Independence Day

One of the scariest parts of divorce can be regaining your independence. The pain of losing your marriage is bad enough but now supposing you’re one of the millions of women that because of divorce, for the first time in a long time, you have got to ‘stand on your own two feet’. You’ve got to reclaim your independence. That statement can mean so much more than just living alone. It may mean finding a new job, a whole new career or finding your own accommodation. It’s attending birthdays and dinner parties alone. Its dining alone. Parenting alone. Its readjusting your thought process and learning to believe in yourself. It is taking complete control over your life and lifes choices. Being independent is doing all of these things alone and still being completely comfortable and confident. Being able to rely on yourself is an awesome thing.

Losing the support of an ex spouse can leave you feeling very vulnerable and very exposed. There will be a lot of change ahead when you end a marriage and ultimately one may feel that they have no choice but to go back out into the world and try to find a whole new life. Sometimes that can feel like making the worlds biggest puzzle with the worlds smallest puzzle pieces.

Many women, after they marry, find themselves in the role of ‘Mom’ and ‘Housewife’. They can get stuck. They stay home and cook, clean, raise families and more often than not, lose themselves in the process.

Being a homemaker, in my opinion is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. Raising children equals huge responsibility, a lot of patience and major dedication. Here’s what we’re not supposed to say : Children are needy, demanding, ungrateful, challenging, repetitive and, mentally and physically exhausting. Almost everything that you do for a child goes unacknowledged and unappreciated. Caring for another human being is stressful stuff. Agreed?

I’m right at the part of motherhood where my kids constantly run the risk of electrocuting themselves, drowning, falling down stairs, bruising themselves, choking on random household objects and, gravitating towards open doors and windows. Its been almost 5 years of being on edge. I feel that getting through these toddler years without having a nervous breakdown, is in itself a huge accomplishment.

Well done to you if you’re raising kids. In case nobody else has told you lately, Im going to say it. “You’re a great Mom and a great woman!”

I can’t speak about the pre teen and teenage years. I’m not there yet but I’m sure it has similar amounts of challenges. I truly take my hat off to parents that have been “momming” for ten or twenty years.

I adore being a Mom. I would do anything for and give everything for my children. Yes, a ” thank you ” occasionally would be nice but I guess I can wait another few years. My fingers are crossed. Im very hopeful.

So while you’ve been busy living for everybody else in your family, did you stop studying? Did you stop working? Did you let go of friendships? Did you stop training at the gym? Did you stop doing all of the things that you used to love so much before you became a wife and a Mom?

Truth be told I never thought that I would have children. I wasn’t maternal. It didn’t interest me. I loved my own life far too much. My views changed quickly. When my children were born, I knew immediately that they would become the single most important thing in my life. I slipped into the role like any Mom, with a few bumps and bruises but I eventually found my way and I began to love being a
Mom.

Such is life, ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it too’. The reality of my new role was that the more I settled into it, the more I began to forget who ‘I’ was. I was losing myself. It felt as though all of the doors that were opening left right and center in my twenties were beginning to close one at a time in my thirties. My CV read: Morgan Smith – Mom. Morgan Deane had become obsolete. My own identity had vanished.

I remember thinking to myself ” how can you have lost your whole identity in four years Morgan?” But I had given it all up instantly as I jumped on that plane from Ireland to South Africa. It was only when my marriage went kaboom and I got to assess what of my original life was left, did I come to the realisation, that I hadn’t done anything for myself in years. I hadn’t been studying, creating music, writing or making new friends or in anyway bettering myself. All of the things that I loved, that were my making, I didn’t have time to do them anymore.

So if it’s the same for you as it was for me 2 years ago, then the next card that’s been dealt to you, is divorce. That can present itself to you as a massive culture shock. You may now find yourself suddenly alone and suddenly with a lot of free time. You may be asking ” what do I do now? “.

You should make a list of what you would like to do with your life now. Set goals for yourself. Age should never be a factor. Circumstances should never hold you back. Fill your free time with things that make you happy. Rebuild the life that you have always wanted. Its not going to be easy. Stepping outside of your box can be difficult but once you establish what genuinely makes you happy it will give you a good place to start from.

