How My Divorce Has Made Me a Better Mother

Nine months ago I finally got up the backbone to not only ask my ex husband to leave – once again – but the power to actually follow through and make him go.  Not an easy feat but it was the best decision I have made since deciding to have children.

Since then, life has just gotten better.

me and girls

My confidence has risen to almost annoying levels – ask my neighbors –  my self esteem has slowly recovered – not an easy task after 10 years of being told I was not good enough – and I am learning that being a single mom does not have to be scary, exhausting or a reason to solicit sympathy.

But the one major difference I have noticed is that I am a much better mother now to my three little ones than I ever was before.

I was so incredibly unhappy with my ex-husband that my children suffered the consequences. I can admit it. I had a short fuse, an exhaustion like I have never felt and I didn’t take care of me, myself and I at all.  I let the house get out of control – OK, that still happens today – let myself balloon up to an uncomfortable size, cried at the drop of a hat and was always trying to escape or ‘take a break’.

I remember having wonderful days with my girls and cringing when I saw he was home and then changing in an instant to a short fused, grumpy, bitter mom who wanted to do nothing more than go to my room, lay down and not come out.  It was horrible and it went on for years.

It was this toxic environment year after year that gave me the strength to embark on a life with my kids that did not include the negative.  And it has been amazing!

I don’t know if it is the same for everyone, but when in my marriage, I tended to want to ‘escape’ as often as I could.  I wanted a ‘break’, wanted to get away, wanted him to step up and take care of things so that I could get away from it all.  I used to complain to friends that I never got a moment of peace.  I was the one with the kids all day, making dinner, doing to laundry, putting them to bed, getting up all night and then doing it again day after day.  Even when I was sick, I took care of everything.  In fact, I remember him telling me that mom’s don’t get sick days.

I was miserable, always looking for every opportunity to get away, even if it was to take a 45 minute shower in water that was cold 10 minutes in just to be by myself.

Since becoming a full time single mom, my struggle now is what to do with my time alone.  I LOVE having my kids with me.  I take them everywhere and only leave them for work related meetings or when he has to have them by law.  They are my sunshine, my strength, my best friends and my playmates.  We go everywhere together, live every moment together and I simply can not believe that I wanted to get away at one point and time.

I want to get up from my desk and play outside with them.  My camera snaps all day long as I record every smile, move and laugh.  And when they do leave, I feel great sadness and don’t know what to do.  I almost always want them back immediately and when I get them back, I am overjoyed.  My life feels complete again!

Now I tell people that say I must have my hands full that I would not have it any other way.  Instead of the “yes I DO!” it is  “I am blessed to be so happily busy.” I am finally the mom I want to be and I am so grateful.

I try to schedule things to get out and do when he has them and I have reconnected with friends I lost during the marriage and generally have plans.  But my world is only truly complete again only when I have them with me.

Another thing I have noticed is that my patience is back.  I think when someone is in a bad relationship, they tend to take out their frustrations on the ones around them.  And I think my patience level was non existent for a long time.  It seems to have miraculously reappeared.  I have noticed – and friends have too – that I no longer take in deep breaths when my kids ask for something 57000 times.  I simply reply and then remind them of my answer.  I get down on their level now instead of towering over them. Listen to their complete sentence before cutting them off with “NO!”, and try to remember that they are little kids.  It has made such a change in me and my kids and for that, I am grateful.

Don’t get me wrong.  I wish I had listened to my head when I chose the father for my kids and picked a man who loved me and wanted to do the work it takes to make a marriage successful.  My dream was to be in a happy marriage and be in it for life.  I did not lightly choose to end mine.  But my reasoning’s for doing so were for the benefit of my children and I can honestly say that they are a LOT happier now then they were before!

I certainly have challenges I would not wish on anyone.  The financial strain is huge, the doubt of whether I can handle everything is stressful and the loneliness when they are gone can be crushing.   And my chores are overwhelming for sure.  And, I do wish I was in a healthy marriage or relationship for them to see.   I actually feel great guilt sometimes for not being in one.

But, my decision to get out of a stressful situation and go it alone seems to be the absolute best decision I have made in years.  And so I thank this experience.  Because in the stress of it all, I am learning to be the mother that I always wanted to be.

And that is all that matters to me!

