The Secret Joys of Getting Divorced
By Caitlin Crawshaw
Photo © RachelAnne/Twenty20
Feb 25, 2020
When my daughter was tiny, we’d often visit a friend of mine with a little one of her own. As the small monsters played, we enjoyed a rare chance to finish our tea while it was still hot and talk about grown-up stuff.
One day we were talking about the division of childcare in our respective households when my pal joked that divorce would be the only way she’d ever sleep through the night again. I laughed — I was just as tired — but the D word terrified me. I was adamant that I would make my marriage work, no matter what it took, for my daughter’s sake (I am a child of divorce).
Some parents — married and divorced — are lonely. Read about buddy benches for parents here.
Even so, my common-law marriage ended three years later. The separation was painful and messy — as it often is — but now that I’m on the other side of it, life is good. I still miss my kid when she’s with her other mom and, sometimes, I feel guilty that she has two homes. But even so, I’ve learnt that there are some unexpected perks to membership in the “Divorce Club.”
Ds get you Zs
Provided you share custody, your home will sometimes be kid-free, which is remarkably conducive to sleep. On a recent Sunday, I slept in until 11 a.m. without being woken up by a finger in the ribs or a blaring television. A few months ago, I even had a nap. Dreams really do come true.
Time makes sense again.
Before kids, days are 24 hours long. After kids, days become at least 36 hours long and there’s still not enough time to get everything done.
For those who are co-parenting, divorce recalibrates the space-time continuum, returning you to that glorious 24-hour clock. Finally, there are enough hours in the day for household chores, sleep, socializing and other adult human activities.
Although it’s common to lose friends after a divorce, it also opens doors to new friendships with other members of the “Divorce Club” — i.e. folks who get it.
(This is doubly true if you don’t share custody, as your frequent-parenting miles bump you up to Divorce Club Elite: a version of the club only accessible to a handful of heroes digging deep to parent full-time).
Fewer not-so-fun kid engagements
Maybe you love watching your kiddo’s soccer games, but can’t abide Taylor Swift concerts. Or maybe you prefer orthodontist appointments over 5 a.m. hockey practices. Whatever your deal is, custody means you and your co-parent can divvy up these activities strategically.
Errands without kids
Grocery shopping with kids, amirite? When the kids are with their other parent, divorced people enjoy blissfully chilled-out visits to the grocery store, hardware store, mall, vet, etc. A definite perk, if you ask me.
Every divorce is different — read about a mother's struggles through divorce here.
Better relationships with the kids
Once the legal and practical stuff is sorted, you’ll breathe easier and feel lighter. Divorce means an end to daily household tensions and freedom from an unhappy relationship. Now you have the emotional bandwidth to remain calmer and more clear-headed with the kids, and to really be present with them. While you have less time together, it’ll be quality time (especially if you can take care of boring errands before they come home!).
Not having to ask
Whether or not you’re co-parenting, divorce is a return to independence. Everything from finances, decorating, cooking, cleaning and managing your schedule is up to you now. So take that erotic cake baking class! Paint the living room purple! And, by all means, download some dating apps. Start swiping right! Who knows what the future will bring?
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