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Easing Seperation Anxiety; A Guide for Divorced Moms
When I first had to leave my son at the Daycare I thought a part of me was going to just wither away and die. After three months of being at home with my little one I had to join the work force yet again. I knew the day would come but never so quick. The Daycare I chose was not far from my home nor as it far from my work.. I could even come to the Daycare bad breastfeed my child every day. But the day I left him there with people I didn't know very well was just heart wrenching. My son didn't see m to mind as he was still all little and snugly in his blanket. I remember weeping hysterically in my car so no one would see me. And I even felt bad about it. Nevertheless everything went well and day after day it was easier for me to leave him. whew I thought.. this separation anxiety is over.. or was it?
Months passed and I discovered the man of my dreams was not so dreamy any more. Divorce came as well as child custody.. which was sort of amiably spilt. All of the sudden my little one was not with me every other weekend. No little feet chasing me. no giggling child underneath the blanket. No one to say Mooooommm every minute...A gast there I was again in the same circumstances as before.. facing a separation from my son. This time the guilt was horrible. I would imagine all sorts of horrible scenarios that he would encounter at his father's home. I felt empty, lifeless, worth less. Being a mom is tough. Being a divorced mom is even tougher. Just as every mother recognizes their child is the center of your world. without them we sort of cease to exists. I tried to fill the void of may child not being there. I admit at first I handled it badly. I was going out and filing my time wastefully.. then I began to learn to cope with his absence so slowly.
The feeling I was dealing with the strongest was the feeling of guilt. The guilt was two fold. In one instance I was feeling guilty for not being with my child to protect nurture and teach him every step of the way. the other part of the guilt was not being productive. Now admit it moms.. you know that is our big driving force in life to provide and be productive for our kids. I was searching a little for myself as well as searching for my purpose once again. I tied the bar scene for a bit but it really wasn't for me. I don't really drink, definitely don't smoke and hanging around drunk people when you are not that drunk is not that entertaining. I had to search again for the person I was before I got married.
One of the things I did to feel productive was to start journaling. I started ajournal for myself and started reading some self help books, but found them to be far fetched. I had another journal for negative feelings. I kept a journal about my ex and his actions towards me. This helped get out any negative feelings and put them in a book. The negative feelings stayed there and did not interfere with my relationship with my son. The other journal I started was a Mommy Journal. It is a journal of events in my son's life that I want him to remember. I also feel it is a way for him to know how much I love him when he gets older. The Mommy journal is full of little mementos such as a movie tickets to our first movie ( the Bee Movie) or a ribbon off a special present.
Another thing I found to be helpful was exercise. Walking is more my thing because it is mindless and you can solve a lot of problems through just walking and thinking. Walking or any other form of exercise releases endorphins in you body. Endorphin make you happy so you want to make sure to exercise regularly :) Also note taking fish oil vitamins and green tea helps keep my mood up too!
Create Interests Unique to You
It was difficult at first, filling my time with things, wondering how my little bug was doing. Was he thinking of me? Was he having fun? Did he have a good day? But as time wore on I began to find the things that interested me and began to develop me.. a new me. here is alist of things that I find that I like to do.
I love polymer clay. I love to work with it Love to put it together and just create. I love to stand back after creating something and just look at it an appreciate it. This is a part of me I left behind before I got married. I spent a lot of my married life problem solving things that were out of my hands anyway.
I like to draw. I know I am not great at it but I like it and will continue to do it just for me.
I love hubbing. It is a new way for me to create explore and learn. I like taking pictures, printing them and creating a scrapbook. yep I got one started for my boy and he helps me on it some days.
I like refinishing cabinets. It makes me feel good that I can accomplish a wood working project on my own. I would have never tried this before.
As you can see I have developed a list of things that I never knew to be a part of me before. And you can to. All you have otdo is try. You can be a happier healthier, stronger person if you do.
Don't be a Loner
Even though you may be feeling worthless or alone in your problems Don't try to go it alone. Try to talk it over with friends. If you get a chance to get a girlfriends night out, go for it. The more you surround yourself with your friends the better you will feel. Your friends will be an objective sounding board for your feelings as well. Maybe your divorce puts you in a situation to get new friends. Join some groups to meet new gals. I am sure there are some support groups for divorced moms in your area. Look for a MOPS ( Mothers of Preschoolers) or join the PTA of your child's school. If you are interested join a church Do some volunteer work once a week. Look up 211.org for information about volunteer services in your area. Blog sites or Facebook is Ok for support but don't let them be your only support. Face to face contact is necessary!
Since you have time on your hands it does not hurt t plan ahead a little. Since there is visitation I get my pocket calendar out and make note of the visitation days and weekends. I plan activities such as movies or trips to Grammies house. I try not to plan too much time in the car because that is time wasted when we could be playing! The activities could be as simple as pumpkin carving, making cookies or having a picnic!
As I write this hub I laugh to myself because it is only this year as my child goes off to preschool that I recognize I will experience separation anxiety over and over again. His first day that I took him to preschool and left him there, it was not so much as a "Bye Mom" and he was gone in a flash! Couldn't he just pretend to miss me a little bit? I know it is all the natural progression of things and part of getting older. But as he gets older and goes through more milestones these feelings will surely pop up again. I hope if you are going through anxiety about missing your child you take special care of yourself.!