It has been almost five years since my last blog post. To say a lot has changed would be an understatement…
When I started to blog in 2013, I was newly married with four young kids at home in a blended family. We were so incredibly happy and the kids were thriving in our new blended family. We had difficult relationships with our former spouses so I found it to be cathartic to write about my experiences. As time went by, I was inundated with stories from other divorced families who were experiencing the same difficulties we were experiencing. At the time, I wrote a lot about how the situations we were encountering would affect the children in the future. I started a book about my experiences, but I have put the book on hold so I can see how some of these situations play out prior to publishing.
Many people have wondered why I stopped writing five years ago. Up until that point, I thought I was doing pretty great with the co-parenting thing. I may not have done everything right, but I worked hard to keep the peace and to try to do whatever possible to make things easier for my kids. We were on a good custody schedule and everyone was happy. Then five years ago, when our youngest two girls were becoming teenagers, things went horribly wrong. Situations happened in our life that made me think, “Why am I writing about this stuff, when I clearly have no idea what I am doing?” I had tried everything I could think of to improve our relationships and they were only getting worse. My stepdaughter stopped speaking to us and we had no idea why. My stepson moved in with us full time for a while and then left full time. My kids were spending more time with their dad and I was struggling with the new 60/40 split when they had predominately been with me since birth. It was a very hard time in my life and so I stopped doing the one thing that used to bring me peace. I stopped writing about it.
I gave up on the thing that I believed in from the beginning. I gave up on co-parenting. I gave up on trying. I stopped talking about it to Joe. I sadly chose to not think about the kids when they were not with us. It was my coping mechanism. If I thought about it like they were just away at boarding school, then I could handle it better. I just shut down. Sure we still went to all of their games and we still had my kids a couple days a week… during those times I could feel normal, kind of. However, I wasn’t completely happy.
Over the past five years, I have spent all of my energy into growing a successful real estate career and focusing on my friendships. I stopped trying to force relationships that were obviously not working. I stopped texting. I stopped lecturing. I stopped trying. It wasn’t until we became empty nesters that things finally feel right again… Ironically, we have better relationships with all four kids than we have in years. They are free to make their own decisions and so it’s such a blessing now to have them FaceTime, call, visit, etc… We genuinely have a great time together every time they are home.
As a mother, my biggest desire for my children is for them to go out in the world and accomplish great things while learning to be independent. I want them to make their own decisions and shape their own futures. Of course I am here to talk and advise when needed, but for me the biggest success will be for them to make something of themselves and travel and try new things and meet new people. One son will be finishing his degree in accounting next year and our youngest is a freshman playing basketball in college who has already decided she wants to move to NYC when she graduates. Our oldest son is working full time and our oldest daughter is working to go back to college. I am so proud of them as they all work toward their goals. I want to watch them all soar!
My point in writing all of this is to give hope to those who may not have the best relationship with their kids after divorce. Parental alienation is real and very insidious. So if things are not great or if your kids are on the “team” of the other parent and don’t think they can love you both or if you just can’t get them to even answer the phone or see you… there is hope. There will come a day when they see the whole picture. It will take some maturity on their part, but it does happen. They will finally understand that they can love both parents and that there is no competition in that. And let me tell you that it is a beautiful day when it happens. Your relationship will become stronger than ever and you will have hope for what the future holds. Look at me… I am even writing again! Keep loving them every single day and they will come back. ❤