“I’m a divorced woman with three kids” is literally a sentence I never thought I’d say.
Back when my oldest was 1, I remember watching John Legend’s music video “Ordinary People.” There was a scene where a couple was fighting, and the man tried to grab his child from his mother. It made me feel sick, even though at the time I was happily married. I remember looking down at my son’s bald head and thinking, That will never be us. I will never put you through that.
I saw that video for the first time 14 years ago, and still feel the same way. I know ex-husband does, too. When we decided to part ways, we struggled a lot to try and do what was right for our children, and we both said they would come first in this mess we were about to dive into.
Freestyle skier Devin Logan is the perfect example of just how much putting your own feelings aside after divorce can affect your kids. In fact, she told TODAY at the winter games in South Korea that having her divorced parents there, cheering together, was better than winning any kind of medal.
That’s a pretty powerful statement coming from an athlete of her caliber, and it is an indication just how important it is for children to have a sense of family, whether their parents are together or not.
Because for our kids, we are still their family. And when we are at odds, or fighting all the time about petty stuff, it can have a lasting, negative impact, even if they don’t always show it.
Logan’s parents divorced when she was 5, and she says that even though their divorce “wasn’t exactly amicable,” her parents always worked together to make sure she and her three siblings got to where they needed to be and “never missed a practice or a competition for their respective sports.”
As a divorced mom, I know how much work and self-control this takes — and so does my ex. It easy to forget your children’s schedules while living in the same household, much less going back and forth between two of them. It’s even easier to get frustrated and take it out on each other.
But it is clearly worth it for the wellbeing of the children — they are what is important, and honestly, it’s not going to matter later in life if you or your ex-spouse felt uncomfortable at a sporting or school event because you don’t get along anymore.
What’s important is your kids seeing you act like mature, respectful adults, who are there to see their kid — not to let resentment get in the way of an amazing moment for your children. And that’s what they will remember.
It is too stressful and hard on them to take on their parent’s angst for each other when they are in the same room together, on top of the nerves they are already feeling while performing, or simply attending what is supposed to be a fun event.
After Logan’s qualifying round for the freestyle halfpipe competition ended in her falling, she told TODAY, “Having them next to each other, to go into their arms instead of like, ‘Oh, Mom’s over there,’ or ‘Dad’s over there, I’ll be right back,’ was the best part.”
And considering what kids of divorce go through, this is an incredibly tiny thing to ask of their parents. Something so small can mean so much.
After all, both of Logan’s parents had a huge hand in making this happen for her. As she puts it, “I wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for them.”
I’m thinking it was a pretty meaningful gift for them to share the moment with her, together.