If you are looking to understand the impact of divorce on your career as a working mother. The first thing you need to understand is that divorce is like a death. You might have heard it before, perhaps even twice, and here I say it again.
Just like a marriage and becoming a parent, you cannot plan your divorce nor know how it feels or how you will cope (or not) until you weather that storm.
When you go through divorce that’s when you get to know exactly what you are capable of, the good and the bad and the just plain ugly. You get to see what others have been through and realise that there are indeed some things in life that are very capable of knocking you sideways and propelling you into a land that you never had any intention of visiting let alone residing in.
Yet here you are. In the land of inner pain, anger, resentment with a touch of relief and anticipation for what the future holds. A place where concentration, sleep disturbance and appetite attack are all names of avenues, street and roads.
Welcome to the land of “The Divorced Working Mum.”
So what happens when you find yourself divorced and the main carer of your children? How does that affect your career or work prospects?
For me personally, my divorce experiences steered me to working in a totally different way than I had anticipated. I had two children and no family around to help. I had to drop out of courses during divorce number one and had to quit one job during divorce number two and opt for a part-time position that was paying me not only a fraction of my previous salary but that was also mind-numbingly dull.
So did my two divorces kill my career?
That’s the story I held for a long time. That’s the belief that I carried with me for a long while until one day, I realised that, the divorces had actually shifted me to where I am today, doing what I love.
Remember that mind-numbingly dull job I ended up in? Well I couldn’t stay there and took the huge risk of resigning and working for myself.
Today, I am working with children and families affected by divorce, trauma and loss and I am pursue-ing my other love and passion, which is writing. I work for myself. I control my days and hours. That is what has worked for my children and me.
So will divorce kill your career?
Divorce will affect the way you work and perform. As already mentioned, your concentration is one of the most obvious areas. It can be affected by your emotions, which are affected by your thoughts which then play a role in determining your actions.
The one piece of advice I could give any mum going through divorce is to take time off, do ask for help and take it and accept it when it is offered. Ok, that’s more than one but they are all important. Only when you take care of yourself will you be able to see things clearly as you will be creating the space to do so.
This is no time to be superwoman just as when you lose a loved one through death, it is not the time to be superwoman either.
If you are employed then speak with your boss, let someone in the office know what is going on in your personal life. If you are now the main carer of your children, find out what work options there are for you.
Divorce encourages you to reassess your current situation to find and discover very creative ways to get time with your children, earn some money and look after yourself.
It’s not easy. We love spending time with our little ones, but bills need to be paid.
But here you are. The change has come. You are being steered. Which way will you go? What will you do? What can you do? Know your options and take it from there.
Author: Soila. Soila is known for taking away the pain of trauma and loss in children, adolescents and their families. She has a Masters in Psychology and is a member of the British Psychological Association. Soila has worked with children and families for over 10 years. firstname.lastname@example.org, 07850 85 60 66