Read, study, attend yoga. Go to the gym, go for coffee with those old friends that you’ve kept cancelling on. Attend a course that helps you meet new people, take walks, see shows. Build memories! Now’s the time to start embracing your life. Don’t be a prisoner of it. It can be so beautiful. Use this life changing thing called ‘divorce’ to rectify all of the wrong turns you made. See it as your second chance to rediscover what makes you smile. Get busy finding yourself because you’re waiting to be found!

Comments

  1. Reply

    It’s a pretty scary place to be…when you turn around and wonder where ‘you’ went. Thanks for writing.

  2. Reply

    Exactly how it is – thank you for saying it perfectly.

  3. Reply

    I think we all share the same anxiety. I forgot who I was because I was someone’s wife now and that was my role for 17 years. I have been divorced for 2 years now and I’m loving my independence. I have a lovely man in my life but I’m not reliant on anyone for my finances etc. You are in the early stages but you will get to a place where you will find “you” again and the future will not be such a scary place. Thanks for your honesty, I wish I had your advice when I was going through my divorce. I used to lie awake from 2 am every day wondering about my very uncertain future, not realizing that this was all part of God’s plan for me. That person I was when I was married is no longer here and the real me is here to stay xxx. A very good friend of mine always used to say “chin up, it will get better”, very good advice

  4. Reply

    Wow – another great post! And something that will resonate with many people in many different circumstances and stages of life I think. it’s incredibly hard to find balance when you are pulled in so many different directions and the quickest and easiest compromise tends to be yourself.

  5. Reply

    Hi as a mum I thought I feel the same I love my son but sometimes he is honestly too much he keeps on nagging!!!!! I love ur blog wasn’t married to the father also had to go to court for maintenance it was horrific but worth it in the end.
    Keep posting and I’ll keep reading !!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Reply

    I never truly felt lost while I was married to my ex husband. We shared many interests and we had a wonderful time spending time together, with or without our children. However, after my divorce, I did get to experience the pride of independence, even if it was not very stable on a financial front! I enjoyed getting to choose whatever I liked for supper or what colour I wanted to paint my room. I had always enjoyed my own company, so doing things on my own didn’t worry me. I however missed physical contact, feeling loved and I missed being “the wife”. I think I may need to blog about this. 🙂 Thanks Morgan. I’m enjoying your series although it touches at times on things I do not want to remember.

  7. Reply

    Good day Morgan

    This is my 18th year of marriage and I can truly say it has not been smooth sailing. I, like you, and so many woman out there busy living for everybody else in my family, I did not stop to study. I did carry on working. (thank goodness) This is what has help keep me sane. I did let go of friendships. I did stop training at the gym. And I did stop doing all of the things that I used to love so much before I became a wife and a Mom.

    I never thought that I would get married or have children. I wasn’t maternal. It didn’t interest me. I was happy to be my parents daughter, work and have fun. My views too changed quickly when my children were born, They are the single most important thing in my life.

    My marriage was far from perfect, but my children are my world. So when my husband had an affair I had too decide. Do I divorce him and move on or do I stay and fight for my children.

    I thought long and hard about it. I what I did not want was to have my husband make our lives miserable, because even though he was in the wrong, that is what he and his family would do.

    So I stayed, and now my only fight is for my children’s happiness. I do not let him or his family make me unhappy.

    I know that I have sacrificed for my children’s happiness. But i think it is a small price to pay as a mother. I would rather have stability for them than going up and down and have to sacrifice time spent with them.

    So to you, I want to say, you did try. And you have been very mature about this divorce. And one day your children will thank you. Pat yourself on your back every day my dear.

    1. Reply

      Dear Tracy
      Thank you kindly for your email. Well done to you for what you have been through and how you have come out. You’ve handled everything so well. Putting your children first is the most selfless act we can do but I guess as mothers, we don’t know how to do it any other way. I salute you. Thank you kindly for your support and lots of love to you xxx

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