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DK Says.......

March 28, 2008
Why do "Single Parents" Feel the Need to Entertain their Kids?
My kids are out on Spring Break this week.  Every morning my ex calls to find out what we are "doing fun" today.  Finally this morning I asked, why do we have to be "doing something fun?"  He was taken aback and had no significant response other than, sheesh, I was just asking.  I watch the divorced parents go down some kind of road of competition.  I don't know that they mean for it to be that.  One takes them bowling.  The next goes putt putt.  One buys them a game boy, the next and ipod.  One takes them to Disney World, the next takes them on a Cruise.  Is it just a disease of our society as a whole?  Do we not know how to just "be" with our kids.  My kids seem to be enjoying the day today just doing their own version of "putzing".  One is chilling listening to music.  The other has her nose buried in a book.  I'm thinking we might do some transplanting of some houseplants today, and maybe cook a meal together.  Whatever it is, we're going to just let the winds of "being" take us wherever they do, and we're not going to "entertain" each other for one minute today.  Just Be!

March 27, 2008
Heal from your Divorce with Laughter
They say laughter is healing.  So if that is so, why not try it when healing from your divorce.  When is the last time you had a really good giggle?  You know, the kind when you are laughing so hard you just can't stop.  Even better, the kind when you've laughed so hard that you are now laughing because you are laughing.  The kind when you wake up the next day and your rib cage reminds you of how hard you were laughing.  I bet it's been awhile.  Go out with some of your silliest friends.  Rent a silly movie.  I remember when I was going through my divorce I happened upon the movie, "What Women Want".  I was laughing so hard that tears were streaming down my face.  It wasn't so much about laughing at men as much as it was about laughing at the whole relationship thing and how silly we all are.  For some reason once I started laughing at the whole absurdity of men and women in general I was able to start seeing some light in my own situation.  It was like there was a slight lifting of the fog and my emotions started seeing something besides gloom and doom.  So even if you aren't ready to go out and giggle with your friends, rent some funny movies, go to a stand up comedy show.  It's almost like you can "trick" your body into thinking everything is really going to be okay again!

March 23, 2008
Childless Easter?
I've been asked the question all day today.  Where are your kids?  The same place they are every year on Easter.  When we divorced, we decided that it is such great fun to have holiday traditions that we wanted our kids to experience those.  Since my family was big on Thanksgiving and my ex's was big on Easter, we just wrote it right into the divorce decree that they would always spend Thanksgiving with me, and always Easter with him.  Now every year until this one, I have had the kids at least in the evening after they get home.  This year is different, and they will be spending a few extra days at Grandma's because of the way Spring Break worked.  I've come to the conclusion it bothers everyone else way more than it bothers me.  I've become used to having a quiet little Easter doing whateve it is I choose.  This year I paid my bills, and did a little office work.  I plan to spend the rest of the day sewing.  I rather like my little Easter respit.  It's a nice feeling to know that my kids are experiencing family traditions just as they would have were we still married.  And I don't feel one bit sad that I'm enjoying my time home alone.  Happy Easter!

March 22, 2008
Standing In My Own Skin!
There is a beautiful thing to getting older.  We have gained experience.  Now the old DK wanted a relationship.  There was some piece of me that thought I needed a "soul mate" or some such thing to make me feel whole.  That is the DK that didn't listen to those little messages that were saying "may-day, may-day" this isn't a good quality in a partner.  I would just ignore the signs, or worse yet, somehow justify them.  I was somehow feeling that I wasn't worthy of love and so I'd better take the first boat that comes along or who knows how long it might be until there is another.  We women are so guilty of IGNORING the signs.  Men are pretty darn good at telling us who they are right from the beginning.  So when those little messages go off, we should listen.  Because if we don't, it is very quickly that we get all wrapped up in the rose-colored glasses and we are bliffully happy and in love.  For awhile.  Then eventually, those little things we dismissed are suddenly HUGE and are front and center.  So for the past few weeks I've been out in the dating world again.  I'm proud to say that in one instance, I began a telephone exploration with one gentleman.  There were things that were knawing at me.  I had even agreed to go out on a date.  I soon realized that I was just not looking forward to it.  The gentleman was nice and was ready to fall over me with attention, which of course I would like.  But inside I just kept hearing something saying "may-day".  So I finally decided that I might be worth listening to.  I called him, and I cancelled the date and explained that I just didn't think we were going to be a good match.  I felt a little guilty as I had hurt his feelings and dashed his hopes.  Then......I danced around the living room because finally I listened to myself and really for once stood in my own skin!  How guilty do I feel about that?  Not one bit!

