You may have asked yourself this question, ‘How do I deal with the heaviness of divorce AND still patiently care for and raise my kids alone?’
Yes, dealing with divorce can, at times, feel like it is too much to bear, especially when it feels like you’re doing everything alone and holding all the pieces together for your children.
But what if you changed your perspective and looked at parenting post-divorce from another angle?
Let’s explore some ways we can change our thinking, shall we?
Your children don't belong to you
You don't own your children. There, I said it. Your children don't come from you but through you. They have been entrusted to you by their creator and ultimately, He is the one who provides the resources needed to nurture them.
Your only job is to do your best and make the intention to raise your children in a way that they can reach their full potential and be God-conscious, contributing members of society.
Everything else, including their rizq (sustenance), is in the hands of Allah. That means Allah will support you (financially or otherwise) so you can support them. Living in that belief that you will, in fact, get what you need should make you feel lighter.
By the way, this doesn't mean that you just sit back and do nothing. Actively doing your part is important (remember, tie that camel!). That means when you strive, whatever you need will come from The One who gave you those children in the first place.
Your children have two parents
I know, it’s hard to believe, right? But in all seriousness, they do have two parents regardless of whether those parents are married or divorced.
Children have a mother and a father, each of whom offers different qualities to nurture and bring them up. It's not only financial and material things that count. While those things are indeed important, it is equally important to nurture their mind, spirit, mental health and general well-being - and not just their physical body.
So even if your ex husband is not taking care of their physical well-being (for whatever reason), he can still provide nurture in other ways. Your children need access to both parents.
At the same time, see where your child can have other good male role models in their life - whether it's uncles, grandfathers or cousins, people that you respect. Remember, it really does take a tribe...
You are 100% the parent, 100% of your time
How a family unit operates when a marriage is intact, is very different from a family unit when you are divorced. The roles and responsibilities of mother and father changes and the responsibilities are no longer nicely divided as they were before when everyone was in the same household.
It doesn’t feel like 50/50 anymore because post-divorce, you are now 100% of the parent, 100% of the time - on your time.
This means you have to step up and do things that you didn't normally do before or do things that you're not comfortable with. That's just a part of stepping into the responsibility of parenting through divorce.
You can never fill the void
If your child's father has a superficial relationship, or even a non-existent relationship, with your child, that is really none of your business. Unless we're talking about abuse or boundaries being crossed that are detrimental to your child's physical emotional, mental and spiritual well being. But outside of that, it is up to your ex, to determine what type of relationship they want to foster with their child.
It’s natural for us to think, ‘Oh crap, it's all on me now to show up for my child because their father left”. But you can never fill that void, and I know that is painful to hear. But, children will always feel a need for validation from both parents, naturally. The only thing you can do is ensure you have the best relationship with them and teach your child that true validation only comes through their relationship with their creator.
They see the validation from that point when you say things like, “hey look, you are pleasing Allah when you are helpful and when you are kind to your parents”. Always bring their need for validation back to pleasing Allah, especially when they're young.
Your child will experience things in life that you cannot control
Your child is going to experience unpleasant things in life. What’s written for them will manifest. You cannot fix or change that. You can make dua, yes. But also accept the plan and journey Allah has for them (qadr).
As hard as it may be, you have to allow them to experience what they're going through and remind them that nothing happens but by the will of Allah.
Be there for them and support them. Let them feel respected, valued and understood. Allow them to just be and to express what they're feeling, whether they explicitly say it or just express it by their behavior. And yes, this includes temper tantrums, off-track behavior, shouting, and defiance.
Of course, you need to do so with boundaries (they need to be safe and there's absolutely no way you tolerate anybody hurting other people or destroying property).
I hope these shifts in perspective helps you and makes it easier for you to parent through divorce. Always remember to just do your best and take care of yourself in the process. Then you'll be in the best place to offer that awesome person (you!) to your child knowing that, as their mom, you are showing up as your best self.
Did this resonate with you and help in any way? Let me know in the comments!