) He won’t give you his home address, even if you tell him you want to have a Valentine’s day gift sent to him.  He tells you to send it to his job, or his homeboy’s house, for whatever reason.

4) If he won’t tell you where he works, chances are, you’re probably a side chick.

5) If he never takes pictures with you, and won’t let you post any pictures of him on social networks, you’re probably a side chick.

These are just a few different ways that may help you question whether you need to be with or not.  However, women have intuition, and many choose to ignore it.  If you feel like your man is up to something, he may just be.  Don’t ignore your intuition, and don’t drive yourself crazy trying to follow him and figure out what he’s up to.  If trust is a major issue, you may have to rethink that relationship.  If you find that you’re a side chick, please know that you’re worth so much more.  Please know that you’re worth being the one and only.

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Open Marriages: Are They The New Face of Marriage?

Open marriages are not necessarily a new thing when it comes to relationships. What is new is the gaining popularity over that which used to be a taboo topic. More and more married couples are becoming comfortable with openly discussing their choice to have an open marriage. I was given the opportunity to interview several people who are in open marriages.

Of those women I interviewed, about half of them were happily satisfied in their open marriage while the other half was no longer happy with the arrangement. Some of the women who were no longer satisfied with their open marriage stayed in these arrangements because the husband was still interested in continuing it. Others stayed because they felt their financial lives, or otherwise their stability would be in jeopardy.
These are some of the negative side of open marriages. But what about the ones who are happily married openly?
After being able to discuss with a few of those ladies, I learned that it works for these couples depending on the level of maturity, trust, honesty, etc.

For some, it’s strictly a sexual pleasure thing. One of the women I was able to interview told me “for us the benefits is just like bring a dildo in. But in our case we think of the extra person as a giant toy. No relationship, just straight sex.” She stated they have had no problems with their open marriage and keep strictly to rules they set along with anyone else involved. While other women have stated they have even moved in the third party and are raising a family together, turning their marriage into a polygamous marriage (which has also seen a recent surge of popularity).

The truth is many couples we already know are into “swinging”. A couple I was able to interview recently wrote their first book on Polyamory much to the surprise of their friends and family. They are very happy together, have been married 50 years now, and have both brought other people into their marriage for what they feel has improved it, despite the jealousy issues that may have risen from time to time. While it is easier to develop jealousy or insecurity issues from time to time, they firmly believe that communication is precisely the biggest factor for the success of their relationship. That’s definitely the key to success in ANY relationship whether it be traditional or nontraditional. Different strokes for different folks ya know?

So with this recent surge in popularity of open marriages, I have to ask, are open marriages the new face of marriage? Could you be involved in an open marriage? What are your thoughts? We’d love to hear you!

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Gabrielle Union Speaks Out On Her Struggle With Infertility

Gabrielle Union is an A-list Hollywood celebrity who has starred in numerous movies and tv shows, most recently the series Being Mary Jane. She is also wife of basketball star Dwayne Wade. Gabrielle Union recently released a new book entitled “We’re going to need more wine” in which she opens up about some personal struggles she’s faced throughout her lifetime including her heartbreaking struggle with infertility and IVF treatments.

“I have had eight or nine miscarriages,” Union, 44, writes in the book. “For three years, my body has been a prisoner of trying to get pregnant — I’ve either been about to go into an IVF cycle, in the middle of an IVF cycle, or coming out of an IVF cycle.” Even through this heartbreak, her and her husband have not given up hope, and “remain bursting with love and ready to do anything to meet the child we’ve both dreamed of.”

While Union says she never wanted children until she got married to her husband and became stepmom to his sons from previous relationships. Now she states she wants nothing more than to be with the children she is helping to raise.
While she wasn’t always as open about her struggle with infertility as she is currently, she voiced the frustration in hearing questions from well-meaning family and friends asking when she was going to have a baby.

“For so many women, and not just women in the spotlight, people feel very entitled to know, ‘Do you want kids?’” she says. “A lot of people, especially people that have fertility issues, just say ‘no’ because that’s a lot easier than being honest about whatever is actually going on. People mean so well, but they have no idea the harm or frustration it can cause.”