Find more Motherhood Posts at My Recent Writings

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  1. It's A Coupon Life says

    I am sure it wasn’t easy to write this or come to the decisions you did to get here, but it shows your strength being about to put it all out there :) Congrats on your new life, wishing you and your kids a happy fruitful life :)

  2. detroitmommy says

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I really needed to read this right now. I’m about to embark on the same journey and it’s been a long time coming. I keep putting it off because the thought of being a single mom to 3 little kids is scary.. but then I think about it & I’ve basically been doing it all alone this whole time.. except for that annoying mosquito that has kept buzzing in my ear all these years with the negativity, insults, put-downs, lies, you name it.. I’ve lost everything over the years & everyone.. lately as I’ve taken steps to change things for the better I keep getting signs thrown in my face, like this post.. they tell me “See you can do it too! Keep going, don’t look back. Life can be happy again” So thank you so much for sharing.. you don’t know how much it means… and I wish you the best!

    • Lori P says

      First of all – HUGS and thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Second of all, I stated in this marriage 4 years too long and am so thankful to be free. He would call me the ‘love of his life’ and then degrade me all at once. Being free of that is gift enough. You CAN do it if it is right for you and it is amazing to me how many people stepped in to help me. My friends who could not stand the way he treated me and left me are coming back in droves and my kids are AMAZING!!! If you need anything, let me know,. I am not advocating divorce… but I do think my personal divorce was for the better. Much love and prayers!

      • detroitmommy says

        Thank you so much. I’m going to go for legal separation for the time being. 1 more year would have been 10 yrs so I’d be eligible for his soc. sec benefits at least, considering I gave up many years of my life to do what we had originally agreed upon & yes I totally get the “love of your life” thing.. it’s been a joke on me it seems. Oooh so much I could say but until I get the legal stuff done I’m best to keep quiet if you know what I mean. Thank you for your support!

  3. kd says

    I remember your post a while ago when you were in the middle of it all. I responded then because I was in the thick of the horrible divorce process as well. I said there would be light at the end of the long dark tunnel. I am through to the other side and couldn’t agree more. I am a much better parent without the stress of my dysfunctional marriage. I spent all of my time running the home and taking care of the kids and doing everything. All the while he was out doing whatever (and whomever) he wanted because he was ‘stressed from work and deserved to relax’ and I ‘got to sit at home all day with the kids’. I forgave multiple affairs only to have him walk out last year to be with his ‘soul mate’. That woman did me the biggest favor of my life, got me to finally open my eyes to the real person I had been married to. I have no regrets as I have my wonderful kids from this failed marriage but I am SO much happier without his negative presence in my life. He was an emotional vampire sucking all the energy and hope from me, and now he is her problem lol. He tried to come back but after realizing how much better my life was without him in the house there was NO WAY I was going to take him back again. It is stressful trying to figure out the finances, health insurance is the biggest problem but hopefully next year when Obama-care fully kicks in I can get something affordable. In the long run however I am a better mother and better person post divorce and have nothing but optimism and hope for the future, something I haven’t felt in years! So enjoy your freedom, you earned it :)

    • Lori P says

      I remember your comment and I hung onto it and you were right. Mine too had affairs and found his ‘soul mate’ and tried to come back. Funny how these guys think they can do that to us and we’ll just cave and take it all again. I’ll take any struggle in the world over being married to someone who sees me as a tool to make their life easier as opposed to a person. THANK YOU for reading and commenting both times! Keep in touch and let me know how things are!!

  4. Daria @ Mom in Management says

    I could have written this – seriously – were you reading my mind? It is ah-mazing to me how much happier I am and in turn how much more patience and love I show my kids. I had no idea how much of a weight my toxic relationship had on my mothering until I was free of it and free to become the mom I used to be – the mom I want to be. I know this is a tough post to write because I’ve started one similar multiple times and never hit post. I am waiting until my divorce is final so nothing I say can be used against me, but on top of that 1) I’m embarrassed I let it go on as long as it did and 2) I’m shamed that I wasn’t strong enough to be the best mom I could regardless of how bad my relationship was with their father. The free time is nice – I’m getting projects done, but I miss my kids – sometimes horribly – and that’s new. I never missed them before…before I was just glad to get a break – to have “me” time – to recharge so that I could survive a few more days in the emotional battlefield my home had become. There wasn’t abuse or adultery or any of the easy things to point to and say “aha! That’s horrible and so and so’s fault.” Instead mine was a slow eroding away of my self worth, self esteem, parenting skills, values, dreams – a constant undermining and drain of the *light* in my soul – everything felt so dark and so heavy and murky. I’m not 100% into the sunshine yet, but I’m getting darn close. Thank you for writing what I couldn’t write for myself.

