One of the first places you may feel the effects of your divorce is at work.
Physically, there is no longer a second parent in the home to pick up or drop off the kids, or to ensure their wellness is a priority when you have a late meeting. Emotionally, the stability you relied on from your spouse is no longer present, which may become obvious in the quality of your work. Financially, you may feel strained by the transition, including the fact that work sacrifices will follow, which could impact your bottom line.
Learning to balance work, divorce, and your new life is different for everyone.
Here are a few tips to steady the ship.
Create a Workplace Strategy That Fits Your Unique Needs
Since everyone’s divorce is different, work can either become quickly overwhelming, or the best distraction.
If you are of the former, where work is just too difficult to manage during your divorce, talk to your supervisor about taking some time off. If you have accrued vacation, personal, or sick days, create a plan that allows you to use them to focus on your mental health. If you can take time away without pay, work out a schedule with your boss — and coworkers, when applicable — that allows you to take the time you need to heal.
Some may benefit from working from home or going into the office part time. Others may prefer to make up for working fewer in-office hours by working after the kids go to bed, or when they are with the other parent. Flexibility will certainly become the name of the game for a while.
If you are of the work-as-a-distraction type, be sure not to go overboard. If you were already working too much before the divorce, now is the time to talk to your boss about leveling out your schedule. That means leaving the office in time to have dinner with your kids. Or, scheduling out-of-office hours so you can pick them up or drop them off for school, activities, or custody exchanges, so you are physically present when your kids need you.
Prioritize Self & Family Care When You Are Away From Work
When you are not at work, prioritize both your and your kids’ wellness. Depending on their ages, that could mean playing outside together, having meals together, or taking time to exercise by going on a walk together.
Sometimes it is easy to forget how effective a couple of hours together with your children can be — even if they are in high school. It gives everyone the opportunity to ask questions about the divorce or get their schedules in order for the upcoming days.
During your time together, do not check emails or take work calls, if possible. There will be time to catch up when they do their homework or get ready for bed.
When the kids are with their other parent, friends, or family members, take some time for yourself. Remember all the things you used to love to do or make a list of things you have always wanted to do — like take a cooking class or learn to paint — and find the opportunity near you.
This allows you to do something unrelated to work just for you.
Ask For Help.
After a divorce, being a solo parent may be difficult to get used to. And for some, skipping meetings or business trips is simply not an option. If this is true for you, ask for help. Start with the other parent and see if he or she can help by picking up, dropping off, or being present when you physically cannot.
If that scenario will not work, ask a family member or friend to fill in when you cannot be there for school or extra-curricular activities. When you ask for help, it makes you feel less overwhelmed by both home and work, especially when you explain to your kids which days are going to be harder for you to be there.
For instance, if you have late meetings on certain days, grab a pizza or Chinese food. It will not take long for your kids to start making their own requests for take-out or delivery on those days.
Do Not Beat Yourself Up
Most parents must work. Period. It is simply not something you can stop doing because you got divorced. In some cases, one parent may even need to go back to work after a divorce.
Do not beat yourself up about it. Talk to your coworkers, friends, and family about their home-work balancing act, and gather tips that work for your unique circumstances.
Contact the Land Legal Group Family Law Attorneys in Los Angeles Today
If you are considering divorce, or are ready to start the process, contact our skilled divorce attorneys in Los Angeles at the Land Legal Group today at (310) 552-3500 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your unique needs and to learn how we can help.