Category : divorce and holidays

Home»Archive by Category "divorce and holidays"

V. Day D. Day

divorce on valentine's dayThe colors red and pink are smeared over every store in America right now, and the reason is Valentine’s Day. The sticky sweet quasi-holiday may be making you see red, but chances are if you’re recently divorced, February 14th will also make you blue before the clock strikes 12 p.m. It would be one thing if Valentine’s Day was a real holiday warranting paid time off, but it’s not.

Where did this rogue holiday come from and what can we do about it? We’re glad you asked.

Origins of a Quasi-Holiday

As it turns out, we know who to blame for Valentine’s Day, but we’re not sure about how the holiday came about. There are a few theories, though.

Theory #1: First is an renegade priest by the name of Valentine who lived during the reign of Roman Emperor Claudius II, circa 278 A.D. Claudius II made a decree prohibiting young soldiers from marrying, because it was believed unmarried soldiers were more fearless than married soldiers. However, the priest Valentine defied this decree and performed secret marriages for young soldiers. Emperor Claudius II finally caught Valentine and executed him for his defiance; Valentine died for his religious beliefs and was martyred as St. Valentine on February 14th.

Theory #2: The second version of the story piggybacks on the first version. Valentine was a priest caught helping Christians escape persecution during Claudius II’s reign. Valentine was imprisoned, where he either:

  1. fell in love with the jailor’s daughter
  2. formed a strong friendship with the jailor’s daughter
  3. cured the jailor’s daughter’s blindness, or
  4. a combination of 1, 2, and 3

Then, on the eve of Valentine’s execution, he wrote a note to the jailor’s daughter and signed it “From Your Valentine.” And thus a tradition of professing love and sending valentines was created.

The Valentine’s Day Effect

Today, Valentine’s Day has a number of celebratory traditions various people follow, including the newest Valentine’s Day tradition of divorce., a website that matches users with attorneys, reported divorce searches on their website goes up 40% around Valentine’s Day. The Valentine’s Effect is a yearly tradition observed by divorce attorneys, but this year a few lawyers have decided to celebrate in a new way.

A New Perspective on Valentine’s Day

Michigan attorney Walter Bentley III has offered a free divorce to the person/couple with the best story for Valentine’s Day. Bentley is a lawyer and an adjunct professor of law at the University of Phoenix. Bentley got the idea to offer divorce as a Valentine’s Day gift when one of his law students invited him to their divorce party. Bentley is quoted saying, “Hey, why not help someone move on to that independence on Valentine’s Day?”

And why not indeed. Bentley’s free-divorce contest concluded yesterday, and it’s reported he received about 500 applicants. If any readers are currently seeking a divorce, we’re sorry to report they missed Bentley’s free-divorce offer, but despair not. There are a variety of ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a party of one. Make February 14th a celebration of you by making or ordering your favorite foods, renting your favorite movie, go to your favorite place, and indulging in all your other favorite things.

Tell us how you plan to spend this Valentine’s Day as a reclaimed independent person. If you’re a single Valentine’s Day veteran, share you best tips with others.

The Grandparent’s Guide to Divorce

83496521Observing family dynamics and becoming a part of the dynamic is one of the best feelings in the world, which is a major perk of marriage. However, when the marriage doesn’t quite work out as expected, extricating yourself from the family dynamic is one of the most painful feelings. After all, you were all one big happy family for so long, so it’s jarring when the family is expected to pick sides and quickly part ways like simple acquaintances.

What if we were to tell you there was a way to stay connected after divorce? Actually, what we really want to tell you is that staying connected after divorce is the best possible thing for any children there may be from the marriage. Everyone involved in the divorce wants what is best for the children, and what is best is remaining connected as (what some might call) an eccentric family.

Grandfathering in New Expectations

Divorce has a knack for dividing families and making their interactions stiff and awkward, but it just takes one person in the family to take command and set the tone of the post-divorce family dynamic. Who better than the grandparents, the sages of the family, to set the tone and foster togetherness?

Well, there isn’t anyone better, because grandparents are just removed enough to avoid being parental, but loving enough to always care.

Parenting is Forever, Just Do it Grandly

Grandparents, just like everyone else in the family, feel confused, wary, and helpless when they watch their children go through a divorce. But grandparents are not so helpless because their wisdom, love, and support are the greatest tools to deal with a divorce. So for all you grandparents out there, don’t remove yourself from the situation; your family needs you.

