This is officially the full extent of my crazy little family now because…drum roll please…
I am finally, officially, a divorced woman!!
I know this can be a sad moment for some people but considering I first met my solicitor to get this show on the road on my wedding anniversary in 2014 – 6 months after me and my ex had actually separated – it has been a loooong time coming.
I have waded through lawyer speak, lawyer bills, my first solicitor going on maternity leave (her little boy is now 18 months old and she’s pregnant again), an ex who insisted on not responding to any sort of correspondence without being chased (more bills from my solicitor), a flat sale that couldn’t go ahead without a financial agreement and a court that decided not to actually let my solicitors know when they’d finally crossed the last t and dotted the last I.
It’s been a journey and a stressful one at that but it’s done. I am an official single woman again with her official maiden name back. I feel light, happy, elated with a tiny tinge of sadness but we’ll gloss over that bit.
So now is the time to organise the divorce party or as my best friend called it ‘the Phoenix party’ because I am rising from the ashes and I’ve come back more beautiful (glimmers of happiness can do that to you) and a hell of a lot more strong.
Whilst wasting time passing some time on Pinterest I came upon an infographic entitled ‘The Single Girls 30-Day Challenge’. Now, I am single girl (…lets not mention that the rest of my divorce still hasn’t gone through yet…) but not many of the challenges seemed particularly realistic so I tweaked a few and ended up with this, much more do-able, 30-day challenge. But as its the 1st February and I’ve crossed a couple off it can be my 29 (ish) day challenge.
After discussing my experience of dealing with a divorce with so many friends. Some who had been through a similar situation, some who were currently thinking about getting a divorce or some who just knew someone going through a divorce, I thought I should write down my top pieces of advice.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and everyones situation’s are different, but here’s my ‘wise words’ about divorce, for both the person going through it and how you can be an amazing friend at that crap time.
If you’re going through the divorce…
1. It will definitely cost more than you think and more than the solicitors tell you.
2. All the things you think you’ll be able to sort amicably between yourselves, in order to save money may not happen. Divorces take time, and time can change how people feel about one another, so don’t rely on how you feel now – and how you think your ex feels about you – staying the same.
3. Ask questions, so you completely understand everything. My solicitor sent me letters just full of lawyer speak and some of it went straight over my head so I emailed her with a list of questions and she usually rang me back to discuss.
4. Check all letters and forms that the solicitor writes/fills in for you before they send them out. I found that invariably there’s something wrong with it. One time it was my actual name!
5. Try not to discuss the ins and outs of the divorce with too many people. Everyone will have their own opinion on what you’re entitled to, how much money you should get and what should happen, especially if they’re close to you. But only do what you feel is fair and will make you happiest.
6. Sometimes taking the high road is really, really hard…but it pays off. It’s also much easier for you to move forward with your life if you’re not the one wallowing or feeling bitter.
7. Try and make the most of your time alone. Start doing things you stopped doing or start doing things you always wanted to do. DON’T FEEL GUILTY if you don’t miss your children all of the time when they are with your ex.
8. Also, try not to fill up ALL of your child free time with tasks and appointments and seeing people. Use the time for some RnR because you need it and you deserve it. Children can be hard work, especially with all the change happening, so just treasure the quiet times and bank it for when you’re ready your patience is being fully tested.
And as a friend, pretty please…
1. Invite her to do things on the weekends. This is family time I know, but it can also be the hardest time for single parents as they don’t want to intrude, so invite them all to the BBQ or just to the park for half an hour so they can get out of the house with the kids.
2. Offer her time out, away from the kids. She may work or be a SAHM but once the kids are all tucked up the evenings can be lonely – take her out, babysit for her so she can go out or just bring a bottle of something and a dvd. She will be grateful for the company.
3. Try not to slag off her ex (unless she does). She may have mixed feelings about whether she’s done the right thing or they may have just spent many years together and it can still hurt hearing that person being bad mouthed.
