There’s a reason flight attendants tell passengers to put their own oxygen masks on first in case of an emergency, and then tend to their children: if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t help others. The same reasoning can be applied to parenting after a divorce.
Taking care of your children’s physical and emotional needs has likely always been your first priority, but this takes on added importance once you are a divorced parent. You may feel as though you need to “make up” for subjecting them to a divorce, and the way you do this is to pour all of yourself into fulfilling their needs.
Unfortunately, this will most likely leave you feeling depleted, thereby negatively affecting your parenting. Taking care of yourself should be made a priority and here are some of the things you need to do to make yourself a better parent:
Self-assessment. Assess your own level of mental, physical, and financial health. Create a written list of what is working and what needs your attention. Be honest with your answers.
Child assessment. Assess your children’s mental and physical health. It can be hard to gauge how they are feeling from one day to the next, so keep asking them how they are doing and if they have any concerns they want to talk about. If they are reluctant to open up, then just observe them — you will be able to see if they are exhibiting different behavior that you can address with them at an appropriate time.
Check your support system. Assess your own support network of family and friends as well as professionals like therapists, financial advisors, attorneys, etc. You may realize that you are lacking local sources of support that you really need.
Set priorities. Select your top needs and then make a list of the actions you need to take to meet them. Set timelines for each action.
Decide where you need help. Most things you can do for yourself, but there are others that call for outside help. Whether it’s help in finding a new job or cleaning the house, decide what you need help with and then ask for what you need.
Do something for yourself every week. Whether it’s just taking a walk or getting involved in a cause that feeds your soul, you need something to look forward to that will keep you going.
We know that family law issues are often difficult, life-changing events. We also know how much it helps to have knowledgeable legal advocates on your side to help you obtain the best possible outcome. Contact us today for your free consultation.