On Being Divorced

From My Journal …

Being labeled as divorced is difficult, but the hardest thing for me is leaving my children all day. Even the technical problems of paying bills or getting three little ones dressed, fed, and deposited at someone’s house before 7:30 A.M. are insignificant compared to these emotional pains. I want to be home loving and taking care of my children myself, and I don’t know if it is being done the way I want it by someone else.

—Payday: discouraging. The boys want swimming suits, I need to work on food storage, the Special Interest area conference requires a fifteen dollar registration fee, and I don’t even have the thirty-three dollars I owe on car insurance.

—I’m supposed to be at Relief Society tonight. It is my favorite meeting, and I love to go. But it is so hard to leave the children again at night after I’ve been gone all day. And it’s hard to pay a sitter, too. I’m embarrassed to ask the Relief Society President again for an unpaid sitter to watch the children, although I have tried it a couple of times.

—“Are you going to babysit us tonight, Mama?” asked my son Jeremy. His words broke my heart. All I want is to be able to be a good mother and stay home with my children … and have my own house and a husband and more babies. You’d think I’d be grateful for all I do have. I am grateful. I’m sorry for complaining.

—I can’t work all day, type for Christmas money half the night, take care of the children, and keep the house clean.

—It is hard to do anything well enough to please myself when I’m going in so many different directions, but my boss is always appreciative of my work. Sometimes I wonder if it’s just that he knows how much I need to be appreciated or if I really am that wonderful.

—Fast Sunday. Everyone is always so grateful for their husbands and the priesthood in their home. I look over the congregation and see a few others in my situation and wonder if there isn’t someone who has been through it all and is over it now. It would give me some hope for the future.

—My patriarchal blessing is a great comfort. It promises that throughout the trials, problems, and experiences in life, I will never be without the comforting and sustaining influence of the Holy Ghost. It is always there. Sometimes I wish I could have a really good cry, and I try mustering up a little self-pity. But even during my most frustrating moments, the calm peace radiates from somewhere inside me, conveying the knowledge that everything will be all right. I may have to develop a lot of patience first, but everything will be fine.

—When I am the only one trying to satisfy the needs and demands of three small children—answer their questions, dry their tears, change diapers, do the wash, cook dinner and repair bikes simultaneously (after working all day at the office) there is no question in my mind why a family needs two parents. On those occasions when the responsibility and the bills and the work overwhelm me, I want to stand up and announce that I absolutely cannot do it alone. Then I am filled with the familiar comfort and peace of the Holy Ghost and I know I’m not alone at all. I have the assurance that as long as I kneel in prayer, I will be bigger than my problems.

[illustration] Illustrated by Mark Buehner

Cathy Hulse serves as Relief Society homemaking leader in the Taylorsville (Utah) Thirty-first Ward. After three years as a single parent, she remarried. Cathy and her husband are now raising eight children.