Weekends and Downtime as a Newly Single Individual

In this episode, Emily McGrath and Kevin McCarthy talk about how to deal with the new schedule of being alone
during weekends and downtime when you don’t have work or kids to keep you busy. Ideas on
how to make that time more valuable are discussed.
August 10, 2013
Announcer:     Divorce Talk Radio does not give therapeutic advice. The topics discussed are for informational purposes only. If you’re in need of therapy, please consult a licensed professional in your own state.


Emily:             Welcome to Moving Forward. This is Emily McGrath with my co-host Kevin McCarthy. Hi Kevin.

Kevin:             Emily, how are you young lady?

Emily:             I’m wonderful. How are you?

Kevin:             We’re doing fine. Thank you for asking.

Emily:             Great. Tonight we’re talking about weekends, downtime when you’re by yourself or when you don’t have your kids and what to do with that time so you’re not going crazy and depressed and all that other stuff that comes a long with divorce. Because I think it’s easy to go on a downward spiral with being alone that I wanted to talk about this tonight.

Kevin:             Absolutely. You talk about during a divorce and you know about court dates coming up and maybe you have some other family issues to deal with and you work all week and now the weekend approaches.

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:             What do you do? You know your friends are one way that Ieer doing other things and you might be in a down mood and all you want to do is stay in the whole weekend. Well, wrong.

Emily:             Well, and also . . .

Kevin:             That’s not good.

Emily:             . . .  dealing with the visitation. You know.

Kevin:             Oh, yes.

Emily:             With me, I have my son when I work mostly, and then I have the weekends and then I have the weekends where I don’t have him.

Kevin:             Right.

Emily:             So it’s getting in that mindset. Again mindset is huge you know you don’t want to think, “Oh gosh, I’m alone.” But let’s become familiar with ourselves. Let’s get comfortable with who we are.

Kevin:             Right.

Emily:             And not have to rely on others. Because how empowering is that to about by yourself and enjoy yourself just being with you?

Kevin:             It’s your life. And I always say you are the best salesperson of your life so you’re now in control.

Emily:             Exactly. Right.

Kevin:             So something that comes to my mind which I think is fabulous and I’ve been there a number of times and you have you too Emily. Let’s just say Monday through Friday you work your 9 to 5ish type of job, give or take. Well, downtown Rockford they’ve the city market . . .

Emily:             Yes.

Kevin:             . . .  on Friday. What a better way than going to a city market. There’s activity, there’s people.

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:             You might meet a friend. You might make a friend. Just go down there. You can get something to eat.

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:             You walk around. You shop. That’s a great way to start things.

Emily:             Well and it’s all local produce, too.  You know, it’s all local.

Kevin:             Yeah.

Emily:             Yeah. Why not get out and that’s probably the best thing to do.

Kevin:             Mingle.

Emily:             Yes.

Kevin:             Even if you’re in a bad mood. There was times I was just in a bad mood I didn’t want to go out.

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:             I went out.

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:             I could tell you when I got home . . .

Emily:             You felt better?

Kevin:.            . .  I felt great. Here I was going to sit home and what watch TV? You can do that anytime.

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:             But going out is a little event and it was great. Little events like that, little get-togethers. And the markets are fabulous for going out.

Emily:             Yes. Yes. Like you said it’s a good way to get out and meet people. You can meet people. If you’re feeling adventurous and, “Hey, where did you find that?” You know.

Kevin:             Right.

Emily:             The sweeteries out there, too. So you can get your little sweet tooth taken care off.

Kevin:             This is a great way too because if you just have, let’s say, so many friends and you’re sort of shy and not quite sure how to meet new friends, go to something similar to a city market. Where somebody is standing in line with you or somebody’s off to the side. Maybe they’re having a drink, having a Coke, having a cup of coffee, picking up a piece of pie or something, well, you can say hi to them. Always say hello or maybe they’ll say hello to you and you start talking. Before you know it, you might meet a friend. You might meet them there next weekend. Well, now you’ve got another weekend already started to plan to do things.

Emily:             Right. Right. Exactly. Let’s say that you don’t have something like that out there.

