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"Mommy and daddy are getting divorced," These are the dreaded words all parents hope they will never have to utter. But, the reality is 40% to 50% of married couples in the United States get divorced.


And while divorce can be traumatic for you, one of the hardest aspects is also how it affects your kids. Of course you want to shield them from any pain and suffering, but some degree of pain is always inevitable.

The key is communication—the way you communicate with your children about your divorce will be etched in their memory forever.

Research shows that three factors help children of any age adjust after divorce. First, having a strong relationship with both parents. Second, good parenting (no shocker there!), and third, minimal exposure to conflict.

Mamas, here are some helpful tips on how to survive this turbulent and trying time:

Timing is everything

If you and your spouse are considering a separation or divorce, keep it to yourselves until you know for sure. Your kids are on a need-to-know basis and they do not need to know until your decision is final. Children do not flourish in uncertain circumstances. They flourish in knowing exactly what their future holds, so hold tight.

Obviously there is never a "good" time to break the divorce news, but make sure that when you do, you have plenty of time afterwards to stay near to your children. You will need to offer plenty of hugs and reassurances and not rush off to a sports practice or birthday party.

Tell your children together

Even if you are disagreeing about everything, try to agree on what to tell your children. Ideally, parents should break the news as a team. Telling your children together avoids confusion—they will hear only one version of the story, which demonstrates that it was a mutual decision.

Children prefer a message that avoids parents blaming each other. Instead, ensure you both take ownership of the marriage ending. This united front will protect your children from feeling that they may have caused the divorce, or that they must align with one parent and reject the other.

Keep communication simple, and speak in terms your children will understand. Be as honest and straightforward as you can, while taking into consideration your child's age and emotional maturity.

After you finish, be prepared for a lot of questions or none at all. Questions could range from “Where will I live and go to school?," “Which parent will be moving out?," or “Who will look after me and how often will I see you both?". Kids just want to know how their life will be affected, so be supportive, compassionate, and prepared with concrete answers.

Avoid the blame game

However angry you might be, don't blame your spouse for the breakup, and avoid arguing in front of your children. Also keep to yourself any details about any extramarital affair or financial problems.

You may feel so upset that you want to tell your children about your spouse's “behavior," but they will take this as a betrayal—or worse, criticism of them. Your ex is your child's best friend (other than you) so be conscious of what you say because your children are on high alert.

Spare your children the details

Don't make your kitchen table divorce central. Keep divorce papers out of sight—especially from a child who can read — and don't discuss legal issues, even on the phone, when your children could overhear you.

If there's a custody evaluation—which entails home visits by a mental health professional to observe and interview the children and family—minimize the impact by not building it up too much or coaching your children on what to say.

Look out for unusual behavior

Don't be surprised if your children show signs of unusual behavior. For example, insecurity, regression with sleep or potty training, anger or naughtiness, clinginess or attention seeking. Remember, divorce is scary for children. Some kids will be openly sad or angry, while others may deny they have any feelings at all about it. And all of these emotions and more can flare at any time, and swing from minute to minute.

There will be good days and bad days. Take each a day at a time. You'll also be experiencing these emotions so be sure to surround yourself with a strong village of family and friends!

Take care of YOU

Take care of you mom. Many states require both parents to attend court ordered parenting classes. Parents attend lectures or complete the course online in order to build their confidence in handling the stress of the divorce. To find classes, check with your lawyer or mediator, doctor or therapist.

And if you're thinking you can handle this life-changing chapter alone I urge you to re-think and seek assistance. By giving yourself permission to talk and grieve your marriage, you'll be better able to care of your children. Keep your parenting simple and don't over extend during this trying time.

If your only parents goals are to spend as much time with your kids as you can sanely handle, and get them to bed and fed on a consistent schedule, then you are still providing crucial elements to raising healthy children.

No matter how the conversation goes and the divorce proceedings unfold, always remind yourself you are NOT a bad parent for getting a divorce. Life after divorce is possible!

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We've had some struggles, you and me. In my teens, we were just getting to know each other. It was a rocky road at times, like when people referred to you as "big boned." I was learning how to properly fuel you by giving you the right foods. How to be active, to keep you strong and in good shape. I wish I knew then what I do now about you and what a true blessing you are. But that's something that has come with the gift of motherhood.

In my 20's, we became more well-acquainted. I knew how to care for you. After I got engaged, we worked so hard together to get into "wedding shape." And, looking back now, I totally took that six pack—okay, four pack—for granted. (But I have the pictures to prove it.)

Now that I'm in my 30's (how did my 30's happen so fast, btw?) with two kids, I'm coming to terms with my new postpartum body.

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If there are two things a mama is guaranteed to love, it's Target plus adorable and functional baby products. Target's exclusive baby brand Cloud Island has been a favorite destination for cute and affordable baby clothing and décor for nearly two years and because of that success, they're now expanding into baby essentials. 🙌

The new collection features 30 affordable products starting at $0.99 and going up to $21.99 with most items priced under $10—that's about 30-40% less expensive than other products in the market. Mamas can now enjoy adding diapers, wipes, feeding products and toiletries to their cart alongside clothing and accessories from a brand they already know and love.


The best part? The Target team has ensured that the affordability factor doesn't cut down on durability by working with hundreds of parents to create and test the collection. The wipes are ultra-thick and made with 99% water and plant-based ingredients, while the toiletries are dermatologist-approved. With a Tri-Wrap fold, the diapers offer 12-hour leak protection and a snug fit so parents don't have to sacrifice safety or functionality.

