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Why Divorce Made Me a Better Parent

02/23/2015 11:39 am ET | Updated Apr 25, 2015

Divorce sucks. It doesn't matter if you were the divorcer or the divorcee, it doesn't matter who was at fault, none of that matters-- what does matter is that it's a time in your life when you are forced to hit a reset button. You can choose to use that reset button for good or not-so-good.

2015-02-18-divorcemademeabetterparent.jpg
Source: iStockPhoto

When kids are caught up in the middle of a divorce, things can get ugly. Fast. One minute everything is fine, you're deciding who takes the nice dining room table and who takes the crappy one, and then BAM -- you're screaming at each other over who gets Christmas with the kids in even years and who gets it in the odds.

Everyone knows Christmas is better in the odds. :)

No, but seriously, I hit that reset button, realigned my priorities, and divorce made me a better parent. Here's why...

  • I am happy. This one is pretty obvious, but before a marriage falls apart, it's pretty miserable. There's fighting, crying, ignoring, and just a general lack of interest amongst the spouses. Kids know it's happening and they feel like it's their job to keep it all together. But now that I am happy and her dad is happy, she is happy too. The fighting is behind us, and she gets to enjoy us as better people.
  • Guilt is a strong motivator. When she came to me and told me that all she wanted in life was to be a youtuber, I helped her out. Old me might have been too busy, but new me felt guilty enough to make it happen.
  • And that makes me the fun mom. I want every minute with her to be amazing, and I am willing to do anything to make that happen. Even if that means turning my back on friends, chores, whatever else needs to get done. (I can take care of that stuff when she's with her dad!)
  • More alone time with my child. You know that special warm and cuddly feeling you get with your kids when you tuck them into bed, listen to their stories and just "be" together. I get that all the time now. In the car, on the couch, playing video games, whatever -- it's our special mommy and me time. And I love it.
  • Scheduled breaks. I get to take scheduled breaks from constant supervision of my child. And when I do, I know that she is loved and cared for by someone who thinks she is the greatest thing in the history of ever and always has her best interests in mind. During these breaks I can focus on work, the house, my friends -- whatever I neglected while my kid was with me. (See above)
  • Holidays are awesome now. Let me be real here, spending a holiday without your child just feels wrong. That first Thanksgiving without her was one of the hardest days of my life. But, because of it, I ended up making Christmas extra special. I planned a special scavenger hunt, we started a Christmas breakfast tradition, and it was amazing.
  • And our vacations rock now, too! Honestly, before the divorce, we had pretty much stopped going on trips and traveling as a family -- because, duh. But now, now we take mini trips, bring friends along and it's just more fun.
What this all boils down to is I try harder. I think this is what I am trying to say, really. The thing is, I can never pretend to imagine what it's like to be from a two-home family, and I know it sucks for her. But I will continue to try my darndest to give her a good life. And that's what being a parent is all about.

This post originally appeared on TotallyTheBomb.com. Follow Jamie on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

2015-02-18-whydivorcehasmademeabetterparent.jpg
Source: iStockPhoto