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DK Says.......

June 27, 2008
Should I stay married for the kids sake?
Staying married because of the kids. That's not a new concept.  It's certainly not one I agree with.  Yes, ideally when we have kids with our spouse we envision staying together as a family until the kids are grown.  But what happens when your marriage starts crumbling?  Is it better for the kids if you all stay together under one roof when the stress and tension of a failing marriage are high?  Do you really want to subject your kids to negative energy that surrounds you and your spouse every day?  I am all for trying to make a marriage work.  I'm not at all an advocate for divorce.  However, I only think that people should stay in a marriage because they are working through the issues and growing together, and it is improving.  I would never recomend staying in an empty relationship filled with anger and hard feelings just for the kids' sake.  Is that really the example you want to set for your kids?  That you are not worth happiness?  That stuffing your feelings and feeling low and empty all of the time is acceptable.  Do you want your kids to feel like tension you can cut with a knife is normal?  Do you want them exposed to all of the fighting, passive aggressive behavior, or even just emptiness?  I'm not saying that living in a shared custody situation is necessarily easy for kids.  It's not.  But to have a mom and a dad who are happier as individuals is bound to make their entire growing up experience a much more positive one.  You will have plenty of opportunity to teach them about commitment and followthrough without having to be the sacrificial lamb in the process.  Besides, you may eventually find yourself in a wonderful relationship that will set an incredible example of balance, give and take, honesty and so on.  So, think about it carefully.  Staying just for the kids may not be the most wise decision we make as parents.  Though going is not easy, the tradeoffs may be worth it in the long run.

June 25, 2008
What do I miss about being married?
It will be 10 years this September since I moved out.  I left my husband and "perfect" family of a son and daughter behind.  I began the kid shuffle and haven't looked back much on the marriage part.  Funny thing is, when I got married if you told me I'd be divorced I wouldn't have believed it.  Then when I got divorced if you told me 10 years later I wouldn't be remarried I wouldn't have believed that either.  For the most part I've really come to love being single.  But there are those things about being married that I miss.  One thing is being included on the vacations.  I can hardly hide my frustration when he goes on a trip with my kids and I'm left home alone.  I miss having someone to talk to just about whenever I might need it.  I miss having my car always on full.  I miss doing social get-togethers as a couple.  Now I have to do all the set up and clean up and there is nobody to discuss the party event with.  I miss (in the early days!) waking up with someone and falling asleep with someone.  I miss the family unit.  I miss having a built in date for whatever function it is I might need to attend.  HOWEVER, missing those things is usually a fast fleeting moment, and most of the time I am so grateful for my world.  It is the best setup I could have ever dreamed.  I can travel, I get breaks from my kids.  I do what I want when I want, and I just really really love it!

June 22, 2008
Summer is no time to be rigid about the shared custody schedule!
Ahhhh.  It's officially summer.  I smell the chlorine and sunscreen, the pine needles, and the fresh mowed grass.  Summer is a time for kicking back and enjoying the freedom of just being.  That is unless you want to tangle with your ex about the schedule.  Yes I know that your divorce says that you are supposed to get your kids days XYZ.  But if your ex has something fun and interesting to take them to, and it doesn't interfere with something fun and interesting you were going to take them to, then LET THEM GO!  Summer should be a time for kids to be footloose and fancy free.  They shouldn't have to listen to their parents bicker any time of year, but especially not in the summer in relation to something they most likely are really wishing they could do.  So if your ex has tickets to the baseball game, say yes.  If he's going to a 4th of July bbq complete with a close-up view of the fireworks and you were just going to hang out at home because you don't like crowds, then say yes.  If he wants to take them camping, enjoy your free time!  Be flexible, because summer is no time to be rigid about the shared custody schedule.  Remember, it's not about you, it's about your kids!

