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As you recover from your divorce and move on, there is one all-too-common emotion that causes way more headaches than you need.

Anger.  Being ticked off.  The persistent rage that will not leave you but could jeopardize your future relationships.

To start off with, there is something that you must remember.

Anger is a thief. Don’t let it rob you of your chance to move on.

You work hard to maintain the things you love. Think about. You probably keep your house or apartment nice and cozy, and you probably have homeowner’s insurance to protect it in case something happens to it. Your beloved heirlooms and the mementos you treasure are probably tucked away with the greatest of love and care.

You wouldn’t leave your door unlocked and invite a thief in to destroy those things in your home that you love, would you?

Heck no! Those things are yours. You worked your ass off to safeguard the things that give you joy and comfort.

So, why on earth are you leaving the door to your life and the door to your happiness, inviting Anger in on a daily basis? Just as a thief will break into your home, wreck it, and take away everything that is dear to you, so will Anger.

It’s time to lock the door and install one of those baller home security systems.  It is time to protect one of the most precious things that anger will rob you of: your happiness and chance to heal.

Anger = other people’s stupid stuff trying to control you. Why let it?

When you are ticked off at something, your body is all too happy to let us know it. Your blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate increase because your adrenal glands are being set into “fight or flight” mode.

This physiological reaction may have served Neanderthals when it was time to fight off whatever prehistoric beast threatened their survival, but the same anger that disrupts your calm. Why let it control you like that?

The fact that your ex didn’t treat you right, the fact that the marriage is ending or has ended, and the fact that the ex and their lawyers may still be doing stupid stuff is just that. They are only facts, but they are not indicators of how you are obligated to react because of them.

Do you remember the delightful “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies with Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow?

 “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.”

“Your attitude about the problem” is your anger. The stupid stuff that you are reacting to doesn’t have to disrupt your peace of mind. How you choose to react to the problem—in this case how you choose to react to the facts (the events that are making you angry), is what makes the difference between navigating this process with less drama and stress for yourself, or letting all the madness drag you down and leave you exhausted.

You’re better than getting pissed off at something that you cannot control in the first place. It’s time to focus on the things you actually can control.

And the first step to leaving the anger behind you? It’s simple.

If anger does not serve you, then let it go.

Some years ago, I was sweating my butt off in a hot yoga class, frustrated that I could not get into a backbend because my arthritis decided it didn’t want to play nice, my stomach churning because of the third argument I had had with my boss that week, and my heart sinking because a man who I had been seeing and who I really liked had called the night before to break up with me. I was a knot of rage that afternoon in the yoga class.

“If it does not serve you, then let it go.”

Although the yoga teacher probably meant it for the students to be kind and patient with themselves, reassuring them the back bend would happen when the body was ready for it, those words stuck. And I remember bursting into tears.

It wasn’t about being upset about not being flexible enough during that moment in time.

It was about not letting the fact we were inflexible cloud our ability to just be and move on.

It was about understanding that if a negative emotion was not going to improve our lives, then we needed to show it the door.  There is no place for anger holding us hostage.

The next time you start to feel anger about the divorce drama, do the following.

#1 When your pulse starts to quicken, take a step back.

#2 Close your eyes and take 3 deep breaths. 

#3 Remember that whatever BS is coming your way does not have the power to piss you off.

#4 Remember that if the anger is not contributing to your well-being, then breathe that negativity out.

#5 Inhale in the fresh air and focus on the beautiful life and calm that will be your guide.

#6 Carry on because you have waaaaayy too many awesome things going on to waste your precious emotional energy on anything toxic.

What struggles do you experience when it comes to dealing with divorce anger? What steps have you taken to kick it to the curb?  I love hearing from you, so write me and let me know!

The post Anger Is a Thief: Don’t Let It Rob You Of Your Chance To Move On After Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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If you have children and are divorcing, your focus should be on effectively co-parenting your child. Below are five suggestions that will make the co-parenting easier and, in the long-run put your children in a position of suffering fewer negative consequences of your divorce.

5 Things to Do When Co-Parenting After Divorce

Choose Shared Custody:

I realize that not all situations are optimal for shared or 50/50 custody but, if there are two loving and involved parents concerned the best thing you can do for your children is give them equal time with each parent.

Your main priority during and after your divorce should be to effectively co-parent your children. Beginning the divorce process by being willing to share your child with each other, in spite of any negative feelings you have is a good place to start. Divorce will end your marriage; it won’t end your role as a parent and let’s face it, if you have children you will be forever connected to each other. You might as well put your best foot forward when dealing with that lifelong situation.

Put Parenting First:

Divorce does not end your responsibility to care for your child’s financial and emotional needs. The emotional or financial stress you are experiencing does not come before you put your children need’s first.

Don’t fall prey to the belief that children are resilient and once you deal with the divorce process you can deal with your child’s issues. Be present and able to do what you need to do to make sure their life runs smoothly during and after your divorce. Keep their schedule as normal as possible. Don’t uproot them from school, friends or family. If you’ve moved out of the marital home talk to your children daily and see them several times a week.

You may have needs but those needs will never trump the need your child has to feel secure.

Don’t Put Your Children in The Middle:

A concerned and loving parent does everything within their power to keep divorce from hurting their children. These parents do not expect their child to share their anger or resentment toward the other parent.

Your child will take his/her cues from you. If you treat the other parent with respect and civility it frees your child up to feel safe loving you both. If you disrespect the other parent or share anger at the other parent with your child, that puts the child in a position of feeling as if they have to choose sides.

