Wow, what a difference two years makes. Two years ago at this time, my husband and I decided to separate. While so many people stay together for various reasons, including for the sake of their kids, we decided to separate for the sake of our kids -- among other things. And it's the best thing I could have done.
Now, looking back on my first few pieces, and my first two years as a mom on my own, I'm going back in order to move forward and to hopefully help others just starting their journey.
So here's my top 12 list after two years of separation.
1. I love living alone with my boys. Anything is possible once you are in a situation. So what might have seemed scary before, becomes perfectly routine -- so much so that I can't imagine it any other way.
2. I'm a better mom than I've ever been. No doubt. No question. I'm the mom in the pool now. And I can't get out! I've been on two vacations to beaches, and I can't wait to go back. I'm the mom on the ski slopes. I'm the mom doing the homework. I'm the mom shuttling my kids to playdates, classes and field trips all while working full time. I am actually a stay at home, full time working mom, and loving every minute of it.
3. I can do anything. You know when you complain that your spouse is traveling and it's so hard because you have to do dinner, bath, homework and bedtime all alone? You know that rainy, snowy morning when you're so glad your spouse can divide and conquer? You know when you don't know how you'll manage bedtime by yourself, or you've never traveled alone with your kids? I discovered I can do it all. And I do it happily. Even when there are emergencies and challenges along the way!
4. Friendships Do Change. Boy was I wrong. Or maybe just really hopeful. In my piece, "Reinventing Divorce," I wrote to our friends.
To our friends who are shocked and sad, please don't be.
We both deserve to be happy. We both deserve another chance. Our kids deserve to grow up in homes without tension, without arguments, without parents who are angry that they are still together.
We hope to learn from both of our divorced parents' ways.
You won't have to choose sides. You can continue with both of us.
And now, here's what I've learned about friends and divorce. You leave with whom you came in with. Friendships that were made as a couple are the trickier ones. For the most part, people pick one person. Or one party tries harder with the relationships they care about the most. Other friends feel awkward and back away. Facebook keeps people tied together who otherwise wouldn't stay in touch, or are on the "other side," thus giving a false sense of remaining relations.
5. I also wrote, "Don't Call Me A Single Mom." I still support the point of the piece, but stand corrected with the title until there is a better term that is universally recognized. While I'm thrilled to be "a single mom," my kids do have a dad, BUT I am often in a position of being "a single mom." I'm still thinking about this one.
And as far as the little things:
6. I love when my boys crawl in my bed in the middle of the night and I only have to answer to or judge myself.
7. I love giving my boys chocolate for breakfast as a treat and no one else has a say.
8. I can pay all of my bills (thanks to Chase for balancing for me!)
9. I can shop and no one cares what I come home with since I'm making my own money and report only to myself.
10. I can change lightbulbs but I'm still struggling with all of the remotes (it's amazing I haven't thrown them at the TV yet!)
11. I kill bugs without being squeamish.
12. I have mastered the system. I am happy, and I have a free babysitter when my kids are with their dad.