What Did She Say

My mind is always open

It’s looming

Posted by jackiyo 69 Comments

I have no idea where this post is headed or if it will even make much sense, but there’s something in my head that needs to come out – and out it shall come.

From: ministry-to-children.com/divorce-and-children/

Many of you already know. Some may not. For those who don’t know, my husband of 10 years and I are splitting up. It’s been a long time coming and we finally made the decision on New Year’s Day. We had scheduled “the talk” for when the kids were away. And we were both on the same page. It was time to move on.

For a long time I thought staying together for the sake of the kids was the right thing to do, but there came a point that I realized staying together was, in my opinion, doing more harm to them than splitting up will. The lesser of two evils, if you will. And our kids need happy parents. And happy parents they did not have. I didn’t realize how grey my existence had become. I got used to it. I had resigned myself to the fact that grey was going to be the rest of my life.

But that changed. I may blog about it. I may not. But this post is not about the decision to split, or what happened before, or what has happened after.

This post is about the thing that is consuming me. That moment that has been looming. That moment that is almost here. And as I type this, my heart is in my throat. My stomach is in knots. My eyes are welling up.

This post is about telling the kids.

We haven’t told the kids yet. They are four and seven. They don’t understand adult love or how love could possibly change.

We haven’t told them yet because how do you say to a four and seven year old that Mommy and Daddy aren’t together anymore, but are still living together for now.

We have to tell them soon because the living arrangements are about to change.

Here’s what my husband and I have come up with as the best-for-now solution.

The kids will stay in the house. They will stay in the safety and security of their bedrooms. And Mommy and Daddy will switch out. Mommy will live here half the time and Daddy will live here half the time. And we will each have our own “crash pad” when we’re not here at the house.

I’ve heard many an opinion on this arrangement.

But, it is what it is. And this is what my husband and I have decided to do.

So now, with this change coming, we need to tell the kids.

Oh god, how do we tell the kids?

How do we tell our sweet, innocent kids their world is about to be shattered?

They’re both sleeping soundly right now. Safe. Secure. Warm. Cozy.

It makes me physically ill to think in a few short days the rug will be pulled out from underneath them.

It kills me.

How will I look my two beautiful, trusting kids in the eye and tell them I won’t be here every single morning anymore. I won’t always be here to tuck them in at night.

Being only a phone call way seems like such a shitty reassurance. The thought of them having to CALL Mommy when they’re scared and just want to be in my arms is gut-wrenching.

Will they ever recover from this? Is this going to scar them forever?

I truly believe staying in a cold marriage would be worse for them or I’d be doing it. As a good friend said to me, “Is your relationship the kind you want your kids to have when they grow up?” And the answer was an absolute no. Not at all. But that’s what they were being modeled. A Mommy and Daddy who don’t talk much at all, let alone touch. Not even a kiss hello or goodbye.

The funny thing is, my husband and I are getting along SO much better since we decided to split. I do truly believe we’ll be good friends. And we will always be bound together by our amazing children.

Our amazing children who are going to have their worlds rocked next week.

But really, not much will change. They will continue to live in this house. With their stuff. No shuffling back and forth. My husband and I are barely here at the same time as it is, so having just Mommy or just Daddy here won’t be that much out of the ordinary.

Not much will change.

But everything will change.

And I hope to god we do this right. That we say the right words. That give the right looks. That they know that the love Mommy has for each of them, the love that Daddy has for each of them, that’s not the kind of love that will ever, EVER change. I hope we can make them understand that even though Mommy and Daddy’s feelings changed for each other, that will never happen to them.

But how do we do that?

I just want to go curl up next to those blissfully sleeping babes and never let go.

This is the hardest part by far for me.

And this is why I come to my blog to pour my heart and head out. I can fall apart here, so I can be strong for my kids.

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69 Responses so far.

  1. […] one is about this kids again. I wrote about how telling our kids about the divorce was looming. I wrote about telling the kids about our separation and how that went […]

  2. […] post is more about how I intend to tie my related posts […]

  3. Laura says:

    You are very brave to be making this choice and for sharing it. But, it will for sure help other people move on who feel the same way about their marriage as you do. You are putting your children first which is so commendable. As a child, I remember wishing my parents would split up because our house was always filled with the tension of a loveless and unaffectionate marriage (they even slept in different rooms). I wish they had had the same courage as you to move on and set an example of how to live life to the fullest just as you are doing. All the best to you on your new path!

