Daily Archives: March 2, 2010

Does the pain of divorce ever ease up?

I was recently asked the following: Does the time ever come when you can see your ex’s name or photograph and just not have a deep visceral negative reaction? When you see you received an email from the ex and your heart doesn’t sink to your feet? That when the kids talk nicely about the other parent you don’t feel angry and jealous? That when you bump into him / her in shul or at the store that you aren’t overcome by a haze of rage?

My answer was a resounding “Yes”. That time does come, but it doesn’t come on its own. You have to work towards it. It’s called letting go of the past, and embracing the future. Moving on. Forgiving. You will never forget, but you need to forgive in order to move ahead.

My ex and I have been divorced for a few years. It took a while to move past all the hurt and anger and resentment. I had to want to move past it. I had to want to not be a bitter vindictive ex wife looking to make her ex husband’s life a living hell. There are women and men who do not want to move on. Their raisons d’être are all about making the ex suffer for what happened. I just wanted a peaceful life, a life where I could raise my kids in a positive environment. You cannot undo the past, but you can improve your future.

Even since we split we were never rude or nasty to each other. We were always hyper aware of how we spoke or communicated with each other. Behind the other’s back I am sure neither of us was so saintly. I think it was on the second Yom Kippur since our split, I came to a point where I just wanted the pain to be over. I needed to let it all go so I could move on with my life and be a person that I could be proud of. I spoke to him after Yom Kippur and we made our peace with each other. We both promised to continue to put the kids first, and just move on with our lives without blame. The past would stay in the past. Thankfully we are both on the same page, I know that isn’t always the case.

I won’t say it’s easy. You don’t forget the hurts. There are times that you do get angry and mad. But when you have truly moved on, their name in your inbox or on your phone shouldn’t send you into paroxysms of anxiety or rage. Letting that happen means you haven’t taken back your own power, that you haven’t allowed yourself to even begin to heal. When that visceral reaction happens over and over, you are giving your power to your ex. If you are no longer together, you need to let that go.

Caveat / Disclaimer: Of course, moving on is so much easier when both parties wish to do so. When the ex is hell bent on making life miserable – it brings other things into the equation. When you have moved on, and the ex sends multiple texts, faxes, emails, voicemails etc just to tell you how disgusting you are, then I think there is justification for your blood pressure to rise upon seeing their name on caller ID. I don’t know what I would do in such a situation…..

What helped you to move on? What advice can you give people starting out on this long road toward co-parenting / co-existing with one’s ex spouse?

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Target Practice

One of my tweeps in Israel was complaining this morning about her little boys. She in fact was bemoaning the necessity of sharing a bathroom with them and craving a bathroom of her own. Some others chimed in. When I was looking for an apartment a few years back one of my main criteria was that there should be two separate bathrooms. One for me, and one for my boys. I am thrilled to have my own bathroom.

I don’t get it. How difficult is it to aim and shoot in the toilet bowl? Mothers of boys all over the world are nodding with me, understanding the issue. I used to think perhaps it was just my boys, but was relieved (scuse the pun) to learn that it is quite a universal thing. I make my boys clean their bathroom. I was hoping that once they had cleaned and mopped up their own spillage that it would teach them to be more target oriented. Sadly, that did not work.

I remember a few years back seeing a Lysol commercial where the boy was in the bathroom doing his business, and a sibling or parent called to him, he turned his head, which made the rest of his body turn, toward the voice, and realized he was watering the floor, and turned back to finish. I giggled because it just rang so true.

So, moms of boys – what are your tricks to get them to aim and fire accurately? Or should we just give up and hand them over the mop and disinfectant?

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And now it starts!!

The pre-pesach insanity. The minute Purim is over, for most balabustas, it’s full steam ahead for pesach preparations. Suddenly you cannot eat anywhere but the kitchen, the dining room is off limits. Closets must be emptied and reorganized. Light fixtures have to be taken down and scrubbed. The moms are on a mission to rid the house of anything chametzdik. In some houses there is not much decent to eat between now and Pesach.

But really, this craziness goes so much further than that. Most of this Pesach cleaning is really spring cleaning, but using Pesach as the excuse. According to the halacha, you don’t need to take down each individual crystal from your chandelier and scrub it in hot soapy water. There will be no chametz there, and certainly no recognizable or edible chametz. Just plenty of dust. Women who are not machmir on many things year round, suddenly in the month before Pesach are incredibly strict on what can pass muster as being clean for Pesach.

I like my home to be clean even when not preparing for Pesach. When I have the energy and the inclination I might take down the light fixtures (even though I am Hungarian I have no chandeliers) and clean them, but it will not be explained as cleaning for Pesach. Taking everything out of the closets in my room so I can wipe down the walls and ceilings and vacuum the floors – that’s nothing to do with Pesach – I don’t keep bread in my bedroom closet. To clean for Pesach you need to just get rid of chametz. Dust is not chametz. Lint is not chametz. A disorganized closet is not chametz.

If you keep your house organized and clean year round, then cleaning for Pesach should be no great hassle, and doesn’t really need to be thought about till the week before. Rooms where you know there has been no chametz don’t even need to be cleaned for Pesach. The kitchen and dining areas are really the only places that need a thorough going over and you can’t really do that until just before the holiday.

I have made Pesach annually since I got married the first time around. I have it down to a science. I would like to think that I don’t make the kids insane for weeks in advance. That I am not a dictator who has a panic attack every time someone walks out of the kitchen with a cookie in hand. When the kids were babies, yes, I found cheerios etc in interesting places. Soon enough they learned to do the chametz wiggle before leaving the kitchen in the week before Pesach.

So many times I hear women complain about how exhausted they are by the time they sit down for the seder. It’s unnecessary to be that tired. It’s a holiday. I want to enjoy my holiday with my family, not be a burned out wreck because I have been a cleaning and scrubbing fiend for a month!!! “Avadim Hayinu” – we were slaves – in Egypt, not in present day 2010! Please, get it all into perspective, ladies, and show up at the seder in your yomtov finery, with a smile showing naturally on your face, and know that you will enjoy yourself, not fall asleep by the second cup of wine.

Yes – once the house is Pesachdik there is a lot of work to be done. The changing over the kitchen, the shopping and the cooking. Food preparation for Pesach is a lot more time consuming. Get everyone involved. Plan your meals. You CAN cook on yomtov, it doesn’t all need to be prepared before hand. There is no need for us women to be zombies – let’s enjoy every part of the pesach preps.

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