What I Wish I Knew – Michelle Dempsey | S2, Ep. 18


Welcome to another episode of the exEXPERTS DIVORCE etc… Podcast where we give you all kinds of information and tips on everything divorce. Why? We’ve lived it, so we get it! We’re T.H. & Jessica. 

T.H.: On today’s podcast, we are thrilled to have Michelle Dempsey here with us. She is the founder of Moms Moving On, she’s an author with a book coming out in January (delayed to March) that you can pre-order now, and is a certified divorce specialist among her many other accolades and accomplishments. Welcome to the show today.

Michelle: Thank you for having me. I’m so excited to be here.

T.H.: I’m going solo today. Jessica was not able to join, but I will try to put on my Jessica mindset at times to ask questions that she would ask you and respond in her way also, which is a little bit different than I am. We’ve been reading about you as we get further into exEXPERTS about helping women in particular with divorce, and your name is everywhere. It’s coming up on Instagram, on podcasts, and I really have enjoyed your guests.

It looks like from your bio and what you write is that you specialize in divorce, co-parenting, and single motherhood. [Yes] Why?

Michelle: Well, I’m divorced, and I am co-parenting. At one point, I was a single mom and I was raised by a single mom, as a child of divorce, who experienced the very worst there could have been in my parents’ divorce. But I, in some way shape, or form, knew I would always end up in this situation. I was deeply unhealed from my own childhood traumas.

I settled into relationships that were not healthy. I kind of had an–well, I did have an anxious attachment style, which meant a relationship is better than being alone, which meant a lot of heartbreak and drama. So lo and behold, I got divorced from my daughter’s father after three years of marriage, which sucked, and it was the last thing I wanted, but everything I needed for my own sanity and personal growth. I learned so much about myself in the process.

But what I really learned was that no matter how many people are there for you, or how big your family is, or how many friends you have, it is wholly isolating and just the scariest time.

I started putting a lot out there on Instagram. As you know, I was an entrepreneur at the time. I owned a marketing agency and divorce was certainly not a business of mine, but it was my business, and so I was talking about it very openly on social media. I had been writing for a bunch of motherhood publications at that point, like scary mommy and parents, and they were like, talk about what you’re going through, nobody else is saying it. I think at the time that I started writing about co-parenting and divorce very few people were talking about it publicly on social media. I do think that is the reason for a lot of followers and a lot of interest and why I started the podcast and became a coach because there was such a need for it.

But it all came from a place of feeling alone and isolated and wanting to be like, hey, I’m here too. If you need me, let’s connect.

T.H.: Right, right. I see that a lot in those Facebook groups. I mean, I think that those have worked out well, the ones that I’ve stepped into here and there. There are many that are toxic that I just won’t go near, but there are a lot where people just want someone to applaud them for their little victories. Like, I put out on social media last week, I put together a drying rack, which is not just a drying rack. It is like a laundromat drying rack with wheels and wings and it didn’t just pop in anywhere and I still 13 years later felt proud about that. I get it, you want to know someone’s got your back [totally] and somebody understands. My divorce was four years long. I had an eight, six, and four-year-old, and I was always working, so I was of the mindset that we’ve got to go. I’m a mobilizer.

What do I do? Where do I go? How do I fix it?

But time alone takes a long time for growth for me anyway and really being aware. You were saying about being attached to the wrong relationships. I did the same thing. They weren’t nearly as bad as my marriage, but they still weren’t right. I was still making the same mistakes, but I maybe needed a few slaps on the wrist to really like, this is the same. It doesn’t look the same. It doesn’t sound the same. But it is still the same.

Tell us about where you are now. You were divorced, and you started building this and–?

