How to get your life back after a divorce involving kids

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new -life-old-life divorceYOU CAN FALL IN LOVE AND BE HAPPY AGAIN


If you are or have ever been divorced you will likely agree with me that going through a divorce is not fun. 

The rollercoaster of emotions that you may feel; anger, depression, frustration, helplessness and fear to name a few can drain the life right out of you.

Picking yourself up and regaining control of your life may be difficult to even think about but it can be done. I am a firm believer that no one can make YOU happy but YOU.

I am not perfect and I do not claim to have it all figured out when it comes to life, but you are in control of your life and the choices you make are up to you.

You may not be able to control another persons actions but you can control how you react to them and how you let them bother you. I thought I would share a few of my thoughts and observations I have noticed over the last 3 years of being a single parent.


Breaking the ties and refusing to fight


Unless you are someone who likes misery, who wants to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you?

Staying attached to feelings that are not reciprocated will only continue to make you feel unhappy and hinder your chances of being truly happy again. You can’t force someone to love you or want to be with you.

Is being unhappy so enjoyable that it is worth fighting about things that are really irrelevant?

Your relationship has ended and the sooner you realize that fighting and arguing only causes unnecessary stress the sooner you will be able to find your happiness again.

Giving in and getting walked all over is NOT the way to compromise either nor should it be tolerated. You are adults, act like adults. Even when you don’t think your kids see or hear what’s going on they can feel what’s going on.

After a few weeks of mixed emotions expressed back and forth between my ex-husband and I, I let him know that I was not going to continue that way. With two kids under the age of 2 at the time I did not have the desire or energy to fight with him and our kids did not need to be exposed to that kind of stress.


Divorce with kids involved


I understand that there are scenarios in which it is not in the kids’ best interest to see both parents.

If children are involved in a divorce and it is safe to do so, the parents need to find a way to parent them separately while keeping their best interests in mind. There is no sense making it seem like you are getting back together if you are not and it’s not fair to the children.

Money is not something that should be fought over as not only does it add stress in the lives of yourselves and your kids but as parents you both have a responsibility to provide for your kids.

There is no reason (other than safety issues) that a mom and dad have to live under the same roof to be able to fulfill their role as parents.

Avoid teaching your kids to dislike their other parent. I was just speaking today with a single dad who hasn’t seen his kids in a few months because their mother has coached their kids and been a poor example by being disrespectful to him.

His children act out when in his care and now she will not let him see them, even for Christmas because he can’t handle them in her opinion. Well, when you are feeding them negative thoughts and showing them that it is okay to treat him that way what do you expect? After all kid’s behaviour is learned and if mommy/daddy acts this way it’s okay for them too in their mind.

As long as my kids are safe and provided for in their dad’s care he will continue to see them and the kids can form their own opinion of him as they grow up.


Child support


I am not a person who desires conflict in my life so I have a hard time wrapping head around some of the horror stories I have heard of the fights over child support. How often have you heard of scenarios where the kids don’t get to see their dad because he doesn’t pay enough to their mom?

My advice to women, and men in some instances….taking your ex to the cleaners for child support is not likely in the best interest of your kids. While child support is necessary and I feel both parents have a financial obligation to the children, keep in mind that the other parent also needs to be able to rebuild a life of their own.

This includes being able to provide a healthy stable environment for the kids, including having a roof over their heads and being able to feed and provide for their child when in their care.

I’ve heard from too many single dads out there about their ex-wives who are constantly asking for money above and beyond what has been set out for them to pay or what they agree on. Some use money as a means to take advantage of each other emotionally and or threaten to keep the child away and this is wrong.

A common concern I have heard from single dads’ is…”I pay X amount of child support but she always asks for more.”

I have no problem paying for my kids but I need to live too.

Money is the root of all evil and in many cases the cause of most divorces. The way some people think I admit I will never understand. Why do so many people fight about money when it should be what is in the best interest of the kids?

One parent may not be in a position to provide as much financially but does that mean that they should lose the right to see their kids? I think not. Rebuilding your life and finances after a divorce is imperative but there has to be limits but it’s not always the way we want them to be.

It seems in many cases that the courts are out to get the dads and at times setting them up for failure. If a man wants to be in his kids life why is the amount of money that he has or doesn’t have the deciding factor for some in how often or whether or not the kids can see their dad?

 Your kids need to see both parents happy.


