Being in a toxic marriage sucks the energy right out of you - so there is less available for the children. Youngsters are smart, so may act up to get your limited attention when you are still wed.
After my divorce was finalized, I truly could then focus on my sons. Even my cats seem to appreciate the extra time we spend together post-divorce. I did not realize that being in survival mode meant trying to avoid conflict rather than being spontaneous.
Now my sons and I can be vagabonds traipsing around the planet - budget and time permitting.
Single parenting brings a flexibility which allows going to the cinema on the spur of the moment or indulging in an impromptu picnic. I do not have to check with the other parent or plan events far in advance.
Instead of viewing life as an obstacle course, it is an adventure with serendipitous moments post-divorce.
My sons give this feedback about single parenthood. They claim I listen to them intently now which in turn enables them to feel more valued. We discuss our lives in depth instead of merely skimming the surface as was done pre-divorce.
As a stressed out married mum, I was more of a dictator echoing my German grandfather's "and that's that," instead of hearing what the boys had to say. Although I set boundaries and make the rules - I am more willing to get the lads' points of view in this new chapter of our lives.
Single parents told me that they became more patient in the post-divorce period and do not get angry over every little thing. Being in a toxic marriage was like having road rage. One is angry in general and perceived infractions can put one over the edge leading to explosions. Anger builds walls around people and understanding with compassion tears them down.
Another adjective used after a break up was "relaxed." Parents said they felt relaxed since no longer doing verbal combat with a spouse in a war zone.
Reduced tension in the home helps the kids to be relaxed too. Relaxed people are easier to be around which encourages more family time in this pleasanter atmosphere. Tension has the opposite effect and scatters family members to their own places of safety.
Post-divorce there was more fun and laughter in our lives. We could even giggle at our mistakes and not take ourselves so seriously. Instead of hiding our screw ups as we did in the past, they were a source of hilarity.
After being a single parent, my sons and I became more open and could admit when we goofed and ask for help and advice from each other. This increased our enjoyment of being together.
As I developed into a stronger, more reliant person, this had the ripple effect on my sons. They became more independent and self-reliant.
On this journey of becoming a single parent, my boys were right at my side and we were a source of support to each other. If I had stayed in that bad marriage, I never would have gotten to really know my sons.
If I knew divorce would be such a positive thing for my sons and me, it would have happened much earlier. In the post-divorce period, notice the improved aspects of your relationship with your kids and the positives in this transition.
Wendi Schuller is a published author who has conducted classes on various subjects.
She draws upon her knowledge as a nurse, Neuro-Linguistic Programmer (NLP), and hypnotherapist, providing a blueprint to guide women through this difficult transition.