Kevin:             Right.

Emily:             It’s okay to stay home. It’s okay. I give you that permission to stay home because I’ve done it and I’m actually okay with being by myself because I like who I am. And it’s coming to that realization that you’re a cool person and you’re worth spending time with because why would you have friends.

Kevin:             That’s right.

Emily:             So you know, take this time to learn what you like to do and your hobbies. Reinvent yourself. You could become someone completely different.

Kevin:             You’d be surprised.

Emily:             Yes. If there’s a talent or a hobby that you like to do, do it. If you  need to go out and buy some things — like scrapbooking. I used to do a ton of scrapbooking.

Kevin:             You did do that.

Emily:             I did.

Kevin:             You used to talk about your scrapbooking.

Emily:             Yeah. And I don’t have time now which I wish I had.

Kevin:             See, now you don’t have time.

Emily:             I don’t.

Kevin:             Because you’re busy. You have a full schedule.

Emily:             I do have a full schedule. I miss my quiet time. I do. I used to have a lot of  it and that’s why I’m so comfortable with myself. Because I faced it full force.

Kevin:             Right.

Emily:             I just looked at what my hobbies were. So I got into scrapbooking and exercising and really looking inside of who I am. Another good thing is journaling.

Kevin:             Right. Absolutely.

Emily:             Get those nasty thoughts out of your head and get them onto paper. And a lot of times you feel so much better. Maybe just going for a walk, looking at nature, and just getting outside. Sometimes you feel better after that as well.

Kevin:             Absolutely. Especially now since it’s summer maybe yow want to go for a bike ride. Alright, well then, schedule it in. Say, okay, Friday you’re going to go to the city market. You spend a couple hours there and you come home. Saturday morning you get up, you take a shower, do whatever you need to do. Maybe there’s even some yard work that you have to do.

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:             Then, after you get through with that you take a little break. Then, maybe go for a bike ride. So I guess if you start planning things, what I found helpful is having things — okay, 2 o’clock I have this, then at 6 o’ clock here. Then tonight, I’m staying in because I was busy the whole day.

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:             And you just want time to — some people tend to meditate which I found very helpful.

Emily:             Yes, that’s another good thing to do.

Kevin:             Meditation?

Emily:             Right. Yep and that puts you to a higher energy level which makes you feel better.

Kevin:             Right.

Emily:             I love meditation. I do it every morning.

Kevin:             Oh, you do?

Emily:             I do.

Kevin:             OK. You do.

Emily:             Yes. Yes. I love it and it just starts your day out at a better energy and I noticed there’s a better flow in my day when I do meditations versus not.

Kevin:             Right.

Emily:             So. Yes.

Kevin:             And just a little sidebar. A friend of mine in Chicago, she does yoga.

Emily:             Oh. I’ve never done yoga before.

Kevin:             Neither have I and she’s telling me to do it. A lot of guys are doing it now. Maybe again, now you set time aside for your yoga.

Emily:             There you go.

Kevin:             You set time aside . . .

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:             . . . where you’re filling up the weekend.

Emily:             Yes. But I think it’s good to not fill it so full. . .

Kevin:             Sure.

Emily:             . . . that you don’t know which way you’re going because that can be very stressful too. Especially if you’re working all week. I generally use Sundays for downtime.

Kevin:             Right.

Emily:             You know, that’s where I’m catching up on housework or whatever needs to be done. I like to have kind of have a chill day so that once Monday comes you’re refreshed.

Kevin:             Absolutely.

Emily:             So I think that’s important too.

Kevin:             A few of my friends on Facebook, you can see where they’re always out doing something. Some people that are single, that are divorced that I know need that. Others, they don’t need all of that.

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:             On Sunday evening or Sunday afternoon that’s sort of when I put the switch down.

Emily:             Yep.

Kevin:             Read, sit on the deck, maybe have a friend stop by. During the summers is best, in spring when you can get out because wintertime you’re going to be in more anyhow.

Emily:             Exactly. Reading a good book. There’s some good uplifting motivational books out there too that you can get into that will keep your mindset up and positive and all that good stuff.

