Friday, September 14, 2007

A Soon-to-Be Single Mom Manifesto


These last few months I feel like I’ve had to turn the Winnebago of my life around and head in a completely different direction. The landscape has changed and I’m trying to become accustomed to this new view. During a consultation with a lawyer I was told the people who best endure divorce do so by looking forward, not back. “You need to have a vision,” he said. “Of what you’d like your life to be.”

I’ve thought a lot about his advice. So much so that I’ve decided to create this, my Soon-to-Be Single Mom Manifesto. It’s only a draft, as is my life.

1. I will continue to work from home.
I want to minimize the impact of this divorce on my kids. Divorce is one of those major life changes, right? As is moving. As is going from having a stay-at-home mom to a working mom. As is suddenly having to spend lots of time with a sitter or daycare provider. I figure my kids should only have to endure one of those at a time. The truth is, I’m not raking in the dough as a freelance writer (as I squeeze writing sessions in between carpooling kids to school, making meals, avoiding laundry, and, well, blogging), but I believe it can work. And for now, I believe it’s the best thing for my kids.

2. I will try to stay in the house.
See above.

3. I will enjoy my children.
I have to remind myself about this one. The pain of divorce coupled with financial concerns can be distracting sometimes. And when I’m stressed I loose my patience and am not as eager to draw unicorns (in dresses with necklaces and earrings) for my daughter. But there are no Do-ey Overs in childhood so they deserve an attentive mom who’s present, accounted for, and when possible, ready to play. Today I took the kids to the river and we fed the ducks. For an hour we all seemed to forget our painful evolution from traditional to dysfunctional family. I’ve added “do more of that” to my list of priorities.

4. I will get healthy.
That, ladies, isn’t just about my keister, although that does need immediate attention. I’m also taking charge of my emotional health. There’s been so much turmoil these last few years that I’ve lost touch with who I am and am rediscovering, delightfully, what I’m all about.

5. I will not trash the soon-to-be ex-Hub.
See my post “The Bad News.” 'Nough said.

And that’s it. I think there’s something to say about looking beyond a painful situation to a brighter future that you have the power to create.

And now, I think I will create a nice, long bubble bath for myself. Happy Weekend, everyone!

19 comments:

Rachel said...

I have to say that you are the most unselfish person I have ever met/read. Thanks also for your comments about my story about my mom and dad. I appreciate it. I was wanting to post that story right about the time that you shared what you did about you and your husband so I thought that I should put a lid on it for a little while. I still had many reservations when I pushed that post button last Thursday. You were on my mind and I didn't want to hurt you at a time like this.
That being said...I hope you are enjoying your bubble bath at this time and I certainly know that we both should be in bed!! Crazy night bloggers!

Candygirlflies said...

You can do this, Shauna, and you and your kiddos are going to be just fine. In fact, in time, you are all going to wind up doing a whole lot better than ever!

Your goals are wonderful; admirable. And, it sounds as though you've entered into this process with a wonderful lawyer, who is someone who is thinking about your well-being, and not just your "case". That, friend, is a rarity-- you've made a good choice!!

You just take all of this one step at a time. Remember to hug your kids, and look after yourself, more than anything else! I know you will.

We're all out here, cheering you on and ready to lend our support whenever you need us!!

xo CGF

suburbancorrespondent said...

What the heck ever happened to alimony? At what point did our society decide that it was okay for a man to leave his wife and kids and tell his wife, "Get a job," as if she hasn't been working all along (just not for pay). I'm not ragging on your ex, it's our society and our judicial system that allows this travesty. So now you are supposed to have 2 jobs? The one you were already doing (running the household and taking care of the children, which is a full-time job, dammit), plus another one to be able to support yourself? Yes, I know there is child support; but that doesn't cover all of it. No wonder so many women are scared to not have a paying job - our society isn't there for them when their sworn source of support walks off.

Annie said...

I wish you all the best. A difficult journey, but hopefully will be less so with your positive, 'forward facing' attitude.

shauna said...

Rachel, that was so kind of you to think about me when considering whether or not to publish your last post. I'm also a child of divorce so I can appreciate how difficult this is for my kids; and I can also appreciate just how amazing it is that your parents are getting back together.

By the way, I did enjoy my bath (and didn't go to bed until well after 1:30. *sigh* We're crazy night bloggers--and bathers--all right!).

