Why 'Choose Your Battles' Became My Rallying Cry After Divorce
If there's ever a time you need a little distraction in your life, it's during the divorce process. That's why we launched our Divorce Care Package series. With each post, we'll show you what things -- books, movies, recipes -- helped others relieve stress in the midst of divorce, in the hopes that a few of their picks will serve you well, too. Want to share what got you through your divorce? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @HuffPost Divorce
These days, writer Valerie DeLoach is happily remarried and busy blogging about blended family on her site, Life In A Blender. But for a long time before that, she was a divorced mom of two figuring out how to get her bearings after years of being married.
"What really got me through my divorce is hope," she told us. "Not necessarily hope to find a man, but hope that the everything is going to be okay. Although I stayed a single mom for almost nine years, I knew that God had a plan for me that would be extraordinary. I was right!"
Below, DeLoach shares a few things that inspired her to move forward after her divorce, from a much-needed trip to New Orleans, to a sticky note that told her everything she needed to know about co-parenting with her ex.
"The quote I have clung to the most throughout my divorce and co-parenting years is 'choose your battles.' I even have a sticky note stuck on my desk with this quote on it. The fact of the matter is that when you have two people who were once married but who now have to put that aside and raise kids, there are going to be disagreements. Plenty of them. Regularly. If there weren’t, then you would still be together. But if you have kids, you can’t fight your ex every single time you disagree or hear something you don’t like. Let's face it: If you did, then you would be fighting nonstop every single day. So you really do have to choose your battles. Only fight him or her if it’s something that is truly important. If it’s not a big ticket item, then let it go. It is best for your children."
“'The song that reassured me after my divorce was 'If It’s The Beaches' by the Avett Brothers. It always stuck out to me as a song of hope. I dated plenty of guys who lacked many, if not ALL, of the qualities I was looking for in a man. I vividly remember hearing this song and knowing that there were guys out there who would put aside everything else just for me -- someone who would give me whatever I desired, just to get me to stay. I had never seen such selfless love before from a man, so this song helped me believe that kind of love was even possible."
"My biggest splurge after my divorce was a trip to New Orleans. I turned 30 two weeks after our separation, so I went on a fun trip to Bourbon Street with some girlfriends. We had the best time. There were no hook-ups or anything sordid like that. We just went to enjoy our friendship and celebrate my birthday. I was right in the throes of the separation at the time, or 'in the trenches' as I always refer to it, so the trip was much needed to help calm my anxious heart."
"My hobby after divorce was doing everything I could to improve myself. I joined up with a couple of friends and I started running. I even did a Spartan Race with all of the mud and obstacles. There are plenty of hobbies you can choose, but I think the best hobbies are the ones that will help you to better yourself. Your kids need you to be healthy -- mentally and physically -- during the divorce and the aftermath. I also started seeing a psychiatrist who helped me with all of the emotions I was dealing with and helped me know how to best talk to my kids as they went through hard times. Your kids need you more than ever when you are going through a divorce, so they need you to be the best YOU that you can be."
"I could not have gotten through my divorce without my friends. Depending on your custody arrangement, you most likely will all of sudden find yourself with a lot of alone time without the kids. It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself and feel lonely, but friends helped keep me out of that rut. I knew that when the kids were with their dad, I would always have someone to spend time with. I had friends who would drop anything to come over and have a glass of wine on the porch. Or I would go hang out at their house with their family. Or even friends who would get a sitter just to come have dinner out with me. I hardly ever felt alone and I am thankful to everyone who has been a friend to me because of that."
Troels Graugaard via Getty Images
"While I am sure this is insulting to some of the guys that I dated while newly divorced, many of them were merely a distraction. It’s my observation (which I have seen a million times now) that when someone ends their marriage, the next person they seriously date is usually the complete opposite of their former spouse. My friends and I like to say that they are 'overshooting.' They had a husband who had certain traits, so they went to the polar opposite end of the spectrum with the next. The problem is that overshooting is not necessarily the right thing; there could be a happy medium that you are missing. And of course, a lot of people find themselves marrying the first person who comes along -- who then ends up being their second ex-husband or ex-wife. So what worked for me was to date...a lot. It helped me to see qualities that I would like in a husband and it helped me to see qualities that were absolute dealbreakers. As a result, ten years later I found a man who possessed ALL of the qualities I had been looking for all those years...and we got married. Settling was never an option."
The Work Of Art
"I bought this photo titled, Love Birds, taken by Heather White, at a silent auction at my children’s school. I hung it in a prominent place in my office so it was a constant reminder that there was someone out there for me. I wasn’t looking for someone to 'complete me,' because I was already complete, but I knew there was someone out there who could compliment me perfectly. Again, it was all about HOPE."
The Happy Place
"You need to find your happy place after divorce. For me, that was the beach. For years following my divorce, I would go to the beach every weekend. The kids would go with me when they were with me or I would take friends and go without them if they were with their dad. I have such a peace and happiness when I am on the water. To this day, if something is really working on me and causing me anxiety, then I head to the beach. There is something about the sand in your toes with a cold beer in your hand that just makes everything else seem insignificant -- even something as life-sucking as a divorce."