June 21, 2008
What is all this talk about, well you know #$%?
So there is a posting at divorce360.com (http://www.divorce360.com/community/advice/view/9224/ok-im-just-gona-do-iti-mean-say-it.aspx) that seems to have stirred up quite a discussion.  It relates to the issue of having sex.  Many of the responses are rude and crude, but I suppose it comes from the old saying, if you're not "doing it, then the next best thing is at least talking about it".  So they are talking, and I guess now so am I.  It appears that some are on a long dry spell.  I know there were times when I was sorting through my divorce I would have welcomed a long dry spell.  However, now I'm out in the dating world and things have changed.  So just what is the etiquette these days.  I've heard that there is some unwritten rule about how the third date is supposed to be THE date.  I say, oh my gosh, no way.  I guess I'm taking my sex life to a whole new level.  Either I go down the road of "No rings and no strings" and tap into a friend with benefits, or I'm going to find someone to date that I get to know REAAAAALLY well before the physical gets into the picture.  I've dated a couple of fellows of late that it would have been great fun to hop into bed with.  Of course then all of the hormones would have been driving the show.  I would have been all caught up in the sex part and been completely ignoring the "getting to know him" part.  So this time, I've been holding out.  Guess what, I've been learning a lot quicker that these fellows are not a very good match.  The ending comes quicker, but it seems to be without all of the heartache.  So, yes, it has been awhile, and I'm sure I may go knocking on one of those no strings doors pretty soon, but as far as real-dating goes, my theory is hands off for at least 3-6 months!  Wish me luck!

June 18, 2008
My Divorce Cost $1.99 plus filing fee of $100

I can't remember exactly what the filing fee was, but it seems like it was around $100.  The rest of my divorce cost me $1.99.  We bought a special spiral notebook with pockets in it.  You see when I got divorced I just could not see making the attorneys rich, and taking it away from my children.  So as hard as it was, my ex husband and I sat down and divided everything up ourselves.  No lawyers, just he and I.  We divided the big assets- our paid off house, our cars, our camper, and a motorcycle.  We divided the furniture and even the dishes.  We did get into two knock down drag outs.  One was over the computer and the other was the vacuum.  (I just could not see leaving him our very expensive vacuum system, as I wasn't sure he'd ever use it!)  Anyway, the point is, that in order to save money, and really the investment of our kids future, as hard as it was, we divided things ourselves.  We even went through the papers ourselves, including working out our own shared parenting plan.  It wasn't easy.  We just realized that if we could do this, we were having short term headaches, but saving a ton of money that will only compound over time.  So many people duke it out and it just doesn't have to be that way.  Think of the thousands of dollars we saved....just be reasonable, it's only "stuff".

June 15, 2008
How do you find a date today?
Finding a relationship again after a divorce is a daunting task.  But meeting potential dates is even more daunting it seems.  How long has it been since you've been out on a date?  Just what do you where to the bar these days?  What's more?  Where is the bar, and oh my gosh what is that music they are playing?  Well I've said for quite some time that the best way to meet people when you are ready is to get out and do what you love doing.  Do what you love.  Don't make it a quest to find a date, just get out there and do what you love.  I was reminded last night of just how easily that can work.  There was a local band that I adore giving a free concert in the park.  I decided to pack up the lawn chair, stop for a great cheeseburger to go, and head out to the park.  While I was blissfully enjoying my summer evening, apparently someone across the way had noticed me.  Upon the intermission, he kindly walked over and introduced himself.  We walked around for a bit, chatting and getting the basic interview questions out of the way.  He asked if he could take me to dinner and I gently suggested how about I give him my phone number and we'll chat a bit under less difficult circumstances. (It's difficult to carry on a conversation over a band.)  At this point I have not a clue on where this is going, but I do know that I've just met a gentleman who thought I was interesting enough to walk out of his way to approach, and one who must at least slightly enjoy spending a summer evening outside and listening to music, two of my passions.  Since summer is early, maybe I at least have found someone to take in another concert or two with......and yes, maybe even dinner.

