Transcript for Learning to live life after divorce
- Now to our next guest, it's an issue for so many families if you are struggling with co-parenting challenges in the aftermath of a divorce. Well, our next guest is here to help.
- And she's a podcast host and the author behind the new book, Moms Moving On Real Life advice on Conquering Divorce Co-parenting Through Conflict and Becoming Your Best Self. Did I get all that right? [LAUGHING] Michelle Dempsey-Multack is here in studio with us. Is it fair to call you-- to call you a divorce expert doesn't seem to come off the right way, but how do you fall into this line of work, if you will?
- If we're going off of personal experience--
TJ HOLMES: Yeah. [LAUGHING]
- I probably might be an expert. I'm a child of divorce, and I personally got divorced when my daughter was two years old, my Bella. And I realized very quickly that there was a need to speak to moms. Like, I went out looking for books, what am I going to read to help me through the divorce process, and it all sounded like it was for a different generation.
So I thought, OK, well, here I am all alone on divorced island. I'm going to create my own thing, so I started writing about it for all the publications I was already writing for, and women were reaching out in droves. Like, oh, my God, you're saying the things that nobody else is saying. You're talking about what it's like to have little kids and share them with somebody you no longer trust or like.
Thank you for that, and with that came deeper questions I didn't know how to answer, so I started the podcast. And with that came, hi, can I just hire you to help me? I need your advice, and so I got certified as a divorce specialist and a co-parenting specialist so that I could speak to the issues and really work one on one with women.
- Well, we actually have some very common co-parenting challenges that we'd like you to help us work through, or at least our viewers. You can weigh in with this advice. First up, my ex was horrible to me, and now I have to share custody of our children. How do I manage?
- It's so hard. I think you're normal if that's what you're stressing about, right. Your emotions are raw. Now all of a sudden, you have to kiss your children goodbye and give them over to somebody who you don't have a good relationship with anymore. So first, you have to accept that it's OK to feel this way. But you do have to take a step back and realize that children who have two parents that are willing and able to parent them in a healthy way are lucky.
And it's really important that you put your own feelings aside to realize that the way your ex may have treated you is not how he's going to treat the children or she. And they will have a fine time with the other parent even if things do not go exactly as you want them to unless there are allegations of abuse or violence of any kind or addiction or drug use. Your children are probably going to be in good hands despite the relationship you had with this person.
- Another question we're getting in here for you says I'm newly divorced and spending my first weekend without my kids. How do I cope?
- I mean, you cry. [LAUGHING] You know, it's also another one of those things where you have to accept that it's not going to be easy. I remember waking up that first morning, and my daughter's bedroom door was open, and her crib was empty, and it was just like a gut punch. So first things first, close the doors, so you don't have that experience.
But also, this is when it's time to not be too proud and call in a lifeline. Call your best friend say, hey, I am going to die this weekend if I am not busy. So please, whatever you're doing, count me and include me. This is when it's time to invite yourself over and not be ashamed. I spent the first couple of months of my time alone without my child with a best friend strolling the aisles of home goods, filling up a cart, putting things back, having some frozen yogurt. [LAUGHING]
That was like my way of just distracting myself, and that's what you need is a healthy distraction. I say exercise, there's nothing better than an empowering workout. The endorphins really mean something, they do pick you up. So just keep yourself busy, if it's a holiday the firsts are really hard. Invite yourself to somebody's table because you don't want to be sitting home alone.
- Oh, man, I had been there, done that, and you just nailed every single piece of advice. I just relived all of that because that's exactly what I was going through.
- Those firsts are traumatic. Yeah.
- It's horrific, yeah. All right, so lastly, we've got one that says I've started dating again. How do I handle introducing someone new to my kids?
- I've done this, and, I think, don't shoot the messenger, but just because you love this person doesn't mean your children will too. I think that's a really tough concept to have to wrap your head around, but you have to realize that children already went through one big change. Shoving somebody else into the picture and saying, OK, we're going to play family now, that could be traumatic also, even if your child enjoys being with this person.
I say slow and steady wins the race. I know in my own situation, we took a long time to integrate our children slowly to not feel like we were coming on too strong. Children get very protective over their parents in these situations. So I think give your children time to adjust. Don't tell them how they should feel. Be there to support their feelings if they're not feeling a good way about the new person and just trust that in time, emotions subside, and everything works out.
- I'm sure there are people probably watching going, hey, you guys ask this, ask this. There is so many questions about this, like you said, you couldn't find enough resources, but you have absolutely added to the conversation, and it's a great conversation the way you go about it. We've been checking out your podcast and listening to you, so congrats on it. This is Michelle Dempsey-Multack. The book is Moms Moving On it is out now. Thank you so much for being in studio with us.
- Thank you guys for having me. This was great.
- Thank you, Michelle. Brilliant advice.
- Thank you.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.