  4. […] still haven’t really cried since we told the kids and I wrote two posts about it. I’ve started to cry, but I’ve always stopped […]

  5. Summoning as much strength, grace and peace as I can and sending it to you. Love will prevail. Your love for your children, their love for you, for their father. Your desire for a better life for everyone can be a good thing – kids need happy parents, and they always, always know when it’s not happening.
    Be strong. One step at a time. Breathe and know that you only have to take one day at a time, make one decision at a time. You don’t need to see what will happen five years, ten years from now. Just each day, reach for what feels best for you all.
    Be well, and keep writing and talking.

  6. Jacki says:

    Thank you for all the amazing comments. WordPress is getting mad at me for commenting/replying so quickly to everyone, so, if I didn’t reply to your comment, I apologize. I did read every, single one. And they mean the world. Much love.

  7. Lindsay says:

    What a wonderful post from a very tough situation. You are a strong woman and an amazing mom.

    I’ve been on the kid side and can tell you the good and bad. My DH still to this day says it has messed me up. I love my mom and know she did the best she could given the situation. If you ever want to chat I am here.

  8. Susan says:

    I send you lots of positive thoughts during this tough period.

  9. Paula says:

    Hey Jacki;

    I called you earlier today and left a voicemail – what I said about Cally still goes. Just let me know if you want to hear some advice from the kid point of view.

    Lots of love and hugs πŸ™‚

  10. Ally says:

    Oh my very dear, I am truly sorry. And I realize that “logically knowing” your kids are going to be OK (they still have two parents that love them very much!!) doesn’t shrink the knot of dread in your stomach.

    But you and I have spoken before about the little black door in the corner of your mind. And those days where it would be SO EASY to slip through the door and out of the world as you know it into the dark. If your very hard, very very heart-wrenching decision keeps you out here in the light with us and your babies (and I believe that it will), it is the thing those babies will thank you for someday.

    Much love honey.

  11. Paula Schuck says:

    Oh Jackie: my heart is breaking for you. I love this post. It is beautiful and I am sending you hugs. I love that both of you have come up with the arrangement you have. I think the common home is truly the best answer and most stable divorce option for kids. I wish my own parents had done that instead of fighting, ripping the home out from under our feet and selling it just so they could split assets. After that we always moved a lot and ended up living in shitty small apartments. I support this type of home setup fully and am so impressed with this choice. I think as awful as this is right now your kids deserve a mom
    That is happy. I hope you will find happiness. I truly do. They deserve that. So do you.

    Best,
    Paula
    @inkscrblr

  12. Tatiana H says:

    Hi Jacki,

    Neil had mentioned this to me a little while back, about you splitting with your husband, but I hadn’t wanted to say anything to you because I didn’t feel like it was really my business and I also always worry about saying the worng thing to people. I’m terrible at comforting words and such.

    I am sorry you have had to go through this and that you’ve had to bottle up so much of it for so long. I really do send you positive vibes so that it all turns out the best possible way. That there are no regrets of any kind and that the kids adjust well.

    Both Neil and I have our stories of divorces and crazyness in our lives, so if you ever just want to drop in and talk or drink or whatever you need, eat chips, anything. You know where we live. Just come by!

    We’re here for you. But plese, bring a big grain of salt just in case I do say the wrong thing at some point.

  13. Oh Jacki! I wish I had sage words of advice, or a magic charm to make it all better. But you’re strong and smart and your love for your kids is strong and enduring, as is theirs for you. This is going to suck. But it won’t suck forever. We are all hear for you when you need us! xo

  14. Emma says:

    All the best at this difficult time.

  15. Jacki I have no wonderful words of advice, I can’t imagine how hard this must be…. I can send you wishes of strength and great big fat hugs.

  16. Schmutzie says:

    I’m glad you came here to share. Nothing I can say will make this better, but I just wanted to let you know that I’m here listening, and I believe that you can do this well.