Don’t share private information about the divorce with your child. Listen to your child when they express their feelings and validate, not dismiss those feelings. Don’t use your child as a messenger between his/her parents. Allow your child to be a child by remaining the mature, adult parent during and after your divorce.

Don’t Try to Turn Your Child Against The Other Parent:

Cutting a child off from the other parent causes that child undue emotional pain and stress. You may not like the other parent, you may not believe the other parent capable of parenting but, it is not your place to decide whether the other parent has a right to parenting their child.

Parental Alienation is the willful withholding of a child from the other parent. Some parents use their children as a weapon against the other parent if they feel they have been wronged. What better way to hurt someone than to restrict their ability to spend time with and openly love their child?

The problem with parental alienation is it backfires. If you, as a parent, engage in alienating a child from a loving, caring parent that child will one day realize they were used by you and then you will find yourself the focus of that child’s anger. In other words, you aren’t hurting the other parent when you attempt to alienate their child; you are hurting yourself and your future relationship with your child.

Be Flexible:

If, for some reason, shared parenting is not the situation for your children be flexible when it comes to visitation with the non-custodial parent. Don’t hold your child or the other parent to a rigid once a week and every other weekend schedule.

If your child is involved in sports or after-school activities, allow the other parent to share the responsibility and pleasure of those activities with your child. If your ex calls and wants to take the child out for a burger or movie and it isn’t his “night” let your child decide whether to go or not.

The key, when co-parenting is to make time with the other parent child-focused, not parent-focused. In other words, if your child has a desire to spend time with the other parent make your decisions based on the child’s needs and desires, not on your needs and desires.

The post 5 Things To Do When Co-Parenting After Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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While all couples need autonomy and closeness, many couples struggle with the pursuer-distancer relationship dance and feel chronically dissatisfied with their degree of intimacy.  A problem exists when the pattern of pursuing and distancing becomes ingrained because the behavior of one partner provokes and maintains the behavior of the other, according to marriage expert, Harriet Lerner Ph.D. She writes, “It’s important to strike a balance between separateness and togetherness that works for both your partner and yourself.”

While pursuing and distancing are common ways that couples relate to one another when they are under stress, these patterns can become dysfunctional. If they go unnoticed and persist for a long time, they can lead to the demise of a relationship or marriage.  But with self-awareness and a willingness to change, couples can break their negative cycle of relating and build love, trust, and intimacy.

Why is the pursuer-distancer dance so damaging to an intimate relationship? One partner, usually the woman, becomes increasingly unhappy with her partner – feeling that her needs for intimacy aren’t being met. Although she’s made ongoing attempts to get her husband to open up, she’s left feeling that her efforts to bring him closer have failed. In fact, many of the women I’ve met with admit that they’ve resorted to nagging and didn’t feel good about this tug-of-war over communication and intimacy.

According to Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., “It’s always easier to point the finger at our partner than to acknowledge our part in the problem. In order to truly connect with a distant or distancing partner, we need to identify the problem and take steps to change it.”

On the other hand, the distancer (most likely the husband or boyfriend) may retreat to his computer or alone time under stress and intensify his partner’s need for closeness – thus her desire to pursue him. The problem is that this pattern becomes deeply entrenched and both partners provoke and maintain the behaviors in one another. Sometimes a distancer realizes too late that his partner is so distressed that she’s making plans to end their relationship.

Why is this relationship pattern so common? Dr. John Gottman of the University of Washington and The Gottman Institute, a distinguished observer of marital relations, believes that the tendency of men to withdraw and women to pursue is wired into our physiology and reflects a basic gender difference. In his classic “Love Lab” observations he’s noted that this pattern is extremely common and is a major contributor to marital breakdown. He also warns us that if it’s not examined, the pursuer-distancer pattern will persist into a second marriage or subsequent intimate relationships.

So let’s see how it usually works in a typical scenario. A wife’s hyper-vigilance is seen as a way to motivate her husband to open up. But in this case, the ways that Kara and Jake respond to each other backfire – going from bad to worse.

“Let’s talk about why we’re not spending time together anymore,” Kara complains as her husband Jake reads the newspaper. “How can we get along if we don’t work on our problems?”

“I’m not sure what problems you’re talking about,” Jake says. “We don’t have any problems.”

Kara feels increasingly frustrated with her attempts to draw Jake out. Meanwhile, Jake resorts to his classic distancer strategy – perhaps stonewalling her attempts to communicate. As Kara continues to express more disappointment in Jake, he further withdraws. If this pattern isn’t reversed, it’s easy to see how they can both begin to feel criticized and contempt for each other – two of the major warning signs that their marriage is doomed to fail, according to Dr. Gottman.

It’s no wonder that many of the interactions between couples become deadlocked into the pursuer-distancer pattern and end up in a stalemate or with partners feeling bitter and disillusioned about their marriage. Repair work is all about expressing your intent in a positive way and taking responsibility for your part in it.

According to Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., “It’s always easier to point the finger at our partner than to acknowledge our part in the problem. In order to truly connect with a distant or distancing partner, we need to identify the problem and take steps to change it.”

Here is what it looks like when your intent is to learn about the other person and grow together in a pursuer-distancer relationship:
  • “I feel left out when you don’t talk to me about what’s going on in your head, and I’d like to know what you’re thinking.”
  • “I feel hurt when you watch TV when we’re eating dinner because I’d like to learn more about your day.”
  • “I feel unimportant to you when you don’t include me in plans with your friends. I’d like to be kept posted, even if you prefer to see them on your own.”

