Sitting with my children in my parents living room as we enjoy our weekly family movie nights, I find it hard to enjoy everyday conversation because I’m too distracted with my emotions.
Weekday afternoons andlong weekends have almost become unbearable. I spend so much time thinking about all of the fun things we used to do as a family, that’s it’s admittedly made it more difficult for me to parent in the present.
The pain and grief that comes from divorce is hard. While it’s not death in the literal sense, it is still death. I’m mourning the loss of a 10 year relationship, closeness and intimacy that I’ve had for years.
Shock, sadness, fear and hurt all encompass the process of grieving a divorce. The anger I experience is often a cover for other emotions. My best friend and confidant was gone, and as I sit on the stiff carpet, trying to focus on this movie, I’m reminded of just how different things are now and it becomes too much for me to bear.
I retreat to my bedroom, missing the rest of the movie because it’s just too hard. I’ve spent 10 months trying to figure out how to parent appropriately while grieving. Most of the time trying to hide my grief from the children because I don’t need them to see how upset I am.
Forcing me to submit: mind, body and soul to this impervious state is super demanding and something, I in the past, could never imagine myself going through.
I realized I was not as successful as I thought at hiding my grief. It was coming out in other ways. My children began picking up on my emotions and began reacting accordingly.
How to explain your mental state in a kid friendly way
Keeping it age appropriate, I explained to ny youngest, mommy was really sad and having a hard time. For my older child, I explained that divorce can bring out a wide variety of emotions, and just like he was hurting, mommy was hurting too.
I chose to keep it simple with both of them, if they wanted to know more I would say more, but they are always satisfied with my answer.
On the occasion they have seen me cry, I always say “I needed to cry for a moment” or “I’ll feel better once I’m done crying.”
Both are reassuring and instructive, letting my children know “this too shall pass”.
Grief can affect your ability to parent. Divorce is hard on everyone, when you have no tribe, it does become a little harder to deal with every day things.