Who You Gonna Call? How to Manage Emergencies Without Your Spouse

One nice thing about being married is that most likely you could always call your spouse when crisis struck, no matter how big or small. It could have been as simple as locking yourself out of the house or cajoling him (or her) to dispose of the dead mouse in a mousetrap to something as serious as being knocked unconscious in a car accident. Now that you are divorced or going through it, your spouse may no longer be there to help you deal with life’s annoyances or catastrophes. This is one of the not-so-fun things about being single — you’re on your own to handle everything. But if you prepare now with a few simple steps, you’ll be ready to tackle almost anything by yourself.

Your car breaks down. You’re stuck on the side of the road with an overheated engine or a flat tire. Now what? Make sure you have some type of roadside assistance available. This could be through your car’s manufacturer or lease provider. If this isn’t available to you, try another provider such as AAA. Even better? Learn how to fix your own flat, and you won’t have a need to call anyone. This can be quite empowering! It’s also important to keep up with any regularly scheduled maintenance on your car, such as oil changes, tire rotations and more.

Who’s your ICE? This is your In Case of Emergency person, which most likely was your spouse in the past. It’s time to find a new “person” — a close friend or family member who is listed as “ICE” in your phone. In the event of an accident where you can’t speak for yourself, a first responder can search for “ICE” on your phone so they know who to talk to. You should update your medical forms and work information as well. Be prepared; this step can be quite emotional! I remember updating a form at my doctor’s office shortly after my divorce, and realizing I no longer had an In Case of Emergency person was quite the stab in the heart. There are also some great apps that will provide information on who to contact if you are incapacitated, plus allergy information, medications, medical conditions, etc. Some apps will even put this information as your screensaver so somebody simply has to power on your phone to access the information.

Phone fouls and computer catastrophes. Computers crash. Phones fall in toilets or get lost. It’s a fact of life. You think it won’t happen to you until it does. When my computer crashed, it felt like a death. I thought I had taken precautions because I had everything backed up to an external hard drive… which conveniently failed as well. Thankfully, my kid’s dad had our pictures and personal info on his computer. Otherwise, I would have lost everything! I have since switched to Carbonite (www.carbonite.com), which is an online backup solution. I don’t have to think about it backing up my information; it just automatically happens. If the unthinkable happens again, I just need to go to my online backup and everything will be back to normal. Same goes for your smart phone. Back it up regularly so you’ll have your lifeline back in no time! You can also purchase insurance for your phone, computer and other electronics through your phone service provider or the company you bought your products from. Very often these policies will cover your phone or computer if it gets lost, stolen or broken.

Don’t get locked out. Make sure you have extra keys for your home and car. Leave a copy with a trusted friend or neighbor, keep an extra in your wallet and/or hide in a safe place.

Stock your medicine cabinet. What happens if you’re hit with the flu, can barely move from the bed (or toilet) and feel like death warmed over? There’s nothing worse than feeling like this and having no one to run to the store for chicken soup and TheraFlu. The same thing applies if your child gets a fever or is stung by a bee. Do you have your Tylenol and Benadryl on hand? There’s nothing worse than a midnight run to the store with one or more screaming, sick and tired kids in tow. I had no Benadryl when my daughter got stung by a bee, and let me tell you, that was not a fun trip to the store! If your spouse handled these (somewhat) minor medical emergencies and was always able to magically produce the right fix for the right ailment (Princess or Ninja Turtle Band-Aids, children’s Tylenol, Pepto-Bismol and more), it’s time to make sure you are fully prepared when your children are staying with you.

What if you can’t work? It happens. You could come down with a serious illness or are injured and may be unable to work for some period of time. When there are two incomes, this issue may not be as big of a risk. If you have one income, you need to be protected. Check into disability insurance through your place of employment or a supplemental policy such as through Aflac.

