Tag Archives: role models

So you want a divorce? 20 thoughts.

So you want a divorce? Some tips if you have kids on how to keep it amicable from someone who failed. Do as I say not as I do! My biggest regret about my divorce is that we couldn’t keep it amicable. Written from the female perspective as I am, but I’m sure you can adapt it however your relationship is made up and balanced. 

1. Don’t post anything on face book or other media. Delete your account or at least post nothing. Your ex will grow resentment (yes they’ll find it even if blocked), your kids won’t understand that your fun without them isn’t a reflection on them or why you are being snide about dad. If they are young they will see it soon, it’s out there, just don’t. 

2. If you have the money be generous, if you don’t be grateful. Split it in half if it’s been a long marriage. 

3. Make a final settlement, otherwise you (or your new partner) will always resent paying or receiving and not be free.

4. Don’t ask your ex for help, no light bulbs changed or cakes made. It’s over.

5. Try to avoid lawyers, at least as much as possible, you have to legally disclose how much you have  to them and they seem to be able to make their fees exactly that! A good lawyer means one who’s made amicable divorces in the past, not a Rottweiler that will screw your ex.

6. Don’t text, email your ex anything but facts about the kids. No calling them a moron or sending emotional emails about ‘winning’ the divorce. Yep he did!

7. Do text them lots of info about your kids, so they know about sports days, the cat dying and events and what’s going on in their lives. Kids are terrible at coms. Schools are generally pretty hateful and uncommunicative to dads in my experience. 

8. Be prepared to lose most of your friends, don’t worry it leaves spaces to make new genuine ones. 

9. Be final. No getting back together and then splitting. It will break your kids hearts. 

10. Don’t play games and get mean, no starving ex to get them to sign (yes he did), your kids will suffer and you will only look bad. 

11. Don’t stop access to kids, for any reason apart from their safety. Set up a good routine.

12. If you disagree with something for kids, like phones, you can tell that to ex but you can’t stop it. You can’t micro manage their world with your ex anymore than your ex can manage yours. 

13. Try to work around arrangements, lives are complicated but you can say no, sometimes making an ex husband take responsibility for the time he has his children and finding his own care arrangements can help the kids see daddy cares. Try to give notice.

14. If you do alternate weekends try to make it a pick up after school, then whole weekend and drop back to school. That way you get a chance for a proper relaxing weekend without home work and meals to prepare. He gets to do meals, homework and washing with kids and bonds through that (it really is the little things that count), the kids get a great role model of capable dad and the bond is stronger. 

15. Don’t send messages through kids, they get forgotten/missed and the child is drawn into your fight. Try to acknowledge messages politely so everyone knows what’s happening. 

16. Regular child sharing is great, as a woman it was my first taste of freedom for years and I learnt to value it, if you poison your child about ex they will not want to go and you will be exhausted and fed up of asking friends for a favour. 

17. Pay your maintenance when it’s due. 

18. Don’t speak ill of ex, it’s hard as we naturally need to alienate them to allow us to move on, (who wants to moon on about someone whos rejected them!)but your kids love them much as they love you, if you alienate the children have some very confused feelings. 

19. Make your new partner understand that you may not appear to hate you ex, but you will never be together again, reassure them. 

20. Be honest about your assets, including the bullion and the old stamp and the designer number plate. This is the mother of your children. Remember karma. 

Father Christmas, The Book Thief & positive male role models

Father Christmas, The Book Thief and positive male role models

Last night I sobbed through the film of the The book Thief. As her dear papa died I wondered what it must feel like to have had that sort of relationship with your father. I can see how I am shaped by a childhood of fear from those closest to me and that love and fear have been totally screwed up in my head. My father used physical abuse and I moved on quickly, to marry early into emotional and verbal abuse, being grateful and misguidedly wrong in my belief in how lucky I was to have found a man who didn’t hit me.

He never hit me and rarely even shouted at me but I was tortured nonetheless, the gas lighting, the total removal of any power in the relationship, he held the purse strings. An example from many, he would order me to book a holiday (obviously he chose where) on the joint credit card then when the bill came in he would cold shoulder me as the bill was high and I had been extravagant. I was punished for doing as I’d been told, mocked in front of my peers, this behaviour over 25 sends you a bit crazy.

But what I wanted to explore is the importance of a loving positive role model in a child’s life, recently my daughter asked if I would marry my partner as he’d make a really cool grandad, I would love to break the mould and give my grandkids a sweet and loving man in their life. But I can’t marry again.  I think it would be an incredible feeling to have that certainty behind your every move in life that a positive male role model could give. I hope that more dads this year lay off the office networking party booze (at least every weekend and most weeknights!) and think about how their children perceive them on the weekends as involved fathers enjoying their family instead of hungover angry bears that we have to step around carefully so as not to wake the monster.

To have a father who has a pillow fight with you, who takes you shopping for a gift for mum and struggles beside you with wrapping paper and sellotape. Who gets involved in decorating the tree instead of ripping it down in a drunken rage. A dad who watches the Christmas play or stays up late to fetch you from your first teen party. To have a father that can show you how much he loves you must be the biggest gift Father Christmas could give a child this year.