“Two houses of love,” this is how she explains why mommy and daddy live in separate homes.
All4Women chatted to former SA, Claudia Henkel about her battle with Coronavirus (read more HERE), and how she’s tackling life as a single mom of twins…
She shared her experience of divorce, and why she believes it was the best decision she could ever have made.
Becoming a mother to her twins made Claudia Henkel, South Africa’s former beauty queen, reconsider key aspects of her life. Her mother served as an example of what kind of mother she wanted to be for her children. Her line of work required her to travel, and travelling, for her, would have made her a less involved mother.
“My mother was at every show and every recital,” Claudia says. Her yearning to offer her children similar affection and support led to her resigning from her job. This decision was taken after discussions with her then husband.
“It only made sense that I resign,” she recalls.
Two months after her resignation and a marital breakdown, Claudia decided to get a divorce.
Claudia was with her ex-husband Orin Roesstorf for eight years, and they were married for four. “I am happily single, and my soul is happy,” Claudia says about her feelings after divorce.
She strongly believes that this is the best decision she could have taken, not only for herself but for her children. The twins spend 85% of the time with her and are with their father twice a week. He is more involved now than he was when they were together, she says.
“Two houses of love,” this is how she explains why mommy and daddy live in separate homes. “I need to tell them good stories, and they will believe it.”
She tries to ensure that the messages the twins receive about their father are always positive.
Fear makes the decision to divorce harder.
For Claudia, the biggest reason why women stay in unhealthy marriages is the fear of moving on. “Not knowing what lies ahead,” this is what keeps women and mothers from making the leap.
She had no financial stability after the divorce.
“I had a cushy life with him and constant trips overseas.”
After the divorce, that was all gone. She had to move back home and find another job.
She was grateful to have the support of family throughout the divorce. “It’s comforting to know there is someone out there that loves you and will take you in,” Claudia says. She moved back to her family’s farm that she moved into as a six-year-old. The support that she received from her family gave her the strength to keep moving.
She sought employment for eight long months, describing the process as “devastating”. After a few interviews, she finally got a job offer that allowed her to buy Christmas presents for her children. This was a big day for her.
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Advice for women considering divorce?
“Don’t be afraid of change,” this is what Claudia’s advice is to women that have been trying to leave, but are too afraid to take the step. “I never knew I would be viewed as an advocate for single women.”
Claudia continues to wear a love eternity ring on her finger and explains that it is a symbol of the promise she made to love herself.
“I bought this ring for myself and made a promise that I will love and respect myself before I give my heart away again,” she explains.
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What are her dating plans?
Claudia says she has no time for dating at the moment. She is fully booked from 5:15 am when she wakes up, gets the kids ready, and gets on with the day. She logs off work at 10:30pm.
“Where am I gonna find time to go on a date?” she asks. According to Claudia, one of the ways she handles her busy schedule is through compartmentalising. “It has been my saving grace,” she says. “Right now, my focus is on being best mother and the best employee I can be.”
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