I grew up with divorced parents and it totally sucked ass.  Because of my childhood, I told myself I would NEVER subject my kids to a similar fate.

Never say never.

After 18 years of marriage my husband and I divorced.  Yep, I was the one who ended it.  The mom who was highly regarded by friends and family alike, simply announced one day it was over.  Once I made that decision, there was no turning back.

If I had to pinpoint the one thing that convinced me it was truly over, I would find it hard to choose.  Yes, infidelity played a huge role, but there were other dysfunctions as well.  There were so many issues left unresolved over the years and it played a huge role in our demise.  

Even so, did I give up too soon?  Maybe.  Let’s face it.  18 years is a hell of a long time and it is a complete mind fuck to consider starting over at 40 years of age.  I remember the confusing emotions of relief, fear and shock when I finally decided I was done.  I still deal with the judgments of those who decided in their self-righteous minds that I was sinning and ‘pissing God off’ by choosing divorce.  Oh what beautiful grace, yes? 

However, I knew staying meant accepting mediocrity in my life.  It meant being unable to move forward to a healthy existence.  It meant hating myself even more by staying in an unhappy relationship.  It meant denying restoration in my life. It meant even more therapy (that was the deal breaker right there!)

I’m sorry if I am shitting on your parade but there are some things a marriage can’t recover from.  I am living proof of it. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the beauty of new beginnings and all that fairy dust bull shit, but it doesn’t work for everyone.  No one truly gets the pain except the ones who are living it.

My divorce came at an even greater cost because it was no longer just my husband and myself in the equation.  There were two little people whose lives would be forever altered.  When it came to my kids, my mom guilt was so high it would fail a breathalyzer test.  At times I question whether or not it was worth it.  Sadly, the aftershocks of divorce continue long after the final papers are signed.

You can imagine how magnified my mom guilt grew when my kids were asked to share past hurts at school for an assignment.  Both shared about our divorce and my son upped the ante when he added he hoped his dad and I would get back together.  His teacher told him to ‘keep hope’.  What the fuck?

At the risk of sounding selfish, if I can’t be a functioning woman, how in the world am I going to be an effective parent? What kind of example am I setting for my kids? Do I want my children to view their parents’ marriage as a whole, thriving one? Or, do I want my kids to see marriage where two people lived in the same house but were completely disconnected?  

My ex-husband is an incredible father who is actively involved in our children’s lives.  I am grateful I can say they have a father who loves them more than life itself.  We work really hard to maintain a solid, unified relationship. We speak several times per week and are both engaged in their schooling, activities and emotional/physical health.  We are connecting with our children and frankly, our communication has increased with our kids because we are more intentional with our time with them.

Do I wish things had turned out differently?  Hell, yes.  Do I wish I could erase the past several years?  Hell, yes.

In light of this however, I know we can’t stay in the past.  Every day I have to remind myself.  We need to concentrate on the present and embrace the shit out of it.  I would prefer my children have two healthy, loving parents who live separately, than be trapped in a home riddled with dysfunction.

Despite the years of angst, our family has some really great memories, ones my kids look on with humor.  We talk about those memories often and now we are making new ones.  Even if their dad and I don’t live in the same house, it doesn’t mean we can’t be family.  Family can take on so many shapes and sizes.  Just because it doesn’t fit the ‘traditional’ mold people tend to think is normal, doesn’t make it any less meaningful.

Not even divorce is going to take that away from us.

{This ‘Best of Blunt Moms’ post was first published in October 2014}


Jessica is a wannabe urban homesteader, living in Portland with her blended family of 4 kids, 3 rescue dogs and 4 chickens named after Starbucks drinks. A former pharmacy student, Jessica decided she like baking better than drugs so went to pastry school instead. Described by her friend as a "Feminist Jedi Master", Jessica can be found spreading 'peace and wisdom' over at her blog, The Dalai Mama, at www.travelingmercies-jessica.blogspot.com


  1. Hey Jessica, sounds like you’ve got a good thing going on there. Congrats on having the courage to make it happen. My parents divorced when I was 11 and I admire the effort and patience that was put into their post-marriage relationship. Now that I am married with my own family, I see just how hard that must have been and I appreciate it.

    • Shannon, your words were an encouragement to me. I sure don’t recommend divorce as the best option. It has given me a new respect for the couples that stay together. Thanks for the love.

  2. I really appreciate this. I am the child of divorce and it too sucked ass. I’m glad you’re doing what’s best for you. It must have been such a hard decision given your childhood, but staying in an unhappy marriage can’t be good for kids either.

    • Thank you so much, Leslie. I wish it could have turned out otherwise and I will always question it but I can’t live with regrets either.

  3. Great post, Jessica. My husband’s parents are divorced and I admire that they are able and willing to to be around each other during family functions with grace and mutual respect for one another. I am certain your children will grow up with respect for both you and your ex-husband’s decision and furthermore, love and cherish the memories they make with the both of you.

    • Ashley, Your encouragement is so wonderful and appreciated. I wonder every day if it was right because that is the type of person I am. Then I remember all the things that weren’t right. Thank you again!

  4. Cari Russom Reply

    Wow. I’m living some of this right now. My parents divorced after I was married with kids. Didn’t make it any easier. Now I’m going through a divorce. I didn’t choose it. My Ex did. I still can’t believe the weight that has been lifted off me. It’s not what I wanted. It scares the crap out of me. I’m going to be fine. Not having the baggage I was carrying for my Ex makes me feel so much lighter. We are still in the middle of the process. We are being civil and communicate civilly when it comes to the kids. I have put him in his place a few times. Something I couldn’t do before he filed behind my back. I agree that it is better in the long run for the kids. Far less tension and pressure. Should have been a clue. When I had to manage his feelings during my parent’s divorce. Instead of him being there and supporting me through this traumatic event.

    • Thank you, Cari. You are right in the midst and yes, it is so painful. I completely understand the weight being lifted. Your eyes become a bit more focused and I promise, there is good ahead for you!

  5. Segreta Commentare Reply

    I think what you are doing is very admirable. How do you (or will you) handle it when there is another adult involved – a serious relationship or new spouse for either yourself or your ex?

    I ask because I’ve lived through this too, as has my husband. We have been together a decade and share custody. He is very involved with his kids. (My ex less so). I admire my husband’s commitment to his children, he’s an amazing Dad and he is always kind and generally accommodating to his ex. She is far less than that with me, and as “the new one” it’s sad for me to be unable to participate in certain kid-related things for the sake of avoiding a public scene and to keep the peace. As step-monster I shut up and let it happen. but it hurts. particularly after such a long time.

    If you have the capacity in your heart (or he does) and the civility of spirit to expand the revised family to include the “new” adult from time to time, then I REALLY commend you. That is really hard to do, but is so much better for the kids if they see the people they love behaving like adults and moving forward.

  6. Jessica, your story has touched me because I am at a point in my marriage where I’m questioning whether or not my efforts to continue will be in vain. I’ve been married 12 years and we have two young children. As the product of a single mother, I can’t bear the thought of raising our children and living separately. I commend you and your ex for successfully co-parenting. We are experiencing financial issues, health issues, infidelity, unemployment and so much other negativity. Yet, I’m not ready to end our life together as a couple. There’s so much love, yet there’s also so much angst. I pray that this is the worst of the for better or worse, but I don’t know for sure if our marriage will survive. I thank you for inspiring me, I realize that there’s life after divorce. I’m just not ready for it to be my life–not yet. I pray that it never is my life, I pray that we survive and thrive through these difficult times.

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