Kevin:             Because of the divorce, I’m reading more now.

Emily:             Are you? I am, too, actually. Yeah.

Kevin:             And different things. Before I used to read pretty much stuff of interest to me. But now I’m going a little bit off the interest topic.

Emily:             Okay.

Kevin:             Because somebody suggests, “Kevin you’ve got to read this.”

Emily:             Mm…hmm.

Kevin:             Okay. I’ll pick it up. Go through one or two pages then I’ll eventually finish it during the week or two weeks depending on how long it is.

Emily:             Sure. Yeah. I have really enjoyed reading. Yeah. That’s another good point. Maybe even, I mentioned this in a past podcast, but going to a bookstore and just browsing.

Kevin:             That’s right.

Emily:             You know, grab a cup of coffee or tea because nowadays places are offering tea more I’ve noticed. Just going to browse. You can spend afternoon browsing at a bookstore.

Kevin:             Sure you can.

Emily:             And then you have somewhat interaction with people too. And that usually brightens up my day. Yow know just saying hi to someone real quick or shooting someone a quick smile.

Kevin:             We have discussed the importance of friendship through a divorce. Even until the day you die, have friends. But going to a bookstore.

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:             Barnes & Noble, one of these stories whatever, and then you go get a cup off coffee. Again, you’re waiting in line, you have other tables there. People are there for the same reason you are. So maybe someone next to you or sitting down drinking a cup of coffee doing some people watching, which I found is great, and then there’s a book. Well, you could say, “Excuse me. What’s the name of that book you’re reading?” Again, “And what’s it about.” Then you start talking. Now you’re making a friend.

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:             Or at least you’re making a contact.

Emily:             An acquaintance.

Kevin:             You’re talking and you’re getting it out.

Emily:             Right. Right.

Kevin:             You’re just not sitting there. You’re feeling good because now you’re contributing.

Emily:             Right. Yep.

Kevin:             Actually to your well-being.

Emily:             Yes. Exactly. Right. And then back to the time where you don’t have your children because that can be really hard.

Kevin:             Alright. Oh sure.

Emily:             That was hard for me just because I had always been around my son before we divorced. I just was working part-time so I was at home a whole lot more and I had to go out and get a full-time job after the divorce because I had to provide for us.

Kevin:             Right.

Emily:             You know, I mean, yes, there’s child support, but that doesn’t do much. So, you know, I had to put Gabe, my child, into daycare when I was in work, but when my former spouse was having our son he didn’t have to work. So I had a really hard time with that. So really the only time I had were evenings when he was crabby, after work.

Kevin:             Yeah.

Emily:             Because you’ve to go home, make dinner, do a bath and books and bedtime. You know, they’re crabby. They don’t want to do anything. And then weekends, I had every other weekend with him. So I had to deal with quality versus quantity.

Kevin:             Right.

Emily:             With me. Because the quantity wasn’t very much because he was at daycare all day. So that was a really hard issue for me and I’m sure some of our listeners have that issue as well.

Kevin:             Right.

Emily:             So I had to come to terms myself. You know, okay, do I want to complain about this? Do I want to worry about this? Or do I want to spend quality time with my child? And I decided I wanted to choose quality time. So when I have him we do fun stuff like strawberry picking or having play dates or just spending time together outside, you know, playing in his sandbox.

Kevin:             Well, I know you like to cook so I think there have been times where your son was maybe hanging around — “Mommy make some cookies.” “Mommy I would like this.” Where you’re also including him in . . .

Emily:             Exactly.

Kevin:             . . . on a project of sorts.

Emily:             Yes. We cook together all the time. He loves to help me cook.

Kevin:             That’s good.

Emily:             Yes. He pulls up the little stepstool and helps me. Sometimes he wants to help more than I want him to especially over the stove.

Kevin:             Oh, yeah.

Emily:             You know, his imagination is awesome so it doesn’t hurt having him help.

Kevin:             No.

Emily:             So, but you kind of just have to come to terms with the issue. I know it’s difficult because I’ve been there. But you’ve really got to think about your child and what’s best for your child. Your child needs both parents. They do.

