More people to love you

Because of my status as both a divorced mom and a divorce attorney, I often get questions from friends about how to handle various situations in their post-divorce lives. One question that comes up around the holidays is the issue about step-parents: how to talk to children about the situation and how to make the transition as easy as possible for all parties. 

Kids often ask about how the step-parent will affect their relationship with the parent getting married and the other parent who may be unmarried. They wonder, will I have time with my newly re-married parent? Will my unmarried parent feel left out? Will I be loved less? Will I be heard less?

My advice has been to explain it to children this way: you have only one mom and only one dad but you will have many people who will come into your life to love you. It may be a grandparent or a step-parent, an aunt or a cousin, an uncle or a best friend, a teacher or a counselor. You will be surrounded by those who love you and want the best for you, and more people to love you and more people to care about you can never be a bad thing.

Sometimes it's not easy for parents to explain this and sometimes it's not easy for parents to accept this, but the one thing we can all agree on is that we want our children to be happy and healthy. At times that means making the difficult decision to divorce, to choose our own happiness, to choose our own path. While we may think that that decision to divorce will adversely affect our children, we can also be assured that when we are happier, our children will soon follow. When we choose the path that is right for us, it has to be right for our children as well. Because happier parents make happier children. It won't always be easy and it won't always feel right, but in your heart you have to know that a decision that leads you to peace can only bring others along with you.

And when we meet up with others who join our lives, who embrace our love, the additive effect of that love will be passed on and passed down to those around us, including our children. The adults may not always get along perfectly, but they don't have to; they just have to get along well enough for the children. So as hard as it may be to accept these changes, it is just as necessary to do so; and to learn and appreciate that more people in our lives to love us and our  children can never be a wrong answer. 

After all, this is the life.