With infertility struggles on the rise, that may just make us stop and think before we ask someone else that again. I know I have personally struggled with infertility myself, having 5 or 6 miscarriages. I was blessed with 3 healthy children, but I definitely understand the heartbreak behind each miscarriage.

Union says “Once a month I look like I’m in my second trimester because I’m bloated,” she says. “It leads to the questions and it leads to the rumors and anytime I go into a doctor’s office I feel like I’m a member of SEAL Team Six undercover because I don’t want people to speculate.”

She shares her story in the hopes that the public will take a closer look at the struggle of infertility and learn to approach the topic better. Gabrielle Union, we hope you’re able to receive all the desires of your heart. You truly embody a Sexy Mom who Rocks!

Pick up your copy of her new book “We’re going to need more wine” anywhere books are sold.

Image Source: Zimbio

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Are Celebrities Held To Different Child/Spousal Support Expectations?

A story that has circulated social media recently has been the homelessness of Carmen Bryan, mother of superstar Nas’ daughter.  Since his daughter has turned 18 and child support has stopped, it is now being reported that Carmen is homeless and couch surfing due to mismanagement of money.  After writing a tell-all book exposing Nas and many aspects of their relationship, many feel he should overlook that and help her.  Others feel he should leave it alone and let her get on her own feet.

Here’s the thing, if it were any other person who was paying child or spousal support, would we expect them to fly in like a superhero and save an ex spouse whom they haven’t been with in years due to their mismanagement of funds? If the answer is no, why do people expect it from a celebrity?  Is it expected of him just because he has it?

What are your thoughts? We’d love to hear it!

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It’s Just A Little Flirting: That’s Not Cheating Right?

Have you ever known that person that was a self-proclaimed “flirt”?  Or was clearly flirting and just said they were being “friendly”?  Is that person your significant other?  Is that person you?

The lines of flirting and cheating can vary so much from one person to another that there is no clear indicator as to what’s cheating.  Often within a relation both parties have a different understanding as well.  I am of the opinion that anything you have to hide and do is cheating.  Have I ever actually cheated? Wouldn’t you like to know? (smile)

In relationships, if both people don’t have the same understanding of what flirting is, and of what cheating is, it’s very possible those lines can cross and completely crush the trust in the relationship.  Furthermore, once trust is lost, there is no relationship.  My husband and I had an issue once where a woman I didn’t like was contacting him in a flirty manner.  While he didn’t behave in a receptive manner, he did not see it as her flirting with him.  I, on the other hand, saw it as flirting, and in essence cheating.

It caused a problem in our marriage, and forced us to revisit our own definitions of flirting and cheating.  That’s where I learned that we never had the same definition of flirting and cheating in the very first place.  Once we redefined our understanding and came to a common understanding, we were able to move forward with clear boundaries on what flirting and cheating are.

Now, I know some people are just naturally more flirtatious than others, but ladies, please hear this…

Even if you and your significant other have defined flirting to not be cheating, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT flirt in front of your mate.  That’s only asking for trouble.

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Why I Won’t Encourage My Kids To Marry Young

Fairy Tales have been ingrained in us so much so, that you would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t know of them.  From the time we are young girls we’re shown fairy tales of the “damsel” finding her “prince charming”, and getting married and living happily ever after. Well, fairy tales got it wrong!  This is why I won’t encourage my kids to marry young:

Nowhere in that fairy tale does it give the princess the opportunity to even learn who she is as a person.  Marriage in itself takes hard work.  Never mind adding the challenges that come with getting married early while both partners are still growing, changing, and developing.  Don’t get it twisted, couples who marry young can still be happy and work out.  I know of quite a few.  I also know that when I got married young, I hadn’t had the chance to really grow into my own person just yet.  I hadn’t had the opportunity to learn who I truly was.  Neither of us did.

So you get married young and everything is all well and good right?

Well here’s the thing; most times children follow shortly after.  Of course, this is not every marriage, so please note that I’m speaking in a general sense.  If it doesn’t apply to you, great!  Now, when the children come along, your focus must primarily be in caring for them.  Their needs are entirely dependent on you.  For many, this allows you to overlook your own needs, focusing on the family instead.

