**Disclaimer: This article is not meant to shame, hurt or offend anybody who may have had these statements, or any variation of them, come out of their mouths. It is not meant to make light of a very serious situation. This is purely meant for entertainment. Deal with it.
As a recently divorcing woman with two young children, I have been met with some of the most annoying comments by innocent people who, I know, are simply trying to help me. For some people, they simply do not know what to say during a hard time for another so they say anything. I mean ANYTHING.
I want to help you out and give you some guidelines of inappropriate options. Feel free to disregard all of my suggestions and continue on, but at least you will now be informed. That’s all I can do.
Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!
Never say any of the following. If you have said this one time or another, don’t feel bad. It was probably innocent. But. Just. Don’t. Do. It. Again.
No, really don’t.
1) “I’m so sorry”
Sorry for what? I didn’t wake up one day and say, “oh hey, today seems like the greatest day to divorce my husband and father of my children.” If a couple is getting divorced, they likely have had serious issues going on behind closed doors and separation is the best idea. There is nothing to be sorry about. In fact, I feel sorry. I feel sorry that there are so many couples who remain unhappily married.
No really. What are you sorry for? I have asked people this question, and in response, most of the time, I get, “I’m sorry that you are going through this.” Going through what? A hard time that will eventually end up better for everyone involved. Well, I’m not sorry. So, please don’t be sorry for me.
2) “Have you tried counseling?”
Nope. I just thought, let me make the most devastating life changing decision on a whim. In my case, yes we tried counseling but when the root of the issue is that a couple is irreparable, ain’t no counselor in the world gonna fix that! I chose to end the marriage, and in my opinion, that’s enough. Why do I have to back my decision up with supporting evidence that we tried to make it work?
3) “All couples have problems.”
Really? NO! Say it ain’t so! I got it. I know that. But I made the choice to end mine and deal with the consequences. Some choose to stay and work it out. End of story. How is this helpful again?
4) “How are you going to be able to handle the finances?”
How is this any of your business? It would be rude for me to ask your salary and your husbands salary and ask how your family handles your bills, right? So why is it not rude for you to ask me this? Here’s how… I’m going to handle it just like I handle everything. One day at a time.
5) “Are the kids going to be ok?”
Probably not. They will probably end up prostitutes and gang bangers because of a decision that will ultimately create a non-toxic, healthy living environment for them. Duh! Yes, they are going to be ok. Marriages should not remain because of the kids. A marriage is between two consenting adults who choose to spend the rest of their lives with another person. Parenting is between two adults that have chosen to create another life. Two separate issues. Just because I am ending my marriage, does not mean my parenting contract is up. The kids will be fine. Hell, they might even be happier! It’s an adjustment for everyone but everything will be fine. It always is.
Now, here's what you should say.
“Wow, rough road ahead. You will be fine. If you need anything, just let me know.”
End of story. Done. No more. No less.
The important thing to remember, is when that person reaches out to you. Stay quiet. No advice. No judgment. Nothing. If they ask for help and you can help them, then help them. Please remember it is important to help them the way that they have asked to be helped. Not the way you think would be helpful. Just listen to them. Do what they ask.
You will probably hear the same story over and over and over. You will be met with many different sides of this person. One minute, they are fine, ready to take this head on. The next, they want to crawl in a ball and give up. In the next conversation, they may be laughing, crying, angry, confused. Your job. Do NOTHING. Just let them ride the roller coaster with a friend who is ready for anything and who will just be there.
When the reality and the truth finally came out that my marriage was over and I had filed for divorced, I didn’t know who I could talk to. Of course, I went straight for my already divorced friends. I avoided the happy newlyweds like the plague. I avoided people in general sometimes. None of that made me really feel better, but it helped me deal a little until I was ready for more.
Support can come from the strangest of places. I shared with a co-worker that I was divorcing. What she did was life changing. She had been through a divorce as well and gave zero advice. She simply identified her feelings that she had experienced when she was going through her divorce. Voila! The situations were entirely different, but the feelings were exactly the same. A person I never thought would “get it” GOT IT! My lesson, don’t avoid people. You never know who can help.
That conversation, sparked me to find other single moms. Not that I didn’t want to hang out with my married moms, but I couldn’t take anymore looks of pity or the avoidance of telling me that they were getting ready to sit down as a family to eat. Yes, that happened. As if because I’m divorced now, my family is ruined and we don’t sit down to eat. We just heat up our microwave dinners silently and eat in between tears now. Ha!
But where do I find these women? I’m not about the dramatic Facebook groups that whine about being a single parent. That complain about their exes all the time. That spewed unhealthy advice. In fact, I left most Facebook groups that had any amount of drama. I found myself dipping my big toe in the murky waters of the whiny pond. That certainly didn’t help.
I want to be surrounded by empowered single moms. Moms that took this situation and made something of themselves and their kids. I found MomCo.
Yes, they really did have “an app for that.” I’m not kidding you though, it really helped me.
Although, this app has helped me find other moms in my area that is not what changed my view of this app. Playdates are great, forums are wonderful, reading articles from other mom bloggers are therapeutic. But, that’s not what helped me the most.
It was when one of the creators of this app and I had a personal conversation. She shared that she had been through this. That she is a single mom. She let me share how I was feeling. She did everything the way it was most helpful for me. Which wasn’t much. She was just there. She encouraged me to power on. Her words were helpful but her actions were more powerful.
This app is created by one hell of a woman that took her situation and turned it around to help, inspire and empower other moms. Not just divorced, single moms. Moms in general. Because, in the end, a mom is a mom is a mom. We don’t need relationship labels, we need support from each other.It is because of this strangers openness to be there for me and allow me to vent that changed my view of this app. It is what this app symbolizes to me now. It is seeing the product of hard work and passion and knowing that if you follow your heart and stay strong you will always create a better situation. This app, this creator, this mom will forever be a part of my journey in the most positive way possible.
I am no guru. I am no expert. I am just a human who now has some more life experience to add to my resume.