Rather than expressing criticism or contempt, this type of dialogue will hopefully foster positive communication since the intent is to get information rather than to criticize or nag.

“The pursuer-distancer pattern can be thought of as a mismatch,” writes divorce expert E. Mavis Hetherington in For Better or For Worse: Divorce Reconsidered. In her landmark study of 1,400 divorced individuals for over thirty years, she found that couples who adopted this pattern were at the highest risk for divorce. Commonly, the wife will get tired of pursuing and the husband will grow weary or get angered about what he perceives as his wives constant nagging.

The irony of the pursuer-distancer pattern is that it’s reinforced by popular self-help books and websites to save your marriage. While most of these articles encourage couples to open up and communicate more, they don’t explain that this can blow up their faces unless couples understand that a plea to get closer by one spouse can be perceived as a criticism by the other. It’s likely that the person at the other end of a “sharing feelings” conversation will feel blamed and attacked if your underlying message is “You are doing something wrong that needs to be fixed.”

What to Do to Break the Pursuer-Distancer Relationship Pattern:
  • Accept that the pattern exists and needs to be corrected to improve the long-term stability of your relationship.
  • Work on changing your reactions to your partner and take responsibility for your part in interactions with him/her.
  • Writing in a journal or dialoguing with a close friend or trusted therapist can be highly beneficial.
  • Make peace by stopping the blame game. If you can actually embrace this concept, you and your partner will feel an almost immediate sense of relief.
  • If your partner seems flooded, walk away but not in anger or blame. Disengage as a way to restore your composure not to punish your partner.
  • If you can’t walk away, attempt to take a break for at least twenty minutes. For instance, reading a magazine is a great distraction because you can flip through pages rather mindlessly.
  • Attempt to resume a dialogue when you feel refreshed and able to talk calmly and rationally.

Let’s close on the words of author Darlene Lancer: “Each must learn to ask for togetherness and space directly, without feeling guilty or blaming each other. When each is able to say, “Yes” and say “No,” without fear of being overwhelmed by intimacy or abandoned by separation, they won’t trigger each other’s defensive reaction. When they are conscious of their individual needs, they can acknowledge their partner’s needs with respect.”

Follow Terry Gaspard on TwitterFacebook, and movingpastdivorce.com. Terry’s book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-lasting Relationship was published by Sourcebooks in 2016.

More from Terry

This blog originally appeared on movingpastdivorce.com

The post Pursuer-Distancer Relationship: How To Break The Dynamic appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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If you can think of a negative adjective, it will probably describe the upheaval of divorce. It’s a gut-wrenching, ball-busting thing to have to go through. It’s also survivable but when in the midst of the legal and emotional web, that can seem impossible the fathom. I remember doubting my ability to let go of my marriage and rebuild a life for my children and myself after my ex left. I held on tightly to what used to be and was unable to focus clearly on what might be in front of me.

One day I read this quote by Bradley Whitford, “Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.”

I felt like someone had hit me over the head with a hammer. I’d spent months reading books about divorce recovery and there was a quote that had nothing to do with divorce and everything to do with what I needed to do to get my life back on track. I hope you find the same amongst the quotes below. One that will hit you hard and get you on track!

15 Quotes to Help You Heal From Divorce

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One of the most popular blog posts on this site is 5 Tell-Tale Signs You’re Being Used by a Man. Sadly, I’m not surprised by this. There are men, and women, out there whose sole purpose in life is to see how many people they can pick up – and subsequently dump.

Why dump? Because they aren’t in this for a relationship. It’s all about the quest.

Oh, sure, some do think they’re in it to find a relationship. That’s why I have two categories for these types of men – losers and users. The users are what many call players and they are just in it for the sport of picking up women.

Losers genuinely think they want a relationship but for one reason or another, are incapable of truly committing.

Why are you attracting losers into your life?

You Attract People Similar to Yourself

This goes against the old cliché, opposites attract. A confident, happy man will seek out a happy, confident woman. An unhappy man with low self-esteem and low confidence will seek out a similar woman.

A confident man will never purposefully seek out a woman with low self-esteem and confidence. People don’t want to be around others who bring them down.

Rather than accepting every date request that comes along, be discerning. Choose men carefully. It’s okay to date a guy once or twice to figure out what kind of man he is but this doesn’t mean you’ve committed to a relationship.

Your Body Language Screams Date Me (to a low-Confidence Man)

Does your body language say “date me?”

How can a man tell you’ve got low confidence? It’s in how you dress. Your clothing probably is not flattering to your body. You may feel self-conscious about that little bit of belly you have from becoming a mom so you wear baggy clothing. It might be in how you walk.

Do you keep your head up, smiling at others when they walk by or do you spend your time looking at the floor? Do you take time to make your hair look like you care? Are your shoulders slouched or do you walk tall?

All of this, plus how you act, tell a guy all about your self-confidence without him even saying a word to you.

You Don’t Have Boundaries

If you do meet a loser or a user, you will allow him to walk all over you. You will probably cave to his desire to have sex with you way too soon in the relationship. You completely cave to anything he wants without any regard for your own values.

You drop Everything when He Calls

Are you waiting for his call?

Mr. Supposedly Wonderful calls and asks you out for a date that night. You’ve got plans but you drop them in an instant to be with him. Let me tell you something.

If Mr. Supposedly Wonderful is calling you at the last minute, he either had other plans that got canceled and he’s looking for a last-minute hookup or he doesn’t value you or your time and assumes you’re always available to him.

How do You STOP Attracting Losers Into Your Life?

