We are not a broken family

I have been heading a single-parent family for nearly six years now. I am a teacher, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in meetings and conferences while others lamented the fact that we have to deal with “broken families.” I think it’s a hurtful phrase and one that I’ve had to work hard to overcome. My family is not broken. While maintaining our family’s privacy, I will just say divorce was not a decision that was taken lightly.

My ex-husband and I have made many compromises and more importantly, made peace with each other, in order to be the best co-parents possible for our kids. Yes, there are differences in our parenting styles, but we discuss all major decisions and are in general agreement on the important things. We face the same issues we would have been dealing with if we were still married.

Just because a children’s parents are divorced, it doesn’t have necessarily mean the family is broken. Broken to me means deficient in a way that is beyond repair. We may not have two parents living together in the same house, but I still consider my ex and his family my family and I always will.

We are bound together for the rest of our lives by our two children, and I want to make the best of it. I am happy that it’s not awkward or painful to sit together at recitals or meet up to go trick-or-treating. We will not have to sit in separate rows when our children graduate or get married.

Although it’s a sad statement about our society that the divorce rate is so high, the most practical way to help children is to give them a sense of family no matter what its makeup. I support the institution of marriage. When it works, it’s a beautiful partnership. But there are other types of families that work too. We may not look like the Pajamagram picture above, but we’re still a whole, beautiful family!

 

Please check out my first novel, Giving Myself Away, about a divorced mom making tough choices.

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What is your word of the year?

I’m one of those people who gets all fired up with New Year’s resolutions, some of which I’ve kept and some of which I haven’t. My birthday falls between Christmas and New Year’s, which is another impetus to get me reflecting on where I’ve been and where I’d like to go.

In 2013, I had a “theme” for the year, and that was “Put yourself out there.” For a reserved person like me, this was a big deal. It meant all the times I wanted to say no to opportunities, I said yes instead. And what a big difference it made in my work life and my personal relationships.

2014 was kind of a blah year for me. There were many blessings, accomplishments, and good things happening, but there was no overriding message to keep me on track.

This year, I’m trying something new. My friend and personal coach, Cathy Colangelo, suggested I download Christine Kane’s free PDF that shows you how to select a single word to carry you through the year and bring intention to your goals.

The word I chose is “soar.” I know it sounds cheesy if you’re a cynic, but what can it hurt? I chose this word because I realized there are too many times I’ve let fear keep me grounded. This is the year I am going to be brave about achieving my goals rather than hiding in the corner making excuses when the going gets tough.

It took me a few days to come up with my word of the year, and in the process of mulling it over, I’ve already had a few chances to put my word into action when I thought I was getting snaggled in household problems I couldn’t deal with on my own. Instead, I told myself, “I can handle this,” and I did!

Cathy has also inspired me to make vision boards the the past few years. I think the one I made yesterday is my best yet. I wanted to convey women who look confident (and flexible, since continuing the daily practice of yoga is one of my goals), and I wanted to put it right out there that this is the year I finish my second novel.

I’m looking forward to a great, big, shiny new year. What’s your word going to be? Reply below and let me know!

 

Check out my first novel, Giving Myself Away, available now.

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Amazon |  Barnes & Noble | Apple iBooks |

Kobo Books | BAM | IndieBound | Powell’s