Kevin:             Absolutely.

Emily:             Because then that child’s going to be more well-rounded. And for us, he has two different households. Seriously, it’s night and day. But I had some time alone where I had to get to know Emily again.

Kevin:             Right.

Emily:             I really did because when you come out of a divorce probably like you have. Yow know you were a husband, you were a father, probably a brother-in-law. Am I wrong?

Kevin:             Yeah. All of the above.

Emily:             Okay.

Kevin:             All of the above.

Emily:             OK. So you need to find out who you are again. Right?

Kevin:             I had to reinvent myself in a number of different ways.

Emily:             Yeah. Right.

Kevin:             And some of that time I took thinking and reading was during the downtime.

Emily:             Sure.

Kevin:             Where I’m thinking things through a little bit more.

Emily:             Right. So that’s when you can use that time is to look inside and find out who you want to be. Like you said, you can reinvent yourself. Find out what your hobbies are like I said earlier. I did a lot of meditation during that time to try and find out who I was. Self-searching is not a bad thing. It’s a very good thing, especially after divorce because it’s so unsettling and you don’t know which way you’re going. You don’t know who you are. So I think self-discovery is huge.

Kevin:             And I could see that being — we’ve all been there. I’m sure some of our listeners here at Divorce Talk Radio feel the same way. It was almost as if — Wait a minute. What do I want to do now?

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:             Maybe I want to do this for my work.

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:             Instead of doing this or thinking about all these other opportunities maybe you didn’t have before.

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:             Alright.

Emily:             And like making decisions for yourself.

Kevin:             Making decisions.

Emily:             That was huge for me.

Kevin:             Was it?

Emily:             Oh my gosh.

Kevin:             So your ex was pretty much sometimes in that . . .

Emily:             Yes.

Kevin:             . . .  pattern of taking care of things?

Emily:             Yes.

Kevin:             Doing things?

Emily:             Yes.

Kevin:             Or just controlling things maybe.

Emily:             Right. So getting into that mindset. I can make decisions for myself. For me that was very empowering. So this transition from finding out who you are from being a wife or a husband, you know, a brother or sister-in-law or whatever the circumstance is, that transition from being married and then divorced is huge. But it can also be empowering and a great way to find out who you are. I just think I actually truly enjoyed finding out who I was again. Because I really did change and I think that’s awesome if you go from being someone different. . .

Kevin:             Right.

Emily:             . . . after the divorce. I think, “Wow, that’s a huge transition and that’s awesome.” And I celebrate that with those who have because that is huge. You know.

Kevin:             During my marriage it was pretty much — I think all marriages are the same in that they’re all different. So what is that an oxymoron or something? In my case it was pretty much a nice split of things. Sometimes she knew. It was actually a great marriage, I thought. But again, not to go off topic or into that, but were it was pretty much she did her things better. I did some things better, but it was a nice split of things. For those, like you Emily, that are maybe not doing all of the thinking or the decision making — See, I always thought that’s what’s needed during a marriage. Maybe that was lacking in a number of marriages which is why I say all marriages are different yet they’re the same.

Emily:             They are.

Kevin:             So it is important to make your own decisions. You work with that spouse, you work with that person and get it all done.

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:             But reinventing. I didn’t change much in some cases because there was not much really to change. But again, you go out there and do things and some people really have to invent themselves.

Emily:             Right. Because you get stuck.

Kevin:             You get stuck.

Emily:             You do. Yeah.

Kevin:             You get stuck.

Emily:             And it’s not fun being stuck.

Kevin:             No.

Emily:             And once you come out of that you feel magnificent. I cannot tell you how much better you feel after everything has changed. You feel empowered because you are doing everything on your own that you never used to do.

Kevin:             Right. Yeah.

Emily:             You know, doing everything. Cleaning the house, taking care of your kids, paying the bills, being able to pay those bills with the money that you’re earning. That’s, I think, huge.

Kevin:             You always hate to write the checks but, nevertheless, you’re doing it yourself.

Emily:             Well, you’re doing it yourself.