Take a Dating Break

If you feel like the only guys you attract are losers and users, it’s time for a dating break. You’re just on a hamster wheel of dating right now where you date a loser, get dumped and find another.

You’re frustrated and stuck on an endless cycle of dating the wrong men. It’s time to re-evaluate and recharge.

Get Your Confidence Back Up

Life beats us down. Dating loser after loser beats us down further. You begin to feel like a failure. Many women I coach tell me they feel a high level of confidence professionally but low confidence when it comes to dating.

Get back your confidence!

This is due to all of the negative experiences you’ve had and the verbal or mental abuse you’ve received from these losers throughout the years.

I have a great tool for you to build your confidence back up! Comfortable in Your Own Shoes is my confidence book for women. It’s written just for you to help you dig out of the rut of negativity you’ve got in your life.

Look at dating not as steps to the altar but as a process to learn more about a man. Likewise, don’t share your entire life’s story in 3 minutes or less. Reveal new things about yourself each time you get together. This keeps things interesting and exciting.

Decide What Type of Guy You Really Want

Rather than accepting every date request that comes along, be discerning. Choose men carefully. It’s okay to date a guy once or twice to figure out what kind of man he is but this doesn’t mean you’ve committed to a relationship.

Women get frustrated when men flake after a couple of dates but what is happening is that the man simply decides he’s not interested. Since you’re not in a relationship yet, he doesn’t feel he owes you anything, including an explanation. You are free to do the same.

Don’t Get Invested too Fast

Women tend to go all-in when they meet a man. One date where you feel chemistry and you’re buying copies of The Knot and looking for a wedding dress. Slow down and get to know him. This means no sex for a while.

A player will want one thing out of you – sex. While all men want to have sex with the women they date, they do value you more if you make them wait and earn it.

Only you know how long is long enough, but I can tell you it’s not in the first 10 dates. It takes this long to truly figure out whether this is a man who is worthy of you allowing sex.

Slow things down

Slow thing down and enjoy the ride!

Look at dating not as steps to the altar but as a process to learn more about a man. Likewise, don’t share your entire life’s story in 3 minutes or less. Reveal new things about yourself each time you get together. This keeps things interesting and exciting.

Become the Person You Want to Attract

If you want a man who values community, get involved in your community. P.S. this is probably where you’ll also meet him! If you want a man who’s into animal rights, get involved in that.

If you want someone who is compassionate, be compassionate. Remember, earlier I said like attracts like. You need to become the man you want to date – except prettier and better-smelling!

Conclusion

If you’re reading this article, you needed the advice. While it’s difficult to look at ourselves in the mirror and examine what might be wrong with our approach, that’s what needs to be done.

In order to improve your dating life, you need to take an honest look at what you’re doing to attract these losers. What positive changes do you need to make in your life in order to attract winners?

The post Tired Of Attracting Losers? Here’s How To Stop appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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If you’re a single mom living on a budget a big vacation may not be in your plans. That doesn’t mean you can have fun and show your kids what it means to have adventures on little money. When all is said and done, it isn’t the big vacations your children will remember but the small outings, the time together and the Mom who made sure their summer was filled with fun activities.

Below are 43 fun and budget-friendly summertime activities you and your kids can take part in.

1. Vacation

Whatever fits your budget, go away for several days or longer. Whether it’s a cruise, a trip to abroad, or a drive to visit the grandparents a few hours away, go! Instead of buying a lot of “stuff,” take loads of photos and make them a photo book as a keepsake. When we go on vacations, I buy my daughters a magnet for their magnet board. They are inexpensive (usually between $4-$8) and it’s a fun, simple way to track all the places they have been.

2. Waterpark

Don’t forget an umbrella and loads of sunscreen. I actually find waterparks relaxing. While the girls are playing, I’m catching up on my reading. If you can, put your phone away and take the time to yourself with few distractions.

3. Town festival

Many towns host a summer festival. Oftentimes, many of the activities are free or reasonably priced and can include concerts, carnivals, games, and many local food options.

4. Local rodeo

I’ve never actually been to a rodeo, though I grew up in a town that had many. My daughters are begging to go to one. This summer, I’m really going to try to get them there. Why not?

5. Horseback riding

A huge bonus? You’ll probably discover a trail that you never knew existed. Schedule your rides in the early morning or late evening if it’s hot where you are at.

6. Free splash pads (generally found at malls and parks)

What child doesn’t love to run in water when it is super hot outside and there are loads of kids around? Splash pads are a great way to entertain the little ones, spend no money, and keep them happy (and get them tired!).

7. Fair or carnival

I love the displays and shopping at the larger county fairs, the kids love to hit up the rides and games. Plus, there is usually interesting food to try (even if some are heart attack inducing). Fairs are perfect for the whole family, regardless of age, though they can be extremely pricey, so be prepared to spend.

8. Amusement park

The Lagoon is our big amusement park and my daughters look forward to going every summer. We also have an annual pass to Knott’s Berry Farm in Southern California because we visit there so often.

9. 5k walk

Stay in shape and support a good cause. Organized races are really fun. If you have really small children, put them in a stroller. Typically, most walks or runs also have an organized 1k run for the little ones.

10. University campus

Why not explore a local university or college campus and get some lunch in the cafeteria? Your children will start getting a “feel” for what a college campus feels like when it’s not as crowded and finding parking is easier.

11. Learn a little about a new culture then go out to eat somewhere new from that culture

One of my favorite restaurants in Salt Lake City is Mazza, a Middle Eastern restaurant. I think we’ll start with that one. You need not spend too much time on learning about the culture. Maybe even discuss facts while in the car on your way out to eat. It’s a great way to learn something new.

