Pennsylvania Divorce: 5 Tips to Help You Cope With Your New Custody Normal
There’s no sugarcoating it… divorce is tough. And I don’t mean chicken that’s overcooked tough – much like the chicken that was served at my wedding. I’m talkin’ beef jerky that’s been dehydrated for 335 years too long tough. I’m talkin’ Ford tough. I’m talking… I think you get the picture. When most people think about Pennsylvania divorce, they think “Who’s gonna get the house?” But, if you have young children, something that often goes unconsidered is how the new custody schedule is going to affect you. Think about it. All in the span of a few days, you can go from a house full of bustling children to an empty abode with just you and your emotions.
When you’re without the kids, it might seem difficult to find ways to spend your time. Here are five tips to help you cope with your new custody normal:
- Don’t fall into the divorce shame trap.
You might be thinking, “Nialyn, I caused this deafening silence in my house! I’m the one who wanted the divorce. Maybe I should have never gotten divor . . . ” Stop right there, ma’am or sir! There will be none of that talk round these parts. You chose divorce for a reason. It’s better for a child to live in a happy home than a home that is filled with strife, anguish, arguments, deceit, and resentment. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the guilt trap, and remember you want your children to be happy. Kids are happy when you’re happy. Trust me.
- Alcohol and/or drugs aren’t the answer.
Any major life change can bring about the need to “self-soothe.” However, “self-soothing” often comes in the form of destructive behavior. As divorce lawyers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and surrounding areas, we have seen all sorts of destructive adult pacifying. From alcohol to drugs, nail-biting to hair pulling, strip clubs to prostitution… you name it. But, it’s important you don’t allow yourself to slip slowly into addiction or insanity. Do it for the kids. Divorce is hard for them, too, and if you are considering becoming a drunkard or heroin addict amidst the entire process, you’ll further complicate things for the ones you love most.
- Check your emotions at the door.
Kids are insightful – they can sense when you’re feeling hurt, sad, angry, happy, or the like. That’s why it’s important to keep your emotions in check. Allowing your kids to think that you’re fainting on your fainting sofa the entire time they are with the other parent isn’t healthy for them – even if you do plan to be fainting. So, it’s important that you remain strong and confident. If your children ask what you are going to do while they are with the other parent, tell them what you have planned. But, remember to be upbeat and positive.
- Alone time is healing.
I can’t speak for fathers, but I do know that, as a mother, I can count on one finger the number of times I’ve gone to the bathroom alone. One. Finger. Generally, being a parent is filled with lack of privacy and lack of alone time. Having some newfound time by yourself can be relaxing – if you allow it to be. Take some deep breaths or read a book. Just enjoy the new gift of free time that has been given to you, and don’t feel guilty about it, either! If I were you, I’d stay in the bathroom an extra long time just to suck up all the privacy.
- Keep yourself busy.
Remember when you used to go to Panera for lunch and not have to worry about ordering for little picky eaters? Or remember when you used to clean the house without having to stop 751 times to break up a fight or wipe a butt? Welp. The good ol’ days are back again! Take a trip to your favorite hometown lunch spot. Clean the house without interruption. Go for a walk with an old friend. Just try to fill your time with activities that excite you.
We understand that divorce is tough. Give us a call today and we can help make the process a little more supple. We’ll even tell you the secret ingredient in our famous beef jerky recipe. Oh, yea.
… okay… we don’t really have a famous beef jerky recipe. But, if we did, we would tell you.
*Our office accepts Pennsylvania family law cases including divorce, equitable distribution, spousal support, alimony pendente lite, alimony, paternity and child support matters, child custody cases, juvenile law cases, and related matters in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Beaver County, Berks County, Butler County, Clearfield County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County (Greensburg).
Our law firm accepts Pennsylvania family law cases from other Pennsylvania counties including Armstrong County (Kittanning), Clarion County, Fayette County, Greene County, Indiana County, Lawrence County, Mercer County, Somerset County, and Venango County.*