Does Divorce Make Me a Bad Mother?


date published

23rd November 2015

written by

Emma Heptonstall Image

date published

23rd November 2015

Does Divorce Make Me a Bad Mother?

Do you ask yourself ‘Does divorce make me a bad mother’?

One of the biggest reasons that women put off leaving their marriage is that they think that it will make them a bad mother. Perhaps you can relate? But, if you’re really honest with yourself, do you really believe that? Is it just an excuse to beat yourself up about yet another failing, is it just a reason to put off doing something you don’t want to do, or a mixture of both?

[Tweet theme=”basic-full”]Good mothers leave bad marriages #childrenfirst #divorce[/Tweet]

Thinking ‘logically’ v ‘feeling’ emotionally

When we are sad, upset, lonely, angry, frustrated and hurt, we lose perspective and it can be challenging to ‘see’ things as they really are. Taking a step back and looking at things logically can help you. Looking at the position of someone else going through what you are is one way of doing this.

So for example, take a lady you know or the parent of one of your children’s friends. Do you think that they are a bad mother because they are getting divorced? It’s unlikely that you think that of them. You probably understand them, have respect for their courage and resilience. So show some for yourself.

Another way of helping you think logically, is to write down how your children are currently experiencing your relationship. What do they  know because they’ve been told? What have they overheard? What do you suspect they think? What do you think they’d say if you asked them? (I’m not advocating that you do b.t.w).

When you focus on your feelings, the emotion of the situation kicks in. You can become overly pessimistic about how you and your children will handle your divorce. You think the worst of the situation, and of yourself. You fail to remember just how smart and resilient your children are.

A recent study reported in The Guardian revealed that 82% of children would have preferred that their parents separated rather than stay together for their sake. Does that surprise you? The thing is, it’s likely that your children know far more than you give them credit for. Your children want you to be happy. Whilst it’s true they’d love it if that was with their father (particularly if they are young), and they may often ask about you and him getting back together, most children know that when its over, its over. This is even more so when there has been an acrimonious split. Children hate to hear their parents fighting.

we lose perspective and it can be challenging to ‘see’ things as they really are.

Removing unhappiness and contention from your children’s lives is positive parenting. Children whose parents stay together but fight, can suffer from anxiety, depression and are more likely to be insecure, struggle to bond with others and be less successful in their academic achievements.

We play the video we were shown

Remember too that your role as a mother is to be a positive roll model for your children. We learn by copying what we see and hear. From learning to walk and talk to how to form attachments to people and how to conduct ourselves in relationships, we learn it from our parents. Some children are able as adults, to positively decide not to fall into the same behaviour patterns as their parents. This takes a level of awareness and emotional intelligence that some people don’t have, meaning that they choose partners that are as unsuited to them as their parents were to each other.

Good mothers leave bad marriages

Leaving shows your children that if a relationship isn’t working, it’s ok to get out. Its ok to be alone and its ok to chose someone else. ‘Bad’ marriages come in all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t have to be horrendous. A bad marriage is one that doesn’t work for you. If you’re unhappy in your marriage it’s a bad marriage , for you. It doesn’t mean your husband is ‘bad’, or  that you are, for that matter. When it’s over its over. Staying through thick and thin gives your children the message that they must accept unhappiness and that leaving is ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’. Good mothers leave bad marriages even when they are scared of what is going to happen next. Even when they’ve no idea about how the future will pan out, they know that in order to protect their children from the conflict in the marriage, they need to end it. Is it always easy? No. It takes courage, determination and guts. It can take months or years to find the inner strength to make the leap, but ladies who leave don’t look back with regrets. They focus on the reasons why they did it. They do it not just for their children, they do it for themselves. 

Making yourself important is crucial to finding the strength to end your marriage. If you need support, you can contact me at I offer a complimentary 30 minute call if you’d like to find out more about how I can help you. I’m Emma Heptonstall and I’m a Divorce Coach for Ladies who Leave. I believe that divorce doesn’t have to be difficult. I support ladies like you to get clear about where they are right now, and how to move forward so that they move through their divorce with ease, coming out the other side as the smart confident women that they are.

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