By putting the kids first, we can value the contributions of both the mother and the father. And by joining in 50/50 co-parenting (before, during, and after divorce) we can give our kids the positive aspects of both parents.
Please consider this fact: dads and moms are equally important in a child's life. Yes, there are exceptions. And these days those exceptions cut both ways. So when you are considering divorce and thinking of "going for it" because having more time with your kids would feel good to you, please consider the kids over and above your own needs. Our kids need both of us.
I'm not perfect. I don't have the answer to this question of how to be happy all the time. But I am learning to see my emotions, my feelings, as something that are a part of me, but are not all of me. That's my meta-view.
For me, depression is a lot about getting afraid and then continuing to listen to the fear more than the present. I've used some mantras during my walks that have seemed to push me up the hills with more energy and joy. "Further, Stronger, Healthier, and Happier."
The moods roll in and out as if on tides. There is no controlling the bio-rhythm of our energy overall, it's really just how we respond to the varying levels of energy. And over the past several months a low-energy day was just passing through. Yesterday, the low-energy had the feeling of maybe sticking around for a bit. That got me a bit worried.
I have a bit of a mood problem. It seems that when my life gets really tough (bounced checks, trouble at work, arguments at home) I sometimes collapse into a depression. It's not often, but when it happens it surprises everyone around me with the change in my energy, demeanor, and general outlook on life.
I'm coming out of my illness and beginning to feel my hopefulness again. But I'm not able to climb a quarter-mile hill right out of the gate, my first five minutes on a bike. It takes some time to build up to that. My friend who sold me his used bike said, "Start out in the flats, build up to it."
I'm watching my kids grow up from a distance, and it's painful. Sure, I have the standard possession order, the simple divorce equation for 80% of dads. But we're getting the raw end of the deal. Actually, divorce is the rawest end of the deal, but once that's determined, the only thing you can do is hope for maximizing your time with your kids. Still, it's not enough.