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How To Put On A Brave Face After Divorce

A woman jumping into a pond as an example of putting on a brave face after divorce

See how you can make putting on a brave face after divorce can work for you!

Putting on a brave face after divorce – getting brave! – can take some time but can be done! The way I did it may not be the “best” way, or the doctor-approved way to do it, but some of what worked for me may work for you. And the number one starting point is to put on that brave face.
Two very financially disruptive things happened to me after I got a divorce. The first, is that I lost my job. The second, is that the pandemic forced my new job to take a major backseat.
If you ask my kids about me losing my job, they won’t even know what you’re talking about. They never knew I got laid off. I didn’t come home complaining about the industry taking a nosedive and how it was going to crush us. I had on a brave smile for them always, and I made sure when I had conversations about my job loss with family, they were not present. If your kids are older and you’re in this situation, you can probably share more than I did, but be careful how you present the information. It should be quite factual and you should absolutely filter out your panic and fear. It’s not their burden to carry. It’s not their job to worry about how you are going to manage to the pay the bills. That’s your job as the parent to figure out. It’s their job to be kids. Plus, they probably have enough on their plate as it is with school and friends and dealing with being in two households. So own the burden and share your struggles with friends and family when the right opportunities present themselves and put on your brave face for the kiddos.
I won’t bore you with all my financial woes, but know that when I was laid off, it crushed me financially. I had tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt. (Something a financial advisor can help you with!) If you took a snapshot of me during that time, I was a disaster. But again, my kid didn’t know I was drowning. I kept my head above water for them, as their main concerns were food, playing, friends and school. The APR on my VISA really wasn’t for them to worry about. It took me a long time to get into a good place and that’s okay. I hear horror stories all the time from women whose finances and credit was absolutely destroyed during/after divorce. And they got through it. It takes time. And that’s okay.
After I started a new job, things were on the right track. In fact, things were going great! And then the pandemic hit. (I am very aware that there were so many more people much more negatively impacted by the pandemic and this is just a tiny hiccup compared to those. However, my experience was a challenge for me and why I choose to share it with you).
When the pandemic hit, all the kids all came home from school, and my work came to a screeching holt. My job required I be at in person meetings and events all the time, and that wasn’t happening. This work was also 100% commission and completely reliant on these types of activities. Then Zoom came along and said, We’ve Got You! Great. No problem. I’ll just do my meetings at home with three kids who all need help with school……oh yeah, that’s not going to work. So I did the best that I could which quite frankly was mediocre. But, it’s all I could do. I apologized to people in advance if they heard all sorts of noise and shouting in the background and guess what? Everyone was completely understanding. No one thought twice about it. And again, I put on a brave face for the kids. I tried not to them to see the panic that 1) I am NOT a teacher and will never claim to be anywhere close to as competent as our school teachers and 2) That this was a complete disruptor to our household source of income. That was for me to know and for them to hopefully be somewhat sheltered from. Those kids had enough to manage as it was.

I do think it’s important when you are facing challenges that you give people a very brief synopsis of what’s happening. To clarify – Do Not go into your boss’s office crying about your ex and how hard life is as a single mom. Or carry on to your clients about your woes. But do let your employer and colleagues know your situation so they are more empathetic to what’s happening in your life. Keep things professional when you do so. Your employer/colleagues/clients may be the sweetest kindest people, but their job is not to provide you with comfort so keep the line drawn.
The more time you practice putting on a brave face, the more believable it is that you are brave to others. And the beauty is, you start to believe it yourself. And then your “brave face” is actually just you.
Here are some reminders:
1) Don’t let your problems become the burden of your children when it can be avoided
2) Allow people to understand your situation and give you some compassion
3) Give yourself a break. Sometimes all you can do is a medicore job and that’s okay.
4) Remember that this is not a sprint it’s a marathon and not everything is going to be fixed quickly….especially financial challenges
5) You are brave….you just need to remember how to be brave through some practice
6) You’ve got this!

Putting on that brave face after divorce is just the first step and doing THAT can help lead you to feeling and being brave in ways you never expected. You’ve GOT this!