Coming to you from Jakarta, Indonesia, Maureen from graciously offered her insights about being a single working mom and provided us with some great tips for moms surviving divorce and co-parenting schedules.
Tell us about your blogging experience from Jakarta, Indonesia.
Blogging is pretty much the same I think everywhere just different countries bring different stories. So far I’ve blogged from America, China and Indonesia.
I’ve been back home since 2008 and at first I had what they called a reversed culture shock. Blogging helped me get through that phase for sure.
Now I’m blogging about being a single working mother, my occasional travel, and pretty much everything in between.
How do you manage being a working mom and also a single mom?
This is a hard one. I’m just taking it one day at a time really. It’s not easy that’s for sure, especially since I work long hours (around 72 hours + commute a week) and I only have one Saturday off in a month. There are still days when my son would voice his complaint that “Mommy is always working” but I have no other choice.
I’ve been living with my parents ever since my separation and without them I honestly don’t know how I will survive. Also, here, domestic helper/nannies are a lot cheaper than back in the States and I’m so grateful for the nanny I hired. She helps me a lot, but I still have the working mom guilt that we are all too familiar with. When I’m home I try to focus all my time on my son and have the nanny free from duty. She has the weekend offs.
What are some tips you can share with other moms experiencing divorce and the new world of co-parenting?
Hmmm, every case is different of course and I reached this point of good co-parenting with my ex after months of the whirlwind phase. It’s an ongoing learning process for me. But here are some short tips:
It’s ok to ask/accept help.
As independent adult and being so used to taking care of our child alone, sometimes it is hard to accept help from others. But if you must go back to work, then your family/friends support can ease out the burden. Trusting someone else to care for your kids can be daunting but sometimes you just don’t have much option.
It’s ok to grieve.
An end of a marriage is hard no matter how you look at it. As moms, we are inclined to look strong and hold the fort for your children, especially when their world has shifted due to divorce. We tried not to cry in front of our children no matter how hard it is. But you need sometimes to grieve and it is part of a healing process.
If you must cry in the shower then do so if you can leave the children for a day go to secluded place and grieve even cry till you fall asleep. You needed that. There are a lot of self-help books about rebuilding after divorce that focus on both you and your children.
When it comes to co-parenting…
We always need to push aside our own emotions for the sake of the children’s interest. It won’t be easy but it is do-able. This is about the children not us, so yes, we must learn to swallow our pride and use our common sense rather than our hearts. Be sure to keep the communication line open when it comes to the child’s health, school, etc. Make big decisions together.
Never use the children as spies.
This is also not easy but I just try to ask my son how he enjoyed his times with Daddy. If my son brought up his father’s girlfriend, I try to keep a straight face and just smile. Indonesians can get very nosy sometimes that I have to firmly forbid my family to ask my son the “˜aunty’ questions. It’s not fair to the child and not healthy.
How do you fit “me time” into your busy schedule?
On regular day it’s hard finding “me time” but I’ve been trying to get back to my morning exercise. I do power walks very early in the morning before work and that’s when I kind of meditate as well. Just me and my thoughts (plus some songs of course!). With my busy life, I do try to reward myself once in awhile when my son is over at his Dad’s by going to beauty salon (for less than $4 you can get a relaxing hair-spa here.)
Maureen was born in Indonesian, westernized by heart. She is a single mom – blogger – full time worker – lifetime learner – healthy living enthusiast & practitioner – photography lover – travel junkie.
She lives in Jakarta, Indonesia.