Posts tagged ‘children of divorce’
Like a typical Grandmother, my mom is always complaining about not having enough pictures of her grandson. Now that we have digital cameras and photo sharing sites on the internet, who needs boxes of actual printed photos cluttering up much needed cabinet space? In an effort to be the good daughter, I thought that professional pictures would be a wonderful gift for ol’ Grandma. So, I hired a photographer to follow us around our favorite park.
Our photos came out great (Thanks Crystal!), and Grandma loved them of course, but the beautiful images captured much more than just our typical day at the park. They actually caught the unique, unbreakable bond shared between me and my little guy. A bond that deepens with every spontaneous hug or “I love you”, with every grab for my hand as we walk across the street and with each look of amazement when he learns something new.
My little guy and I are a team and we work and play together as one. We like to celebrate our success with High-Fives and shouts of “Good Teamwork!”, which can be seen anytime throughout our day: a flawless on-time morning, an efficient yet speedy clean up session or a great game of tag at the park.
My little man is my Number One. He always comes first, no matter what. He knows my world revolves around him, yet still understands - and respects – the Head Coach calls the shots.
This may come as a surprise, but I feel that my little guy would benefit more in life if we kept our team a two-some. Not to say that I don’t want to get remarried someday (maybe) but if I do, I think I am done having kids. I made the decision awhile back when my ex-husband moved in with his new girlfriend and her daughter. Luckily I have a decent relationship with my ex and his girlfriend, so the decision wasn’t made out of spite or jealousy.
My decision came out of pure love for my little man. I just tried to put myself in my son’s shoes; going back and forth between homes when his brother(s) and/or sister(s) got to stay put. I know I would feel like a visitor, or a temporary member of everyone’s little family. I decided that he may need someone to be there for him 100% and receive their full undivided attention. Due to his living situation, he may need to feel that he is the center of someone’s world, somewhere. So, I decided that someone and somewhere will be when he’s with me.
Awesome Little Team
I have been struggling with this decision for a while, especially now that I am in a serious relationship. I often wondered if I was being irrational, since everyone seemed so shocked to hear the reasoning that lead to my conclusion. I felt like I was all alone in a big yellow raft, floating in the ocean of single motherhood.
That was until I read a story about an Awesome Little Team.
I recently found Lauren’s blog, mylifeincomplete.com, among the sea of Single Mom links. Reading through her life experiences, I came across a post “Awesome Little Team” that brought me to tears. Literally. It was about her little awesome team and her decision to keep it a two-some.
I don’t know what it is about human nature that makes us search for others in similar situations and why we get such comfort knowing we are not alone. Whatever it is, I thank it for leading me to Lauren’s post. Thanks to her story, I now feel confident in my skills as a mother and my decision to keep another awesome little team intact.
I’m just now getting the phone call.
They just finished dinner and are on their way home.
“Good night sweetheart, I love you!”
As I hang up the phone, I take a deep breath, trying to reduce the anxiety I feel building in my chest.
It’s 9:15…he just ate dinner…and is now on his way home?
My ex and I have never been on the same page when it comes to Parenting. It was ONE of the factors that lead to our divorce. I won’t get into the mental abuse, controlling behaviors and serious family baggage that went along with our differences in parenting. A quick piece of advice for anyone looking to get married… TALK.
Before we got married, we never discussed things like Politics, Religion, Parenting styles or most importantly, Money. We figured that all that stuff would just work its self out somehow. Love would conquer all. Hah! Really people, pre-marital counseling. Look into it.
The differences in parenting styles are not only a problem when you are married, but becomes a huge source of anxiety, stress and sometimes anger when trying to co-parent.
When we first separated, I had a really hard time with the fact that my son’s world was significantly different when he spent time at his father’s house. Bedtime was different, rules were different and discipline seemed non-existent. I knew how much children need consistency and stability in life, especially when coming from a divorced household, and it killed me to see that he his two worlds were not aligned.
Had I not read, “Good Parenting through Your Divorce” by Mary Ellen Hannibal, I’m not sure where I would be now. Who knows, maybe I would be wearing a stylish white jacket with lots of straps and buckles and living in a bright white room with lots of padding. One of the chapters resonates in my brain and always reminds me that I can’t control what goes on over there. I can only do the best that I can when he is with me and let go of all the rest.
Believe me, it’s not easy. I struggle with it every day.
When I feel my chest tightening or hear myself saying “he’s doing what over there?” I take my deep cleansing breath and remind myself that I have a beautiful, smart little boy who has two parents that love him. So what if one is lets him watch Rated R movies and gives him Trix and Fruity Pebbles for breakfast…
Okay… Deep Breath…
My boyfriend can always tell if I am out in public or in the office when I answer my cellphone, just by hearing my “Hello.”
“Oh, it’s office voice… you must be at the office”
Apparently I am a member of the minority group of cellphone users that actually respect the other individuals in the room and actually want to keep their private life, private. It’s amazing what you can learn about someone in a waiting room, coffee shop or even restrooms these days. Why do people think that (1) no one else can hear them but the caller on the other end and (2) that no one is eavesdropping, secretly listening to every single word of their private conversation?
Well, due to the lovely invention of cellphones, I have gotten to know the other mothers in the lobby area of our 4:35pm Mon & Wed Swim Sessions. Strangely enough, we do not speak to each other, despite this being our third week of lessons. Instead we transfer personal information back and forth via phone conversations on our personal communication devices.
Over the past weeks, I have learned that one of the mothers is also Single, possibly in her mid thirties, has two kids and is going to school. Each Monday and Wednesday her boy and adorable little girl happily join their instructors in the water and enjoy every minute of their half our session. Today was definitely different.
Today, her little boy kept screaming at his instructor, so much so, his poor little face actually turned red. After 5 minutes, the mother stepped inside the enclosure of the indoor pool and made her way over to the unhappy swimmer.
Just then the boy’s father walked into the lobby, surveyed the scene and made his way in through the door. Right there, I knew exactly what the problem was. I could tell from his body language that he wasn’t a full time Dad, as the situation appeared to be making him a bit uncomfortable. Mom saw Dad walk in, but did not display any positive signs of acknowledgement.. which for me, completely confirmed my assumption.
The parents hovered over the pool, while the instructor tried to calm the boy down. He definitely seemed bothered by something, but the something seemed much bigger than just the swim lesson. Mom and Dad walked back into the lobby, sat down and begin their small talk.
Listening to their conversation, I could feel my anxiety level rise and my breath begin to shorten. I looked down and noticed I had automatically crossed my arms and my foot was now shaking back and forth, which are my classic signs of anxiety and withdrawal. I then realized that I was living in their moment. Although, in reality, it was the two of them talking, in my world it was me and my ex.
Eavesdropping on their conversation and peering into their world of co-parenting made me realize just how anxious and stressed out I can get when having to deal with my ex husband… even though we have a decent, civil relationship.
Just like her little boy was affected by his father’s appearance at swim lessons and most likely their overall family dynamic, my little boy is also affected by our situation. Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon my ex picks up our son from daycare. The very next day I get a report from our provider saying his energy level was off the charts the day before. He gets so wound up, or anxious, he doesn’t know what to do with himself. Seeing the other boy trying to deal with his emotions in the pool, reminded me that we’re not the only ones living this way.
I don’t know why it helps to see or know someone going through your same situation, but it definitely does. Knowing there is another individual going through the same struggles or stressors in life, makes the day a little easier to get through. Sitting there, watching my son floating in the sparkling blue water and realizing we are not the only ones, put me at ease and made my day even better