Grandparenting your adult child doesn’t have to be invasive or controlling, it should be more supportive, loving, and offering. Instead of telling your adult child, “You should …, and then …,” offer ideas or support, like “You look like you need a break/talk/etc., why don’t I …”

There is one more piece of advice we have for grandparents: don’t push away your ex-son/daughter-in-law just because they are divorcing your child. It’s one thing to excommunicate an absent in-law, but another to excommunicate an in-law who is still very much involved in your grandchildren’s lives. If your child feels betrayed by the continued relationship between you and the ex, just calmly explain it’s in support of the grandchildren’s relationships with all the involved relatives (after all, the ex has supplied a set of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins too).

Grandparenting the grandchildren should be as neutral and supportive as possible. The grandparents house should be like a safe haven from all the confusing changes and emotional trauma because the grandparents house hasn’t had to alter at all in the divorce. Continue the usual routines and rituals practiced in the days before the divorce, don’t shy away from speaking about or to both parents, and don’t approach your grandchildren like they are damaged packages you’re uncomfortable around.

As a little side note, don’t allow yourself to be caught up in the role of family spy. If your grandchild comes to you for comfort and a willing ear, don’t take those words of trust and confidence and use them to arm your child with ammo against the ex. If you are on anyone’s side, you are on the grandchildren’s.

Essentially, your role as grandparent is to be the rock, the constant in your child’s and grandchildren’s lives. So don’t let yourself get caught up in pettiness or side-taking, because the family will be looking to you to set the tone of the post-divorce family dynamic.

How to Travel Post-Divorce

travelingIf there is one thing divorce is good at doing, it’s knocking people down a peg, or 10. After a divorce, you are probably feeling a few of these common symptoms: Unloved, discarded, broken, over-stressed, and emotionally and financially drained. True, you may be feeling or experiencing these symptoms of divorce now, but know this too will pass.

After the divorce, and near the tail-end of the mourning period, you will feel life seeping back into you, and maybe even smile twice a week. This is the perfect time to take a little post-divorce trip.

A Post-Divorce Trip. Is That a Thing?

Post-divorce trips are gaining in popularity, but aren’t quite established life events yet; there is no manual on post-divorce trip etiquette, or a “Congrats on your post-divorce trip!” Hallmark section. However, there is a philosophy behind the post divorce trip.

The post-divorce philosophy is that life is too short to not enjoy it. After a divorce, people usually have one of two responses: 1) They feel drained, lifeless, and like life is nothing but a mess; 2) They feel empowered to live life how they want to. A post-divorce trip works to make the divorce a part of the past and to offer people a new perspective.

Post-Divorce Tripping on a Budget

If you’re reading this blog and thinking, “Yeah, go on a post-divorce trip, with what money?” then we invite you to think outside of the box. Some trips can come with a hefty price tag, but there are ways around that.

We found a great article with fantastic ideas about traveling on the cheap, if not completely free. You may not end up in four-star hotels with vaulted ceilings and canopy beds, but your experience will be just as real and rejuvenating.

Tips to Post-Divorce Tripping

The whole idea of post-divorce trips is to rejuvenate yourself and your life. So here are a few tips to prevent anything from zapping your rejuvenation and life-affirming experiences.

Tip #1: Go somewhere new. On this trip of rediscovery and wonder, choose a destination that is completely new to you. By submerging yourself in a completely new environment, it will give you the chance to make memories that are untouched by the divorce or the daily stresses. Also, by going somewhere without connections to anything or anyone, you will be able to put the focus where it needs to be right now: you and your happiness.

Tip #2: Don’t pack unnecessary baggage. During the trip resist the urge to contact your spouse. In fact, leave the world behind. Limit your phone calls, texts, instant messages, social media updates while on your trip; at home, those are welcome distractions, but while on your post-divorce trip they are just intrusions.

Tip #3: Choose your company wisely. If the prospect of traveling alone seems frightening, but intriguing, then it might be in your best interest to take the leap and learn to be your own best company. If the prospect of traveling alone seems downright terrifying, then there is no harm in recruiting a travel buddy; but, the travel buddy must have certain qualities.

The travel buddy cannot:

  • bring up painful memories

  • allow you to wallow the whole trip

  • be a pessimist

The travel buddy should:

  • make you laugh

  • be adventurous

  • have a great shoulder to support you with

Where will you go on your post-divorce trip?

To the Women Who Populate the World

happy mothers day!As we all know (or at least most of us know) America celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday, Sunday, May 13th. Let it just be said that it wouldn’t surprise me if all the staple items served at a brunch are a scarcity today. But lets move past the odd notion that mothers particularly love combining breakfast and lunch; what we really are here to talk about is what Mother’s Day is (and was) really about.