12. Hot springs or other outdoor “find”

Go online and discover a new outdoor area you’ve never been to. A friend and her boyfriend just went to an outdoor hot spring. It included a 30-minute walk down a dirt trail and ended with soaking in outdoor hot springs. She said it was simply awesome. They went in the evening when it wasn’t so hot. Likely there are interesting and unique places around you, too. Go online or ask friends for suggestions.

13. Hike

Discover a new trail. Consider going early in the morning or late in the evening. Wear good shoes, sunscreen, bug spray and watch for snakes! Next on tap for us is Timpanogos Caves. I’ve hiked this several times but my daughters haven’t. It includes a rigorous steep hike and ends at phenomenal caves. It’s truly spectacular and the hike is a great work-out. I’ll probably treat them to lunch afterward at Sundance Ski resort. I love hiking. I think it’s great to expose children to the outdoors, discover new and beautiful places, and get them away from TVs and cell phones.

14. Day camping

Do everything you would normally do if you were camping but you get to go home at night to sleep. It requires a whole lot less prep and planning, too! Of course if it’s your “thing” and you have the equipment, stay the night at the campground.

15. Swim in a local lake

Take blow-up rafts and lunch to add to your fun.

16. Visit the mountains or beach

Take food and barbeque.

17. Visit a local museum

I’ll bet there is a museum you haven’t been to right in your own town. Stop and visit one. You’ll learn something new and so will our kids.

18. Matinee binge

Sometimes when it’s hot outside, nothing sounds better than sitting in a cool dark theatre and taking in several movies while eating popcorn. No guilt.

19. Make smores at night over a firepit

20. Have a “cold” foods cooking day

Try new recipes that require no heat to make. Ideas: salads, ice cream, lemonade, cold soups, sandwiches, and no bake cookies.

21. Host a barbeque for your children’s friends

22. Staycation

Book an inexpensive hotel and be a tourist in your own city. Take swimsuits and go swimming at their pool.

23. Road trip!

Pick a place many hours away and drive. Make sure to build in enough time to stop and explore new places that look interesting. A few years ago, I took my daughters on a trip to Denver. On our way back, we drove past the exit for Moab, Utah. We could see the red rocks for Arches National Park and my daughter, Sydney, said: “let’s stop!” This was not on our agenda and I had like three seconds to make a decision whether to exit or not. I did and picked up the phone, called Priceline and got (I think) the last available hotel room in town. It turned out to be a spectacular overnight trip. We spent the evening exploring the beautiful town, eating at a fun local diner and hiking the Arches the next day. It was spectacular.

24. Rent paddle boats

25. Make a lemonade stand. Donate proceeds to charity

26. Visit the local zoo, aquarium, aviary or observatory

27. Go swimming at a public pool

28. Visit the library

29. Have a picnic

30. Go for a scenic drive somewhere new

31. Go school clothes shopping

32. Host a board game competition for your kids’ friends and their parents

33. Find free local concerts

34. Rent bikes and explore a new bike path

35. Throw your kids a slumber party

36. Go to a drive-in movie

37. Have your own “book club.” Read together and discuss

38. Decorate sidewalks or paths with sidewalk paint or chalk

39. Fly kites

40. Run through the sprinklers

41. Visit a flea market or local farmer’s market

42. Do a volunteer project, like play games with

43. Go water rafting, canoeing, kayaking or boating

The post 43 Fun And Budget Friendly Things To Do With Your Kids This Summer appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Ever wonder how most single parents raise their kids successfully? It is not because they are superhuman. In fact, most of them engage in more than one job to meet their financial needs, but they still end up accomplishing more tasks irrespective of their busy schedules.

Being a single mom is quite challenging; you need to share your time between the kids, house chores, work and keep your social life active. That is one of the reasons for sharing this post. You will learn how to accomplish more tasks in less time to be more productive.

4 Tips for Accomplishing More in Less Time

Don’t be afraid to seek help

As a single parent, you will continuously have one thing that will take most of your time, and that is your child. You might not put that down on your to-do list because they are there and they are naturally going to be taken care of first. But that doesn’t mean you cannot cope with them and all the rest you have to do. You need to understand you have one less hand and seek help whenever possible.

You should never be afraid to seek help from family, friends or a paid helper. Help others understand you need help and what kind of help you need. Your friends and family could watch your kids on the weekends to help keep your kids busy while you make dinner or attend to other pressing things on your list that need your attention.

Also, if you are still dating, you are going to need help whenever you have a date. Your kid will also benefit from the attention and engagement of a babysitter. So it is a win-win situation for you and your kid. I know a few women who don’t like leaving their children with a babysitter but, here is the thing, kids may scoff at the idea but, in the long-run, they will enjoy interacting wtih another adult and you will have the opportunity to interact with an adult man. It’s a win/win situation.

Learn to manage your time

One skill every single mom must learn and take seriously is time management. If you cannot manage time, simple tasks will become stressful for you. Even if you are working in an office setting or work from home, time management is a vital ingredient in successful single parenting.

Make every minute you spend on a task count. Focus your attention and avoid every possible distraction. Now is not the time to be checking your different social media accounts. You need to focus on the work at hand so you’ll have more time for children and other issues.

Time management is the ability to plan and control how you spend the hours in your day to effectively accomplish your goals. Poor time management can be related to procrastination as well as problems with self-control. Skills involved in managing your time include planning for the future, setting goals, prioritizing tasks, and monitoring where your time actually goes.

