family in hammock

Silver Linings of Single Parenting

Silver linings: for a parent during a divorce, you need them. Single parenting is daunting. Divorce has the power to transform you into a better parent and that's the greatest potential silver lining possible when you find yourself surrounded by the remains of a life never-to-be-lived. The things you valued fall away and priorities come into sharp focus. Why does this seem to be the case?

I'm not saying it always happens or that good parents stay good parents after a divorce, but for many newly single parents, a divorce can reboot the relationship they had with their children. For one thing, a parent can't rely on or take advantage of the fact that their spouse will be around to pick up the slack; it's all on you while the kids are with you. Not only does that mean you might have to think of ways to entertain, care, and spend time with them, but also deepen your thinking about what it means to be a mom or dad.

Here's an example: Your kids spend the weekend with you and return to your ex's home Sunday evening. What will you do? What will you eat? Enter the deeper thinking aspect: quality time vs. quantity time; food vs. nutrition. I've heard both men and women say their parenting vastly improved simply because they evaluated how to fill up their time with the kids. They began to make lasting bonds reading to them, learning with them, playing with them, preparing meals for them, and attending school functions with them. I even heard about a father rocking his infant child to sleep, and as the baby finished a bottle in his arms, the profound effect of the child's warm and slack body, nestled against his own, became a pivotal parenting moment.

No, divorce isn't the ideal. No, I'm not saying divorce must happen for you to be a better parent. What I am saying is, we often miss the potential for deeper relationships with our children until we have experienced the sharp contrast love and loss bring into our lives. Take those silver linings and make them golden memories.