As you may know, Magda and I used to be married. The wedding seems like ancient history now. In fact, we’re a month away from what would have been our 14th anniversary, which means our cells have regenerated twice over since that fateful day in 1998. Each of us has become two entirely different people!
What seems like an eternity is actually just under 5-1/2 years since we first realized our marriage was kaput. And I feel very grateful to tell you we’ve reached a degree of stasis. We’ve found houses that are a walking distance apart, in an area safe enough to let the boys walk to and from whenever they like. And from all accounts — *knock every piece of wood within arm’s length* — the kids are doing OK. It helps, of course, that our kids were young when we split. (We’ve been apart for more than half of our 10-year-old’s life, and just about all of our almost-7-year-old’s.)
The weird thing is that so many people have commented to both of us that we make it look so easy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth and that are diametric opposites, each at the far end of the spectrum of everything. It’s getting easier, but it was miserably rotten and hard for a long time. And now that I’m sitting here on the other side, in the relative calm after the tempest, I can look back on the things I did and think, “I guess that sort of … worked?”
If you’re a man about to divorce the mother of your kids, I’m sorry to hear it. Divorce is a heaping dose of awful, full stop. But it doesn’t always have to be forever. When I first knew I was going to be single again, my first thoughts were of our boys. I mostly knew I’d eventually be OK, but I had no idea how we’d help them through it and keep from screwing them up even more than we already were. The bottom line is this: Just like on an airplane, you need to take care of yourself in order to be in a position to take care of them. So here are 9 tips for seeing your way through the really terrible times, so that you can brace up and be the rock that your kids desperately need.
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Read more of Doug’s work on his personal blog, Laid-Off Dad.
Check out Doug’s Twitter feed @LOD.
Read Doug and Magda’s blog about co-parenting, When The Flames Go Up.
Read all about him on his About.me page.