Candygirlflies, What can I say. You're always so amazingly supportive!

suburbancorrespondent, Wow! Maybe you should be my lawyer. :) In the ex-Hub's defense, however, I have to say he didn't just walk out. This was a mutual decision that's been difficult for both of us. He's also ensured, during this transitional state, that we have enough money to pay the bills, etc. I've just been anxious, considering the direction things are going, to make enough money on my own so that I can continue to stay home.

Annie, as always, thanks for your support. In fact, ladies, thanks to all of your for this amazing support!

Karen (Pediascribe) said...

Again, I'm so sorry you have to go through this, but I respect and admire the way you're handling it. (hugs)

shawn said...

Shauna ... as one walking a similar journey ... keep your head up ... be strong ... be brave ... and most of all - look after those beautiful children of yours.

My life has been a time of transition for the last year with a seperation from my wife ... it has not been easy and it has not been pleasant ... but ... at the end of the day I need to look after ME and my children ... the rest pales in comparison

It's a journey we must trod for wholeness, for health and sometimes for the wellness of all involved.

Your words and your goals resonate deeply within me ... Take the journey one step at a time and know that you're on the right path.

Anonymous said...

I am excited for you to be able to rediscover yourself. I know everything will work out because you have an amazing family that loves you and is willing to help whenever you need it. Just don't forget that. Love ya, jen

The Rose Family said...

Shauna,

I'm not sure that I've even ever met you, but Erin speaks highly of you all the time.
I'm sure that htis is a difficult time for you, but I'm proud of your attitude of progress instead of wallowing. I had a similar discussion with my own mother a while ago when our family was going through a very turbulent time and I said that when life is changing all around you, you can fight to make it the way it was again, or you can make it the way you always wanted it to be. Sounds like you are choosing option two-- so HOORAY FOR SHAUNA!! Your kids will always be proud of you for putting them first, but don't sacrifice your own self. Make sure you keep that part of the manifesto too. I don't even really know you and I'm proud of you!!!! Hugs!--- Rach

pinkmorning said...

Shauna - that is great advice to look forward to what you want your life to be. all to often, i look back and dwell on the pain when i think of what could have been. even now, i often think of how old our baby would be, what we would be doing, and i just can't shake my sadness. i try to move forward every day. i know our situations are very different, but i wanted to thank you for your inspiring post.

LikeAstaR said...

You are so great to understand the impact of your life's experience has on your hcildren. You are intuitive, and thoughtful. As a child of divorce and then a death (my story seems to be unfolding on cyberspace quickly), I am so happy that you put your hcildren first. You have obviously given this much thought and consideration. Blessings to your family!

Bananas said...

I SO love your perspective. You'll be fine. Your kids will be fine. I can just TELL.

my minivan is faster than yours said...

You sound so emotionally heatlthy already! You've got a plan which is half the battle (I think and hope)! I'm rooting for you!

Karen said...

And I love the way you write too! I will definitely be checking back daily if not hourly (that's me spiking your stats!) And given the circumstances, let me introduce you to another one of my friends, Leah at
www.nursingatkeyboard.blogspot.com
You already like her name so I know you'll like her story. It's the same as yours. We just never know how it will end! Trust yourself.

Anonymous said...

Shauna... You are great! You and your kids will be OK because of you. Doesn't mean there won't be some bumps and dips along the way, but you will probably be alot happier and be able to get back to the person you really are. Funny how that happens when we get rid of some extra baggage! Hang in there!
By the way....ask for "separate maintenance" the new term for alimony.

Eileen said...

Shauna, You are so brave and such a good mom. Your goals are good ones, ones that will get you through this difficult time, step by step. Being there for your children, not bad mouthing your ex and trying to be positive, even when you don't always feel it, is such a mature and healthy attitude. I am in awe of you!

With your writing talents and skills, you should have no problem working from home. You do have a gift, a gift of writing and connecting with people.

Hope your sleeping better.
Sending good thoughts and light your way.

Mama Zen said...

You are handling this with such grace. Don't forget to take care of yourself in the midst of everything.

Gustogirl said...

I must admit that I have put off commenting because I don't really know what to say. Nothing I say will make anything easier or better and I don't want to sound trite. I am sorry that you are going through this hard time, but you are right to always keep what is best for your children on the forefront of your mind. They are the innocent ones in all of this. Keep pushing forward and hopefully you will find the light at the end of this tunnel you are in. I have been thinking of you.

Erin said...

Yeah Shauna! That is a great plan! (I am salivating thinking of the bubble bath--I don't think I've had one since Jill was born.) Good luck with everything. Congrats on taking charge of what happens to you and the kids. Give them our love. Rory found a pony at DI and said "look, it's like Leah's pony."