By Antoinette de Janasz
My divorce left me in debt, without a car, in a dilapidated apartment, and with two children to raise. Things could only get better, or at least that was my mantra to keep me going!
My children were my first and foremost priority. The divorce was very hard on them, made harder by the mud that was slung at me by their father. Keeping up with our traditions and rituals helped my kids keep a sense of family and gave them some much needed security. Any doubts I had about the divorce were erased when my son told me that I never laughed when I was married to their dad. I made it a point to laugh more after that, even when there was nothing to laugh at.
I tried to keep my financial hardship from them but they were old enough to figure it out. Especially when I had to discourage their friends from snacking at our home because they would eat our week’s food supply in one afternoon! Teenagers are like locusts!
Creating a list of things I needed to accomplish helped keep me focused. Getting a job was first on the list since the child support I received wouldn’t even cover the rent. Without a car my options were limited so I hit local stores, going door to door until a shop owner agreed to give me a job. The pay wasn’t great but it was better than nothing and I was close by should my kids have needed me. Sometimes they would stop in after school to say hi so the job had its perks!
I had started my own business a couple of years prior to my divorce. It was going great guns but 9/11 caused it to slow down tremendously and, after my divorce, I was not able to devote myself to it fully and hold down a full time job. So I worked on it after my kids went to bed and early in the morning just to keep it going. I knew that one day I would be able to go back to it full time and I had to keep it afloat until then.
Because of my limited finances I was aware that my credit rating would be quickly taking a nose dive so I used a credit card to put a down payment on a used car and financed the rest. I had made a car my second priority because I lived in a big city with poor public transportation. My friends were very kind and would loan me their car to do grocery shopping but I didn’t want to impose on them any longer than I had to. I had my pride which drove me forward.
Things were tough but I had the support of my friends. They offered me a shoulder to cry on and would bring over “extra” food for us. I think the hardest times were Thanksgiving and Christmas because my kids would have to spend one of those holidays with their father. I had no family nearby with which to spend the holidays so my friends always made sure that I wasn’t alone.
The biggest adjustment to being single was being the proverbial fifth wheel. All my close friends were married and social situations were awkward. After being treated like pariah by other women at my friend’s daughter’s wedding, I vowed to avoid situations that involved couples. It amazes me that still goes on. I thought we had progressed beyond that but I hear from other single women it has also happened to them.
These days I don’t have to worry about being a fifth wheel. I hadn’t planned on getting married again but I am engaged to a wonderful man. With a lot of determination and luck I was able to pull my life together and raise two great kids. I’m working fulltime again on my business and am applying the same principles to it that I did to my life – focus on moving forward!
For more information on Antoinette de Janasz, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org..