Michelle: I got divorced, and part of me kind of expected it. Given what I had gone through as a child and into early adulthood, I kind of felt I was built for it. I told myself every day, if anybody can get through this it’s you. I had been through so much in my life. I felt that I had an advantage because of all the grief and heartbreak I had experienced when I was young. That’s really where it became my mission to help people. But at the same time, I felt like I had a huge obligation to my daughter to become the best version of myself. I just recorded an episode of my own podcast with the Style Editor at NBC Today Show, Bobbie Thomas, who lost her husband in the fall of last year. We were talking about waking up in the morning, whatever your reality is, whether you got divorced and you wanted to, whether your husband just left out of nowhere, whether he died and you’re processing this grief, you have these kids there that you still have to take care of. It makes it harder, but it also forces you to move on more quickly. I felt that I owed that to my daughter. Having really had it rough as a kid, I didn’t want her to have it so hard despite her parent’s divorce. I did so much work on myself. Before the divorce–

T.H.: Could you share a little bit? Are you comfortable sharing anything? Just so it’s relative, as a child with your parents, so that–my mind is all over the place in what that experience was like.

Michelle: Your divorce took four years, my parents took almost 10. It was a very ugly, high profile, claws out, disgusting custody battle type of thing.

T.H.: So you were in the middle?

Michelle: I was in the middle. I ended up becoming estranged from my father when I was just 12, or just before I was 12 because just I couldn’t even look him in the face for some of the stuff he had done to my mother. I saw too much too young. My dad had cheated on my mom with another woman, which is very common, but he was ultimately–

T.H.: But still not okay, even though they’re [inaudible] and everybody, but yeah—

Michelle: It’s still not okay, right. But he took it to another level, and there were so many details there that were horrible. But ultimately, he was just living a double life raising her son, and coming home to my mom, and also had women all over Nassau County and New York City and the five boroughs. It was not good.

Unfortunately, when my parents split up, it was, daddy has a new girlfriend, okay? You’re going with him tonight. He’s not going to live here anymore.’ I was just thrown into this volatile environment. Nobody thought let’s take her to therapy, or let’s see how she’s feeling. And my mom, who happens to be the strongest person I know, comes from a culture and background of you’re fine, everything’s fine, and we’re good. We’re just not going to talk about anything. All of that obviously caught up with me. That’s not what I wanted for Bella. I wanted to say, yes, your daddy and I got divorced, and it sucks. You’re allowed to be mad at that. You’re allowed to love him and have a relationship with him even though I don’t. I wanted to do things very differently, and that started with me healing my own trauma, all of the stuff I didn’t go to therapy for as a kid. Becoming estranged from your father as a preteen will do a number on your self-esteem and your self-confidence. I’m the picture of daddy issues, which is ultimately what destroyed my first marriage, and so I had an obligation to be better. I did that through therapy and accepting so much of my past that I ignored or swept under the rug, and being open and honest with my mom like, this fucked me up and I’m not going to let that happen to Bella. I think now, I am not a perfect mom, and there’s so much I could do better, but I know something I definitely do is give her the tools to be strong and have a voice and deal with what comes her way.

T.H.: Do you really believe there is such a thing as a perfect mom?

Michelle: I don’t think there’s such thing as a perfect mom, but unfortunately, I think our kids are mirrors of us. We see through our children where we can do better, and I’m always seeing things that I could emphasize more, ‘before we have a play date, please be respectful of the person’s space’ and ‘we have to clean up before we leave’, little dumb things here and there. I am so focused on the macro emotional wellness of my child that sometimes as a mom, I forget the little things. But we’re all doing the best we can, right?

T.H.: Well, that’s the whole point. I think that there are a lot of moms and probably dads out there, who are striving to be whatever this image is in their head, or society, or I read a book, or I saw a movie, or whatever it is. I tell my kids today, who are now 21, 20, and 17, but I tell them regularly there’s no book on being a parent. There’s certainly no book on how to handle divorce. Every divorce is different, every person is different, and then the two people are different. You’re just doing the best you can. You have to assume that everybody’s just doing the best they can. I’m sure for you too, there’s so much going on in my head. Then sometimes you’re like, is everybody in bed? Okay, we had a great day. That was a great day. You woke up, you went where you’re supposed to go, and everybody’s got their head on the pillow, and they’re going to sleep. I’m not sure what happened between those two, but everybody’s good. And so I did the best that I could that day, and that was good enough. Really taking the time to look at yourself, it’s a hard thing to do. It’s a humbling experience.

