These are a few of my favorite things to read in this space. Need insight? Advice? A laugh? To see that others have gone before you and survived? Do you like blogs? Prefer a book? Read on for suggestions and recommended reading!
**These are not affiliate links & I'm not a sponsored endorser, they are simply resources I found helpful**
This Life In Progress is a great blog for divorce, co parenting, and blended families. Kate Chapman has excellent insights on the realities of blending families, and how to make it work. Along with her husband and their combined 6 kids, she tells it like it is.
"I naively thought when my children’s father and I divorced, we’d both come to the table ready to parent in the way we had before we separated. I’m not sure what prompted that thought; probably overly romantic Hallmark movies and a hefty dose of viral photos of parents teaming to get childhood right for their little ones.
You can imagine my surprise when my ex stopped speaking to me shortly after our divorce was final. At first, I sternly lectured him on the benefits of coparenting. Then, I began to plead with him, painting weepy pictures of our children's future as the unfortunate offspring of warring parents. All of this transpired via email and text, of course, given he was dropping the children off in the driveway. None of it worked. Some of it prompted responses I can’t print here.
I BEGAN TO GET ANGRY.
I decided if he wasn’t going to respond to my texts and emails, I wasn’t going to share pictures of my time with the kids. I began to think about time as mine and his. If he wasn’t going to be flexible to cover my work travel, then I was going to make sure he had a clear idea of just how the child support I paid tied to days the children slept in my home."
Falling Apart In One Piece was one of my favorite books when I was going through divorce. Young-ish with a new baby when she divorced, her insights are hilarious and golden.
"...when our neighbors' marriage is breaking up, we think we are in a position to pass judgment...all while plumbing the depths of what we believe we know about their relationships, essentially digging through their emotional trash cans, weighing pieces of arguments we've witnessed, comparing notes about their conflict. We can't help it; we want to believe there is a reason why."
"But after weeks of this, I realized that my anger was leaving me exhausted and empty, and disconnected--and not only from Chris. I was losing more than I'd bargained for: I was losing myself. When I thought ahead to who I wanted to be when I got to the other side of the divorce--and I was fervently praying these days that I would actually discover that there was "the other side," as I'd been reassured by so many people--it wasn't this woman. The anger that had helped me throw up a fireproof screen when Chris and I were coming apart was putting distance between me and myself when I really needed to be listening to my instincts, so I could be learning not only who I was separate from Chris, but who I was for me."
Love Shrinks is a somewhat polarizing book by a nationally recognized marriage counselor who went through her own divorce(s). In her writing, she peppers in stories from her clients' marriages along with her own. People seem to either love or hate this book; I found it to be at least entertaining.
"This is the story of a marriage counselor who couldn't keep her own marriage together. She had loved her husband in the past, and still did love parts of him. She tried everything she could think of to make their 15 years together work: individual counseling, couple's counseling, group therapy, self-help books, pretending everything was fine, anti-depressant medication, waiting, praying, pretending everything was fine.
Meanwhile, as all these solutions were failing her, the marriage counselor wrote books: 50 Ways to Find a Lover, Guerrilla Dating Tactics, How to Stay Lovers for Life, So You Want to Get Married, and This Old Spouse. She made 8 appearances on Oprah, and on hundreds of radio and television programs. She led seminars with titles like 72 Ways to Flirt.
As the marriage counselor and her husband went without speaking for weeks at a time...She was the redhead who said that love lasts when you think in 3s: what's good for you, what's good for your partner, what's good for the relationship. But these were not questions the marriage counselor was willing to ask herself. Or in any case, not willing to answer."
Two Homes is an excellent book to use to start the conversation of separation with young children. The perfect length for my kids when we divorced, I wish I had found it sooner. It's positive, short, and easy to understand. The overall sentiment is a child has two homes with each parent, and has their favorite things at each, and that both parents always love them. Excellent for first grade and younger.
Working parents, making blended life work.