Handling home emergencies. Don’t wait until water is running through your kitchen ceiling to figure out who to call. Make a list, ask for suggestions from friends and neighbors or simply put advertisements of repairmen that pique your interest in a folder. Make sure you have contacts for plumbing, electrical, your appliances and the garage door. Also, have your home insurance policy and phone number handy! It’s also important to stay on top of regular maintenance to help prevent bigger issues. Do you know how to shut off your water and re-ignite your pilot light? (Do you even know where or what your pilot light is? Hint — Check your furnace.) Make sure you have an understanding of your yard’s sprinkler system and a ladder to change those really high light bulbs or the batteries in your fire alarm (which invariably will lose battery power and need new batteries in the middle of the night; it’s just a fact of life).

Get up to date on your insurance. If you’re divorced or going through divorce, it’s likely your health, car and home insurance policies will need to be changed. Make sure you’re up to date on all of this before you’re stuck in a bind. If your kids will be covered by your spouse’s insurance, make sure you have their insurance cards and policy info.

Kids’ stuff. Make sure all your kids’ forms for school have been updated with your and your spouse’s new addresses, phone numbers and more. If your spouse always handled school pick-ups or babysitter arrangements, it might be good to have a back-up plan in the form of trusted friends or family members who can pick your kid up if he or she gets sick at school if you’re stuck in a meeting, plus the numbers of a few reputable babysitters.

Transitioning into single life requires many adjustments for managing your day-to-day life, but being proactive can prevent a bad situation from taking a turn for the worse. Better yet, you’ll have a feeling of control and empowerment when you do successfully handle the curveball on your own! Learn more about how Untangle The Knot can support you going through divorce and transitioning into your new single life.



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Save Your Time, Money and Sanity with Divorce Coaching

When we started Untangle The Knot, we honestly hadn’t envisioned offering divorce coaching. Our goal was to provide an online resource that would give anyone contemplating or going through divorce just about everything you need to know about divorce and living your life while going through it. However, as time went by, I was encouraged by many people to start divorce coaching because they knew how much I could help those who really needed it. They were right! With that, Untangle The Knot Companion Coaching was born.

What is Divorce Coaching?

In our recent blog How a Life Coach Can Help You During Divorce, you got an idea of what
coaching is all about. Divorce Coaching focuses on your life while you are contemplating divorce, going through the process and transitioning into your new single life. Every coach has a different style and methodology, but generally, a Divorce Coach will help you identify your next steps, define your priorities, help you get organized and hold you accountable while working through the plan.

My Journey to Divorce Coaching

Before starting Untangle The Knot, I enjoyed a very successful career in the business world. I thrived at working in chaotic situations or on complex projects where I would break the problem down to manageable pieces, set priorities, create a plan, and bring order to the chaos. This applied to acquiring companies, turnaround situations or simply large business issues that needed to be resolved. The other major part of my career was coaching — albeit informally. I seemed to have a knack for becoming people’s confidants and helping them through difficult situations. I found myself working with members at the Executive level and throughout the organization. No matter what my role or which company I was in, I always found myself playing this informal role.

I can quickly assess a problem, see what needs to happen and identify the steps to get there. I’m empathetic in my approach, but I will kick your butt a little when needed. There are times when it is okay to hang out in the fetal position for a bit, and times when action is required no matter how crappy you might feel. I’ll encourage you to take care of and be kind to yourself, but I will also push you when you need to be pushed.

What to Expect

We will start with a 20 minute phone consultation, and I’ll ask that you provide me with the background of your situation and what you are currently facing. I’ll give you some on-the-spot guidance and, when it makes sense, we’ll talk about how I can help you going forward.

My approach is customized.

Divorce is confusing, whether you are trying to make the decision to stay or go or you are in the middle of the process. I do not have a cookie cutter approach where we’ll check the boxes on a master checklist. We’ll develop a plan together that makes the most sense for you and the challenges you are facing. While many broad strokes of divorce are the same for everyone, everybody has unique situations and challenges they must face.