Years can pass by and you find yourself changing and evolving.  After all, we are human, we’re not meant to stay the same.  If you don’t evolve and change, you have a bigger problem than anything being discussed here.  So you find yourself changing and evolving and now you come to the realization that your spouse has also been growing and changing as well, and now you have to figure out whether you both are on the same trajectory.  Are you both still changing together? Or is there a major distance that has developed?

Nothing is ever hopeless until one or both decide they give up and are not willing to try anymore.  For a healthy marriage, many conversations have to take place.  You will constantly be learning your partner because they are constantly changing.  They are not who they were five years ago, or even one year ago.  The same with you.  So allowing your partner the grace to grow, while growing with them is the ideal situation.  Often when people are married early, they haven’t yet developed the maturity for this and instead it turns into arguing and resentment, which can fester and grow and destroy a marriage if left unchecked.

I won’t be encouraging my children to get married early because I need them to see that they must be whole first, and have an understanding of who they are as a person before they can truly understand these same things about their partner.  I want my kids to be able to be equipped with the maturity level and the communication skills that are needed to allow their partner and themselves the grace to grow and change.  I want my children to have the time to focus solely on themselves and allow for their own accomplishments before their attention needs to be divided for the family.  Many women lose focus of themselves, thus becoming the identity of mom and wife, and forget that they had dreams and goals and desires before that.  Not that it can’t be done, but with a family, the challenges and demands are higher.  I can definitely speak from my own personal experience on this one.  I would like for my children to only have to be married once.  They’ll know when the time is right for them, but I won’t be the one to encourage them to get married young.  I’ll encourage them to get married when they’re ready and mature enough.

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Women Attract Men

A few months ago, I attended a relationship event where I spoke as part of the panel. One particular question to us was how an available, dating woman can distinguish a boy from a man. One of the brothers on the panel took the lead. He very eloquently explained, in detail, the social, emotional, and spiritual definition of a man and the origin of where we, as a society and culture, went wrong in defining, creating and enabling eternal boys. The brother got deep with it. It was great.

I, as the only woman on the panel, took a different approach. Very simply I said then and believe today, a woman attracts a man. When you are a woman who is about her business, focused on her purpose, and living a full and complete life of family, friends, love, and passion, you can only attract someone who is like-minded. A “boy” will not be willing to keep up with or invest the time and energy into developing a relationship with that type of woman. Boys don’t build and that type of woman is a builder. She is building the life she wants now, the future she wants to come, and as a mom, the legacy she wants to leave her children’s children. They know what they want, have a plan for achieving it, and is putting that plan into practice. A woman will attract a man who is also building and requires a woman who can support a joint effort.

If you are dating and find yourself chasing “boys” who only want to play games, lay-up in your house, or require more of you then they are willing to give themselves, look in the mirror for the source of your problem. The first thing you must do is stop chasing. If you are a sexy mom who is focused on building, you should not have the energy, time, or desire to chase after a grown man. Next, you may need to do some self-reflection. Knowing we sub-consciously attract what we think we deserve, ask yourself why you feel you only deserve someone who is less concerned with you then pleasing themselves.

Do you know who you are? Do you know why you were created? Do you know what your purpose is outside of taking care of your children? Find the answers to the tough questions for yourself. Once you have some answers you will begin to see yourself differently. Your inner value will increase and you will be less willing to put your priceless jewels in a plastic bag. If you have completed the process and consider yourself a whole woman remember, you are an attractive, appealing female and “boys” like shiny things so you will attract some. Do not be discouraged. Because you are a woman they won’t stay. Just, get busy living. The woman you are will attract the man designed for you.

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Friends With Your Ex?

Friends with the ex seems to be a hot button topic, and from what I’m discovering, the rules are changing. As far as I always knew, being friends with an ex while in a current relationship was a no-no for the sake of the current relationship. Now before you go on about why your relationship is different, and about how you’ve both arrived so trust doesn’t even have to be questioned anymore, I already know there are exceptions to the rule. However, where do you draw the line?
There are some couples that will only allow a friendship when they can do “double” dates. Others do not allow those friendships for any reason, leaving their partner to either write off their ex for the sake of the relationship, or have to sneak around to carry on any semblance of a relationship.
Of course there are always those couples where one feels secure in their position and does not mind their significant other being friends with their ex.
I’d love to hear what works for your relationship. Do you have an open friendship with an ex? Does your significant other? Sound off!

