I hate the term "broken home."
So you have a broken marriage, and you already feel like a failure of great proportions, but if you have kids you have to be able to carry this too: you broke your home.
And everyone knows that kids from broken homes are fighting an uphill battle. Research can show you how kids from broken homes suffer, as children and as adults. Kids raised by single parents are more likely to do badly at school, suffer poor health, and fall into crime, addiction, and poverty as adults. Not to mention the emotional and mental disorders that children from broken homes are significantly more likely to suffer from. (See this article for more info on these statistics)
It makes my heart hurt.
As a mother, I want nothing more in life than to give my children the best opportunities to become the best versions of themselves. As a mother, my abiding prayer for them is a life of happiness, love, confidence, and courage to follow their hearts and choose the right. But I am a Single Mother. Do my prayers and wishes weigh less? Are my children destined to become another number in the broken home statistics?
I think there is more to it.
I have spent a lot of time thinking and worrying and praying about my children, our family, and the life we have ahead of us. I have put a lot of thought into this notion of a Broken Home, and into the circumstances of my Broken Marriage. Eventually I came to this:
Sometimes a marriage breaks and it's irreparable. Sometimes a marriage breaks so that other things can be fixed. Sometimes a marriage breaks and fixing it is beyond your control.
Sometimes fixing a marriage isn't an option.
But a Broken Marriage does not have to become a Broken Home.
A Broken Home can always be fixed.
When a marriage breaks, there is inevitably a certain amount of chaos and conflict in the rubble. It is in this place of confusion and upset, this place of sadness and anger and fear that homes are broken.
Choose something different. Choose to fix it.
For me, fixing it means keeping my home a well-organized and peaceful place. It means I keep harsh words out of my home and invite a spirit of peace. It means regular church attendance coupled with daily scriptures and prayer as a family.
For me, fixing it means holding a consistent weekly family night. It means putting aside my money troubles or my emotional burdens to read a story, sing a bed time song, or join in for the 100th round of UNO in a day. It means preparing healthy meals, thoughtfully setting a beautiful table, and eating as a family everyday.
For me, fixing it means being home, even when it feels impossibly difficult. It means prioritizing my family and my kids above all else, even the unpaid bills that pile up. It means staying up in the wee hours of the night to work so my days can be spent with the kids.
For me, fixing it means finding time for friendships and good adult conversation to ease the burden of single parenting. It means finding healthy ways to release anger and defy sadness - through writing, and walking, and prayer. It means coming back to forgiveness as often as I can. It means not giving up or giving in.
Fixing it, keeping a Home after a divorce, looks different to everyone. You know what your family needs, what cracks need to be filled, what needs aren't being met. If you want to defy the statistics, keep working at it.
I still get lonely. I worry. I get discouraged. I feel angry. Some days are harder than others. But I'm not going to let a Broken Marriage break me or the home I want for my children. We are a family and we are making a home, on purpose.
When a marriage breaks, things fall apart. Then, you put them back together.