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The Big Lesson I Learned From My Parents' Separation

Updated on June 25, 2017

I am almost 26 years old, and my parents separated when I was 18 and about to leave for college. It has probably been the longest separation I have seen, and trust me when I say my whole family including my own parents would love to see them get divorced finally. I always joke that by the time I sign my own marriage license, they will be signing their divorce papers.

When everyone was talking about how 2016 was the worst year, I couldn't help but agree with them. My parents financial situation finally got the best of them and ended in my Dad losing the dream house he worked so hard on in years past to afford. I know that there is worse that could happen, but it was still a sad situation and also beyond stressful. But with life's biggest tragedies also comes life's biggest lessons.

As a kid, my family was lucky enough to have the financials where my mom was able to stay at home with both my younger brother and I. Of course both him and I attended preschool and kindergarten programs, but we were fortunate enough to not have to spend our days in child care or after school programs because both our parents had to work. My mom was your basic housewife, she took care of us during the day and cooked, cleaned, did everyone's laundry, and drove us back and forth to play dates and dance classes. Where was her life outside of us?

I still remember the day my dad left the summer I was going into college. And what I remember most is being in the car with my mom while she told me my dad wasn't coming back and her being a mess afterwards. While she still managed to get out of bed everyday, my mom didn't have much to turn to except a glass of wine to help her deal with the fact that her marriage was falling apart. She didn't have any hobbies or job to go to during the day. She just had her kids and what was left of her husband.

As much as I don't want to go to work some days just as any human being does, I can't imagine leaving my work for good after having children some day. The thought of being a housewife truly gives me anxiety, and I can pretty much chalk that up to seeing what my mom went through after my dad left. I'm always amazed that some of my close girlfriends who are smart and also college educated, cannot wait for the day when they finally do not have to work anymore because they have a husband to support them. I guess for me I have seen first hand that what and who is here today could be gone in a second tomorrow.

Yes, I still believe in marriage and having children. And while they say that 50% of marriages end in divorce, it still doesn't stop me from wanting to marry someone I truly love. What I believe is that life happens, shit happens. We don't know when a spouse could get sick, injured, or suddenly die. We don't know that someone who we thought was our soulmate could get up and walk out the door one morning. I feel that it's so important as a woman with a spouse and children to have at least that part-time job to fall back on in case the worst happens. And what is more important as woman, you remember you are more than someone's wife and mother.


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    • Adusei Emmanuel profile image

      Adusei Appiah Emmanuel 7 months ago from Kumasi

      You are right Kelsey, we should learn not to depend on people. As a woman you must always be self reliance because you may not know when the worst will happened to you and your kids.

    • Kelsey Johnsen profile image

      Kelsey Elizabeth 7 months ago from Chicago

      Thank you so much for your comment! This is exactly what I hoped people would get out of this article. This is my first published article on hubpages so your comment was very encouraging to keep me writing more!

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 7 months ago

      Excellent article!

      "I'm always amazed that some of my close girlfriends who are smart and also college educated, cannot wait for the day when they finally do not have to work anymore because they have a husband to support them." - In 2017, it's sad but true!

      A lot of women see men/husbands as winning lottery tickets or human ATMs. Generations ago women went to college hoping to meet a man from a well to do family. The education was secondary.

      A lot of women knowingly trade their youth & beauty for financial support. They know they have short shelf-life to get a successful husband. However if we're being honest one of the driving forces for men to achieve success is to have the opportunity to attract beautiful women regardless their own looks. Men accept the fact that beautiful women want to be with rich or successful men. The outside world may call these women "gold diggers" or "trophy wives" but this is life.

      If a woman is beautiful enough she can walk into a nightclub and men will buy her drinks all night long. Some man will come along and pay her bills as well as provide a good life for her.

      On the other hand if she's average or less than average looking she probably will have to hit the books and establish a career for herself.

      However if we're being honest most people would choose not to work if they had a "choice". The very definition of work means doing one thing when you'd rather be doing something else.

      This explains why so many people purchase lottery tickets!

      Having said that your article offers a good reason why people should always choose to be the "driver" and not the "passenger" in their lives. No matter what your situation is you have to have a viable "Plan B" and everyone needs to maintain individuality.

      Life is a (personal) journey!