This Single Dad is Starting Over, and You Can, too!

This is a guest-blog from a single dad who is a dear friend of mine. I hope you enjoy his words, and they inspire and empower you.

I've asked myself many times since the divorce, "What does it mean to start over?" 

I don't know the full answer, but I have come to understand some of what that entails.

The first part is letting go. I had heard this so often that it seemed cliche, and I resisted fully accepting what it meant for me. 

As with many aspects of my life, I had to experience this the hard way. I was forced to let go of every part of my past: financially, materially, emotionally, past relationships and even of friends and family. 

So much of who I thought I was suppose to be was stripped away by events and circumstances to the point where I literally felt emptied. But it wasn't until I reached this emptiness that I was ready to move forward; to let my life begin to fill again.

The next part is being open and accepting to how ever you are being filled. New opportunities for friendships, career or business, ways of thinking and romance start to flow with a willingness to be open. For a long time, I was trying to fit my old ways into a new world and reality, thus extending my pain. Worse yet, I found myself afraid of making mistakes, which is the third part.

You're not starting over; you're starting from here and you're moving forward. This means you accept the mistakes you have made, you try not to repeat them, and you allow yourself to make all new ones no matter how colossal! 

Doing this, I've been able to experiment but remain true to my nature. The results are mixed ... but that's what experimenting is all about! Most importantly for me is that I'm interested in living life and I'm looking forward to it.

So go ahead, let go and dare yourself to live! Embrace your new world and how you are filled; you just have to start.

How about you? Have you officially gotten excited about starting over?

A Dream Talk with Your Ex

What if you could have a talk with your ex(es) that was free of agenda, baggage, posturing, fear or positioning? Imagine what that talk would be like? What would you want to talk about? What questions would they answer for or about you?

What if it were a talk of absolute truth ... would you be prepared to hear it? And if it were perfectly accurate, could you make the changes within yourself that such a talk might reveal?

Since we all know that talk is unlikely to happen, what's a good alternative? How about having the conversation with yourself first and then work with a coach or counselor? The introspective talk is a good start, but having someone that is trained in helping you through the process can make the difference between "real healing" and "repeating." Think of it this way... would you rebuild your home with your own two hands after a fire or would you have a contractor do it; especially if the fire was at least partly your fault?

The point here is: we're all going to make mistakes and decisions don't always work out. But making the changes to avoid repeating them gets us another step closer to being the person we are meant to be.

A big thanks for my anonymous single dad guest blogger!

Stay in Your Kids Lives, No Matter What

I can't imagine how hard it must be to live life after divorce as a dad. If you don't have 50/50 custody, you may only see your kids every other weekend, some weeknights, and for a couple of weeks during the summer ... if that.

As a mom, I sure do enjoy the times when my kid is with her dad, or like right now, when she's vacationing with her grandparents. I've passed the point where I grieve her absence because we spend so much quality time together.

But if the shoe was on the other foot, and I was only going to see her 5-10% of the time, my heart would literally break into a million pieces.

If you see your kids much, much less than you'd like, there are a few things you should know, and a couple I hope you'll do:

  • Know that if your absence affects you, if affects your kids.
  • Know that the mom, even if she doesn't like you very much these days, knows your kids love you and wants you to love them back.
  • Know that you own your relationship with your kids and you, and only you, 
  • Your kids need their dad!
So ...
  • Call them. Email them. Send them cards. Go to their school events. Show up and keep showing up.
  • When you have time with your kids, put down your smartphone, close that laptop, put away your work, and make the most of each moment. You can always work longer and harder when they aren't with you.
  • Remember, it's not about the money, it's about the time. I always ask my daughter, "If we could do anything together, what would it be?" Most of the time, she wants to pop popcorn and snuggle up while we watch a movie. Cost: $5. Value: Priceless.
I don't remember a lot of things from when I was a kid about our day-to-day life, but I remember special events and times when my parents made me a priority. We went to King's Island, Cosi, and to Williamsburg, and I still remember those trips like they were yesterday. Your kids will remember the special times you have together, too, for the rest of their lives.

You can only do what you can do, but you can do that ... Do it for yourself and your kids. They'll be glad you made the effort and so will you!