Ok, so we all know sometimes we say things that aren’t always the best. We don’t know what to say, but we feel like we need to say something, anything. To make us feel better and you feel better. It usually backfires. I am a regular put-my-own-foot-in-my-mouth kinda gal. A quality I am working on. Therefore, I am going to share a few things to consider the next time you come across that moment of needing to say something. 

Don’t say Ex. Or any other derogatory name.    

I went to a DivorceCare class and noticed the leaders never called their spouses an ex. They never used ex-husband, ex-wife, or ex-spouse. In their minds, it was a negative title. Critical, demeaning, abrasive. I agree with this. So, when I speak about my husband, I refer to him as my former husband or my boys’ dad. It keeps it positive and neutral. If you could follow my lead that would be great. And while you are at it,  leave the name calling to yourselves. Don’t say it to my face. My children could hear. I can hear. When you say that about him, remember I was married to him. I created a life with him. I loved him. Hearing those words being said about him doesn’t make me feel better. It usually has the opposite effect. 

 You are so lucky to have all this kid-free time.    

This also sounds like, “I would love to just have a few hours by myself.” Or, “Oh I would love to get 2 days to just sleep in and do whatever I wanted.” Or, “No Kids! I am so jealous! How fun!”  You get the idea. Sure it is nice. After having them for 12 days in a row with no help, I do enjoy my time to myself. To recharge. To catch up. To unwind. Yet, 48 hours, 4 days, 7 days, go by and I ache for them. I want them in my arms. I am missing out on their lives. I am missing holidays with them, birthdays with them, everyday little moments with them. When I miss them, I just don’t get to go home and see them. I have to wait until the time the parenting plan decrees. I don’t have a choice. So please don’t say I am lucky. Yes, grateful. But trust me, you are not jealous of my life. 

I don’t know how you do it.  

I don’t know how parents of special needs kiddos do it. I don’t know how parents of multiples do it. I don’t know how parents of all boys/all girls do it. I don’t know how parents who mourn their babies do it. I don’t know how parents with sick children do it. I don’t know how foster parents do it. I don’t know how widows and widowers with children do it. I don’t know how single dads and moms with no support do it. I don’t know how parents with cancer/disorders/diseases do it. We just do. We have to. We make it work. We don’t have a choice. We do it because we love our children and we want them to have the best possible life. Just as you do for your children. Our’s looks a little different, though. 

You are so pretty, nice, sweet, smart, funny, kind, etc. You will find someone.                       

Well, thank you for saying that. But in the broken heart, thoughts of, “If I am so pretty, nice, sweet, smart, funny, kind, etc., then why did he leave? Why did he cheat? Why am I here? Then if I am all of these wonderful things, why do I feel less of a person? If he didn’t want me for those qualities, who will?” Also don’t say, “You are so much pretty, nicer, sweeter, than her or him.” Our egos and self confidence are nonexistent after a divorce. Therefore, I have a good idea and avoid this subject all together.

He will regret this.

Maybe. Maybe not. I am not too worried about it. My eyes have been open. My heart has changed. My life is, although not how I ever imagined it, fuller. Maybe me or whoever didn’t ask for this or want this, yet maybe it is what needed to happen. Having this thought in the mind intrudes upon the healing process. 

As a friend, family member, co-worker, stop and listen. Hold us when we cry. Love us when we make mistakes. Support our decisions. Let us embrace our newness. And if you don’t know what to say, be silent.

Katie Weber

A momma of 2 young boys whose days are filled with wrestling, running, and noise. A Nebraska native with a love of coffee, the Lord, music, a good romance novel, movies, and dessert. Just trying to figure out single motherhood, to navigate divorce and co-parenting, to live and thrive with depression and anxiety, all the while finding the lovely in this life. Follow along for more at Lovely in the Dark.