Like life and parenthood, there is no instruction manual for divorce. It seems like chaos and high emotions could be around any corner. Through it all, you must plot a path, keep the kids on schedule, make sure they get to school on time and transition your routine to accommodate a joint two home co-parenting situation.
You are both open to the possibility of trying to co-parent for the sake of the kids. You know it is the best way- for the kids. You are doing your best to communicate with your co-parent in a clear ‘business friendly’ manner, keeping emotions in check. There is no need to rehash issues with your ex, when attempting to do a quick kid exchange and the other co-parent is on the clock to get your kids to school on time, right?
Take that business analogy one step further and perhaps it will help you rebuild your home. Companies go through restructuring all the time. Accounts are lost, departments merge, teams move around- companies are rarely rigid entities. They must be flexible, agile and adaptable, at best.
Consider yourself the CEO of ‘Home Sweet Home, Inc.’ and through this ‘restructuring’ you need to change some teams, rethink some responsibilities, double the output of empathy and love, leaving yourself open to opportunities, and knowing you’re going to be hands-on through this process.
Lead from the front, as they say.
When a company is restructuring they need to audit tasks and responsibilities even though the departments, teams and/or workstreams are shifting tasks and productivity must be maintained. So things don’t slip through the cracks, you need to take a moment to list those tasks the ex-teammate took care of so they can be re-assigned, right?
This may mean bringing in outside partners (babysitters, gardeners, neighbors, extended family) to help fill the gap. You need to rethink roles and responsibilities. Depending on the age of your kids there may be an opportunity for them to take on new responsibilities, large or small.
We know they are going through their own profound journey of grief and emotions during the divorce, involving them in the restructuring of the family is important. Empower them to take on some new responsibilities no matter how small. Bring them shopping for new items (i.e. furniture and home stuff) as assets have been divided in the divorce. There are ample opportunities for them to participate in the restructuring.
Perhaps dad will need to take on some roles he is not accustomed too. Do your best to make it a learning activity for you and the kids. At some point, everyone will need to know how to make a healthy salad in your family. The same for mom, she may not be accustomed to taking on certain tasks but there are perhaps opportunities for her to turn them into learning moments for both her and the children.
Granted, this may read as an overly optimistic divorce scene from a G-rated film devoid of the emotional carnage associated with so many divorces. But there are real opportunities for you to demonstrate grace and grit. Grace and grit are the ways in which you face some of the toughest moments in life. Grace and grit are qualities you want your children to have in their toolbelt as they grow into smart, beautiful and resilient people. These are defining moments, show your children through your actions and pass on resilient qualities that may help them get through tough times in their lives.
Do your best to support your biggest assets- your kids, reinvent what ‘Home Sweet Home, Inc.’ means to you and lead from the front.