Work on your waking habits

You have the power to change your waking up habits. Try not to overwork yourself during the day, and go to bed early. You can go for a small walk with your kid also. This will help both of you to sleep well, besides, such common habits and family outing can make relationships stronger.

The importance of waking up on time is that it gives you time to exercise and plan how you are going to spend the rest of your day. Without these plans, you might find yourself not accomplishing much at the end of the day.

That said the optimal hours of sleep for adults is 7 hours, which is enough to keep one’s mind and body refreshed. But sleep early and try not to reach for your phone or hit the snooze button when your alarm rings in the morning.

Have a good understanding of your kid

All kids are not the same. Some can keep themselves busy even when you are not close by, while some would want their parent to be around them all the time. However, if your kid is the type that always wants you around, then the best time to work on essential chores is when he or she is asleep. You need to study how long your kid sleeps, and work on important tasks during this period.

One other way you can keep your kid busy or divert her attention away from you is to find someone to play with her. You can seek help from your close neighbors or invite other kids to come over to your house. But make good use of the time you have before she starts calling for your attention. The bottom line is having a good understanding of your kid makes the task of being a single parent a bit easy.

Conclusion

Some single parents are handling their duties very well. In fact, most of them can manage their kids, businesses and lead an active social life. They are only applying simple principles and making the right moves. Being able to discipline yourself is another thing that will make you succeed as a single parent. So start working on yourself and follow the tips above to accomplish more as a single parent.

The post Single Moms: How To Accomplish More In Less Time appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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No-fault divorce laws govern divorce proceedings in every state. Divorce laws were written in California in 1970 in response to divorce lawyers and judges who objected to what they called high conflict as a result of laws during that time. Over the next 40 years, each state jumped on board and eventually rewrote their existing divorce laws using California’s no-fault divorce laws as an example.

When there had to be “grounds for divorce” before a couple could divorce the result was a lot of people who wanted a divorce coming up with accusations of bad behavior that was false. Such accusations resulted in conflict between divorcing spouses and more work for divorce lawyers and judges.

No-fault divorce laws created legal changes that make it possible for one spouse to get a divorce without the permission of the other spouse or having to declare grounds for the divorce. It introduced unilateral divorce and for the first time, one spouse could petition for divorce over the objections of the other spouse without having to prove fault.

In many states, these new no-fault laws also played a role in how marital property was distributed during divorce. Meaning, if a spouse had, had an affair or a history of domestic abuse such issues would not be taken into consideration when “who got what” during divorce settlement negotiations and whether or not a wife would be awarded spousal support.

As a result, many studies have shown that no-fault divorce laws increased the rate of divorce, in some states by as much as 88%, in others as little as ten percent. An increased rate in divorce means fewer couples and children will experience the security that comes along with living in a stable marriage.

As a result of the increase of divorce rates in the United States society has changed its view of exactly what a marriage is. By law marriage is the uniting of two people as husband and wife in a consensual and contractual relationship is of little meaning to most who marry today.

Reasons No-Fault Divorce Laws Increased The Rate of Divorce:
  • Hypothetically it made divorce less expensive for the party who wanted the divorce. The changes in the way property was split and the likelihood there would be less spousal support to pay went a long way in keeping the initiator of a divorce from suffering financially after the divorce. Especially when an initiator is a man.
  • No-fault divorce laws took away the ability of the spouse being left to negotiate in a way that could possibly save the marriage. When fault still had to be proven before a spouse could divorce, the spouse initiating the divorce had to pay in some way. Women paid by losing custody of their children. Men paid financially, normally by having to provide a home for the family he left and spousal support for the wife. No-fault divorce law took away the meaning behind that old saying, “it is cheaper to keep her.”
  • “Our principal finding is that divorce levels are positively and significantly correlated with state laws that do not penalize marital misbehavior at the time of divorce. Our study of divorce rates from 1988 to 1991 provides the strongest evidence to date that no-fault divorce laws are associated with higher divorce rates,” says Margaret Brinig, Author of No-Fault Laws and At-Fault People International Review of Law and Economics.
  • As a result of the increase of divorce rates in the United States society has changed its view of exactly what a marriage is. By law marriage is the uniting of two people as husband and wife in a consensual and contractual relationship is of little meaning to most who marry today.
  • A union that binds two people legally and in most cases produces children is treated with less respect than two companies that contract with each other to do business. It is in fact, harder to get out of a business contract than a marriage contract. There are legal consequences to breaking a business contract, there are no consequences to breaking a marital contract.
How Society Has Changed Due to No-Fault Divorce Laws:

People are more tolerant of single women having children even though 69% of those surveyed by the Pew Family Research Center said that the trend was troubling to them. Sixty-one percent of those surveyed said that children fare better when raised in a home with both a more and father.

Although most surveyed agreed that having a child out of wedlock was bad for society, we as a society look the other way. Although the cost to taxpayers in 112 billion a year society looks the other way.

The future of our society depends on the stability of future generations when the majority of children are being raised by a single parent which has been proven to be bad for the emotional welfare of children what does that say for the future of society?

One of the thoughts behind no-fault divorce laws was that being able to divorce easily would allow people to move on to happier marriages. There was the belief that people would learn from their mistakes and make better choices the next time around.

Statistics show though that second marriages end in divorce at a rate of 60% while third marriages end in divorce 73% of the time. It would seem that no-fault divorce laws did not motivate people to change bad behaviors but turned them into folks who don’t know how to make and stand by a commitment.