Michelle: It’s humbling. It will bring you to your knees, but it is so necessary. People will say to me, oh my god, you’re so lucky you got remarried, and you met such a great guy. You’re so lucky, you’re so lucky. And I’m like, I’m sure that’s what it looks like on social media, but the work that I’ve had to do to get to a space where I can have a relationship like this, to be able to keep a relationship like this, to be able to put my issues to the side and learn how to be a better communicator and partner and all of those things, I mean, it’s been hard.

I was in therapy at the beginning of our–I’m still in therapy but at the beginning of my relationship with my now-husband, where I had to learn to receive, whether it was emotionally or materialistically. I was so hardened from my past.

I’m doing things myself that I didn’t even know what to respond to when I was dating my now-husband. He would say, I’m running to Publix, do you need anything from the market? I’d be like, oh, does he think I can’t get it myself? I was so like–

T.H.: I totally get it. I totally get it.

Michelle: Anyway, the point is a magical life after divorce doesn’t just happen because you deserve it.

We all deserve it, but you do kind of have to work for it, and the work only needs to be done on yourself. If you don’t do that work, you’re more than likely going to repeat old patterns and end up in a similar relationship to your marriage because it feels comfortable. Then you’re the one sitting there saying I attract all the same guys all the time. That’s because the work hasn’t been done.

T.H.: Right. You’re doing all the same things again. Also, I think that a lot of people and a little bit of what you just said, their goal is how do you meet the guy? That’s not really the goal.

Michelle: It’s not the goal, and in my book I–

T.H.: The goal is to be so good with yourself that they’re just gravy. You can walk down the street, you can go to a movie, you can do whatever you want, and you feel great about it. They’re just like a little bit of extra bonus on the side. That’s kind of how I look at it now.

Michelle: Totally. And so many of my followers have said, oh, I can’t wait to read about you and Spencer in your book. I’m like, well, don’t hold your breath because as much as I love him, and die for him, he’s the best, he’s not my idea of a happily ever after. For me, just accepting being alone with no other man,

I had never been single in my life, just the acceptance of I’m happy with who I am, and anything else, like you said, is gravy. For me, that was happily ever after. I couldn’t have attracted Spencer into my life had I not gotten to that place of being happy alone.

T.H.: Right, agreed. And the people who I attracted, I was taking care of them too. My parents would always say, ‘Why do you feel like you have to save everybody? Why are you saving people?’

Michelle: Yeah.

T.H.: The man that I’m with now, we’re building a home together. I actually just moved into his house-

Michelle: Ooh, mazel!

T.H.: So it’s all super exciting. But even in the last four years of my marriage, I was a single parent. I made the rules. I handled everything. Nobody’s messing up my routine. I’m not interested in other opinions. And the same thing, I remember going on a blind date, whatever, and the guy reached for my hand and I grabbed my hand away. I was like I don’t need you to hold my hand to cross the street. I can cross the street by myself. And so it’s exact same thing. It took a really long time to allow someone to be–I don’t know if it was–I don’t know. What do you think? Is it allowing someone to do nice for you, or is it just being so guarded that you’re like, I’m independent. I don’t need anybody. Back off!

Michelle: I think, well, that is guarded when you insist you don’t need anyone. I remember in my late 20s, my mom would call me and be like, guess who got married? Guess who had a baby? I’d be like sorry, mom, you’re never going to be a grandma. That’s never happening for me. But that was my guard up feeling like I didn’t deserve it.

And so I think a lot of women put that guard up because they have such a hard time accepting that, yes, they are worthy of love. And yes, somebody does genuinely want to hold your hand without bad intentions, or does genuinely want to pick up groceries for you, and just for being kind, not because he thinks you can’t do it yourself. I think letting your guard down and being vulnerable is also a really great way to grow because you see where your limits are, where your buttons are that might be pressed, or what your triggers are. It’s once you let your guard down, I think that beautiful things happen.

T.H.: Yes, and it’s a scary thing. Having a therapist to guide you and coach you along is really a beautiful luxury that I also did. I mean–

Michelle: I’m in therapy, all sorts of therapy. I have more than one therapist. My daughter’s in therapy. I just think it’s the best gift you can give yourself.

T.H.: Absolutely.