Time can be as valuable as money


If your former spouse has a genuine interest in being a part of your children’s life then why hold them back? After all the kids having the presence of their father/mother in their life is more important to them then the amount of stuff he/she was able to provide.

Kids should not have to lose out on having a parent in their life because of money. If they are unable to provide financially working out a reasonable custody and access agreement can benefit everyone but should not be used against each other.

As much as you may despise your ex, as long as they provide a safe environment for your children why would you not welcome the help or the break? It sure beats paying for extra child care or a babysitter.

This should not be used as a way to manipulate each other  either rather be compromised by both parties so you work together. There may be times where you both need time away or longer or shorter days with the kids but don’t use it as a fighting platform when something goes wrong. You can’t always be at their beckon call.

Taking a break from single parenthood is necessary for your own sanity as well.




I am very grateful to have stumbled upon Canadian Budget Binder when I did. Creating a budget has been a key tool in making sure that no matter what I am able to provide for my kids I can because I know how much money I have coming in and going out.

In this day and age the only person you can really rely on is yourself and having a budget allows me to go to sleep at night not stressing out about how I am going to buy groceries that week or put gas in my car.

Mr. CBB has many free money-saving and budgeting tools available on the blog many of which I use in my personal life including his budget.

Keeping track of where your money is going and learning what you can live without will make being a single parent more manageable.


When convenience becomes a problem


While many divorced couples are unable to even be in the same room with each other, sometimes maintaining a relationship that is too civil or accommodating to your former spouse can be detrimental as well.

I am not at all saying do not try to be civil with your ex but know where and when to draw the line to prevent further problems in your life.

If one spouse is or was controlling in the relationship realize that you are no longer together and they cannot continue to control you. You have the right to say no without feelings of losing the ability to see your child or emotional abuse.

You can’t move on with your life, fall in love again or expect someone you fall in love with to be put through the ringer emotionally because you allow yourself to be manipulated as a parent or if the ex still loves you and tries to put roadblocks in your path of happiness to stop you from you moving on even if they have themselves.

Sure it was convenient to ask my ex-husband to help me move my new treadmill to my basement when he dropped my daughter off the other day but calling him to come over and cut my grass and be my on-call handyman isn’t appropriate.

Taking care of my day-to-day needs myself and asking a neighbour, friend or family member for help when needed gets me through my days.

How could I successfully have another relationship with my ex-husband hanging around all the time?

The answer is I likely couldn’t because I am not fully giving the attention I need to my new love interest and am exposing them to something they should not have to deal with, a controlling ex.

The sad part is you might just lose the one person you were meant to fall in love with or be with because you don’t take control of a situation with an ex. We hear this so many times where a new relationship falls apart because the parents can’t get along or one or the other is manipulative and won’t allow the other to move on in the love department because of jealousy or resentment.


Emotional abuse


In a relationship what some call love can sometimes be expressed as emotional abuse.

In most cases emotionally abusing a spouse is a form of trying to maintain the power in a relationship. If power and control was an issue during your marriage it is likely to continue to be an issue even after a divorce. Not being allowed to see your children because of rumors that you might be dating someone is a good example of this.

Stand up for yourself as you have the right to move on and be happy and what you do in your private life is none of their concern as long as your kids are safe and healthy.

Your ex needs to realize that you will move on and you will fall in love again and that person WILL be a part of your life and WILL be with you and they can’t stop you, control you or abuse you mentally because of it.

Divorce is something that we do not plan for when we get married but it is all too common these days.

It can go one of two ways…

1. With the best interests of everyone in mind 

2. Selfishly and vindicate.

Always remember that you cannot control the actions of others but can choose how you deal with and respond to them, after all it is YOUR life that YOU need to get back.

Don’t miss out on your life and moving forward because you can’t take back your life and be happy. You may live to regret that one day.

Have you been through a divorce? What other advice could you offer to someone recently separated or divorced?


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Photo credit: “New Life Or Old Life” by mrpuen

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  1. My daughter is a single Mom but was never married to our grandson’s father. You have some good advise here I can share her way. There are a good number of things I could say but this is a public forum, so I won’t say them here…….
    Another excellent article Katrina!!!!

  2. No one goes into marriage with divorce in mind but unfortunately it happens all the time. I am a child whos parents divorced and all of our lives improved when it happened, sometimes people are just better apart

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