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How To Deal With Your Ex Finding Love…And You’re Still Single

Recently the media has announced that singer Ciara is now pregnant by her husband, NFL star Russell Wilson. They have consistently been in the eye of media attention for the relationship Russell Wilson has with Ciara’s son, who is also the son of Rapper, Future. Future has taken to the media to vent about his ex, and the role her now husband plays in their son’s life. Russell has fully embraced a fatherly role with Ciara’s son, which was met with negative comments from Future.
This looks like a clear cut situation of an ex finding love, while the other in the relationship is still holding hostile feelings over it. Future’s comments not only serve to make him look bad, but they make him appear like he’s still salty over their failed relationship.
So how do you handle it when your ex finds love and you’re still single?
1) Whatever you do, don’t vent about the failed relationship, or about your ex!
That makes you look like you’re still pining over your ex. You may well be still pining, but the public doesn’t have to know that. It makes you look bad when you vent about them. And trust that people WILL ask how you feel about it. A very simple answer is, I hope he’s happy with her. Or, I wish him the best. Don’t feed in to the bait.

2) If you’re single, you better date yourself!
Here’s the thing, when we get in a relationship, it’s about making the other person happy. It’s no longer all about you anymore. While you’re single, spend that time doing the things you’ve been wanting to do with and for yourself. Make yourself happy! You deserve it! Take yourself out to dinner and a movie. Buy yourself some flowers and chocolates. Mmmm…did someone say chocolate? Lol! Go see a Broadway show or a musical that you’ve been wanting to see. Focus on yourself. This way when you do get in to another relationship, you won’t feel like you’re lacking in any way.

3) Keep in mind that your ex’s new partner is not your replacement!
What I mean by that is just because they are the new partner, it doesn’t mean they are better than you in any way. It doesn’t mean they are smarter, prettier, thinner, fatter, nicer, or anything else. As women we often torture ourselves wondering what void we couldn’t fill in our partner that their new partner is now filling. The truth is, we are responsible for our own happiness. If that’s the choice that makes your partner happy, so be it. Now get to work making yourself happy instead of wondering where you lacked. You could be perfect in every area and that may not be enough to stop the relationship from failing, and your ex from finding someone new. That burden is not yours to take on. Leave it right there, and don’t pick it up. Will those thoughts creep into your head? Absolutely! Do you have to entertain them? Not even for a moment!

4) Instead of focusing on the “failure” of the relationship, focus on the lessons learned.
No relationship is a waste of time if lessons were learned through the process. My mother and my biological father did not stay together. I never had a relationship with him. One thing I have and will always respect my mother for is instead of badmouthing him or talking about what went wrong in the relationship, she always said she got 2 great things out of it; myself and my brother. That completely changed my perception of it. Had she gone on about all the wrong and all the hurt she’d faced, as a kid, I probably would have internalized much of that and felt like I was the product of a failed relationship. Instead I felt like I was one of two blessings from that relationship. Focus on the blessings and the lessons.

5) New relationship doesn’t mean new attitude!
Often we see one ex has quickly jumped into a new relationship. Does it mean they’re totally over you? Absolutely not! Does it even mean they’re happy? Nope! Sometimes when a relationship fails, people are left feeling like they need to be validated. They often jump into new relationships to fill that validation, only to find that a new relationship doesn’t fill that. Sometimes they jump into a new relationship for the right reasons and it ends up working out. Either way, a relationship normally fails because of action or inaction on both parts. Jumping into a new relationship doesn’t diminish the care that partner had for you, nor does it fix any flaws you may have needed to work on. If the issue was communication, then it will pop up as an issue in any new relationship until it is changed. This applies on both parts. If the issue was lack of affection, it will rear it’s ugly head again. Address what you know to be negative attitudes or “flaws” so you give any new relationship the best chance at success.

Most of all, love you for you! Fall in love with your self! Don’t wait on anyone to sweep you off your feet. Treat yourself like the Queen you are! You are worth it! Your worth is not dependent on anyone else’s ability to acknowledge or accept it.

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