Kevin:             We all hate to write checks. OK.

Emily:             Yes. The yard work, everything. You’re doing it all yourself. I just want to commend those single parents out there because it’s hard.

Kevin:             Absolutely.

Emily:             But they’re doing a fantastic job and getting there is not easy. But when you can get in a good routine and have a good relationship with your children it can be wonderful.

Kevin:             Then, of course, those down times will eventually come back again and the weekends.

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:             Sometimes maybe you want to take a day trip. All you have to do is go an hour away . . .

Emily:             Oh, yes. Right.

Kevin:             . . . half hour away.

Emily:             Wisconsin.

Kevin:             Wisconsin. Anywhere in Illinois.

Emily:             Yeah.

Kevin:             You can go to Chicago. Maybe take a trip out to Iowa. You get yourself lunch somewhere. You see things. Turn around and come back or maybe there’s a museum that you want to go to.

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:             Go to the internet. Man, it’s all out there. . .

Emily:             Right. Exactly.

Kevin:             . . .  as we all know. So I always thought going out for the day would be something that you could plan on.

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:             Or work in or maybe a friend might even want to go with you.

Emily:             Exactly. Yep.

Kevin:             So, you know, being occupied, keeping things going, and having something to do while also having times maybe you’re tired of doing something. Well, then that weekend maybe you just want to stay home.

Emily:             Right. Right. But I mean, maybe get out every. . .

Kevin:                    Sure.

Emily:             . . for a little bit because I think that’s important.

Kevin:             A good walk is always good.

Emily:             Yes.

Kevin:             Especially if you’ve a good nice neighborhood setting.

Emily:             Exactly. Yeah. We have a bike path by us so we like taking that.

Kevin:             Oh good.

Emily:             So yeah.

Kevin:             So do you ride bikes or do you just walk the bike path?

Emily:             My son usually rides his bike, but we walk.

Kevin:             OK. OK.

Emily:             I like walking.

Kevin:             And you have a dog, too?

Emily:             We have a dog, yes. So we walk her.

Kevin:             So do you take Trixie ?

Emily:             Pixie.

Kevin:             Pixie, Trixie? I’m thinking of Speed Racer.

Emily:             Yes.

Kevin:             OK.

Emily:             She loves her walks, too, so.

Kevin:             OK.

Emily:             Yeah.

Kevin:             Well, good.

Emily:             Just getting out in the vitamin D, the sun and looking at the flowers and hearing all the nature, the birds and the occasional bunny or . . .

Kevin:             Yes.

Emily:             . . .  whatever. It’s just nice to get out.

Kevin:             Another topic, too, that I just sort of touched on, that we did, was about pets. Oh my gosh, those will be your buddies.

Emily:             Yes. Yes. Yes.

Kevin:             Of course, they’re relying on you.

Emily:             Yes.

Kevin:             But the love they give you back in return . . .

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:. . . you can’t put a price on it.

Emily:             Right. Exactly. It’s like having furry kids.

Kevin:             Yeah. Yow know, you take your dog for a walk or feed the cat, play with the cat, play with the dog. Dog runs around. Maybe take the dog to a dog park. Throw a Frisbee.

Emily:             Oh, yes. There’s one in Rockford, I think.

Kevin:             Isn’t there something in CherryValley, too? I thought there was something. . .

Emily:             Is there?

Kevin:             . . . as well. But there’s all different dog parks and whatever. But I always found pets to be very helpful, too.

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:             Even if they’re not your own pets.

Emily:             Well, they’re your companion.

Kevin:             That’s right.

Emily:             Yeah.

Kevin:             Even on your worst day. . .

Emily:             They will still love you.

Kevin:             . . . they’re there waiting for you. And they still love you. They don’t care. They just want their love and they plan their day around you.

Emily:             Right. Exactly. That’s a good point. Thank you, Kevin.

Kevin:             You’re welcome. Well, that’s why I’m here, to contribute to your show here, Emily. So I guess a number of our topics or discussions that we spoke about today, freedom from heartache, that’s your business . . .

Emily:             Yes.

