By Judith Sills, PhD
Q. Newly divorced, I'm finding it hard to take advantage of my "free" time, when my kids are with my ex. How can I enjoy it more?
A. Saying goodbye to your children, even for a few days, is hard for any mom. It will take a while for you to accept that your kids are fine without you. Great weekends also require planning, especially for people who are divorced. Make a list of 10 things you'd like to do -- including fun stuff, tasks you can't get done with the kids around, and helping others -- and try to follow through on at least three things every weekend the kids are away. Get yourself on a schedule of well-being and stick with it until the good times catch up with you.
Q. My married friends no longer invite me out, and my single friends are busy. How do I rebuild my social life?
A. You've got to take the lead by inviting your married friends, along with other people, to your place for brunch or dinner, and by letting your single friends know that you're up for the movies, shopping, whatever. But you also need to branch out, which requires effort and involves risk at a time when you're likely feeling tired and vulnerable. Ask friends to introduce you to people they think you'd like. Join a volunteer organization or a book group -- anything to put yourself out there while doing something you enjoy. It's hard work, but you'll soon have plenty of good company.