You’ll save money and time.

I can guarantee you’ll get through this phase of your life easier with me than without me! You’ll do much less spinning trying to figure out what to do next or what decision to make, you’ll be more focused on the immediate steps you need to take, and you will get through this more quickly while spending less money. This will ultimately help you to get through the divorce process faster.

I work well with others.

I am not a lawyer, mediator or therapist. I can tell you that many divorce professionals love clients who are working with a Divorce Coach. They find that these clients are more clear on their priorities, informed and organized. It enables them to use their time with you on their areas of expertise to ensure they can do the best job for you, at the lowest cost. After all, paying a lawyer $300+ an hour to help you create a budget is probably not the most cost-effective approach!

SPECIAL OFFER

I offer a limited number of ZERO COST strategy sessions where we’ll work together to:

  • Determine your greatest source of pain and stress right now, and get tools to minimize the struggle.
  • Get perspective. Most people don’t know how to successfully navigate the divorce process with less stress — because they do it without expert guidance.
  • Discover the tips to minimizing unnecessary divorce expenses and increase your peace of mind!

I know the first step is scary, especially if you haven’t committed to the decision to divorce. But if we are a fit, you’re putting yourself on a much easier path through divorce. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

My goal is to inform, empower and support you. I would be truly honored to help you through your divorce journey. Click here to learn more.



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10 Tips for Celebrating Mother’s Day After Divorce

Celebrating Mother’s Day after divorce may initially have the same appeal as a root canal. Holidays are all difficult in the beginning, but this one can have a particular sting to it because it’s the day to celebrate you as a mom — a time when your husband and kids would come together in your honor, showing their love and appreciation for you with flowers, gifts and other special things.

Or maybe not. When you’re in an unhappy marriage, holidays often do not live up to Hallmark versions of the day. It could be that you were hoping for your family to shower you with love, but reality fell short, leaving you feeling rejected and hurt. Regardless of marriage troubles, this is the one day your husband and father of your kids should honor you as a mother. When it doesn’t happen, the cut is deep.

You’re in a new chapter now, and this is your chance to create new traditions, making Mother’s Day special and important to you. Depending upon the ages of your kids, you may need to take the reins in planning the day. Ideally, their father really should help the kids with a card and buying something special for you regardless of his feelings for you. You will always be the mother of his kids and that should be appreciated. Unfortunately, not all men will rise to the occasion. Remember, this is a reflection on him as a person, not you as a mother!

Here are some tips for creating your new Mother’s Day:

  1. Make a plan. Talk with your kids about what would be a special way to spend the day as a family. It’s a great opportunity to teach them about the importance of doing things for others.
  2. Pamper yourself. In the day or two before Mother’s Day, take some time out for yourself to do what makes you feel like a queen! Get a massage, pedicure or facial. Maybe get your hair done. You deserve to take a break and have someone take care of you for a change!
  3. Enjoy that breakfast in bed! Granted, more than likely you won’t be the lady of leisure waiting to be served. Since you’ll be a part of the process, you can be sure to have the breakfast you want. Maybe make some blueberry pancakes from scratch and serve with fresh fruit and special coffee for you and hot cocoa for the kids. Head back to your room and enjoy your breakfast in bed with your kids!
  4. Plant your garden. This has been my tradition since my daughter was two months old. I planted flowers as she hung out in her baby swing next to me. It’s much more fun now that my daughter and son are old enough to help. We plant herbs and flowers and these become a point of connection for us as they bring me herbs for cooking and pick pretty bouquets for me throughout the summer.
  5. Go for a bike ride or hike. Hit some beautiful surroundings to work in a little physical exercise. If you’re a mom who is parenting alone 50% of the time or more, exercise may be a very valuable commodity. This is your day, so put yourself first on the list!
  6. Buy yourself fresh flowers. Just because the father of your kids isn’t facilitating the purchase doesn’t mean you should go without. And don’t just wait for Mother’s Day. Beautiful, fresh flowers always make any room look and feel special.
  7. Go out to your favorite restaurant. Just beware that this could be a trigger for you with all those two-parent families out celebrating as well. If so, avoid it. Stay home and cook a special dinner. Or opt out of cooking and order take out. Set the table nicely, enjoy those flowers you bought, and pick up some Prosecco and sparkling grape juice for a Mother’s Day toast!
  8. Write a letter to yourself. Give yourself the appreciation, love and compassion you deserve! Tuck the letter away and pull it out next time you are feeling low.
  9. Add a four-legged friend to your family. Have you been thinking about adding a dog or cat to your family? It’s a great day for it! Check out your local shelters and find the little one who is looking for their forever home!
  10. Celebrate other single mothers. Send flowers or a card to another single mom. Let her know how wonderful of a mother she is and how much her kids love and appreciate her. Sometimes the best way to improve your mood is to make somebody else’s day! You can also invite another single mom to celebrate the day with you — you guys and the kids could start your own brunch or dinner tradition, or go for a hike with the kids that culminates in a gourmet picnic.

