So let’s talk divorce. If you’re married, you’ve thought about it at least a few times, and if you have married friends you’ve discussed it and weighed the reasons and the cons. But until you experience it, it’s all just theory, and the pain (or relief) of it can only be explained by the ladies who’ve ridden that horse. Yep, the divorce horse.
In part 2 of my interview with Gilly (part 1 of our interview on being a single mom here), we discuss the road to divorce and raising 3 kids on her own. She moved to a new state to start a new life with her kids after her separation. She’s a teacher and a bonfide fashionista. Why should your style suffer too, right?
What was your thought process when you were thinking of divorcing, especially in regards to the kids?
I didn’t know what would happen to them. I didn’t know how it would affect them and I think that’s why I stayed married so long. I knew I wanted to leave, and I knew I could do it alone, but I worried about the kids and their reaction all the time.
How did you know you could do it alone?
I never got much help from my ex-husband at home, so I knew I could handle the day to day living by myself. I never felt that I would be without something if I left.
How did the kids take the separation when it happened?
They didn’t feel much withdrawal from their dad because I was always the one who did everything for them. The impact was not as severe as it would’ve been if both parents were actively involved. He was there and he existed, but he wasn’t present and engaged. They can’t miss what they didn’t have.
How do you think they feel now after almost a year?
I think they’re in a good place. They miss him, but they know that they get the care they need from me. My youngest, who is 7, asks why we don’t all live together anymore and I tell him because mommy and daddy aren’t together anymore. He doesn’t completely understand, but he accepts it. The eldest is a teenager and is angry sometimes because he doesn’t feel connected to his father. He feels his dad hurt me and feels angry about it. Hopefully time and more involvement from his dad will help heal his anger.
How are you a different mother now?
I used to yell a lot at the kids and took out my frustration and anger on them and they could feel it. That’s gotten much better. I still a yell but now it’s for necessary things (smiles).
Do you think you make enough money as a single mom to support your kids?
No, not for the life I want them to have. I’d like them to have a more enriched experience that includes more extra curricular activities and travel. My oldest is in football and it’s a lot of money but I make it work.
How do you plan to make more money for the all the things you want to provide for your kids?
I do extra jobs on the side to balance it out — I tutor a lot. I find a way. They are in activities that I can afford right now. I like where things are for now. They are safe and I can still spend time with them.
What are your career aspirations?
Eventually I’d like to run a non-profit for teenagers that prepares them for life in the real world. It would involve mentoring them on budgeting, dressing for interviews, public speaking etc. I have a teenage son and I don’t think teens are prepared for the challenges they’re going to face being on their own. I see a lot of the crazy mistakes they’re making that sabotages them financially and impacts their future. I want to help them to be smart and ready for it. I think they learn it too late. I wish there was a program or some one who could’ve done it for me because I was very young when my adult life started.
You’ve started dating again. How is it in the dating world?
Slow on purpose for me. It’s mentally challenging for me because I have little space for dates so I don’t do it a lot. I like familiarity, and consistency, and safety, and it makes me feel unsafe because every time you date you have to give a layer of yourself mentally and physically to see if you like the other person. To give a layer each time for each person is draining.
But you do go out even if it’s not on a date?
Yes, to lounges and restaurants with friends.
Do you think dating and going out is important for moms?
Yes, because it’s a recharge for your mind and body. Because you have to step out of your daily routine and your daily setting. It allows me to appreciate my life more, and I feel better about myself, and I see myself as a whole individual as opposed to just a mom.
Who keeps the kids when you go out? (I personally need this in my life!)
My sister or my oldest son.
Last, but certainly not least, you’re a very stylish mom, how would you describe your style?
Clean, chic, less is more. Fashionable, but comfortable.