The moment my son was born, July 4, 1998, my entire world changed. I chose to stay home with him and when my daughter was born, I continued to stay home. I adored being home with them. But at times it was an emotional roller coaster. The highs of hearing their first words and seeing their first steps, of my daughter sucking her thumb and twirling my hair, my son telling me he said a bad word so he went ahead and ate the soap already. But there were also lows. Not always having adult conversation could be lonely. The emotions you feel when your children are hurting can be heart wrenching. and those days when you fogot to even brush your teeth.
When my world changed and my family unit was shattered, my first thought was, “How am I going to get the kids through this?” I tried to do everything I possibly could to help them, but realized I was not taking care of me. So I turned to taking care of me, maybe a little too much. I would go out drinking and I would pretend I was okay. When the kids started staying with their dad, at his girlfriend’s house, I struggled with the fact that the kids had a new life that was separate from me. That was devastating! But the kids had to see that I was okay with this. So when I was at the house by myself, I was usually going out and drinking and being very angry. I was staying out late and then going to work early. I was wearing myself out. On top of that, I was studying to take the realtor’s exam. So, on the days when the kids were home, I tried to be uplifting and positive, however, I was tired and my emotions would get the best of me.
I started to feel like my kids didn’t want to be around me. I was so hurt. They were never mean or hurtful to me, but I just didn’t feel like they liked me very much. The identity I had of being their mom from the dys they were born had to be readjusted to something different. because I ent from being their married mom to being their single mom. Those two moms are very different people.
When I got separated, I promised the kids I would never say anything bad to them about their dad and I would NEVER ask them to not tell their dad something. I never wanted to put them in a position to feel they had to choose. I have kept that promise and will continue to do so. I tried to be excited for the kids when they would tell me about their new family. At first, it crushed me to hear it. But soon, it became normal. And not long after the normalcy set in, I learned to be grateful that my kids had additional people in their lives to provide them with support.
An interesting thing happened when I stopped being angry and accepted the new way of life. I was no longer trying to constantly numb the pain. I made new friends and built new relationships. I started to find happiness. When I was happy, my kids wanted to be around me. My time with them is even less now, however, the quality is second to none. The kids no longer have to worry bout me. They can act their age. And I can provide them with the support they need. My kids have taught me that I am so strong. I can get through anything. I am brave. I have conquered the unknown and thrived. They have taught me that my happiness directly effects our relationship. And they have also taught me that I am a damn good mom. I have made mistakes, but at the end of the day, my kids will never question whether or not I love them and they know I will support them.
So, as a mom, I want to be the one to teach my kids everything. But sometimes I have to remember to step back and listen to the actions of my kids and learn from them. They have a whole lot to teach me.