So when can you start shopping? Starting on January 20, customers can shop the collection across all stores and online. We can't wait to see how this beloved brand expands in the future.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Many people experience the "winter blues," which are often worst in northern climates from November to March, when people have less access to sunlight, the outdoors and their communities. Another 4% develops Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a form of clinical depression that often requires formal treatment.

If you have the winter blues, you may feel “blah," sad, tired, anxious or be in a worse mood than usual. You may struggle with overeating, loss of libido, work or sleep issues. But fear not—it is possible to find your joy in the winter, mama.

Here are eight ways to feel better:

1. Take a walk

Research has shown that walking on your lunch break just three times per week can reduce tension, relax you and improve your enthusiasm. If you are working from 9 to 5, the only window you have to access natural sunlight may be your lunch hour, so head outside for a 20 minute brisk but energizing walk!

If you are home, bundle up with your kids midday—when the weather is often warmest—and play in the snow, go for a short walk, play soccer, race each other, or do something else to burn energy and keep you all warm. If you dress for the weather, you'll all feel refreshed after some fresh air.

2. Embrace light

Research suggests that a full-spectrum light box or lamp, which mimics sunlight, can significantly improve the symptoms of the winter blues and has a similar effect to an antidepressant. Bright light at a certain time every day activates a part of the brain that can help restore normal circadian rhythms. While light treatment may not be beneficial for everyone (such as people who have bipolar disorder), it may be a beneficial tool for some.

3. Plan a winter trip

It may be helpful to plan a getaway for January or February. Plan to take it very easy, as one research study found that passive vacation activities, including relaxing, "savoring," and sleeping had greater effects on health and well-being than other activities. Engaging in passive activities on vacation also makes it more likely that your health and well-being will remain improved for a longer duration after you go back to work.

Don't overschedule your trip. Relax at a beach, a pool, or a cabin instead of waiting in long roller coaster lines or visiting packed museums. Consider visiting or traveling with family to help with child care, build quiet time into your vacation routine, and build in a day of rest, recovery, and laundry catch-up when you return.

4. Give in to being cozy

Sometimes people mistake the natural slowness of winter as a problem within themselves. By making a concerted effort to savor the slowness, rest and retreat that complement winter, you can see your reduction in activity as a natural and needed phase.

Research suggests that naps help you release stress. Other research suggests that when your brain has time to rest, be idle, and daydream, you are better able to engage in "active, internally focused psychosocial mental processing," which is important for socioemotional health.

Make a "cozy basket" filled with your favorite DVDs, bubble bath or Epsom salts, lemon balm tea (which is great for “blues,") or chamomile tea (which is calming and comforting), citrus oils (which are good for boosting mood), a blanket or a favorite book or two. If you start to feel the blues, treat yourself.

If your child is napping or having quiet time in the early afternoon, rest for a full 30 minutes instead of racing around doing chores. If you're at work, keep a few mood-boosting items (like lavender spray, tea, lotion, or upbeat music) nearby and work them into your day. If you can't use them at work, claim the first 30 minutes after your kids are asleep to nurture yourself and re-energize before you tackle dishes, laundry, or other chores.

5. See your friends

Because of the complex demands of modern life, it can be hard to see or keep up with friends or family. The winter can make it even harder. While you interact with your kids throughout the day, human interaction with other adults (not just through social media!) can act as a protective layer to keep the winter blues at bay.

Plan a monthly dinner with friends, go on a monthly date night if you have a partner, go to a book club, get a drink after work with a coworker, visit a friend on Sunday nights, or plan get-togethers with extended family. Research suggests that social interactions are significantly related to well-being.

Realize that given most families' packed schedules, you may need to consistently take the lead in bringing people together. Your friends will probably thank you, too.

6. Get (at least) 10 minutes of fresh air

A number of research studies have shown positive effects of nature on well-being, including mental restoration, immune health, and memory. It works wonders for your mood to get outside in winter, even if it's just for 10 minutes 2 to 3 times per week. You might walk, snowshoe, shovel, go sledding or go ice-skating. If you can't get outside, you might try these specific yoga poses for the winter blues.

7. Add a ritual

Adding a ritual to your winter, such as movie night, game night, hot chocolate after playing outside, homemade soup on Sundays, or visiting with a different friend every Saturday morning for breakfast, can add beauty and flow to the seemingly long months of winter. Research has suggested that family rituals and traditions, such as Sunday dinner, provide times for togetherness and strengthening relationships.

8. Talk to a professional

Counseling, which helps you identify the connections between your thoughts, feelings and behaviors, can be extremely helpful for the winter blues (especially when you are also experiencing anxiety or stress). A counselor can assist you with identifying and honoring feelings, replacing negative messages with positive ones, or shifting behaviors. A counselor may also help you indulge into winter as a time of retreat, slowness, planning, and reflecting. You may choose to use the winter to get clear on what you'd like to manifest in spring.

The opposite of the winter blues is not the absence of the winter blues—it's taking great pleasure in the unique contribution of a time of cold, darkness, retreat, planning, reflecting, being cozy and hibernating. Nurturing yourself and your relationships can help you move toward winter joy.

Weary mama,

You are incredibly strong. You are so very capable.

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