real life

"Divorce was the best thing that ever happened to my children".

British actress Kate Winslet has said that her divorces have helped her children. This mother-of-three agrees, saying her husband leaving was the best thing that ever happened to her boys.

The author of this post is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous. 

Divorce was the best thing that ever happened to my children.

When my husband left me it changed the course of our family. I was four weeks pregnant with our third son and another baby was the last thing he wanted. And though unexpected, my unborn baby – and his brothers – turned out to be the only thing that I wanted.

There were threats of divorce if I wouldn’t abort the baby.

I wouldn’t. We did.

As many divorces are, it was bitter. Caustic words. Desperate, nasty times. For the eight months until our son was born I cried every night and held the warm bodies of my boys wondering why our world had collapsed.

Our two other sons were both aged under four at the time – if you have been through divorce then you will know what I mean when I say that they were my only concern. Nothing else mattered.

But it might surprise you to hear that now, four years later, they are my least concern because the divorce was possibly one of the best things that happened to them. I don’t meant to be glib when I say that. It’s the truth.

“The awful, terrible ocean of grief that washes over you when your marriage collapses is difficult to comprehend.”

The awful, terrible ocean of grief that washes over you when your marriage collapses is difficult to comprehend.Your future together, shattered. Simple plans are now complex matters of management. Your lifetime together, yet to be lived but already formed in your mind, no longer exists and what will replace it is unimaginable.

I grew up with happy parents, married parents. A busy father, a stay-at-home mother, an elder sister. It was stable and solid and I never doubted it for a second.

But what we have given our children is stability. What they have too is solid – it’s just a different type of family.

Want more? Try: Touching: a divorced dad thanks his ex-wife for the gift of their sons.

Many might think proposing the ‘benefits’ of divorce seems insolent. When British star Kate Winslet told Harper’s Bazaar UK this week that divorce was “good for her children” there were headlines and even feigned outrage from some areas of the media. But I can see where she is coming from.

39-year old Winslet, who has been divorced twice said that Mia, 14, her daughter from her marriage to Jim Threapleton, and Joe, 11, her son from when she was married to Sam Mendes learnt “how to struggle”.

Kate Winslet and daughter Mia.

“’I would honestly say that I wouldn’t change a thing. Even all the bad bits. It doesn’t matter how ***** times have been, they all matter, because those things shape who you are,” Winslet told the magazine.

Like this? Try: “Don’t judge me, but I got divorced in my 20s.”

In my own experience, my children came out for the better form our divorce. When their father lived with us he was barely present. His existence in the family was like an outsider. He was distant to his sons, he never engaged with them.

The first time I saw him read to our nearly-four-year old son was the first day he came back to visit after he walked out.

His leaving made him a better dad.

And what I never expected – his love for the son he never wanted – is overwhelming.

While I can’t speak for everyone, what we have managed to do is make our divorce all about our kids.

Their dad comes to visit every weekend and stays as long as he wishes. We both agreed that for our children we would prefer they stay in the one home so they have no overnight visits instead he joins us on holidays and for Christmas. We even travel together. My ex-husband and I have become friends through our love for our children.

Of course being a single mother isn’t easy there are times when my life is always “bad cop”, their father got the good time role on the weekends. But it has made me stronger.

It’s given my children a mother who is independent who can overcome obstacles, who can change a bike tire and mow the lawn. It has given them a father who is present when he spends time with them.

“It’s given them a mother who is independent and can overcome obstacles.”

They have learnt that not all relationships are easy sailing, but that our love for them is unshakeable.

I know others don’t have it so easy. For victims of domestic violence there is often no coming back. For those who have betrayed its tough to put it behind you for the sake of the kids. I know that I am one of the lucky ones.

But when I look at the happy faces of my three boys, their kind natures, their fierce sense of loyalty and their remarkable capacity for love and I know that for us it has been the right thing.