If these ideas aren’t resonating with you right now, go ahead and ignore them! You have a giant permission slip to feel any way you want and do anything you want. If you don’t want to do the traditional brunch with extended family — don’t. If you want to cuddle up with the kids in jammies and have a movie day, do that. It’s your day. Be kind to yourself!

Learn more about Untangle The Knot can support you through your divorce.

Happy Mother’s Day!



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How Diet Changes Can Help You Manage Divorce Stress

When contemplating or going through divorce, stress becomes part of your daily life. Did you realize what you eat can help you to manage it? Our Wellness Expert, Gretchen Ferraro, recently wrote a helpful blog that provides information on ways you can help control depression and stress with food and vitamins. After reading that, you may have wondered if you had accidentally stumbled upon some health site or scientific article. Whatever the case, it may have been hard to immediately connect with the topic of divorce. I would have thought so too when I was struggling through the effects of an unhappy marriage and divorce. I wish I knew then what I know now.

I’ve been there…

Depression hits me from time to time, and it has for years. I realize now it is very connected to the stressors in my life. I was in an incredibly dark period the last two years of my marriage. I would go through spurts of taking really good care of myself, but I mostly chose to numb with foods that made me feel good at the moment. I’d also regularly indulge in wine — not to excess, but definitely a glass or two to take the edge off. Plus, I got a prescription for Xanax toward the end for a quick “chill out” when things got really bad. This isn’t something I would take often because I didn’t like how it made me feel, but it sure helped calm my body during tumultuous moments where it all felt like too much to even bear. If you’ve experienced this, you know exactly what I mean.

I have been out of that marriage for two years, and I am so much happier. Life is far from perfect. It can be incredibly difficult, to be perfectly honest. Like everyone, my life is full of stressors. It involves everything from choosing to create my own business, the financial pressures of not having a steady income without another income to rely upon, parenting alone with two small children, acclimating to single life and dealing with the ups and downs of romantic relationships. I am very proud of how I manage this most of the time. But sometimes, it just gets to be too much. When too many things are not flowing in the right direction at one time, I simply shut down.

I do try to take decent care of myself, but admittedly it’s not the best. I especially fall down when I am experiencing significant stress. At those times, I go from eating fairly well and exercising at least semi-regularly to sustaining on carbs and wine. The workout clothes stay tucked in my drawer. This doesn’t happen too often, but it does happen. Unfortunately, the responsibilities of having two kids and a business don’t go away when I find myself overwhelmed, depleted and with nothing more to give to anyone or anything. Out of desperation, I took drastic measures.

The Cleanse Experiment

After an unbelievably stressful month, I realized I had gained 5 pounds due to stress munching and comfort-food numbing with every carb I could get my hands on. I had been trying to just get through each day instead of facing it with clarity and focus. I didn’t even feel like myself and certainly wasn’t the person I aspired to be.

So, I decided to detox body and my life. I started the Conscious Cleanse, designed by Jo Schaalman and Julie Pelaez. It’s a 14-day program that eliminates everything processed, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dairy, soy, gluten and even many fruits and vegetables. The goal of the program is to remove “triggers” from your diet that can cause inflammation and irritability. It’s a good reset for your body, with the side benefit of dropping some pounds. How could you not when you eliminate just about your entire diet! I have never tried something this drastic. I have a history of not sticking to any diet, but I felt really committed this time because my goal wasn’t to look better in my jeans — it was to actually feel better and feel more in control of my life and mood.

I had chosen a time to start when life would be “manageable”. But life decided to give me some serious “tests”. It was my week where I would have my kids for three days instead of four, and there was nothing major going on — I could focus a bit more on me. Well, Day 1 is when I found myself at Children’s Hospital with my son’s terrible ear infection. Then I was trying to manage taking care of him while working for the next couple of days. Nothing stressful about that!

On Day 3, I woke up to a waterfall in my kitchen due to a malfunctioning toilet upstairs. Water ran all night, flooded the bathroom (which, of course, is carpet), the entire hallway, ran through the ceiling into the kitchen and then into the basement. Are you kidding me?! I took a deep breath and worked the problem. After I got the kids to school that morning, I wanted coffee and a bagel like crazy. I could barely handle the craving, but I staved it off and had my smoothie. Later that day, I had a little misstep that injured my wrist, which made it hard to drive, type and chop those veggies I needed to eat. It was also tough to carry those 150 boxes of Girl Scout cookies I picked up for my daughter to sell. Nothing like having stacks of those irresistible goodies in my garage to test some willpower!

Something clicked for me within a few days. I felt more in control of my life. Instead of allowing stressful situations to drive me into behaviors that aren’t good for me, I took control and made better decisions. I chose to nourish my body instead of indulging in something comforting for the moment that really wasn’t so good for me. After reading Getting Divorced? What to Eat to Beat the Blues and Boost Your Mood, I learned that I was actually incorporating the foods and nutrients that Gretchen had recommended.

I had stepped up my vitamins, folic acid and magnesium. I was having a smoothie for breakfast every morning that contained spinach, kale, blueberries, flax and coconut oil. I was eating a ton of salmon, greens, and munching on pumpkin seeds. I started looking forward to my new favorite snack of half of an avocado. I replaced my Diet Coke and coffee with water and non-caffeinated teas. The wine bottles remained closed and the popcorn maker stayed in the cabinet. I was very proud of myself for how I stuck to this program. It was definitely hard at times, and I must admit that I had a couple of cheat moments.

I also took this time to focus on the quality of my thoughts and taking care of my spiritual self. I was meditating for 15 minutes each morning and writing in my gratitude journal, which always shifts energy to a better place. In her book, “Crazy, Sexy Diet”, Kris Carr said that “…when I dumped the junk and aligned myself with my higher purpose, the pieces of the puzzle fell into place.” I got a glimpse of this. I felt stronger, more focused and started reclaiming my power. I was setting appropriate boundaries with people and in situations that were not in alignment with my values. I found it easier to make better choices in all aspects of my life. I stayed more in control of my emotions in the most trying of circumstances.

I say all of this not to advocate engaging in such a drastic program, but rather to encourage you to take some small steps to nourish your body and your mind. Adding foods that truly feed your body and a few additional vitamins will even out and even elevate your mood. Combine that with a little exercise to magnify the positive effects! I know it’s so hard when you are in the depths of depression and struggling to get through the unwinding of an unhappy marriage. One day at a time. One choice at a time. Focus on nourishing yourself instead of numbing. Doing lots of little things right will make a major impact on how you feel physically, emotionally and simply how you feel about yourself. If you found this helpful, please learn more about Untangle The Knot can further support you through your divorce journey.