Downtime Dilemmas: Navigating The Summer As A Single Parent
If you are relishing your downtime with family and friends, then you can count yourself as extremely fortunate to have people in your life who can provide fun distractions. For many who are divorcing or recovering from divorce, fun downtime activities may have been generated by the things that you did with your partner or for your children. Your social life and activities may now be adversely impacted by the fact that you are experiencing life as a single mom or dad, and/or focused on work, and limited by your budget.
It can feel overwhelming to begin to rebuild your life, especially when you think your ex and your children are having a great time without you. Summer offers a special time when you can move at a different pace. You also have the added luxury of great weather. If your children are away at camp, or visiting family for one week or one month, one thing is for certain, that time will fly by faster than you think. I encourage my clients to DATE themselves during their break away from their children and young adults.
Takeaway Tip #1: Do make the most of your limited downtime. Do what you want and don’t do what you do not want to do. You owe no one any explanations if you want to spend the down time catching up on your favorite television series, or taking in movies that you may have missed during your parenting time. However, if there are activities you have had on that life enhancing “To Do” list, such as a trip or attending a special event, see if you can check off at least one of those things during your downtime. We want to keep dating when we are having fun.
Takeaway Tip #2: Ask yourself that crucial question. When we date, we always ask the other person: What do you like to do? Ask yourself – What is that one thing that, when you talk about it with another, your voice becomes more passionate and others can sense your excitement? Is it photography, tennis, golf, writing, acting, singing, civic engagement? Take the time to figure that out, and let that passion direct you to schedule one outing or one event that connects you to that. If nothing immediately comes to mind, it just means you will need to spend time in exploration trying to figure it out. What matters is that you are taking the time to inquire and engage. That is one of the fundamental rules of dating.
Takeaway Tip #3: Try to mix up the active and the passive energy. It is easy to get stuck in a rut watching videos or attending classes. Dating yourself means taking time to be active on your own or with others. Get outdoors and take in a summer jazz concert or arts in the park series. Take an art painting class, or sign up for an in-town community event to express what is inside of you, via conversation with others. Organize a fun event with friends, such as bowling night, or host a meal at your home. Keeping a list of activities you consider fun and journaling can help you to figure out what you enjoy and what is no longer as much fun as it used to be.
Takeaway Tip #4: Expect that it will take time to re-build your community. Social communities are often included in the collateral damage of divorce. If you work, or have built an independent life in your marriage, this may not impact you as much. Make reconnecting to and rebuilding your prior communities a priority. You may have to travel outside of your normal boundaries, but it will be worth it to get in your car or on that plane or train to reconnect with familiar folks who love you for who you are, not who you are with. Start with the known and you will build the confidence you need to make new connections, and create your new future.
If you are contemplating divorce, or struggling with a high-conflict divorce procedure, let Tamara Harris, CEO of Tamara Harris LLC, be your partner as you navigate through each stage of your journey. As an impartial, experienced professional, Tamara will work directly with you to give you the best tools and strategies to manage the specific challenges and uncertainties of divorce. Serving as your Divorce Coach and advocate, she will help you see clearly during this time where emotions can often impede and derail your divorce procedure. While each member of your high-conflict divorce team – lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, and other experts – will be advising you, Tamara will help you to synthesize this information, think strategically about the options you have with clarity and purpose, and get your divorce across the finish line. Visit tamaraharris.com for more information, or contact Tamara Harris to discuss becoming a client. All inquires will be held in confidence.