Kevin:             . . . so I’m sure when you’re coaching someone a number of these topics would come up and say, “Emily I don’t know how to handle this.” Or Emily, “What’s your thoughts on this.” Do they ask you for all that type of advice?

Emily:             Yes. Because it’s a big topic. When your life changes so drastically, you know, you are living with your spouse or your kids then going through and separation you don’t have that all the time. So it’s a change and it’s hard to change that. And I give people the tools to cope with that in that time.

Kevin:             Good.

Emily:             So they can get through it in an easier and better way than just going into depression.

Kevin:             OK.

Emily:             Because that’s not good.

Kevin:             No. We’ve all been there. And no, we don’t want to go.

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:             You know, going through this, of course, it’s all hindsight to us.

Emily:             Yes.

Kevin:             Because we learned this and I think the part of your show here on Divorce Talk Radio is that we’re relaying our experiences.

Emily:             Right. Exactly.

Kevin:             To appoint on to someone else in hopes that somebody else would say, “Hey, things aren’t that bad.”

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:             Or I could do this. Hopefully, our lessons learned could benefit someone else.

Emily:             Right. Exactly. And get the ah-has from our show and about like, “Oh, I can do that.” Or,  “That’s a really good idea.”

Kevin:             Sure. Exactly.

Emily:             You know, because what my passion is, is helping individuals, whether it be single parents or just individuals who are divorced or divorcing, through their grief. Because it is grief.

Kevin:             Yes.

Emily:             Divorce is grief. It’s hard to go through. And I’ve gone through things and I’ve learned a lot and my passion is passing that on. Whether it be through this show or my clients. That’s my passion. And helping them have a happier and I don’t ful life. So I hope this helps.

Kevin:             That’s it and life goes by rather quickly.

Emily:             Oh my gosh. Yes, it does. I cannot believe how quickly time goes by. You’re worth every minute. You know, you’re worth it. Give yourself that time to like I said, reinvent yourself and invest in yourself.

Kevin:             Invest. That’s the keyword. I think that we learn to invest in yourself.

Emily:             Right.

Kevin:             You know, if you want to go back to school maybe this is an opportunity.

Emily:             Exactly.

Kevin:             Because maybe the funds, maybe you have more, maybe you don’t. But there are a number of ways to go back. Or heck, go to the bookstore, go to the library, pick up a book and read and study what you want to do.

Emily:             Exactly.

Kevin:             That doesn’t cost anything.

Emily:             Yeah. Maybe you want to have a different career

Kevin:             Yeah. Right.

Emily:             Who knows what you can think of and create for yourself because anything is possible. Anything you put your mind to is possible, truly.

Kevin:             I think so. Again, weekends and downtimes on what to do. Hopefully, we did cover a number of different avenues for others to explore and maybe some of our time, our downtime, and everything and what we just discussed might be able to help someone out there, too.

Emily:             Right. I hope so. Because that time can be so useful and you don’t want to waste it because I want that time back now.

Kevin:             We wasted so much time when we look back. We wasted a ton of time and I think I could’ve done this, I could’ve done that. Well, you can’t get the time back.

Emily:             Let’s don’t do that.

Kevin:             You can’t get that time back.

Emily:             You can’t look in the past. You have to be looking at the present. You need to be in the present.

Kevin:             Yes.

Emily:             Otherwise, you’re just going to go crazy.

Kevin:             Right. And I look back now and I think, “Oh my gosh I could’ve done all of this.”

Emily:             Yeah.

Kevin:             But again, lesson learned.

Emily:             Right. Move forward.

Kevin:             Our lesson here is:      move forward. That’s what we’re telling you. Enjoy what you have now.

Emily:             Yes.

Kevin:             Then look forward to whatever else might be around the corner.

Emily:             Exactly. Reinvent your story. Recreate what you want. It’s your life. Take it back because it gets better. It truly does get better.

Kevin:             Absolutely, Emily.

Emily:             Well, thank you, Kevin. . .

Kevin:             Thank you.

Emily:             . . . for being here with me. This has been Moving Forward on Divorce Talk Radio. Have a great day.


Share and Enjoy