Michelle: If it’s an issue of finances because therapy is crazy expensive, there are some months where I say to my husband every dollar I’ve earned this month has gone to therapy, start with your child’s school counselor.

Set up a meeting. If you are going through something like divorce, and you don’t know how to handle it for yourself and your children, start with your school counselor. They are such a powerful tool. There’s a school social worker in every public school and they will check in with your kid, and they will give you the tools to be able to get through what you’re getting through as a mom. That’s a great place to start.

T.H.: When I separated, I found the program Banana Splits.

Michelle: Yes! I remember Banana Splits. I was in the program as a kid. [Laughs]

T.H.: Oh, really? What did you think about it?

Michelle: I don’t remember. I just remember being pulled out of class with a group of other divorced kids. There were like three at that time. We’d go sit in the social worker’s office and get scratch and sniff stickers. I don’t remember much more than that, other than why do I have to be here to talk about this?

T.H.: So therapy–my oldest at the time was eight, and she was having panic attacks and she was not sleeping. I took her to a neurologist, I did everything, but I also brought Banana Splits to the school. But like you, she really didn’t have any friends whose parents were going through a divorce. Now she’s like, now I’m the special kid, and now I miss lunch with my friends to go sit in a room. She goes, I’m not going. Then my younger daughter, who’s only a grade younger, all her friends were from divorcing or divorced families. They all went. It was Friday lunch, it was social hour. Then my son would just show up, and the counselor would call me and say, listen, Jason’s here. Are you okay with this? I’m like, yes! I brought it to the school. Bring him on in. It was nice to know that someone else was doing some of the work to help us. We take it all on ourselves that we have to fix everything. Being the fixer, it’s been a nightmare for me with my children. I’m not a fixer anymore. I learned the hard way from an experience with my son. They’re never going to grow confident and strong and everything if you’re doing everything for them–

Michelle: That’s so true.

T.H.: And telling them the way to feel, and telling them what to do. They don’t have to think. There’s a lot of learning that goes on after divorce. Not just for you, but the way you parent, and the way you socialize.

What do you think are the top three challenges? You’re divorced. Holy shit, now what?

Michelle: I think the top three challenges, the first one, which I talk about in my book, is getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. We’re here as women and moms and trying to be empowered and be great moms and make it to the PTA meetings and have the play dates, and say yes to the girls’ nights, but you’re in a really uncomfortable space right now. If you don’t honor that, it’s going to be really hard to move on. I think getting comfortable being uncomfortable because divorce is an uncomfortable time in your life, will ultimately save you down the road. Because if you don’t deal with those feelings head-on, it’s going to be really hard to heal, and they may pop up later. I think the other thing, the hardest thing, is adjusting to co-parenting. Nobody prepares you for that. Okay, I’ve birthed this child, grown this child in my body, or went through IVF, or went through the adoption process, and this baby is mine now. But here, let me give you to this person that I no longer really like, for half of your life, or whatever the case is.

T.H.: Which you would never do if that wasn’t your ex. You’d be like, oh, go with that guy. He’s fine.

Michelle: Right.

T.H.: Or she’s not really trustworthy all the time with me, but go ahead. Have a day.

Michelle: Yeah. [Laughs] And have a day, have a time. No, I mean, there’s nothing more gut-wrenching, especially in the beginning. I spend so much time in my book talking about the first night without your kids, the first weekend, the first time you hear that daddy has another woman. All of those things that are so icky, they’re all part of the co-parenting process. I think it’s really hard, and we need to value that it’s hard. We need to give ourselves the time to adjust without feeling like we just have to get over the divorce and be back to normal. It doesn’t work like that. I think the third thing is we talked about getting comfortable being alone. A lot of times, I remember when I first separated, the question would be “do you think you’re going to get married again?” I would get so annoyed. Like, why is that–

T.H.: I hate it. Everybody, I hope you can feel my eyes roll if you’re not watching the video.

Michelle: Yeah, why is that the happily ever after?

