What role did you play in your marriage? Did you work? Did you care for your children? If you were (still are) your children’s primary caretaker, you filled some giant shoes comprised of hard, yet gratifying, work. Your responsibilities included caring for your children, scheduling your children’s activities and managing the household – always keeping you busy, keeping you organized and filling up your planner.
This divorce will change everything. Now, these new changes mean that these responsibilities will be shared with your ex, or, with a third party. Things will not get done the way that you would like them to anymore. This is a difficult adjustment.
It is a scary change for many stay-at-home moms and dads to find employment out of necessity created by their divorce. Let’s face it, it’s a letdown! It’s a threat. It’s a threat to your ability to witness each of your children’s milestones or to wipe away each tear from their precious faces.
Many would agree – being away from your children due to work obligations is a hard pill to swallow, and yet we do it every day out of basic necessity. Some of us do it because it is also rewarding to our own feelings of self-worth. I am not saying all working mothers and fathers feel so dreadful about waking up each day to go to work- many find their work satisfying! However, if it feels crappy and it creates a great amount of guilt on you for being in the class of “working parents” read on. Sometimes the need to put food on the table forces us to send that resume or fill out that application in order to provide the bare necessities to our families.
So, if your divorce is forcing you back into employment, consider the following advantages to working after your divorce.
1. You get to socialize with adults again! You will live to forget the opening songs to Caillou and Elmo!! Yes! You will actually talk to people that have seen the latest scary movie at the movie theater and whose favorite television show is on at 10:00 p.m.
2. Quality vs. Quantity! Your planned activities and time with your children will carry greater meaning for you and for your children. You will all learn to appreciate your time together as well as recognize the need to create happy moments together during your scheduled time. As a working mom, I make an effort to do puzzles and to bake with my five-year-old. These are the things that she likes to do, and I don’t allow myself to come up with excuses to avoid them – I do it because she loves it, and her happiness makes me happy. You can still create great memories with your children and you will value the time that you have together in a new and better perspective.
3. Appreciate the feeling of being needed! Adding value to the world outside of the home is great for your self-esteem. You are an intelligent and responsible employee that adds value to your employer’s business. You are contributing to society not only by rearing children but by working outside the home again as well. Explore your creativity, your management ability or your multi-tasking skills and know that all of your gifts are a positive contribution to your work environment.
4. Taking on a new role and finding your purpose! You are now an employee. This new opportunity is coming to you at a prime time in your life when re-inventing yourself is in full swing. So, explore what kind of work you like to do. Explore what kind of work adds to your expectations of the world around you and what kind of work makes you feel like you are creating good in the world.
5. Show your children your strength! Entering the workforce after a long absence can be frightening. Your role has changed and this change within your family unit is the one last event that significantly interferes with how you envisioned your life plan. However, by contributing to the financial pot, your children will see that you are strong and ready to conquer any challenge that is thrown your way. Not only are you their caretaker and “personal manager” but now you are superwoman or superman in their eyes by working basically two jobs – both of which are to help support and nurture them. You will be teaching them that when the going gets tough the tough get going and it’s an invaluable lesson for them. They will see you as someone who can weather any storm. Strength is learned by example.
See the positive side of your employment because it is a positive. See it as a new opportunity to become a new you and as a way to move you down the road to freedom. See it as an opportunity for your children to learn new faces and see new places – to learn to be a little more independent each and every day, just as you are. You are in this learning process together. And like anything new, at first there will be some discomfort. But be aware of it, and realize that this new avenue in your life is taking you to a bigger and better destination- and it’s exciting!