March 14, 2008
Dating with Kids
It's an interesting place to be dating after a divorce, especially when you have kids.  Now when I was first divorced my kids were pretty young, dating was just something I did.  Of course they just went along, and I made sure the guy was good and could be a positive influence.  Now, I'm back out in the dating realm and my kids have opinions.  They want to be involved.  My 12 year old daughter seems to think she needs to be part of the interview process.  "When do I get to meet him Mom?"  Now don't get me wrong, she's all in favor of me finding someone to date.  However, she apparently has her own little checklist she wants to go through.  It has always been a huge concern to me that my kids like the person I choose to spend time with.  It neer occurred to me that they would have their own list of concerns.  Now I don't really know what it is she plans to investigate.  Maybe she just needs to know if he likes dogs or can name the Presidents of the United States.  I don't really know.  I just know that my "shopping trip" has now turned into a panel interview.  I wouldn't allow my kids to tell me who I should and should not date, but at the same time I think it is time that I consider their changing needs and not just shove somebody at them and say, too bad, I like him, so you must too.  It will be interesting to see how this unfolds.  Stay tuned....

March 13, 2008
Kids of Divorce and their friends
It's hard enough making friends as a kid.  Nowdays of course with all of the divorced parents it gets even more difficult.  Remember the days when you'd go from school and throw your stuff in the door and go outside to play with your friends.  Well in my split-family lifestyle that's not so easy.  First of all, my kids go to a school that is between my ex and I.  It's not terribly far, less than 3 miles to be exact.  Yet, it's just far enough that the kids can't just run out the door and play.  Luckily my kids still have after school friends at both houses.  However, I do feel bad when their friends come knock on the door to have them come out and I have to say......"they're at their Dad's".  Then by the time they go knock on their door, they're now at their other parent's house.  I've been watching this for a number of years now.  So now, I really make the effort if my kids want to go to one of their friends' house to drive them and pick them up.  Sometimes I feel like a shuttle, but I think kids socializing is important.  So, I make the sacrifice and they play with their after school friends.  It just has to be a little more calculated and thought out.  But it works.

March 11, 2008
You don't have to stand there betrayed!
By now we've all been subjected to one more political sex scandal.  This time the NY governor.  I honestly think the saddest thing about most of them is how the wives just stand by their sides.  If you've been betrayed by your husband, there is no law that says that you have to just stand there and be supportive.  In fact, I think most of us agree you deserve a time out.  Now I'm not saying that you might not put your marriage back together. In fact, this kind of shakeup might be just what the relationship needed to get it back on track.  However, there is not a person alive (I don't think anyway), that thinks you have to just stand there.  Obviously it is quite a blow to one's self esteem.  But what all of us ladies need to remember is that we are our own identity.  We are loyal to ourselves first.  Then to our children.  Then...........maybe then we can think about talking about where the train derailed.  I encourage anyone going through this kind of humiliation, rather it be in this big of a capacity, or a small town one, that you demand to have a time-out.  You deserve one!