Where Mother’s Day Came From

No, Mother’s Day was not brought by a horde of storks. Although female goddess were always honored on certain days in the days of mummification and toga-wearing, Mother’s Day does not have such deep roots. In fact, Mother’s Day is one of the holidays with the most shallow roots.

Mothering Day is the oldest link to modern Mother’s Day. Mothering Day was a day in the late middle ages (1600′s) when people traveled from all over to attend service in the main church of their parish on the fourth day of Lent. Slowly, Mothering Day grew to include celebrations for real mothers, but Mother’s Day did not migrate to the U.S. until 1870.

Mother’s Day, American Style

Julia Ward Howe wrote a manifesto in 1870 proposing an American Mother’s Day, which would be a Mother’s Day of Peace. This was in response to the horrors and high death toll of the Civil War. Howe wished Mother’s Day would bring families together, and would unite mothers against their children killing other mother’s children.

After a few decades of women (namely, Anna Reeves Jarvis, and her daughter Anna M. Jarvis) sponsored what they hoped would be Mother’s Day revivals, it was passed as a National holiday by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914. From that day on, Mother’s Day has been the second Sunday of May every year.

A Happy Mother’s Day Means…

I’m not sure how ceremonies for goddess, main church pilgrimages, and anti-violence holidays transformed into a day when women get flowers and are taken to brunch, but we’ll take it (sort of).

For parents who are both mothers and fathers, Mother’s Day can be described as rubbing salt in an open wound for single mothers and fathers alike. So just as a suggestion, for all mothers really, let make Mother’s Day even better in the future.

For starters, why not try asking your mother what her idea of a dream day is? After all, it very well could include sipping on a mimosa and smelling her bouquet.

Happy (Single) Father’s Day!

Celebrating Single FathersTake a stroll down any store’s card aisle, and you will notice the sudden increase of cards with fishing poles, athletic equipment, and La-Z Boy chairs splattered on the covers; you know, manly things. In case you’re really bad with dates, we will tell you why: Sunday, June 16th, is Father’s Day!

Much like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day now seems like a holiday controlled by the stationery stores, but that doesn’t mean its beginnings were money-grubbing. So for all the fathers, especially the single fathers (as you will find), here is a brief history of Father’s Day.

The History of Father’s Day

While Father’s Day doesn’t have as long or rich a history as Mother’s Day, that doesn’t mean the same spirit of love and recognition wasn’t behind it’s creation. In fact, Father’s Day was created to do nothing but give fathers the special recognition they sorely lacked, especially single fathers, according to the Library of Congress article.

In 1910, a little girl from Spokane Washington, named Sonora Dodd, came up with the bright idea of creating a holiday dedicated to fathers while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon. Sonora Dodd is said to have reflected on the care her single father gave her and her siblings since her mother’s untimely death during childbirth. Since Sonora’s father’s birthday was in June, she encouraged neighboring churches to celebrate this new holiday in June.

The Fathering of Father’s Day

By 1910, the idea of Mother’s Day had been in America for 40 years, although it was not recognized as a national holiday until 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson. Although Father’s Day had been gaining popularity, President Wilson was not presented with a Father’s Day holiday proclamation to sign.

President Calvin Coolidge, however, was presented with and signed a Father’s Day proclamation in 1924. Coolidge is quoted as saying (ironically) he wanted Father’s Day  to “establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations.”

Father’s Day for the Modern Man

The world is constantly changing (evolving or devolving, you decide), but holidays and the traditions observed during each holiday have a way of bringing us back to familiar, almost cozy, paradigms. Case in point, the horrific-looking, stereotype-ridden Father’s Day cards.

What father is known only by his love of fish tackle, lounging, and sports? Yes, one or more of these might harken warm thoughts of your own father, but the point is this: Do father’s want to be known solely for these pursuits and pleasures? I’m pretty positive fathers would like to be equally known for the bedtime story telling, hugs, and comforting words.

If this baffles you, chalk it up to the changing times; but there is nothing more telling of changing times than the increasing rate of single fathers. According to the 2002 U.S. Census, about 2.2 million American households were headed by single fathers, which marks an 62% increase of single fatherhood within a decade. These fathers, like Sonora Dodd’s father, are everything to their children, and they probably wouldn’t have it any other way.

So instead of playing into Hallmark’s stereotype-perpetuating hands, choose to celebrate all types of fathers for all their roles, influences, and complexities this Sunday.