Going through a divorce is never easy. Even in simple cases, the path can be confusing and emotional. Thankfully, it’s 2018 and you don’t have to go through your divorce alone. Where our parents might have tried to gloss over the reality of dissolving a marriage, if you’re facing a separation right now, know that there are options to help you navigate the terrain.
Today I want to introduce you to someone who has a passion for helping moms through the haze of divorce. Jessica Ashely, the Divorce Coach for Moms, is dedicated to making sure that moms have the support they need during a super stressful time.
Check out our interview below and be sure to enter the giveaway — whether you are in need of her services, or know someone who is, the prize is 100% transferable.
BR: Talk to us about the journey that brought you to becoming a divorce coach.
JA: It has been a fortuitous experience! I launched the Single Mom Nation website and podcast several years ago to connect and empower moms with diverse single parenting experiences. Through that and because I’d been forthright online about my own divorce, my friends and friends of friends and even readers reached out for girlfriend-to-girlfriend advice about their own divorces or as they considered leaving relationships and marriages. I texted and messaged and Skyped resources, tips and even scripts for how I handled situations or beautiful practices I watched other women make.
One day while on LinkedIn, I saw someone’s profile listed as a divorce coach and just seeing that job title felt like a unicorn swooped into my office. This was the way to connect on far deeper and more personal level with women! It has been an extension of my writing and podcasting, and also my calling to serve mothers who’ve been where I was a decade ago.
BR: Did you have a divorce coach? Who helped you through your divorce, and how did that impact the way you help others?
JA: I was so blessed to have what one of my favorite ladies called my divorce ninja squad. My dad went to every single lawyer meeting and court date with me, and my mom handled childcare with such grace. A group of women from my church pulled close around me and shared their wisdom from divorce and single parenting. One friend sent me a book of Buddhist affirmations I still keep in my purse, and another helped me laugh even on the toughest days. Each of these people and many more lifted me up and through when I wasn’t sure I could do it myself.
I have always held that in my heart and have felt called to serve other mothers who are in that space.
I wish I’d had a divorce coach! I know having a divorce coach would have served me well in three critical ways. First, I had a solid circle of support that included my parents and some close friends, professionals like my therapist and attorney, and then a few people I would have never expected to step in to babysit or offer sage advice or help me pick out what to wear to family court.
But my divorce was long and sometimes dramatic and I know I wore people out.
Everyone going through divorce wears out their loved ones. It would have been really helpful to have a coach I could count on to help solve problems and reframe disappointments and move ahead so I could untangle the business of divorce from some of my relationships. Also, more support is always better.
Second – and this is a big one – I know now that a coach would have saved me money. The average cost of a divorce in this country is $15,000 to $30,000.
My no-asset divorce was more than that. A divorce coach would have helped me organize the reams of paperwork, gather financials and schedules, and sort my questions so I could be even more wise with my attorney time.
A coach, particularly one who has been through divorce and co-parenting, would have also helped me think through details like holidays and pick-up times and how to handle activity costs that have cost me a lot of time and dollars to work out on my own over the years.
Third, a coach would have helped remind me of WHO I want to be during a really trying, and sometimes agonizing time, more than WHAT I wanted to do. The nudge toward being your best self is really valuable for life way beyond divorce.
BR: What does someone have to gain from hiring a divorce coach?
JA: Many of us are under duress during divorce. We have to make critical decisions when we are barely sleeping, can’t concentrate, maybe drinking too much, possibly in yelly-mommy mode far more than we are comfortable. It is a huge identity shift, even when the negotiations are amicable and quick.
A great divorce coach eases this process, complementing the expertise of an attorney, a mediator, a therapist, a yoga teacher. Sometimes we need someone right there who gets it both personally and professionally.
I am your very best girlfriend in divorce. That means that I am already on your side, already believe that you are an amazing woman and mom, already know that there is a bigger, happier, healthier life waiting for you on the other side of divorce.
As your coach, I help you find outside-the-box solutions to the problems that bring on stress and overwhelm, guide you get organized and stay accountable, provide new creative routines and rituals that can ease the transition for you and your kids, assist you in reframing situations, review your text and email communications, remind you of the ways you want to be your best self in this process – these are just a few of the ways I work with clients. I truly believe that hiring a divorce coach is an investment in yourself, and in the life you want now and long after the ink on the paperwork has dried.
BR: How does having a divorce coach help parents who are going through a divorce? How does it help the kids?
JA: Those mothers who go through divorce and still have a relationship with their child’s other parent need support in the logistics (like thinking through time share and if a kid needs an extra pair of glasses at dad’s house), the emotional stuff (like how you will tell the kids what is happening and when and how to introduce someone you’re dating) and finding joy in the new normal (like setting up a bedroom in a new home or having only three settings at the dinner table or sharing the story with friends).
Whether moms are really co-parenting or not with an ex, a divorce coach can help them navigate a new kind of relationship and identity with someone they once knew better than anyone. The details and needs change from family to family, of course.
We may not do our best parenting during divorce and we will definitely all make mistakes.
I think this is an incredible opportunity to relate to kids of all ages differently and to begin conversations we will return to over and over – not just about divorce but also about how to be courageous, how to find and ask for help, perhaps how our faith can serve us or about boundaries in relationships.
What I see with the moms I work with is that the happier and healthier and more able they are to re-center, the more it helps their kids to ease in as well.
Kids will come back to the issues of divorce in different, deeper and more complex ways as time and experience goes on, and having support, rituals and a history of open conversations help moms handle that all – I really believe that.
BR: What brings you the most joy when working with clients? What’s the hardest part of divorce coaching?
JA: I get an empathy ache when I hear stories of women who feel broken apart by the end of a relationship or marriage. It’s tough to witness dynamic women question their own strength or value or big, shining light in this world or with their kids. It is also my honor to stand beside them in those moments, and a boundless joy to see those same women rise up above and beyond the circumstances of divorce.
Thank you so much to Jessica for sharing her experience with us and for offering up and amazing giveaway to one of our readers!
This Baby Rabies-exclusive giveaway is for one month of coaching with Jessica Ashley, the Divorce Coach for Moms.
The winner will receive up to four confidential, conversational one-on-one sessions by phone or video chat with Jessica, who will use thoughtful questions, creative exercises and problem-solving techniques to guide you through the stresses of divorce and single mothering. It will also include text support (Jessica = queen of the GIF). This giveaway has a value of $1000.
How To Enter
Use the widget below to enter the giveaway. You can also click here to open the widget in a new page. One winner will be chosen and notified by email. Two runners up will also be chosen for a special one-hour session.
This prize is transferrable and perfectly giftable with consent from all parties and sessions must be completed by August 1, 2018.