4. Notice the changes and if they’re good changes encourage them. This sounds a bit patronising, I know. She probably wants to change her hair style or start a hobby or lose weight but she may be feeling a bit battered and bruised and lacking in confidence. Knowing someone else thinks it a good idea or worth a try maybe that little extra nudge she needs to finally do it.
5. Say the word “Divorce“. Don’t say “the D word”, don’t spell it out like the Dolly Parton song and you really don’t have to say it in hushed tones either. If you whisper it, it makes it sound like we’ve done something wrong or shameful. We all know it’s not an ideal scenario obviously but it’s not something we should feel ashamed of. I swear the word ‘DIVORCE‘ is more taboo than the C word!!
When I’m lamenting my ex and the time we were together lots of people say ‘but you wouldn’t be without Charlotte, would you?’ This is the phrase that has come to piss me off most since becoming a single parent and after catching up with another single mum it’s not just me it would seem.
Of course, I love my daughter with all my heart and now she’s in my life I can’t bear to think of her not being in it but…I never wanted her to grow up in this family set up. I never wanted her to only see her dad every other weekend. I never wanted to make decisions based around money and surviving rather than what is in her best interest. I never wanted to think about how on earth I’d introduce her to someone new in my life and I never wanted to have a different surname to her.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing but if I knew (which, truthfully, looking back, I probably should have had some inkling) that my ex and I would split when our baby was two, I’m not sure I would have chosen to have a child at that particular moment.
No, I don’t think the split has scarred her for life and I think she’s adjusted amazingly well to the life of a child from a broken home, but it saddens me greatly that the first two years of her life were filled with depression, tears, anger, frustration and guilt. Guilt being the only emotion I felt at her because I didn’t feel like I was being the best mother I could be, or the mother I wanted to be at that time and the person I expected to support me couldn’t or wouldn’t either. I just hope I’m now making up for lost time.
I always wanted children. When I was younger I never remember being excessively career focused because I wanted to be a mummy. Because of this, I know it’s probably my fault for pushing for a baby when my ex wasn’t ready (if he ever would have been). But in fairy tales once you get married you have a baby and I was living in a land of fiction thinking everything would be ok. If I’d stopped to look then I’d have realised we were not emotionally strong enough as a couple for it even before she came along.
So no, I don’t regret having my daughter because I get to watch her grow up and become an amazing girl and woman and some of my best memories with her probably wouldn’t have happened if things had been different. And no, I wouldn’t be without her. If somebody tried to take her away from me I’d unleash all hell but, would I choose to put a child, as well as myself through the past 18 pretty shitty months and all the time before the split? Would I choose to put a child through going back and forth from mummy’s to daddy’s house, having to hear conversations between mummy and daddy when they’re desperately trying to not shout at each other and having to listen to mummy cry because she just can’t hold it in anymore. Nope, I’m not sure I would.
So the new year is now upon us and I am so glad! Just think what a whole, fresh new year could give us.
In 12 months I could do a myriad of amazing things. Hell, I could have even had a baby by this time next year but I’m not sure giving myself three months to find the right man for that is very sensible. I will however, at some point, be selling our severely impractical, second floor flat and finding a little house with a garden somewhere. I will be divorced. I will find a new job that interests me in one way or another and hopefully pays a bit more. And I will attempt to plan my meals for the week so I have a vague idea what’s in the fridge and what I can make with it before arriving home with a tired and grumpy three year old and then attempting to feed us both without one of us loosing our shit at some point.
I’m not making any hard and fast resolutions, challenges or rules for this year as I have learnt that some things just don’t go your way…but maybe they weren’t meant to because it wasn’t the right thing in the first place so just a few aspirations will do.
Charlotte’s bucket list this year is to go on a train, bus and plane and hopefully I can fulfill her aspirations this year too..although the bus I’d rather not!