  17. Alison says:

    I am so happy that you got this off your chest. It’s a heavy load. After 22 years we split with a 10 & 11 year old. Switching out was the best thing we did. After four months I moved 3 blocks away. Leaving him with the home I’d built was hard, but I finally felt free and regenerated in my own space. Loss of my job as primary caregiver was the hardest for me to work through. *Change* is the emotional centre of everything, kids and adults alike, whether it’s in your job, health, home or your marriage. So we both focused on keeping things as they had always been from a structural point of view. I think that your kids age may be a blessing. Change AND hormones were difficult in our both our households! Sending hugs.

  18. melissa says:

    Wishing you and your family strength, grace and positivity.

  19. Lisa says:

    Jacki
    I was there.
    Kids are actually more resillient (spelling?) than you expect them to be.
    As long as you both put your kids 1st things will be less bumpy

  20. Ms. Joy says:

    Any decision you make out of love is the right decision and while the decision for you and your husband to split is a ridiculously, over the top painful decision to make, it is the right one because you are doing it out of love for your children. My parents split up when I was almost 8 years old and even at that age I knew my mom was making the right decision to leave (in fact, a few months later I went to her and said just that). Be honest with your children, it took a long time for my parents to be honest with me about the divorce and even though I could understand to an extent, I deserved more honesty than I got. Explain things in child terms, establish boundaries and remember, you are doing the best that you can. All the best.

  21. Wendy says:

    Jacki-you are a strong woman & I know you will survive this. My heart is with you & the kids. I do believe that in the long run it’s better for the kids to be apart than to see the both of you miserable & loveless. That’s no way to live. Love ya.

  22. You are brave and strong! These are wonderful things to show your kids! In time, they will come to understand, and be better people because of it. I think it is amazing that both you and your husband love your children enough to “share” the family home so your kids are secure in their environment. Wishing you all the best!

  23. Dianne @smilenwaven says:

    BIG hugs Jacki!! Crazy – the ex and I split on New Year’s Eve also! We were married 25 yrs and thought I would NEVER get over it. It’s honestly taken quite a few years, BUT it does happen! You WILL feel better again AND glad you did it!! Kids are incredibly resilient – with 2 loving parents, they’ll be fine in the end!! xox

  24. Susan says:

    My heart goes out to you and your children. Explain it to them in child terms. There are alot of resources on the web that may help you handle your situation. All the best for you all. Hugs

  25. Christine says:

    It’s heart-breaking but I, and so many others, know what you’re going through. I feel the need to tell you, so you remember, that it will get better. Your kids will have your undivided attention when you are there. During your time away, you will recharge your batteries and you will be so happy to see them when you are there, that it will be great for all of you. Best of luck. You are not alone.

  26. Sending you positivity and strength during this time Jacki. xo

  27. I think it goes without saying you have so much love and support in your corner.
    I went through The Talk also, about three years ago. My kids were older, about 11 and 9, but the dread is just the same. They both remember it well, but what they remember even more is how we all went out to dinner together after. So even if you and your husband aren’t married to each other, you will all always be a family. Anyway, I digress. Sending you a ton of good energy and just know that it will all be OK. You are a wonderful mom and your kids will always know and feel your love.

  28. Kim (ShoeMom) says:

    One year ago my husband of 11 years and I separated. We have a son who was 7 at the time.

    Your story is similar to mine. Like you I dreaded telling him. But my marriage had no love or hugs or kisses or even much talking.

    The day we told our son, he cried of course. His world changed. But that night, when i put him to bed, he said to me, “Maybe you and Daddy will be better friends if you don’t live in the same house.”. He knew. At 7 years old, he knew.

    It hasn’t been an easy year. We spent Christmas morning together. We both go to concerts and teacher meetings. We are good friends and have committed to try and do the best for him.

    This all is to tell you that a year ahead of you, it is hard. But for us, it was the best for our family. And you will find the right things to say. And hold them when they cry. They know Mommy and Daddy love them.

    Good luck!

  29. Sara says:

    YOU know what to say and do, you WILL say and do the best, FOR YOUR KIDS.

