By Laura Lifshitz
After having the “safe shelter” of two incomes, landing at one income after your divorce is really scary. It doesn’t matter how much you want the divorce…knowing you have to strategize and perhaps, go back to work or take on an additional job after a divorce, is hard. No one told me how hard it would be because I ended up figuring it out for myself. I remember as a child, watching my dad lose his job due to drastic changes in the market. It was hard to watch as a young kid. I remember that we struggled for some time, and that my mom went back to work after being a stay-at-home mom for a long time. Eventually though, we got on our feet and all was ok. There was a second person to help my dad.
Now when you’re divorced, there is no pinch-hitter. There is no “backup.” Sure, some people fare very well with alimony and child support and then there are others, that don’t. Others that don’t have that child support or alimony or both rolling in. So, how do you even cope knowing that all the financial burden is on your shoulders?
You have to give yourself consistently positive self-talk and believe, believe and believe that it will be ok.
Here are the mantras that I tell myself as I fight to get my finances together, on my own.
1. “It’s not ok today, but it will eventually be ok, ‘tomorrow.’”
Today, you’re not ok. Today, you live paycheck to paycheck.
Today, you can’t afford to buy your kid a bike or throw him or her some fancy birthday party.
You may be on food stamps. You may not be. You may be ok, but can’t do vacations anymore or are facing a bunch of credit card debt.
Wherever you fall on the spectrum, you must tell yourself that while it’s not ok today, it will eventually be ok.
2. “What can I do to control the situation?”
Okay, so this is not exactly a mantra, but it’s a question I keep in my mind constantly.
What can you control in your financial situation?
You can’t control perhaps certain childcare bills or rent/mortgage payments, but you can control extra spending. You could get a second job—maybe. You could cut out extracurricular activities, perhaps, depending on the scenario.
The goal of this mantra/self-check question is to figure out:
What you can control and then, make a plan to change what you can control financially
What you can’t control—so you can then accept it
By realizing you can’t control everything, it makes life a lot easier and you’re able to focus on what you can.
3. “Things aren’t everything.”
You may not be able to buy your kids or do as much for your kids as you once could. You may not be able to do things you used to, either.
It is hard to adjust for kids and moms, but the reality is “things aren’t everything.”
Things are things. Things aren’t love. Things aren’t hope. Things aren’t happiness.
I’ve learned how stupid it was when I wanted to keep up with the Joneses. Sure, I’d love to do as much for my daughter as others do, but I do what I can do, and I can’t compare my one income to someone’s two. I can’t compare my salary to someone who has been working for perhaps, 15-20 years, whereas, I have been working full-time for less than that.
Even still, things are just things.
That’s not what life is about. If it was, you would have stayed married.
4. “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
You won’t be up and running in a month. In a year—well, maybe. It could take months to recoup or years, but you will recover and get on your feet!
Rome wasn’t built in a day. This marriage didn’t last a day. You will need time to recover financially and rebuild. You have to be patient, persistent and positive. Your rewards and stability will come, but not in a day.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your life be after divorce. Financial instability is the scariest thing ever—but if you have your health and loved ones, you have it all.
You will get it together and things will get better. Just stick to the 3 P’s”
Persistent. Patient. Positive!
About the Author
Laura Lifshitz is a Freelance Writer, Content Creator, Comedienne, & Obsessive Chocoholic