Divorce isn’t the End of a Family
Divorce isn’t the end of a family.
It’s the end of a nuclear family. It’s the end of a family in the same house.
It’s the transition to a new definition of family.
The words in italics came from the amazing actress Mayim Bialik in this video, where she speaks candidly for the first time about her own divorce, and the way she and her children’s father have worked out a new definition of family life.
I love so much about Mayim – her brilliance, her buck-the-trend feminine strength, her determination to be and live differently from the expectations of Hollywood and even the world.
I love that she is open about divorcing a husband who she no longer wanted to be married to, but remaining collegial and kind toward him – and he toward her – as they co-parent their children reasonably and respectfully.
I branded my family law firm Transitions Legal for the same reason that Mayim talks about in this video: I don’t consider divorce an end. It’s shifting from one phase of life to the next with as much grace and respect as you can muster.
So many people equate divorce with endings and bitterness. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Mayim, a neuroscientist and in my opinion, the funniest and best character on the hit sitcom The Big Bang Theory, did this video to discuss how she views divorce and co-parenting. I hope it inspires viewers to rethink their preconceptions about divorce and the definition of family.
And, as a proponent of Collaborative divorce, I thought as I watched this video how Mayim and her ex are a great example of how Collaborative divorce can work for the best outcome for all involved. While Mayim works, her ex cares for their sons. Both adults model good behavior and respect for one another in front of their kids.
She is on fond and loving terms with her former in-laws, and each side of the family remains involved in the kids’ lives. They celebrate holidays, go to synagogue together. It’s not ideal, she says, but it works.
It’s important in any family situation for the parents to work together to create and maintain a healthy environment for children to grow up unafraid and to model good relationships, in whatever form they unfold.
Mayim stressed the importance of being present for her children and not worrying about what might have been.
Does anyone truly live a life that turned out exactly as planned?
Even people who stay married might say it’s not exactly what they had in mind. What they hoped for. What they dreamt of.
“Being divorced is not a great way to raise kids,” she admits. “Things my ex did that annoyed me when we were married, still annoy me.My kids get one chance to be kids, and this is their situation.”
It’s okay to miss the “togetherness” of a traditional family under one roof. It’s ok to wish it had turned out differently.
“We get to make the most of what we have. And, in some cases, we get to make the most of what we have left,” Mayim says.
Be present. Be grateful. Be brave enough to accept what you have.