I was standing outside of school waiting to pick up Kay the other day, when I ran into a mom I hadn't seen in a while and actually didn't know very well. She asked me about my Thanksgiving plans and I told her my girls were going to be with their dad and step-mom. She mentioned that her divorce was just about to be final and I immediately put my divorced-veteran's hat on and told her that it was going to be okay and pretty much anything goes for the next six months. Then I started spewing all the things that had helped me survive (even sometimes thrive) in that bizarre and tricky transition from wife to divorcee. I expected her to be irritated that I was acting like some sort of know-it-all, but instead I only saw relief on her face that someone was standing before her who had come out the other side, despite spending the first several months single a hot, steamy, sweatpant wearing mess.
When I got home, I looked up survival tips for newly-divorced women out of curiosity and was completely dismayed by what I found. None of it felt very helpful or realistic in terms of the day-to-day coping that occurs when a woman finds herself once again single and alone. Thus, may I present to you my list of the top five ways to get through the first six months of being divorced:
- Invest in sweatpants. Lots of them. And muumuus if you're feeling adventerous. I don't think I wore any real clothes during the day for the first six months after I filed. (Evenings were a different story, because dates and friends. But that's a different post.) I wore sweats and old maternity stuff from Lands' End all day, every day. I say sweats from anywhere but Juicy Couture are an acceptable choice.
- Develop a really intense and even slightly unhealthy TV habit. The kind where you binge watch until your legs get numb and tingly when you stand up after you're done. This is going to come in handy during those strange hours when you find yourself alone and done with real life for the day, but can't go to sleep yet. I am notorious for my awful taste in television because I find it needs to be mind-numbing yet still make me feel better about myself: Real Housewives of Anything, The Bachelor (all variations,) any show involving the Amish, or babies (this last one is mostly because I still share a Netflix account with my ex and his wife, and I like to freak them out with my viewing history...)
- Develop a really intense and even slightly unhealthy relationship with chocolate, or ice cream, or cheese. And if a glass of wine or two accompanies the above foods that is totally fine, as is Jameson. A glass of milk or hot tea could also work equally well if you're uh... not me. I've found that during this time in my life, being able to have a couple of guilt-free bites here or there of something super fatty and yummy really helped cut down on the "crying on the floor/in the shower/ in the car" time. Eating your feeling is a real thing, and not always even a bad one at that.
- Start thinking about looking into, and perhaps even becoming, part of the magical and mystical world of online dating. There are a couple of fabulous aspects of online dating that far outweigh any of the negatives. Like the fact that you don't have to leave your house, and you can do it while eating cheese and watching reality tv in your sweats. Also, it's eerily similar to shopping online except much, much cheaper and way more entertaining. (At some point you will even find yourself wanting to make some online purchases on these websites. DO IT. You won't regret it- even the worst date will make an extremely entertaining story for your girlfriends, and at some point the best date may very well end up being your very last "first date.")
- Most importantly, make a list asking for everything you could possibly want in the whole universe, even those things you don't think you're allowed to ask for, or deserve, or even are a remote possibility. Then look at it every day. Pinterest it, make a vision board, journal about it, write affirmations about what you want and stick them everywhere, even sharpie them on your hand on really bad days to remind yourself the odds are truly ever in your favor. Because now is the time of rebuilding and regeneration and the world is wide open to you. Ask and I promise ye shall receive. I'm speaking from experience here.