As a recently divorced woman, I felt like my daughters were watching and observing my every move. Never before had I felt more like a role model to them.
They watched for years as I remained in a difficult marriage. I always worried that they would think that my relationship with my ex was the norm. I was scared that they would think fighting, criticism and sadness was part of a normal relationship and accept it in their own lives.
I loved my family too much to ever consider ending my marriage. When my ex expressed his unhappiness, I was shocked even though deep down I felt the same unhappiness. Knowing me, I would never have rocked the boat, and probably would have stayed in my unhappy marriage forever.
My separation and all the changes that came next were overwhelming. It became clear to me the importance of showing and teaching my girls valuable life lessons as they watched me navigate this time in our lives.
I found that if I was happy, they were happy. If I was sad, they couldn’t cope. So Instead of bitterness and anger, I chose to focus on modeling strength and resilience in dealing with the difficulties of my divorce.
I wanted the girls to understand that I too wasn’t happy. That their father and I loved each other but were no longer in love.
I stressed to them (and to myself at times) the importance to create and live in a relationship that brings you happiness. I wanted to teach my girls to never settle for anything less than they deserve –in all areas of their life.
Most importantly, I wanted to teach them that life is all about change. Everyone experiences setbacks, challenges and changes in their life, but it is how we cope, survive and pick ourselves back up that is the most valuable life lesson of all.
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