LEAD BY EXAMPLE
I interviewed Sarah Armstrong for this week’s podcast. She authored a book titled The Mom’s Guide to a Good Divorce. Sarah wrote it to fill the void in the divorce book community, which was a simple, easy book to read that was brief yet poignant, topic-driven, and addressed every issue that she went through as a mom in a divorce. It reads like a clean, clear encyclopedia of day-to-day things all divorcing moms have to deal with. One of her topics in regard to co-parenting is Lead By Example. I think Sarah accomplished this goal by writing the consummate guide to all things mom.
The very last page of her book refers to a Mother’s Day card her former husband sent her after the divorce. He wrote, “It occurred to me as we were sitting together at our first Middle School meeting in the library that I am so fortunate that you parent the way you do, and we are almost always in complete agreement and alignment about how we raise our daughter. Thank you for being such a great mom and a dependable, steady figure in her life. Hope you enjoyed your Mother’s Day.” Her husband could not have written this if Sarah hadn’t led by example.
I advance the concept of amicable divorces in my role as a divorce mediator and legal document preparation company, and as a podcaster. Amicable divorces are easy if just one spouse decides not to argue, not to blame, and not to punish their spouse during the divorce filing. It just takes one spouse to accomplish this goal. And, if that one spouse is steady, committed, and purposeful in their intention and behavior to be noninflammatory, that spouse just may influence the other spouse to soften their stance, thereby Leading By Example.
This brushes off on the children, too. If just one parent focuses on the health and welfare of their children, without venting to their kids, or speaking ill of the other parent, your children will benefit exponentially. Not only will they see you model a good divorce, but it will also teach them how to work through conflict if, in fact, the other spouse behaves aggressively, passive aggressively, and untoward.
Other words of advice from Armstrong: Volunteer to help others in need to mitigate the pain of the divorce; compartmentalize the time given to the divorce so that it doesn’t consume you; embrace your new normal and use it to grow; cherish the good memories of the marriage because they were real; and, get yourself financially strong.
But there are so many more topics that are practical, important, and not discussed in many divorce books.
Not only has Sarah’s approach to divorce been so very amicable and noticed by her former husband, but in her daughter, Grace, when Grace exclaimed that she noticed that her parents had a good divorce, and not a bad one.