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  • Writer's pictureAngela Larimer

How to Separate the Parent in You from the Individual in You

(...finding yourself again in the midst of divorce…)

If you want to learn more about this topic and Family Law, contact

Angela Larimer at 773-370-0600 or

“Parenting is a full time job” is an understatement. Parenthood is a full time job— a lifestyle, an identity and the biggest responsibility that you will undertake. With that being said, where do we separate our personal identity from the identity of being a parent?

When couples are married they tend to take on each other’s quirks, habits, values and beliefs. Separating out who you are as an individual from your role as spouse, mother, father or family member may be difficult. Keeping some space for just you can be a challenge. You are still entitled to your own hopes and dreams. You are still entitled to your own happiness. You are still entitled to days where you don’t feel your best or are not ‘acting’ your best or feel as though you are falling short… that does not make you a bad parent! It certainly does make you human.

Finding yourself after or during a divorce comes with its challenges. Trying to remember who you were before you met that person may be difficult. Navigating parenthood and your new identity may come easier to some more than for others. Struggling during this time if normal. Find a balance that works for you so that you can have time both for your family roles and for yourself. Try asking yourself self reflective questions,

  • “What makes me happy?”

  • “What are my hobbies?

  • Do I have any interests?”

  • “On days that I am feeling my best, when the chores are finished and work is finished and the kids are not home… What is something that makes me feel happy? What do I prefer to do with my free time? Is it a healthy habit or an unhealthy habit? Do I workout after work or drink a glass of wine to unwind? Should I be trying new things to make me feel happy?”

  • “What experiences have I missed in life that I would like to challenge myself to try now?”

  • “What does my social life and circle of friends look like today?”

  • “What areas in my life would I like to improve and where can I begin?”

  • “What is a simple task I can do once a day that can give me 5-15 minutes of peace? …Is it praying? Is it lighting a scented candle? Is it taking a quiet bath? Is it listening to calming music?

  • “When I am not a parent…who am I as an individual?”

Other assignments...

  • Take an old childhood photo of yourself and place it in the bathroom mirror. Look at the photo every morning and remind yourself to be kinder to that person. Remind yourself what that little person's hopes and dreams were. You are now going to live each new day, discovering your new identity, through the lens of that child.

  • Choose one new hobby. It can be as simple as reading a bible verse (or other religious scripture) once a day. It can be knitting one row of yarn. It can be reading one sports article. It can be learning a word from a new language once a day. As you discover your new identity, you must try to challenge yourself with a new small task each day.

  • Positive Affirmations (reminder: NO they do not all have to be true! We speak positive things into existence so that eventually… even if they are not now, they will be even if they are not!) … Repeat after me: “I am a good parent. I am a loving parent. I am a caring parent. I am a kind parent. I am an understanding parent. I am a supportive parent. I am a strict but fair parent. I am also a fun and exciting parent. I am a disciplined parent. I am an organized parent. I am a happy and positive parent. I love the parent that I am today.”

  • Positive Affirmations: Now, speak to yourself. “I am a good person. I am a caring person. I am a kind person. I am an understanding person. I am a supportive person. I am a fair person. I am a fun and exciting person. I am a disciplined person. I am an organized person. I am a happy and positive person. I love the person I am today.”

Remember, yes you are a parent but you are also a person too. Every person deserves to love and be loved. Every person deserves to be kind to themselves. Every person has his her her own identity… Some of us know exactly who we are and some of us are learning and navigating our new identities and both are perfectly OK!

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