Saving Families and Society by Rewriting No-Fault Divorce Laws:

Rewriting divorce laws does not mean forcing people to stay in marriages they are not happy in which seems to be the biggest argument against changing divorce laws. Putting requirements such as therapy before a divorce is permitted or the need to be legally separated for a period of time would allow folks to divorce but also give them the education and time needed to make an informed decision about divorce.

If no-fault divorce laws are not rewritten as a whole, not just laws that pertain to child support or spousal support we will be failing our children. There is a new generation growing up and it will one day be their job to hold society together. If marriages continue to fail at a 50% rate we are failing our children and society too.

There is a lot of focus in marriage on being happy. People are expecting marriage to make them happy; when their expectations aren’t met they think divorce is an easy way out. Instead of focusing on building and maintaining the family unit, one made up of a mother and father which will ensure a better future for society and our children.

Most divorces, some say the percentage is as high as 70% are from low-conflict marriages. According to Dr. Paul Amato, “low-conflict marriages that end in divorce are very damaging to children the surprised children have not been aware of the discord.”

The choice, Dr. Amato says, is not between staying in a marriage and being miserable or bailing out. “The choice is often being moderately happy in the marriage and getting a divorce. For 55 percent to 60 percent of couples, these are not bad marriages. They are just not ecstatic marriages.”

I’ve learned through my experience that being “moderately happy” in your marriage far outweighs the stress and difficulty that comes once there is a divorce. If what it takes to hold families together is to rewrite divorce laws that make it easy to skip out on a commitment to a spouse and children, I’m all for scrapping no-fault divorce laws and starting over. I”ll admit that my views about no-fault divorce laws come from an experience that left myself and my children emotionally devastated.

Thanks to such laws my ex was able to walk away from his marriage with 83 percent of his income for what the judge himself called “frivolous” reasons. Do I want to be married to someone who no longer loves me? No! I do, though, believe that as a society we should expect more out of each other when it comes to keeping a commitment and protecting our children from the damage done by divorce.

The post Have No-Fault Divorce Laws Resulted In Less Respect For Marriage? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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You may be willing and ready but are you emotionally able to get back into the game of love?

I remember when she came into my office all excited. She had been separated for one year, the divorce was going to go on for quite a while, but she had met the man of her dreams. She thought she was ready to get back into the game of love!

The only problem? She wasn’t ready. So, she played the cat and mouse game.

She fell head over heels for him, but then fell back into her insecurity of not being ready to trust men after what her former husband had done to her. It’s a common tragedy that I’ve seen in my practice for the last 28 years. Both men and women prematurely getting into the world of dating before they’re actually ready, and for most of them, before the divorce is even final.

Huge mistake. And if you do this, there’s a 99.9% chance you’re going to repeat your past mistakes in life, and date someone very similar to your former husband and or former wife, because you’ve never cleared up the past.

I myself fell into this trap. Over 10 years ago, I found love with a woman who told me she was divorced, only to find out three months later as I overheard a conversation with her and her attorney on the phone, that she had been separated for five years and the divorce was nowhere to be seen. They couldn’t figure out the financial stuff that comes with separation and or divorce.

When I confronted her as she got off the phone, she admitted that she had not told me the truth.

Now it all made sense, the constant chaos and drama between her and I, her inability to trust me and even to be honest with me.

And yes, the relationship ended right then.

I don’t care how long you’ve been separated, if you’re not divorced in my opinion you’re not ready to be in the world of dating for a serious relationship… Friends with benefits? No strings attached sex? Sure, if you want to go that way, but don’t drag anyone else into your drama until you’ve been divorced and then even after that, which I’ll talk about below, as you need time to yourself.

Another client that I worked with from Australia, contacted me after her heart was completely shattered with a guy that she had been dating. He had been separated for three years, they had been dating for two years, and the day after he got the final divorce papers in the mail he called her up and told her that he needed time to be alone. That the separation and divorce took a huge toll on him, now he just wanted to play the field and not be in a committed relationship. Do you see the patterns here? If you’re reading this and you’re separated, and you think you’re different than everyone else… Here’s a big surprise, you’re not.

There still is a lot of work to do even after the papers are served proclaiming your divorce is legal before I recommend anyone get into the world of dating.

So let’s look at our rules below that we use with all of my clients who want to be ready, willing and able to get back into the game of love.

1. If you’re separated, do not bring anyone else into your chaos and drama. You’re on a roller coaster ride and you will do a great disservice to anyone you bring along with you. Wait. Be patient. Or if you must, be honest with people about your inability to be in a monogamous relationship and tell them you just want to have fun. I have no judgment if that’s what you want to do do it, but don’t get into a relationship.

2. Let’s say you’re divorced officially, the state that you live in has sent you the documents proving that you are now a free man and/or woman. Wait one year before you date anyone seriously.

Do I sound like your mom or dad? Well if I do, that just means they’re smart as hell.

It takes about 365 days of being single, going through your birthday, holidays and everything else on your own for you to see what it’s like to fall back in love with yourself.

Dating before you’re ready, is an absolute distraction for you to figure out what went wrong in your last relationship, what went right, what you need to let go of, what you need to hold onto.

If you want to use dating as a distraction for loneliness, insecurity, boredom or anything else,  you’re doing again a great disservice to yourself and whoever else you’re bringing into your personal hell with you.

3. Work with a counselor, minister, therapist, relationship life coach who knows what the hell they’re doing to figure out the mistakes that “you“ made in your past marriage. Don’t worry about what mistakes your partner made right now, focus on you. When you can call yourself out for whatever errors you made, you’re on your way to healing.

