The wonderful thing about writing is that it means I get to meet lots of beautiful and inspirational people and this was never more true than when I met Naomi. Her story is startling. But the extraordinary thing about Naomi is how she has turned the challenge her separation through at her into a beautiful opportunity. In life we can all choose to see the opportunity in any situation and this week proud single mum Naomi shares her story and her tools for recovery while showing how she is making the most of the opportunity that divorce can bring.
My name is Naomi and I’m a 35 year-old single mum of one gorgeous little boy. Not long after getting married to my partner of ten years, honeymooning through Japan and finally giving birth to our son, I found myself in Centrelink registering for a single parent pension. Just a few days before, I caught my husband cheating on me, with my best friend, who was one of my biggest clients. He then declared himself in love with her and told me he was leaving me to be with her.
That day was two years ago now. Since then I’ve discovered a level of resilience and patience I never imagined possible (while also crying enough tears to warrant the return of Noah’s Ark!), I’ve written a daily blog about my recovery from divorce that’s now being turned into a book, have started a support group and online magazine for single mums and am running my first child-friendly, solo mum trek to Nepal in October.
If you’re a newly single mum, you can use your divorce to transform your life and emerge from the ashes an even better, brighter and wiser version of yourself than you can imagine at this moment – it’s all about letting go of the old and embracing the new. Easier said than done, I know. As a co-parent, the line between old and new can be hard to define and is often charged with strong emotions. The key is to find a neutral place for the old to live peacefully while you dedicate your energy to creating the new. It’s tricky, but doable, and here are some of the tools I found essential to my recovery…
1. Accept that it takes time
Grief cycles are a normal part of separation, and they can last a while so it helps if you befriend the little suckers. Accept them, be prepared for them to whack you upside the head when you least expect it and trust you’ll have everything you’ll need to grow through them (and don’t listen to anyone who says you should be at a certain stage of recovery by now. It takes as long as it takes).
2. Express yourself
Get a diary and write in it every day, even if it’s one word and that word is ‘Uggghhhhhh!!’. In time, you’ll look back and have undeniable proof of how far you’ve come.
3. Get in touch with your anger
Know the difference between constructive and destructive anger. Destructive anger holds you back, constructive anger propels you forward. I like to think of anger as a gift; a gift of your energy. You can wrap that anger up with a nice little bow and direct it at your ex-partner; effectively losing it forever in an endless abyss or you can transform that raw energy into motivation, and make it a gift to yourself to build your new, happy life.
4. Remember that ‘forgiveness doesn’t mean friends’
If you’ve been hurt by someone you loved, forgiveness can be one of the hardest, yet powerful ways to move forward. It’s so important to remember that you can forgive and let go while still maintaining boundaries that support your wellbeing.
5. Fit your own mask first
The old flight safety analogy really holds true during separation. If you don’t look after yourself, your new life will be a constant state of exhaustion that will affect you and your parenting. Creating a few daily rules to nurture yourself will become habits that evolve as your new life does. I set five rules in my early days of single parenthood (to laugh, sing, walk outdoors, eat and ask for help). I still use a version of these two years later.
6. Find a focus
Do you have something you’ve always wanted to try or an interest you somehow forgot about after you got married? Google it, right now, and commit to taking the first step. If it all looks too hard, look again! The things you do right now will be central to what becomes your new life. And you want it to be awesome.
Your life after divorce will never be the same, and it comes with its own unique set of trials and challenges, but it can still be beautiful in a very real, slightly rugged, ‘chipped on the edges’ kind of way. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found that the well-worn, sort of wonky things in life are always the most interesting.
Just remember-the tragedy of divorce is transformational. Whether that transformation is for better or for worse is one hundred percent up to you.
To learn more about or get in touch with Naomi, you can follow the links below and if you have a story that you would like to share please don’t hesitate to get in contact.
Lift Magazine: www.liftmagazine.com.au
Lift’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/liftmagazine.com.au
365 Days of a Newly Single Mum: www.365daysadiaryofanewlysinglemum.com
The 365 Day Sanctuary: Our online private Facebook support group for single mums. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for an invitation.