Somewhere along the line I became a single parent. I guess “officially” I’m not yet qualified as such…you know, in legal-ese and all that good stuff. But, if I look honestly, I think that I’ve only really ever had the luxury of “co-parenting” maybe a year out of the almost 4 years I’ve been a mommy.
Just to cover the back story…my “husband,” we’ll refer to him as “RV,” decided that I was no longer good enough for him in July. He hung around harassing me until he finally moved out of the house in August. Since then, surely not unique to my life, the relationship has since spiraled out of control into a “speak-to-my-attorney” kind of way. NP gets the luxury of seeing the kids for a few hours on the weekend and living a “Bachelor’s Life” that I am pretty sure he has missed since the birth of our oldest little chicken.
Speaking of chicken, or least speaking my my little chickens, I’ve spent the last 4 years attempting to come to terms with the fact even though I was married, I was a single mom with the benefit of a husband’s paycheck to pay the bills. The burden of parenthood fell mainly on my shoulders and I learned to be delighted when he stepped up and played “daddy” for a few hours throughout the week. I didn’t enjoy it at first, and I really struggled as I watched other chickens at the park with the daddies playing; and mine just had me. However, I can say I learned to celebrate the daddy he was and accept his, well, lets call them his, hmmm…his low interest in parenting as being the “best daddy he could be.” It wasn’t ideal by any sense of the world…but it was our ideal.
Fast forward to today. Here I sit, questioning how I became a single mom. If you ask SH, he can give you a laundry list of things that I have done, should have done, or didn’t bother to do as an explanation as to why he is “disgusted” by me. It is a struggle remembering that I am not the person he paints me out to be. It is a struggle to remember that just because he says it, there isn’t much truth to anything until I accept it. I’m trying hard not to let his words become my reality.
If you ask me, I think that parenthood was more than MX could handle. If you ask him…you might get a different story. The late nights, the lack of sleep, the poop and the tantrums are a hard reality to swallow day in and day out. Plus, we had 3 kids together, the oldest at the ripe old age of 3 when he bailed. That means, the kids never had the opportunity to grow up and become little, independent people before he gave up on them. That is what makes me saddest. Parenting is hard. There are no breaks. There isn’t a Christmas bonus that comes in the form of a paycheck. The work is messy, smelly and thankless. It can be lonely, it is definitely stressful. It is exhausting.
But – with all the horrors, parenting is a blessing. I would give up everything (and I’ve already given up more than I thought I ever would) to be the best mommy I could be for my little chickens. I couldn’t imagine walking away from them. I couldn’t imagine not hearing them cry out in the night. I couldn’t imagine not stepping on legos, listening to tantrums and cleaning up spilled everything. My kids are an extension of me. I’ve spent the last 4 years trying to figure out who I am as a mom without losing me…and it has taken until now, when I am at the beginning of a contentious divorce, living off a dwindling savings account, alone and a bit scared that I realized I’ve been looking for something that wasn’t lost.
I thought that having kids would mean that the “me” I was, would disappear. Now I know, that by having kids, I have the luxury to be “Me.” Now the question is, do I trust myself enough to see “Me” through?