4. With this professional, you need to work on forgiving 100%, that is 100% forgiveness for anything your former partner did. Did they cheat on you? Lie to you? Emotionally or physically abuse you? Betray you?

Until you work with a professional and clear up all of your resentments, many of them verifiable resentments, you’re not going to trust your next partner. You’re going to be a pain in the ass to anyone you date because your insecurities are going to be carried forward in love.

So many clients that I’ve worked with initially had bucked our system, not thinking that they could be on their own for a year.

A lot of my clients had already set up a relationship before they were even separated, or during separation, or right after the divorce papers are served they already had their eyes on someone to fill the void… The void of being alone.

Don’t fall into this trap!

Take the time to heal. If you have kids? Oh my God maybe even take a year and a half or two years. You want to be a great role model in their lives.

If you have a revolving door of dating, where it’s one person for several months… Then a different person… You’re sending them a message that you do not want them to see: that the fear of being alone is greater than the fear of being grounded.

I know the above for many of you will piss you off, and that’s OK. Things that irritate us are often the truth.

On the other hand, if you agree with the above? Good for you. Get help now. So you can look forward to an awesome relationship in the future.

The post Are You Ready, Willing And Able To Get Back Into The Game Of Love? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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How easy would it be to let competition take over in the co-parenting process.

Here’s the thing: idealistically speaking, parents bring children into this world together as a team. They have a common goal of raising healthy, well-rounded, independent future functioning members of society. Go Team Go!

Enter divorce and co-parenting…

Despite the circumstances, settlement, time, respect, or care you have for your ex-spouse and co-breeder, deep inside as a parent, divorce changes the game. Sometimes you feel like you are on a different parent team and well, it’s time to play man-to-man defense.

Why? At some point, after a husband and wife go their separate ways, children spend their time in separate parent quarters. One has to think, that there is a level of natural and circumstantial competition between parents that arises. More than likely, who can be the better “liked” parent is a thought that rears its ugly head. I believe we have all felt some natural jealousy, or dealt with competitive feelings in being your child’s number one as a parent anyway, but divorce can take it to another league.

Competitive Co-Parenting

It has been said, okay I said it, that divorce can somewhat be synonymous with competition, especially when children are involved. Before I get any backlash from the perfectly divorced tribe here, I am talking about the first stages of separation, your inner voice, the not so good for the karma, competitive derived thoughts here. In fact, I have a very amicable relationship with my baby daddy, I mean ex-husband.

I think as divorced parents you are really governing on your own, but hopefully under a united front. The goal is to still try and raise your children with the same objectives and ideals you had when there was a ring on your finger, and/or the umbilical cord got cut.

Oh, how easy would it be to let competition take over in the process? Let’s take a peek, shall we?

The following examples, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this write-up, are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.

Bemily (Child): “Mom, Dad’s girlfriend braided my hair. She is so good at it, you can’t even braid at all. She is soooo nice….”

Tally (Mother): “Oh, wow, that does look fantastic. Yeah, I can’t do that. That is so nice of her.”

Lebron (Your Inner Voice): “Can’t do that, but I did carry the almost 10 pounds of you in my body. Oh, I also absorbed the pain of a pinched nerve in my leg for three months while mourning the loss of seeing my ankles for two. Let us never mind, the physical act and trauma of getting you to see the light of friggin day, missy. Did she do that? Kind of a nice thing your old mom did for you too there sunshine. But yes, SHE is sooooo nice…”

Bella (Child): “Dad tried to make your homemade macaroni and cheese. Yours tastes way better.”

Tally (Mother): “Well I am sure it was good. Maybe you can help him next time.”

Lebron (Your Inner Voice): “Damn straight. Mom’s pasta will always be better, just like most of my dinners. Yes, I will also have the better ability to help you with your school work, and make life decisions, and oh, better sense your every single need until the day you die, really. Slam dunk.”

Now I am sure if you thought long and hard, you would be able to come up with perhaps just one “fictional” example as well.

Ugliness, Envy and One Up Manship

In the end, I think competition fever is normal and a side effect of divorce. Here is your support and validation of at least one other parent who has dealt with the ugliness of envy, and one up man ship. Proudly I think most of the time I suppress the green monster and handle it with grace, other times, not so much! (Yes, accidentally hiding your daughter’s sweatshirt gifted by your ex’s girlfriend…not so mature.)

What to do? How do you tame your inner LeBron? You have to harness that competitive feeling and avoid foul play to stay ahead in this “game” of parenting.

Physiologically as humans we should be able to control our instincts. As an adult and responsible human being of another human being, it’s important to control your emotions. I know that taming the untameable is a far cry for a solution.  But in the best interest of your child and keeping an amicable relationship with your ex, you should ‘co-parent” like it’s nobody business.

I can only tell you that for me, I try to live by the mantra ”through the eyes of my child.” Look at life from their point of view. That usually helps me hold back my thoughts or actions. When I am feeling the full court pressure I journal to write it out, or I friend to gab it out. You would be surprised what a little time and perspective does. (Tequila doesn’t hurt now and then either;)

Also, think big picture. It’s not who scores the individual basket, but yes, wait for it… the final score as a cohesive mother, father, child team. That is the commonality to hold on to.

A child fortunate enough to have two parents who are living their best lives with their kids at the forefront, teaching and sharing united values, will be a child on a winning team. Alright then, insert applause here, get out of your seat and let me hear some noise!! Because if that is the case, that means in the end, YOU win too.

The post Co-Parenting On The Divorce “Court:” Harnessing Your Inner Lebron James appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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