My mid morning snack was at Krispy Kreme on New Years Day so I’m definitely sticking to my no diet rule!
Happy New Year and wishing you lots of love and luck in 2015!
Well, these last two weeks have been the hardest in a very very long time. Every time I think I’m just about coping I get another kick and, to be honest (as I should be in my blog) my optimism and ‘Joie de Vivre’ which I pride myself on, is slowly sliding away. So far it has involved the ex contesting the divorce for no reason I can understand, a male ‘best friend’ managing to hurt me in so many different ways all at once, a flat tyre, a speeding ticket, work generally and a letter from work telling me they’ve over paid me nearly £400 and that they would be taking it out of my October pay (that’s nearly a third of my take home pay!) Just to top it all off I’ve gone off wine and can’t seem to bear drinking a drop. I know!! Nightmare!!
I won’t bore you with the details but I’m pretty sure I’m at one of my lowest points in a long time – my heart is severely battered, my anger is bubbling very close to the surface all the time and my bank account is empty – more than empty actually as I’m well and truly in my overdraft. I can only presume I was a mass murderer in a previous life and am now paying for my sins. I feel like a teenager but, unlike my 15 year old self, I can’t just crawl under the covers for a few days and cry my eyes out. I have a daughter, a dog, a job, a house and my sanity that needs to keep going and be looked after. I know I’ll recover, I am resilient and I know there must be some good days soon but I wish I could just press pause and get my shit together. I can’t let my daughter see me angry at her dad or crying because I am lonely and have been let down, so I need to breathe, adjust, pour a strong G&T and move on to the next challenge that will no doubt be facing me.
Someone warned me that the first year in a separation would be the worst but two weeks into the second year and I’m not sure I believe them yet. People also have been saying that all this crap must mean I’m due for something really good and I really want to believe this!! Win
the Lottery, a Knight in shining armour, a new job? Come on fate…I’m waiting!!
So last week I finally decided to sign all the bumpf and send over a humungous amount of money to my solicitors to start the process of divorcing my husband.
It is just coming up to a year since we separated and after lots of disappointments and being let down by his lack of effort in prioritising his daughter I decided to just get the hell on with it. Waiting for two years seems like an eternity when I am definitely ready to move on to the next chapter of my (and my daughters) life. I’m hoping this decision and me finally growing some balls and making it, will help with me grasping my life and working out what the hell happens next. “The world is my oyster” if you will (if that oyster pays enough for a house, running the car, putting food on the table etc etc.)
Next project is moving house. I have decide that divorce and a pre-schooler is not stressful enough so I need to entirely repaint and carpet my flat and get the hell out. I think I might have gone a bit crazy!!!
I would love to hear your stories about moving on and upward, these past few weeks have made my glass look a bit half empty so any stories to help the optimistic outlook would be great!
Well, I’m writing a blog, whether you like it or not. Should be interesting!
Why now? Mainly because I’ve had this page ready to go for more than a year but have never had the time to get it up and running, but now, for my sanity, I have decided to make time. Time for me! It may sound selfish but a little me time goes a loooong way I’ve found.
My daughter is 2 years and 9 months and finally I can just about rely on her to go to bed at a normal time and maybe (if I’m lucky!) actually sleep through, in her own bed! The bed to myself is a luxury for someone who co-slept out of necessity from the early days, then found that I had a cute little bed partner again after my husband and I separated. The company was nice at the start but now…me time is definitely needed! Yes, she normally rocks in at 5am with her pillow and blanket demanding cuddles but there are worse ways to spend the last couple of hours in bed! (There are better ones too obviously!)
So anyway, who knows where this blog will lead us. I am a 30 year old single (separated at the moment) mummy who, I’m sure, has lots of tough times ahead but also, hopefully, has lots of fun times too! I’m really hoping the latter outweighs the former and there’ll be lots of laughs along the way!
Happy reading and looking forward to meeting all my readers and learning from your experiences etc.