June 13, 2008
A man to complement my life, not be my life
I've been spending a lot of time working on my new book that aims to help women in recovering from divorce.  One of the subjects I plan to hit hard is dating.  I am constantly amazed at how many women seem to leave their marriage only to, in a very short time, find themselves right back in a relationship or marriage, often times very much resembling the same patterns of the first demise.  It has taken a long time for me to realize that what we women often do is look for men to somehow "complete" us.  We don't seem to look at ourselves as complete in the first place.  We look outside of ourselves for someone to nourish, and for someone else to validate us.  Why don't we ever look to be complete all on our own?  We should be in search of a man to complement our lives, not be our life.  They are not a missing link to being whole.  We must become whole inside before we ever consider finding a relationship again.  They should be adding to the wonderful lives we have created, not becoming what our lives revolve around.  Men and women should so work on complementing each other.  We would be so much better at love if we loved ourselves first........

June 8, 2008
How can teachers help kids with divorced parents?
So school is out, or close to it for most areas.  Yet it seems like this is the times that teachers do not only their relaxing but their catching up and research for the next school year.  So it has been asked of me several times in just the past few days, how can teachers help kids cope with their divorced parents.  I think the best thing they can do is listen.  Listen for clues of what might be upsetting the kids.  I know of one teacher who loaned out her copy of my book, We're Having A Tuesday, www.werehavingatuesday.com, only to find that it was not returned to her.  When she asked where her book was, the child explained that it was just something she kept to herself and she didn't want to share it because it made her feel better. Of course that instantly started a conversation with the teacher of just how well things were or were not at home.  So listening is most important.  The other thing that is important for teachers to do is not try to be in the middle.  So if that means sending home two notices, one to Mom and another to Dad, so be it.  Learn their schedule if you have to and try to accomodate.  It certainly isn't the child's fault that they are in the situation.  Another helpful thing might be to help the kids establish more routines for themselves.  Have them learn to use their backpack as the focal point of remembering their things.  It is a fine line between coddling kids and expecting too much of them.  As a teacher, it is best to approach the subject cautiously.  If you are interested in more ideas, see my article for teacher on the Feature Articles page of my website, and good luck!

June 5, 2008
Traveling with kids as a single mom

One of my favorite passions in life both pre and post divorce is traveling.  Post divorce was initially quite a shock.  Suddenly my travel partners were under the age of 5 and didn't offer a lot of companionship.  Instead they brought challenges like teaching them that kicking the seat of the airline passenger in front of us.  It came with the challenge of begging the hotel not to throw us out in the street because the front desk had received so many calls because my charming children were up at 5 a.m. making all kinds of rukkus due to the time change.  It came with the challenge of having to pay two adult fees at times even though there was just one.  It seemed at first like this bright idea of traveling with my kids wasn't such a hot one.  But then it started registering.  They started understanding that if they behaved, then Mom would take them on another trip.  Pretty soon my kids became the most seasoned travelers that my ex started taking them places.  Today, I can take them any where any time, and they have even grown to have decent conversations.  It is not as though they are the same as having an adult to talk to.......but that is why I bring the cell phone.  When I think I'm going a little to kid crazy, I just call a friend.  Meanwhile I have built in travel companions............and we enjoy seeing it all!

June 5, 2008
Do I help the kids get my ex a Father's Day Gift?
So you are offically divorced.  You are so done with your ex.  You are rolling around comfortablly in your new shared custody model of split family living.  Next week is Father's Day.  You've always managed to get the kids' Dad a Father's Day present before.  But you were married then.  Now you're not.  Should you?  Should you blow it off?  What does one do?  Well, it is my theory that just because he is my ex husband does it mean he is no longer my kids' Father.  I want to set the example of taking the high road and doing the right thing.  I want my kids to know the priveledge of respecting their parents, both of their parents, and the true gift of giving.  So each and every year, I give my kids money to buy a Father's Day Gift.  Some years we actually shop........other years we just get a gift card.  But every year I know that I am teaching my kids that just because I don't want to be married to their Dad any more does it mean I have to be bitter, ugly, and rude.  It's never a huge gesture, but it is a gesture none-the-less.  Guess what.......he has joined in and he takes them shopping for Mother's day and birthdays too.  So sometimes it might feel like a swap of gift cards that we pass back and forth, but the lesson our kids are learning is priceless.  So go ahead........buy him the gift.  It's not really about you and him anyway, it's about the kids!


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