Single Parents Guide to Moving Out (and Moving On…)

Although the numbers are higher in other countries, an estimated forty percent of Canadian marriages end in divorce. Because of this high number, it is sometimes necessary to take a truthful, albeit scary, look at the realities of moving out of your family home and starting over as a single parent. It’s not just something you would do on a whim, but it’s necessary for thousands of people each year. Here are guidelines for how to survive such a move with your sanity intact (

Get a support system in place

The first thing you’re going to need to do is create a support system that can help you out. If your kids got sick before, you could probably rotate the care and clean up duties with your spouse. Now, that all falls on you. If you have an emergency, who are you going to leave your kids with, especially if your ex isn’t nearby or able to help? The support system can be anyone that you trust—your parents, a sibling, a close friend. The idea here is that you need someone who can give you some much-needed back up when things get scary or too hectic. If you try to handle every single thing on your own, you will drive yourself crazy and make yourself (and your children) miserable in the process.

Get along and move on

One of the worst things that you can do in a divorce with children is to not get along with your ex. Sure, this is going to be tough. Chances are, whatever caused you to split up in the first place was painful and heart breaking. It’s OK to still be angry, but never EVER let your children see this. You do not want them to have to choose sides between you and your spouse. Children are very intuitive and will pick up on the least bit of animosity. If you have to say something bad about your ex, turn to the support system that you set up. A good sounding board is very important, just make sure your child is nowhere around so that it can’t get back to him or her.

Get organized

When you first move out on your own, it’s very easy to let the new house or apartment go to the dogs when it comes to cleaning. After all, you’ve gone from two active adults doing the chores to just one. And usually, couples tend to focus on the things that they do well while the other person covers the other side of the cleaning. But now it’s your entire job. It’s also common to let the kids slide some on rules like bedtime. You feel guilty about the divorce and want to accommodate your children so that they adjust better. But the bottom line is that you need to give your children order and rules as soon as possible. Once these rules and chores are back in place, your children can be better adjusted and happier. It’s also a good idea to create new traditions to replace the old. Set up a designated Family Game Night or Family Movie Night to create some order.

Stay positive

Finally, it’s really important to be positive about the new lifestyle changes. Sometimes you just need to cry and rant. But you need to find a constructive way to deal with that. Don’t think of this as the end of a relationship, but the start of a new chapter in your life. Divorce is not the end of the world. But, it is time to reflect and make changes to help your life be easier.

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