March 10, 2008
How to Co-Parent after Divorce
Co-Parenting after Divorce.  Hmmm.  How do you do so, and how do you do it well?  It really boils down to one thing.  Your kids.  I hear over and over that people can't seem to co-parent after a divorce.  First of all, you must realize that even if you were still married you would have had disagreements.  But for some reason once people find themselves divorced it seems that every little disagreement becomes the launchpad for nuclear war.  I know that you are uncomfortable with your ex.  You may even despise him or her.  Unfortunately this does little for your kids.  You must remember that they are watching.  And you are setting an example of how to deal with conflict with every little disagreement you have.  You are also putting your child in a postion of making your child feel bad that they've caused this kind of disagreement.  So here are my suggested rules when co-parenting.  1.  Remember it's not about you and your feelings, it's about your kids.  2. You cannot control your ex and his or her actions, so don't try.  3. You can control your own actions and reactions, so choose them carefully.  3. Choose your battles wisely.  Is it a life and death issue?  If not, is it really worth it?  4. Try not to have these disagreements with the kids in earshot. 5. When you can, presenting a united front will give you more tools as your child gets older and into the teen years. 6.  Understand you would not have agreed on everything even if you had stayed married, so think about compromise. 7. Take a deep breath before engaging in any discussions, you are more likely to sound calm instead of agitated. 8. Remember that your kids are watching how you negotiate and handle conflict!

March 7, 2008
I'm glad I got the divorce!
I know when I was going through my divorce, I thought maybe someone was wringing my heart out.  I spent a lot of time in misery.  I whined a lot to my friends.  I was down right in agony.  I couldn't decide if this was the right thing for my kids.  I couldn't decide if it was the right thing for me.  I was looking left.  I was looking right.  I spent hours crying in the bathroom floor.  Once we finally separated I spent hours crying in the kitchen floor.  In the end though.   I am soooooooo glad I got a divorce.  Now, I'm not advocating it, or saying it's for everyone.  And of course if you would have told me at the time that I would someday be thankful about it I would have given you quite a pair of dagger eyes.  But today......I know it was the best thing I ever did. It gave me strength.  It made me believe that I can be respected, that I can set boundaries and keep them.  It gave me confidence.  It gave me a serious look at me.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, can make you look inside like a divorce will.  At first I thought maybe I didn't like who was there.  But in the end I realized I did like who was there and I wanted to protect her.  So today, I look back and I'm thankful for such a beautiful opportunity.  It was an opportunity to grow and learn.  It was an opportunity for me to become a much better mother because I don't take time with my kids for granite.  It has even led me to publish my first book, We're Having A Tuesday, a book to help kids cope with divorce.  So, yes, I can safely say, I'm thrilled that I stood up for myself and went through with my divorce.

March 2, 2008
Don't burn the bridges with your ex

Those that know me would say that I'm anything if I'm fiercely independent.  I do not like to ask for help.  I lean on nobody if I don't have to.  That certainly applies to ex-husbands.  However, I do recommend that the next time you want to say something snarling to your darling ex, that you think heavily about biting your tongue.  Because........like it or not, it just might be your ex husband that you are calling in for a favor, not so much for you, but for your kids.  Here are 5 times over the past 9 years, that I've been thankful I've kept a friendly and cordial relationship with my ex.

1. When my car wouldn't start on a 105 degree hot summer day, and my kids were roasting in the parking lot of a local furniture store.  He came and got all of us.

2. When I was supposed to be on my way to pick up the kids and I was involved as a passenger in a car accident in the middle of the highway.  He picked me up, and took all of us to my car so we could get on with our day.

3. When the family dogs both had to be put down on the same day, and my son insisted that they be buried.  I had no yard, so they are safely at rest in the ex's backyard.

4. When I was suffering miserably with the flu, he offered to keep the kids a few extra days so I could focus on resting and keeping them from being exposed.

5. When the furnace went out, he came and picked up the kids so they would not have to suffer overnight.

I guess the moral of the story is......don't burn the bridges.  Your kids might benefit a lot in the long run!




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