I wish somebody would have said to me, sweetheart, I hope you get the help you need and get through your issues now. That’s what matters. This pressure society puts on you that you have to be married to be worthy, no, you fucking don’t. And I’m so glad to be remarried, I’m obsessed with my husband, but that could not have happened without me being so happy being alone. My brother came down from New York, I’ll never forget, one weekend and we had a family dinner out at a restaurant in Miami. He was like, ‘I’m having an intervention with you. Why aren’t you dating? You’re successful, you’re not pining over your ex-husband and now’s a perfect time. You’re young, you’re beautiful.’ And I was like because I just don’t care. I don’t want to put the energy into that. I want to be free to do whatever I want to do with Bella. I want to be free to do whatever I want to do when I don’t have Bella. And I’m just getting comfortable with that. I had never been comfortable being alone. It was in that comfort in being alone that sure enough, I met my husband, but that was such a beautiful time for me. I urge women, you’re probably going to end up in another relationship, and you most likely will get married again. In that marriage, it’ll be great, but you’ll also be picking up socks off the floor and asking your husband to lower the TV, or asking him why he’s so fucking loud after the kids are asleep. It all goes to the same place, so enjoy that time right now.

T.H.: Right. Right, so how did you meet your husband?

Michelle: Oh my god, it’s the best story.

T.H.:  Yeah, you’ve told me that before, so let’s hear it.

Michelle: So my brother was basically like, you’re going to start dating, whether you like it or not. I didn’t know how I felt about that. It’s not that I felt I wasn’t worthy. I knew ultimately, my greatest love was still out there, that I didn’t have a fair chance at marriage, and that I wasn’t done with love yet. But I just couldn’t wrap my head around dating while parenting a two-year-old and having to get myself sexy for a date while I’m doing bath time. It just didn’t make any sense.

T.H.: Were you worried? Like, who’s going to want to date me with a two-year-old?

Michelle: Oh, yeah, I’ll get to that. I’ll get to that because that was my biggest insecurity well into my relationship with Spencer. My brother, at that dinner where he was like you need to date, made me a dating profile on one of the apps. I would sit awake at night and swipe till they were like, sorry, there are no more matches. I’m like, goddamn it. So anyway, Bella was two, and I would pick her up from school around 2:30, 3:00. I hated just going back to my apartment with her because I didn’t want her to feel lonely. It was just the two of us. And so we would always go to my mom’s after school. My mom lives in a beautiful building on the water and there’s a marina. We would play outside, I’d walk her in her stroller, and I would always see this guy around for 4, 4:30 come down from the building and go fishing with his daughter. I’m like, oh, he’s cute, but I’m not one to chat it up.  I would just look and walk away. Then a couple of days later–

T.H.: And then you started dressing really nicely for your 3:30 pickups. [Laughs]

Michelle: Right. No, a couple of days later, I got a copy of our town’s newspaper because I had an article somewhere way in the back. I was featured, but he was on the cover. I was like, oh, that’s that guy. And lo and behold, he looked me up on LinkedIn, which I want to say was really flattering, because, at that point, I was getting DMs on Instagram like, hey baby, you’re so sexy. I got a message on LinkedIn from him and he wrote, ‘Very impressive stuff, MD’ which are my initials.

T.H.: Wait, so he knew you wrote that article?

Michelle: Oh yeah, ‘cause–

T.H.: You saw him on the cover, but you didn’t tell him you saw him on the cover?

Michelle: No, but he obviously had been noticing me. Do you know what I’m saying?

T.H.: Good. Nice!

Michelle: Then we started chatting. We exchanged phone numbers. He was so oddly cryptic in his texts, which I now realize what he does for a living, he couldn’t be all open via text. I’m like, what is wrong with this guy? I would ask questions and I get one-word answers. I was like, ugh, telling my brother, you see, this is a waste of my time. Then we started talking on the phone, and he asked me to go out the following weekend. We spoke every day up until our first date. He would check in like, how are you? How’s Bella? How was that client meeting? Already very invested in my life. I said to one of my best friends that after that first date, I said, ‘after tonight,’ the morning of our first date, ‘my whole life is going to be different.’ And it was. He’ll tell you he fell in love with me in the Uber on the way to dinner. He knew he loved me. I knew it I think before we even went out. I had never felt that before, so that was a very scary feeling for me.