    • LoriPace says

      Oh Daria – I am so sorry your in this group too. But I am so glad that you are breaking free if that is what is right for you. Keep in touch and let me know how you are!!

  5. Beth says

    Last year I made the same choice to get a divorce. I was doing it all and it was never good enough. I had a short fuse with my 4 little ones and everyone else. Best decision I ever made was to get a divorce from my ex. We were married 2w shy of 10yrs. Life is so much better with out the problems caused by my ex and life continues to get better. I hope the peace and happiness keep coming to you as well. There are some great men out there still, I have found one and am now married to him. Keep pushing along it is all worth it :)

    • LoriPace says

      Thank you so much Beth! I realize every day just what a wonderful decision it was! Here’s to happiness! ;0)

  6. Kelly @ Texas Type A Mom says

    You have such amazing strength and clarity being able to recognize the situation you were in and the impact on your kids. I’m so happy that you’re not only getting by, but thriving since the divorce and are the mom you’ve always wanted to be!

    • LoriPace says

      Thank you so much, Kelly! It was a decision long in coming but once it was done, the weight lifted was amazing!!! Thank you so much for coming by and commenting!

  7. says

    You are a strong woman and made the best decision for you and your kids. It reminds me of the marriage my mom was in with my father. I used to wish they were separated because things were always better when they were apart. My dad was not a good husband nor a good father and I’m glad my mom finally decided to get out of the marriage after so many years with him. And I know it was hard for her because she also had four kids to raise on her own because he definitely was not stepping up to the plate. She I has been remarried to my stepdad for 10 years now and she couldn’t have made a better decision! Im happy god finally blessed her with a man that deserves her! Thanks for sharing! :-)

    • LoriPace says

      Thank you so much for the kind words, Kisha! I feel stronger everyday and my kids see it too! That is all that matters to me! 😉

  8. Journeysof TheZoo says

    It’s hard sometimes to admit the truth. Not only to others but ourselves. Good on you for doing what was right for you and your children. Can’t wait to hear about all your successes.

    Found you from your LinkedIn connection. Thanks for the connection.

    Besos, Sarah De Diego
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo
    Finding Humour in Everyday Life
    journeysofthezoo at hotmail dot com

  9. Erika says

    I read this and cried. I was strong during my first divorce, but when I left my second husband, I wasn’t as strong. Instead, I was too eager for the break and allowed him to walk all over me, including keeping the kids and resulting in my first husband getting custody of my oldest. I know now how strong you have to be during those times, I only wish my strength hadn’t come too late! Both my first & second marriage was abusive (emotionally and some physically) and I had let them wear me down. I hope many women can read more stories like yours before they let their husbands wear them down like I was.

    • LoriPace says

      Much love and hugs to you. Divorce is ridiculously hard, I don’t care how right the decision is for you and your children. But in the end, if it is the right decision for you, strength is in you that you may not even realize that you are using it. I am here of you need me! Stay strong and be who you are… Only good things can come from here!
      iPhone generated typos included.

  10. Kathy Ashford says

    My story is very similar except I stayed for 17 years and my x was extremely abusive. I suffered black eyes, broken ribs, had 17 stitches in my head and the list goes on. He made me think I could not make it without him. I was a high school dropout, did not have any job skills and he basically really thought me and my kids would be homeless without him. I finally got the courage to tell my family I needed help. Man were they awesome. I now have a college degree an awesome job and my children are now grown and are very amazing adults. My son is a Staff Sergeant in the army, my daughter has 2 children of her own and a loving husband and my other daughter is an amazing young woman with a happy marriage. I do not believe any of this would have happened if we stayed. I have been away from him for about 14 years and when we got our own place I sat my kids down they were in there early teens and apologized for allowing us to go through that. We all talked and cried and laughed and healed. After that we we a real family so much more than when he was there. We were not scared any more it was such a freedom. The only regret I have is that I did not get the courage sooner. Enjoy your kids childhood, also embrace life. It is so amazing when you have that confidence. Good luck and God bless.

    • LoriPace says

      YOU are amazing and I am so honored that you shared your story!! I stand and applaud your courage! It sounds like you got out when you were supposed to! Thank you so much for reading and commenting!! Sharing our stores can only make us stronger!


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