Flipping through the newspaper and nursing your morning mocha on a peaceful Sunday is the reoccurring image in your head. You can’t wait to trade all the tension for time alone once your divorce is final.
Of course, every time a parent dares to dream of peace and quiet, it’s a sure bet that a sibling fire will need smoldering.
“Barbie’s head fell off because she forced the sweater!” fumes your first born. “It was fine until I had to wiggle it past her boobies!” shouts the younger one.
And just like Carly Rae Jepsen’s fame, your visions of peaceful solitude are gone.
“Look girls,” you reprimand. “Barbie’s sweater is two sizes too small, and she was bound to break at some point. Now, unlike Barbie, I can put my foot down, so you two need to separate until you can play nicely!”
Despite the obnoxious foot stomping and growling your kids are doing now, you’re miraculously able to get back to dreaming. You even crack a smile admitting that, at this moment, your shared-custody agreement is looking as attractive as the pool boys over at the Four Seasons.
The reality, of course, is that once your divorce if final and you’re forced into stints of solitude, being without your kids can be torture. Your cry-fests have left the day’s mascara dragging to your chin on more than one occasion, and you swear there would be no problem having to squash a squabble if only your kids could be with you this weekend.
Oh, and sprinkle in ex anxiety – Could he possibly still be drinking? Would he dare bring around his flavor of the month? Does he act like a Disneyland Dad all the time? – and you’re pretty much feeling qualified to do nothing more than binge-watch Louis C.K. So much for the dream of newspaper sifting and mocha sipping!
But there’s hope when it comes to your solo success and here’s what you should know: You have to get out – whether it’s with one person, a group of gal pals or simply by yourself. And the sooner you do it, the better you’ll feel.
So realize you’re emotionally and physically exactly where you should be. And now is the time to move your interests – you know, those things that used to hide in the wings while you were married – to center stage.
Bask in the arts. Every city or town is noted for something. If you live in a large city like New York or Los Angeles, you can probably name 10 museums, playhouses, monuments, historical tours and exhibitions you’ve never seen. Choose one of those jewels and let your discoveries shine. See a traveling exhibit or a centuries-old building that someone smaller than four feet tall would have no interest in. Download the apps Field Trip and Gravy to find real-time events that fit your mood.
Hike in the foothills. The Internet has given birth to little known hiking and walking trails in your area. Get yourself in gear for a day of outdoor adventure and discover some hidden pathways. Breathe the fresh air, take solace in nature’s bountiful gifts and be grateful that your body and mind – despite what you’ve just been through – can rejoice in breathtaking views and the wonder of nature. Bring a journal if you want – personal discoveries are bound to take shape!
Listen where it’s live. Grab some friends and head out for live entertainment. This doesn’t have to mean boozing it up in a bar trolling for your new man – in fact, it shouldn’t. Find an upbeat spot – a restaurant-bar with a live band or a comedy house featuring a nationally known comedian visiting on tour. The sooner you can laugh and enjoy, the better you’ll be able to see the blessings in front of you.
Feast on exotic foods. Enough of the chicken fingers already. You have your own budding tastes that need to get fed. Enroll in a sushi-making or exotic cooking class, or solicit some single friends and invite a chef into your home to give the gals a personal cooking class. Learn quick-cooking tips and discover a simple, new recipe sure to heat things up on a date. Yes, you will one day cook for someone special.
Discover new authors. Check online or in the newspaper for local film and book festivals, author book signings and artist meet-and-greets. You know the book you relied on every day during your divorce? Find out if the author is speaking in your area. Take your reading and writing interests a step further and research opportunities to find out more about the works from authors, entrepreneurs and artists willing to connect with you on a personal level.