T.H.: Yeah, it’s hard to take it in when it’s new. I remember those dating apps. I mean, I have my own opinions about them, but every man that I had been in a relationship with, I met online. But you don’t know what you want because you haven’t had it. You don’t know that feeling because you’ve not felt it. I want 6’3. I want this, that, and the other thing. Check all the boxes. The man that I’m with doesn’t check any of those boxes, and he’s the most perfect man for me.

Michelle: Exactly. Well, I always say we go into our first marriages looking for what’s good on paper, not realizing that the stuff that comes second, right? Somebody who can emotionally fulfill your needs is far more important than does he make this amount, can you check that box off on the dating profile, and does he look like George Clooney when he comes out of the shower? Mind you, my husband is very attractive, but that’s just my opinion. For me, it was, so speaking of Bella, it was his willingness to be patient with the fact that–his daughter was 10 when we met, and mine was two. We would go to his apartment, and she was still in diapers, and she had this weird thing. She was embarrassed when she had to poop and would go hide under his dining room. We used to call her the little poop mouse, little things like that. He would say, let’s take the girls to dinner. I’m there knowing full well, shitting in my pants, that that’s the worst time of day for her to be out in public. She’s going to throw a tantrum. There was one time, I think it was the first time we introduced the girls, we went to dinner and Bella launched a glass of club soda across the table, just because she wasn’t paying attention. And I’m like, oh my god he’s not going to want to be with me.

T.H.: Right. Sweating and mortified.

Michelle: Mortified. So for the first six months of our relationship, I truly felt like he was going to leave me at the drop of a dime because it was too hard to raise another child for him.

Then something a couple of months into our relationship happened. There was a really bad hurricane about to hit South Florida, and he didn’t want me alone. I lived in a flood zone, and he didn’t want me alone in my townhouse with Bella. He said, ‘I want you to come and stay with me in the building. Your parents are obviously in the building, they can help. Their building doesn’t lose power because they’re on the same line as the hospital in our city.’ He’s like, ‘I want you to stay with us.’ I can’t hear you.

T.H.: That’s what people should look for when they buy a house. You always want to be on the hospital line.

Michelle: Totally. So I’m like, okay, great, but that means however many days trapped inside with me and a two-year-old. My mom was like, well, this is how you’re going to know. It was the hardest three days of our lives. You’re inside for three days. Even though we had power, there was no WiFi, there was no running water, there was no okay, go watch a movie and distract yourself, little child. It was brutal. That’s when I knew I’d be marrying him because he was so patient and so gentle. Even when Bella squirted her applesauce packet all over his bedding, he was like, okay, that’s what laundry is for. I remember thinking, who are you?

T.H.: [Laughs] Right, so don’t leave.

Michelle: Right. So many women will say to me, ‘I’m so self-conscious dating because I’m a mom.’ And I’m like, own that so powerfully, that fact that you’re a mother, because somebody is going to love you so much for it, and the right person is going to enhance your little family.

T.H.: There’s a meme out there that says sometimes people think she’s just too much, or he’s just too much. You know what? He or she is too much for that person but not for somebody else. I mean–

Michelle: You’re not too much for the right person.

T.H.: It really is true. I mean, I was on a tear. I was managing my dating profiles, and John this town, and Peter that town, and I had them all labeled and everything. I was getting caught up with some guy who I knew for a week. I’m like, I’m out of control. Get back to work. Focus on your work. Focus on your kids. You’re out of control. The man who I’m with now, I had been talking to him, but I hadn’t gone out on a date with him yet. When I said I was going to slow my roll, I canceled on him. I’m canceling everybody. Everybody’s out. Anyway, I honestly blew him off. He lives in the next town. I went to go pick up my dog the following week from the shelter, whatever, not shelter, the animal hospital place where they board her. He goes, how was your trip? And I didn’t even recognize him because, in his pictures, he was clean-shaven. Here, he’s got a hat on, he works in construction, and he had glasses. He was all–and his dog, but I recognized the dog. We have been together every day since then, and that’s almost three years ago.

Michelle: Wow.

T.H.: He lights up my life. But it never would have happened if I had not been in the place to be like, I’m good with me. I don’t need a guy. I’d like a guy. I like to go out. I don’t need another person to do the work that I need to do for myself. I need to do it because they’re never going to do it. It doesn’t work that way. Anyway, it just doesn’t. 

