My Perspective: Divorce and the Adult Child

I’m the product of divorced parents.

 

They divorced when I was around three years old and I don’t really remember much. A couple of memories standout like crying for my mom, and the arguing and yelling.

 

My dad ended up with custody, which was unusual back then. He did his best raising a girl, teaching me to use a drill and mow the grass. Family dinners meant watching the A-Team while eating our Salisbury steak TV dinners.

 

On the weekends I’d visit my mom and we would go to the library. She made pizza with peppers {that I didn’t like}, but she also made maple and brown sugar oatmeal in the morning and that was my favorite.

 

It was my new normal.

 

I didn’t know any different.

 

To me all kids had separate families.

 

Having divorced parents never really impacted my life that much. I wasn’t emotionally scarred or damaged in any way.

 

It had it’s moments. Like going through puberty, and buying my first bra. And in later years I had to make sure everyone had equal visitations during holidays.

 

There were also moments I was grateful, because two sets of parents meant two incomes, and shared expenses.

 

It wasn’t until I had a family of my own that I realized the true impact of being the child of divorce.

 

I have no blueprint for how a marriage should look, or how to raise children with a partner.

 

Easton Family 2012

As the boys get older this lack of guidance becomes more and more apparent and I find myself making up my own rules. Sometimes I fail as both a wife and mother. I’m not looking for a pity party, it’s just a fact. During those moments I regroup and try to make it right. Unfortunately, there may be collateral damage and feelings are hurt.

 

There are days when I’m worried I will relive my parent’s model. Not because my marriage is bad or anything, but because that’s what all the news stories said years ago. They told us {the children of divorce} to not even get married. The statistics are too high, I was destined to walk in my parents footsteps.

 

During the first five years of my marriage, that thought haunted me every day.  I lived in fear that my destiny was already written. Every disagreement festered worry that my husband would leave or I took it as a sign we weren’t meant to be together, because in my head arguments led to divorce.

 

It’s what I saw, and what I lived.

 

However, after eleven years of wedded craziness, I realize this isn’t the case.

 

Wedding Day

In fact, I would say that children from broken homes WORK HARDER at their marriages. We know marriage isn’t rainbows and unicorns all the time, and problems can’t be solved by leaving. We are fighters, always have been. Children from divorced families are tough, we have been there and seen that and we don’t want it for us or our children.

 

I don’t want anyone reading this to think that I’m worried about my marriage. Other than the fact that it would be nice to win the lottery we are doing well. However, within the past year we’ve had over a dozen friends file for divorce. Some with kids, some without, some older, some younger, and some from families of parents married for years.

 

When I found out our first friends were getting divorced I was shocked. Their marriage looked so perfect {from the outside} and their parents weren’t divorced. There were no hints that their lives would lead them down this road.

 

Honestly, for a while I was scared to hangout with them for fear that it was contagious. You know because 20/20 did a study and told me so.

 

But divorce isn’t contagious.

 

On the contrary, when you see the heartache in your friend’s eyes you know you would do anything not to feel that pain. You will dig in your heels and fight for your marriage.

 

Don’t get me wrong, divorce might be the only answer if you are truly in a loveless, abusive relationship. Because life is just way to short for that crap.

 

But don’t let the fact that your husband didn’t read your mind about emptying the dishwasher or going to get milk be the deciding factor.

 

Yesterday, I read a great post by a fellow blogger Meagan Francis, from the Happiest Home. Her advice is priceless, and I took every single word and soaked it in.

 

I may be flying by the seat of my pants on this whole wife and mother gig, but I know I’m going to do my best and be grateful for what I have EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

 

Family

#gratitude40

2 thoughts on “My Perspective: Divorce and the Adult Child

  1. My folks split up when my younger brother was in college….but had no real marriage for years before that. My house was a “stuff it” “hide it” “act-oh-so-correctly-and-politely” house. There was never any yelling. Like never. I had a long list of things that my repressed upbringing “did” to me…but didn’t really feel the effect of having divorced parents until much later. As my kids have gotten older, and we’ve been a close knit group of four (now five!) my mother (in particular) has no way to relate to this “adult” family of mine. And how much it means to me. It took me a while to realize that once I hit adolescence, I have almost NO memories of my family ever being together as a foursome. And it’s wonderful! Wonderful to get to this stage in life and still be more than “in tact” – to be really close. I still sometimes pinch myself! The hardest thing has been my mom not understanding why we all like to be together so much…until I realize she never lived this stage of family life. Anyhow…I write all this to say, breaking a cycle like this is never easy…but oh, so worth it! I know you’ll keep ‘working it” … and the blessings will continue to flow!
    Adrienne recently posted..Black and White Wednesday ~ MoreMy Profile

  2. Thank you so much for the shout-out, Brook! I spent a few years living with my dad and his third wife, who were married 20+ years (he died a few years ago.) So I did finally get that model to emulate, though we do a lot of things differently in our house. There is a lot more compromising going on in our house, between kids and spouses, than I remember my mom or I ever having to do (I was the youngest and my brothers both lived with my dad when I was young, so I was essentially an “only child” for years). It’s been a big learning curve, for sure. I loved your heartfelt post.
    Meagan Francis recently posted..Trick-or-treating teens: you’re welcome at my houseMy Profile

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