As I am sitting here, contemplating on how I feel, being home alone after divorce and with older children.
I remember, when the kids were little, how often I wished to have some quiet time, some ME time, some alone time. Yes Motherhood can be intense, especially when they are younger.
I have three kids, and there was always one or the other crying for me, or fighting with another.
When they are really young you need to keep them occupied, plan outings, you need to feed them on a regular basis, and I felt exhausted more often than not. I love being a mom, and always did.
Now that they are older it is easier. They come down and ask, what’s for dinner or state, “I am hungry”, but they can usually get themselves a snack from the fridge, and are back in the room before I can even blink.
Yes when they were little, I longed for some alone time, and then when my marriage broke apart, all of a sudden I had every other weekend ALONE time, but that’s not what I wanted either, that’s not how I planed it not at all.
Early separation time
I remember, at the beginning of our separation, my Ex came into our house to spend the weekend with the kids, so I went away, it was winter, and I was desperate to do something worthwhile, I knew otherwise I would just sit around and cry.
I remembered how much I loved skiing, especially as a child and teen. So I went up to the mountains for some weekend ski fun. This was very healing and soothing, and helped me reconnect to who I am at the core. Fresh air, exercise and fun is all you need on your weekends alone, especially at the beginning.
Then my ex got his own flat, and as the first weekend when the kids would leave the house drew nearer, I realised I could not bare to stay alone in the house where everything was still so fresh, so I asked two girlfriends to come away with me a Spa Hotel.
We had so much fun, so much Champagne and it felt good! I am eternally grateful for those two for keeping me company and making the transition so much smoother on one of the hardest weekends of my life, while I hoped my kids would be fine.
But two weeks later, I had to face it all again.
This time I needed to face the empty house, there was no escaping. I braced myself.
I had been looking forward to the lie in, the silence, to just be able to do what I wanted. Unfortunately my Ex send me an email that Friday evening with worrying news about our financial state, and that brought me down into the fear state.
So instead of enjoying my alone time, I started worrying about life and my kids in general, and the weekend was gone. I had done nothing with it apart from feeling isolated not just from my kids, but from life itself.
Sitting here now, five years later, I realize how that was a wasted weekend. How concentrating on your fears and worries doesn’t help, and how this ruined my alone time. Even if the money is tight (as you have two flats to pay etc.) there is always a way of making the most out of your precious ME time.
Go for it, you deserve it.
Getting used to it
Needless to say, I got used to my weekends alone.
I planed some fun outings with friends when I felt like it or I had a good book ready to start or a movie to watch.
I intentionally did NOT read any emails during the weekend, I knew if there was an emergency I would get a call.
I was partly planning my weekends, and partly seeing how I feel and go with the flow. I personally needed some planning, as otherwise I would have gotten into the dump, crying all weekend, and not enjoying my free time. Don’t get me wrong, crying is very important and very healing. One has to let it all go and let the tears flow, clear out your heart and start healing. Still I felt like I needed to have some joy while being free to do so.
Now I sit here, and feel very weird without any of my kids near by.
They haven’t visited their Dad for the last three years. I hadn’t had a weekend on my own for three years. One child or the other was away on trips or outings, but there was always one or two around. The times I spent away on courses I do not count, as there I was busy, and not at home.
It’s the at home alone that hits me. I enjoy the peace and the quietness, alas now that they are older, 17, 14 and going onto 11, I do have a lot of free time. I don’t feel so tied down anymore.
I enjoy my freedom, while they are around. Yet having an empty house is really weird.
It is only for a couple of days, and then they will come home one after the other, and I know by the time I have adjusted to my alone time, they will start coming home.
It is an adjusting period, a learning period, a research trip.
If you like. I am sitting here, contemplating, on what do I want? That is a new.
Usually my daily life is dictated by the needs and activities of my kids, now I can do what I want. So what do I want?
What do I like to do? Maybe hiking! It would be fun up onto the mountains. Yes that would be lovely, alas it is raining right now and not only am I a good weather hiker only, but also it is dangerous on slippery grounds.
So now, I can travel within, learn about my needs and likes, again, on a new level, and do some research into Caroline, myself, and my life.
This is a wonderful healing opportunity too; making peace with all that happened so far, enjoying the present and having a positive outlook on what is to come into my life. It’s a wonderful couple of days I can get a taste of what will be in a couple of years when the kids have left the house and I am starting another new life again. Isn’t it wonderful, that we have never fully learnt all about life. That life brings us wonderful new experiences, and that we can enjoy each day as it comes, and make the most out of it.
What to do
If you are new to separation, if you are facing the first couple of weekends without your kids, here are some thoughts:
- Ask yourself what you would like to do. Treat this as if it was your evening out and you had hired a babysitter. Go do that now.
- Also have some friends on call, in case you could do with a hug or a talk. It’s ok to get overwhelmed and feeling alone.
- Do you like sport? Go do it, try it or try something new or just go for a walk.
- Watch a movie or have a good laugh with a friend.
But try to have some free time, don’t plan excessively as you might just feel like you need to digest this new situation.
- You could have a PJ day at home with breakfast in bed reading the newspaper. What bliss not having to get up and feed some hungry kids! You can declare the kitchen closed and get take away.
- If you like, cry, and let it all go, anything that you feel like is perfect for you at that time. Do what feels right for you.
You won’t believe me, but those weekends are over faster than you think! You will have your kids back in your arms soon and there might be a moment or two you feel like, oh that was a quiet and peaceful weekend, maybe.
I wish you all the best on your new journey
It is an adventure and a wonderful opportunity.
Love, Laugh and have fun and most of all enjoy!
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Find more articles by Caroline here – Caroline at The Divorce Magazine