Michelle: I’m glad you had that process and that opportunity to realize I’m going too far into this too quickly, and I need to catch my breath. There’s something to be said for that. 

T.H.: Yeah, a lot of years of a lot of mistakes. [Laughs]

Michelle: We’ve all made them. But that’s the thing, that’s why they say we learn from our mistakes.

T.H.: 100%. And not to be ashamed of your mistakes, like, bring it on. What I want to ask you is what’s the one thing–and before you answer, I’m going to tell you mine, what’s the one thing you want our audience to know in terms of what you wish you knew? For me, it’s that my gut was really honest and that I was going to be okay if I trusted it. I shouldn’t have been afraid of my gut. It’s the most honest thing I have. It’s been my compass ever since I separated. It works for me. My body literally will get sick if I start going down a bad path. What’s the one thing you want to share that you wish you knew?

Michelle: I wish I knew that the divorce process is not one to rush.

When a heterosexual couple gets divorced, the man is usually leading the divorce process from a place of anger and ego, and the woman is coming from a place of fear. We are scared of confrontation in most cases, and we just want this to go as easily as possible. A lot of times we rush the divorce process, we meaning me. I see my clients trying to do that now, and I’m like, oh, honey, let’s slow it down, and here’s why. If you don’t ask questions in the divorce process and you’re just emotionally charged and responding to requests and negotiations from opposing counsel, you are not looking big picture and you are not making the decisions that are in the best interest of you and your child long term. You’re simply trying to put a band-aid on right now. That is the biggest mistake that I made. Had I given myself more time to understand what time-sharing options different from 50/50 might look like, or why the 2-2-3 schedule that I have now would ultimately be the hardest on Bella. Little things like that, I wish I took more time on because I was so focused on just getting through the process so I could start my life over again without this looming divorce process hanging over my head, that I made a lot of mistakes. And so I urge anybody who’s listening, there is no award for who gets out of divorce the fastest. You don’t want to be in it four years like you were, or 10 years like my mom was, but you do want to do it right. You only get one chance to get out of this marriage with your sanity and your child’s best interest intact, and so you have to do it mindfully and not emotionally.

T.H.: You’re right 100%. I mean, for me, I was dragged through so you only need one person to make it miserable. It’s true. I mean, he just–it’s, whatever, that’s a conversation for off record. But you’re 100% right. I want to thank you so much for coming and speaking with exEXPERTS today.

Michelle: It’s my pleasure.

T.H.: It definitely comes from a place of passion and wanting to make a difference for other people. We feel the same way and that’s why we’re creating this platform to bring on specialists and experts and authors like yourself out there so that our audience knows that there are so many resources out there for you now. When did you get divorced? What year did you separate?

Michelle: I separated in early 2017, March of 2017.

T.H.: Right, so that was even still–I was 2008. Back then, there was nothing. Then when you go online now, even I feel like you google it and everything is from a lawyer and there’s an agenda. Just definitely take the time to educate yourself. Empower yourself so when you go and ask questions, and go and meet people, you know what to ask for.

Michelle: That’s essentially why I wrote my book. Yeah, my book is a literal how-to, like what to expect when you’re expecting but for divorce. There’s a whole chapter on things not to overlook in your parenting plan and what to know about the divorce process, because nobody’s telling you that from the mom’s perspective. They’re telling you that from the legal perspective, from the mediator perspective, and so it’s so important to get educated. And yeah, I appreciate you giving me this platform, and I love what you guys are doing. I think it’s great. I’m excited to support you in this endeavor.

T.H.: Thank you. All right, well, have a great day. And anybody listening, check out Moms Moving On. Michelle is all over Instagram, her podcasts are awesome, and her book is coming out. You can preorder it now, and it’ll be released in January. Stay tuned for another episode.

Goodbye: For everyone out there listening, if you know anyone at all who would benefit from what we talked about today please share this episode and everything exEXPERTS.  Be sure and click to subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts and please follow us on social media @exEXPERTS Divorce etc… on Instagram and Facebook and YouTube and our website at  Thanks for listening!

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