  30. Coleen says:

    Oh love, my heart is breaking for you and for your kids. As a child of parents who stayed together “for our sake”, I can safely say that was the wrong choice. We saw no emotion, no love, no affection. We grew up thinking it was normal to be cold and distant. I’m sorry you are going through it but proud that you know what is truly right for all the members of your family.
    No more grey, allow yourself to.live in vibrant colour!

  31. Staci Garcia says:

    Take 2 minutes to read this, then promise to DM me if u need me. Last year, at the exact same time (mid Feb), my husband & I of 10 years married (16 together) got divorced. It was several years in the making. We tossed around sharing the house for the sake of the boys (then 4,6,7) but in the end, I moved out.
    I’ve been out of “our house” & divorced 1 year now. I moved very close. I thought we could be close friends & co-parent. We got along so much better when we knew the non-talking was coming to an end.
    My boys went to in-school counseling. We sat w/them & explained everything. I had some adjusting to do because I was the one who left the house so my walls were bare & my spirit was low. But I leaned on my friends for support.

    Ask them today and they don’t remember daddy & I ever hugging or kissing or really talking. what do we do here: hug, kiss & talk. They sometimes act up & daddy says they don’t act the same w/him. They sometimes call me crying that they want me. It breaks my heart but when we are together, we really take the time to value every moment. I tweet about them often. They’re my world, whether on Wednesdas, Thursdays & every other weekend or not.
    And the weirdest thing happens, u find yourself in the chaos. The person you lost. The one who was going through life like a Stepford wife. And guess what? She’s cool. And fun. And she has a chance to be carefree for a couple days a week. To focus on herself. It’s an awakening.
    It’s only been one year and my three boys don’t remember that I ever lived there in daddy’s house. Makes me a bit sad thinking how could they forget all those memories but a bit happy too because we can start newer better ones! Xo

  32. heather says:

    It takes courage and strength and abundant love for your kids to make the decision you are making. I wish you strength and happiness.

  33. Jenn says:

    *hugs* I have friends who have done what you are doing with the kids staying in the house and the parents swapping out. It worked for 4 years until one of them ended up in a relationship and wanted to move in with the other person. Then the other parent moved back permanently. As you said, your kids deserve happy parents and if you’re happier no longer cohabitating, I think that will be better in the long run. I had friends in elementary school whose parents “stayed together for the kids”. EVERY ONE of them knew what was going on and wished the tension would go away. Kudos to both you and your husband for choosing the adult way and thinking of the kids first. IF you need anything, I’m only a holler away.

  34. Emma says:

    My parents split when I was five and I got shlepped back and forth. I think the way you are setting it up is making the best of the situation and really putting your kids first. Good Luck.

  35. Kat says:

    I am sending huge hugs and positive thoughts. I totally agree with Sharon. Trust yourself. You’ll know what to do and say when the time comes because you’re a great mom. xo

  36. Steve says:

    Ultimately, they will be all right (though it may take a little while) because you guys are doing the right thing in your situation. A loveless marriage is not a good place for the kids to be, nevermind the parents.

    Next week will suck. Probably the next few weeks will suck. But, in the end, you will all be better off.

    Good luck. I will be around the webs if you need me.

  37. Alex says:

    Oh, friend. I have exactly no advice to offer, but I do have hugs for you and time to listen. Thinking of you lots.

    • jackiyo says:

      Hugs and time are much appreciated. And luckily my new job gives me access to lots of information and support to do this the right way. Life has a way of providing.

  38. Trina says:

    Wow Jackie, you’ve had a lot on your plate. I’m so sorry to hear about this. I know it’s going to be rough, but it obvious that both you and your husband want to do what’s best for yourselves and the children. I applaud you both.

    My heart bleeds for you as you prepare to tell the children as my heart bleeds for them to hear the words. Be strong and know that your strength will carry them when they are down. You’re a blogger….you know that you’ll allow them to be candid with their feelings as you are with your readers.

    Much luck and prayers for you and your family.

  39. Sharon says:

    You are stronger than you think and you WILL say the right words and comfort them if they need it. You’re their mother and know them better than anyone in the world and whatever comes your way, you’ll be able to handle it because you have the inner strength to carry you through. Not to mention friends who will support you when you don’t feel you have the strength.


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