New Play, New Role

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In the aftermath of a divorce or separation it can sometimes feel like life will never return to normal, especially when there is a family involved. It is natural as parents to want to hold onto a sense of normalcy but sometimes the change of direction can be overwhelming.

One of life’s hardest curveballs is becoming a single parent after a divorce or separation. When you created a life with a person you envisioned a future as a family with a shared sense of goals and you rightly believed that you were on the same path to achieve them. When it becomes evident that you no longer share those same values and beliefs it can turn your world upside down and feel as if you are no longer part of a team but simply existing with a stranger. Some couples can and will continue to struggle on, putting their happiness and the life they envisioned behind them to focus on their family but there are many couples where this is simply not a realistic way of life for them.

When the family unit breaks down all sorts of new roles need to be established when sometimes all you want to do is press pause and assess the damage. Although you may feel like life as you know it has stopped there is still the school run to do, parents evenings coming up and visits to be sorted out as well as financial and living arrangements to be discussed. A Father who has only ever been on the side lines is now having to deal with his own heart break whilst learning how to plait his daughters hair and create time in his already hectic working schedule to spend time with her. A Mother who has always been the one making the dinners and doing the disciplining now has to take a back seat three days of the week and hand over the reigns leaving her feeling lost in her role as a parent.

 aftermath of a divorce

It is little wonder a divorce or separation can lead to a break down when you as a parent are supposed to be the one holding everyone together. The immense pressure to carry on as normal for the children and be strong in front of others to show that you are coping means many people simply won’t talk about it or refuse to acknowledge the significance of what has happened. Yet this is the most important thing you can do. Take advantage of any alone time when the children are at your ex partners just to get to know yourself without being in a parent role, let your new situation sink in and prioritise each persons needs as well as your own rather than trying to be everything to everyone.

Above all don’t be afraid to admit if you’re struggling to cope and if you don’t feel you can speak out to people in your support system then take a look outside of the immediate situation and put your faith in a professional.

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Mary Groghan
About the Author:

Mary Groghan shares her thoughts on the hard work it takes to be a single parent on behalf of www.findmeatherapist.org

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