One of my biggest fears when I got divorced was what it would do to my relationship with my kids. I felt like I was in constant competition with their dad who had all the money he needed while my best friend was literally taking me to the grocery store to buy food and my rent was late pretty much every single month (so many checks were lost in the mail. Crazy, I know). 

The first Christmas post-divorce was the hardest. Their dad bought them Playstations and iPhones, iPods and brand new bedroom sets. There were clothes and toys and all the things. Meanwhile, my debit card was declined at Walmart and I left in tears because I didn’t know how I was going to buy a single Christmas gift. That year they each got pajamas (a Christmas tradition that started the year the first one was born), a book and a board game. I’m sure it was disappointing coming to mom’s house to find three small gifts after an Oprah-like morning at their dad’s but I’ll never forget when my daughter said to me, “Mom, I know it wasn’t much but it meant the most because you put a lot of thought into and worked hard for us.”

That moment quickly reminded me of what I had told myself all along but lost sight of in the struggle of life – it’s going to be harder than hell but one day they will realize how hard I worked and they will absolutely know that relationships and love are more than material things. 

They know I am their safe place and can always talk to me. We have real talks – about friends and school, people they like, sex and suicide, dreams for the future and their fears. They understand that real conversations that matter. They know grace and they know God. They know it’s okay to fail. They’re seeing, first-hand, a woman who has given up a lot and fought for more. They are witnessing a happy, healthy relationship. One that isn’t perfect or without conflict, but one that is committed to resolving issues through love and communication. 

There are so many days someone is mad at me because I’ve said no, again. There are moods and hormones. There are days we’re all out of sync and nothing goes right. Sometimes I have zero tolerance for the crap. But we still eat dinner together almost every night (sorry not sorry it’s not mac and cheese, ya little weirdos). And Sunday dinners are a must in our home. We pray together. We show gratitude for each other and for the simple gifts in our lives. We love hard and we love well. 

We’ve come a long way since that first Christmas. And while I can provide more than three gifts these days, the best ones I’ll ever give them are the ones that continue to teach them about love and grace. We have found our way and I am so very grateful for that. I am their home and they are mine.



  1. I am totally feeling how you did 5 years ago right now! I’m early in the divorce process and terrified how this will effect my relationships and my closeness with my kids (ages 4, 8 and 11). I’d love to know the % custody arrangement you had/have if you don’t mind sharing? Here in CA 50/50 seems to be the norm, but every story I find of moms thriving with their kids after divorce have majority custody, so it doesn’t really make me feel better 😦


    1. First of all, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I know how hard it is and it’s never easy. My ex and I agreed to 50/50. I had the mindset that just because our marriage didn’t work out didn’t mean that he didn’t deserve to be any less a part of our kids lives. It’s been hard for all of us and there have been days that I have questioned whether or not that was truly the best. I can tell you that my kids have adjusted exceptionally well but it hasn’t been easy. It was definitely hardest on my youngest because I had stayed home with him his entire life and he was put into daycare as soon as I went back to work. We still have tough days but texting and FaceTime has been a saving grace!


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