As part of our Social Sustainability Series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brooke Gaybriel, a Divorce Transformation Mentor, and Founder of “I Love My Divorced Life.” Personally, I think a lot of the time, without a home that is balanced, it is hard for people to think about environmental stewardship at all. One of the hardest things socially a family can go through is a divorce.
I believe what Brooke offers in this interview is not only eye-opening, but very important for families going through this challenging transition.
Thank you Brooke for answering these questions!
Let’s start here:
- Tell us why you felt the need to start coaching women who are going through a divorce?
My WHY — I was compelled to start sharing my story with other women in the hopes that it can inspire others to start loving their life after divorce.
When I was going through my divorce, I was lost in the process trying to find my way… It is an overwhelming experience to go through alone without support, or help from someone who has gone through it before.
I found people couldn’t relate to what I was feeling, so their advice wasn’t on point.
I craved a mentor to look up to! I wanted to prove you could be happy after divorce, while having a successful co-parenting relationship with your ex. I couldn’t find a mentor anywhere.
It is such a difficult time to navigate with no real leader to show you the way. Each divorce is so different as each partnership is different, but I wanted to be inspired by someone who was THRIVING after divorce. I couldn’t find this example, so I decided I would be this example for young women. I was going to create my ‘happily ever after’ on my terms, and show people it’s possible to LOVE YOUR DIVORCED LIFE! It isn’t the end of your life; it’s only the beginning.
PLUS, that stereotype of a SINGLE mom annoys me. We are portrayed as classless, trashy and desperate. None of my single mom friends, as well as myself are any of those things. I was sick of getting the sad head nod and high pitched, “Are you okay?” when people found out I was now divorced and a single mom. I am way happier now being on my own! Now isn’t that the point of life? To be happy, and find your own path…
- What is one thing you would tell someone that has helped you significantly in making the transition to a single parent?
The two things I would tell women when transitioning to being a single parent are – “PARENT OUT OF LOVE, and DON’T PUT YOURSELF LAST.
When you “parent out of love,” you make the best decision for your children.
Therefore, You won’t want to badmouth your ex, as that would hurt your children. You won’t want to stop them from seeing their father and deprive them of that relationship, as that would hurt them too. Make sense. PARENTING OUT OF LOVE is HUGE.
Also don’t put yourself LAST. Now, as a single mom, you don’t have a partner to make sure your needs are met, so you will have to do this for yourself. Make sure you take care OF YOU!!!!
Eat healthy, workout, treat yourself well; hang out with friends and take care of your emotional well-being. Make sure YOU create time in your day, week, and month to make these things a PRIORITY!!! You are not good to your children if you aren’t good with yourself.
- Is love obtainable after a divorce?
LOVE IS TOTALLY obtainable after divorce. However, it is tricky this time around, as it isn’t just you anymore; you have little ones to consider as part of the equation.
Finding a partner who works with what works for you and your children is key.
I find people just write people off nowadays for STUPID reasons. For instance, he’s too old! Or, she’s too young. He’s got a weird shaped head. Or, I don’t like his dog! The list goes on…
People need to be more understanding of people’s life situations. If a man doesn’t want to date me because I have kids, well then he isn’t the man for me. There are many men out there who LOVE single moms, as we love hard, appreciate couple time more then women who don’t have children, and we don’t mess around. We don’t have the time, or patience for games, and appreciate someone taking care of us for a change.
- You have two amazing boys. How have you made their transition easier throughout the divorce process?
The tough part: kids and divorce.
Well at first divorce is a GONG SHOW, with or without your kids. We have two amazing boys, so we had to make sure we were putting them first through this transition. It wasn’t always this way, or easy at times. Yet, we always managed to get back to putting their needs first.
At the beginning, we kept them in the family home as long as possible. We kept our routine the same at both houses; had them stay at the same daycare and school. Why, so the big difference at the start of our divorce was the back and forth from house to house.
At the time, I was a flight attendant, so my schedule was never routine, and this DID NOT HELP at all. Kids need routine, so we tried to give them as much routine as possible. It all seemed to be going fine until we noticed my son was throwing up a lot for no reason that we could tell. We took him to the doctors and ran blood tests, allergy tests and couldn’t find anything wrong with him.
In the end, he was diagnosed with STRESS and ANXIETY, due to all of the changes.
As well, bringing new partners into the equation wasn’t helping the all ready chaotic times of our divorce. When our son was diagnosed, that was the moment we decided we HAD to make this work better.
We were managing the scheduling, and parenting duties, however we were not handling their emotional needs. Our fighting and stress was being passed onto them… This broke my heart, and it was then I decided I couldn’t live with the pain or stress of the divorce. I had to make a change and be happy again, not only for my children, but also for myself.
- How have you managed Co-parenting and do you have any tips to help moms and dads in creating a healthy coparenting experience for their children?
My co-parenting tips would be again, “parent out of love.” Always put YOUR KIDS BEST INTERESTS first, not YOUR OWN. This will always allow you to make the best decisions regarding anything for your children.
You are the parent, yet what you want now isn’t really the most important thing. YOU are now CO-PARENTS, meaning you still need to parent together on some things.
So, being able to move past the divorce is KEY to being able to CO-PARENT.
People don’t realize this key point, and stew in their misery over divorce. Until you can move past this, it will affect your parenting together, even if you think you can separate it.
GET A LIFE – when you don’t have your children, let go of the parent guilt and learn to be alone. ENJOY IT!
I see way to many divorced moms struggling when they are alone; more moms then dads appear to view their children as their entire life. When the children are with their dad, these moms sit and feel sorry for themselves. If this is you… YOUR TIME WITH YOUR KIDS IS NOT YOUR ENTIRE LIFE ANYMORE, so go GET ONE!
- As a mom, what do you look for when creating a healthy environment for your children? This could be social, environmental etc.
I approach creating a healthy environment for my kids with LOVE. I have downsized my BIG HOUSE and BIG BACK YARD to a small modest condo for financial reasons, and life reasons. I love small spaces as it forces you to spend more time together, and you can’t escape when things get rough.
You are left to deal with your feelings rather then escape them.
My boys share a room now, and this has helped us all learn to be one happy unit when we are all home together; it creates more closeness, love and support.
As well, I regulate their time with electronics. We don’t have television, just Netflix, which to be honest we rarely use. Because we are in a condo we are outside a lot. That is our form of entertainment, nature.
We eat pretty healthy; I am not one of these no gluten, no soy, no dairy and no sugar kinda moms. I believe in balance and in moderation. We do enjoy ice cream and baking once in a while. Although, we still eat our fair share of healthy foods. I always try to feed them organic, and local when possible. Even so, I don’t stress out going from store to store anymore to find organic items. I make most of our cleaning products at home; its fun and I know what ingredients are going into them.
Overall, I try to provide a happy, safe, harmonious and fun home for my boys!
Connect with Brooke Gaybriel via her Social Media links: