What do you say to a child who has gotten their hopes up time and time again only to be let down? What do you feel, as a mother, when you know that hurt is an inevitable part of life and you see your baby hurting in ways that a child never should know? How do you explain that dad is not coming to get them, once again, because he had something “more important” come up?
This is what I stay up at night wondering about.
This is my children’s reality.
This is what I witnessed, for the umpteenth time, over this past weekend.
This is a true story that has no happy ending.
We waited for over an hour and he did not show up. No call. No email. No text. Nothing. Six o’clock came and went. Seven o’clock came and went. Finally, at 7:11pm, to be exact, the phone rings. It’s him. My oldest daughter answers the phone. We are still waiting in the vehicle at the exchange spot for him to come. He asks what the kids are doing, to which my daughter responds, “We are still waiting for you.” A moment of silence before he asks who are you all with… “Mom.” I guess he feels ashamed or does not even care because he just says, “Okay. I will call you all tomorrow morning.”
No acknowledgement of fault.
No reassurance that he still cares for them.
Tomorrow morning comes. Tomorrow morning goes. No phone call from their dad. Finally, at 3:14pm a text message is received. It reads, What r u doing? To which one of my children respond. The next text, from him, comes a few moments after he receives the text from the children. It reads, I cannot talk to you about adult stuff. Tell your mom to give me a call today or tomorrow. That’s it. He’s gone. No phone call, as he said he would do the day prior. No more texts for the rest of the day or the rest of the weekend.
Now, it’s Tuesday.
No communications received from him at all since Saturday.
How do you live with yourself? is what I begin to wonder.
Many of you already know how it breaks my heart to see my children cry or suffer, in any way, and to know that there is really nothing that I can do to change their reality. Many of you also know how much I truly wish that there was some way for me to erase the past and start again with a clean slate; a blank canvas.
This is not possible.
This is reality.
This is our reality.
I cannot control the actions of my ex-husband but I can control my actions in (and beyond) their presence. I always find myself feeling like there must be something more that I can do to shield my children and guard their hearts from this unnecessary, externally inflicted pain.
Do you know?
Does anyone know?
If someone does, please reveal this long lost secret to me because I cannot begin to fathom how someone who claims to love their children – their seed, bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh – can truly be so destructive in their behavior and actions toward those same children. Not to mention how they can destroy what little relationship, and trust, that they may have built.
Where trust once existed, is now a field of distrust.
Where certainty, now only doubt clouds those skies.
It’s mind-blowing to me how some men can father children only to leave them when the marriage or relationship fails. This is not adult behavior and it is not mature behavior, in the least. Why do we have so many men who want to play house but choose to skip out on their responsibilities and are nowhere to be found when the real “storms” come? Who said that it was acceptable for them to leave families shattered, homes fractured and hearts broken?
Enough is enough!
This will no longer be our reality.
Sometimes, I wonder what it will be like when my children become adults. How will they be with their own children and spouses? Will this affect their lives beyond what I can see right now? Lord, I sure hope that it will make them closer to You. I hope that this pain will reveal strengths to them that they did not even know that they had. I hope that through all of this, my children will learn to let their yes be yes and their no be no. When they are grown, successful and living out their purpose on this Earth, for all to see, I pray that they will not shun their biological father. If they do, I pray that he will understand and se
e how all of this time that he is missing contributed to their cold hearts toward him. I pray that at that time he will acknowledge his failures, apologize for his lack of affection and consider this misuse of his time. Above all, I pray that my children will understand and walk in forgiveness – to know it for themselves, to show it to others and to freely and graciously give it to their dad someday.
This will now be our reality.
There are times when I feel like I am making some headway and doing okay. Then, there are times when I feel as if things couldn’t be worse and I am doing everything “wrong”. Just when I start to pat myself on the back for being the bigger person, something inevitable happens that makes me want to say things that I may live to regret someday.
I got an email from my lawyer yesterday evening that had been received by my ex-husband’s lawyer. In the letter my ex was pretty irate and stated that he was very unhappy with the fact that he has not heard from the children in a while. (I swear he is always upset about something and in turn tries to punish me at every chance he gets but I digress.) So, my lawyer forwarded this email to me to make me aware of the situation and to shoe me how my ex is planning to bring this up in our custody case at the end of the month.
Wow! That was all I was able to say to myself. This reaction would probably be a little different if I were to believe that my ex had actually tried getting in contact with the children on his own but I know that is not the case. The reason I know that he has not tried calling the children is because my phone has been turned on all this time AND he has my number. So, if he wanted to speak with the children he already knows that he is more than welcome to call my phone and speak with them.
Where my objection comes is when he puts it on the children – as if it is their responsibility – to reach out to him. Ummm… I’m sorry (okay, not really) but you are the adult, mister, and the one who left a hole in these children’s hearts so please act like an adult, pick up the phone and call your children – or their mother’s phone – if you are so seriously that upset and hurt that they have not chosen (or been made) to contact you.
His response to that would have probably been (and in the email it was, mind you) that he had been trying to call them on the cell phone that I got for them to have for emergencies and to contact their dad. Whereas my response, more likely than not, would have been that if he was unable to get ahold of them on their personal cell phone, there was still yet another way he could have made contact with them (i.e. he could have called my phone and voila, problem solved); that is if it was really that important to him which obviously it was not.
Also, if there had been communication between he and I, he would have known that the children lost their cell phone a couple weeks ago and have not been able to locate it as of yet. Knowing him, all of this would still have been my fault either for not ensuring that I didn’t “allow” their phone to get lost in the first place or for not informing him that it had been lost and not reaching out to him. However, I obviously believe he is more than capable of reaching out to us if there is a “real” problem or a real concern, which he has done only once before.
It is just so amazing to me that there are men in this world who still feel entitled and who will stop at nothing to hurt their ex, in turn, hurting their own children as a result. Men who will continue to make everything that goes wrong, everyone else’s problems instead of seeing how they may have contributed to the problem or could have resolved it on their own end. Incredible! But again, I digress.
So, my goal wasn’t to rant and rave here… really, it wasn’t. However, it does feel a lot better getting that off of my chest so that I can move on with my day, week, month, year and just life, period. The goal of this post was really to give advice – and possibly gain some sound advice – on how to move forward with life when toxic people or things try to burden you, tear you down and hold you back. But I guess that will just have to be another topic for another day.
Until we meet again, Word-ies!
“The way we spend our time defines who we are.” – Jonathan Estrin
Guilt is something that all moms may feel but I have a serious question for you. Do you think that the guilt felt is even greater for single moms? I tend to think the answer to that question is a resounding ‘Yes’. Maybe it can be attributed to our society or just because we feel extra pressure to be “on” ALL of the time but I know there have been times when I have wanted, very badly, to take some much needed time for myself and I have felt like I was the most awful mother in the world for feeling this way. Just the thought of wanting my children to leave me alone so that I could have a moment of silence or just to sit and relax without hearing “Mom” being yelled out every 5 seconds appeared to literally be heaven on Earth. However, for some reason, I would never fix my lips to ask for, much less take, that time. I mean, there were (and still are) times when I’d have to talk fast just to be able to pee alone! (TMI? Yeah, maybe it was.)
What do you do to not feel so guilty? And, if you don’t feel that guilt anymore, what have you done to make “mommy time” seem acceptable to you?
I know, for myself, I need just even an hour a day to recharge so that I am not so snappy with my children and/or others. I notice that I am sometimes not able to make that work, especially with children still under the age of 2 in my home, but I really try hard to get the rest that I know I need every night and to get the time, throughout my day, to just sit and relax… BY MYSELF. During my “me time” adventures, many times, I will do something that I enjoy like having lunch with a friend or reading a book or working on my writing projects, both here and elsewhere. However, there are times that I do things that just need to be done like cleaning my house, going grocery shopping (ALONE) or balancing my checkbook. I just try to make sure that I get a chance to have some ME time as often as I need it, without neglecting my children and my responsibilities as a parent, of course but still being true to who I am as a woman.
Surprisingly, I don’t feel guilty about taking time for myself anymore. It took me a LONG time to get to this point – it definitely was not all peaches and cream – I most certainly struggled with the thought of being able to take time for myself, away from my kids, and still being seen as being a “good” mother. My struggles were mainly internal and fear-based, stemming from current circumstances and also from how I was raised, but I had to realize that not every woman or mother is the same and what works for one family may not – scratch that, WILL NOT – work for my family and that is OKAY. Honestly, once I got this internalized and deeply rooted inside of me, it allowed me the freedom to finally start taking that time I so craved and deserved but never would ask for or act upon. What I learned is that I need time to replenish my energy, especially with how active my children are and with the busy schedule that we sometimes carry. The fact of the matter is simply this, I cannot be the best mother, friend or woman (period) that I want to be, and that I know I can be, if I do not take some time to do the things that bring me joy and that make me who I am.
So, what are you struggling with today?
As moms and as women, in general, we tend to take on the burdens of this entire world and it usually leaves us drained and unable to be the best us that we can and want to be. I think that it is time for a change and time for us to brush off what society (or other people) try to say to us concerning this subject. The thought for the day is to remember that it is alright to take some time for yourself. Your kids will still be there and they will still love and respect you. Not only this, but it will teach them that everyone needs – and deserves – to have some time for themselves to just relax, do things that they enjoy and to just be free. Don’t let society or the thought of being a bad mommy scare you because those things are not true and do not define who you are, in the least.
Until next time, Word-ies! Have a very, very happy hump day! 🙂
I am on this journey of reading different devotionals and books. I had not been able to read as much as I’d like to however, lately, I have had this “extra” time on my hands and decided to fill that time with God and with reading. It has been truly refreshing. Recently, I was sent a new devotional, through my Bible app, and I decided to check it out. It was entitled “How to Ruin Your Child in 7 Easy Steps”. Yeah, it was a little weird to me too as first but I promise you I am not making this up.
Usually when we think of having children and raising them, we typically don’t think of harming them and we definitely don’t entertain the thought of ruining them. However, as I was reading through this devotional, I began to understand how we really can (and do) ruin our children and make life harder for them, and ourselves, than we may realize. Obviously, this devotional is Biblically-based and, as such, often refers to passages of scripture or sin that opens the door to a parent or guardian ruining their child.
So, here’s a little history (or cheat sheet) on the 7 deadly sins, which is ultimately what is used to show how we can ruin our children. The seven deadly sins can be found in various books of the Holy Bible. Here is the breakdown:
- Lust – to have an intense desire or need: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed
adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
- Gluttony – excess in eating and drinking: “for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags” (Proverbs 23:21).
- Greed – excessive or reprehensible acquisitiveness (interest in acquiring money or other material things): “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” (Ephesians 4:19).
- Sloth – disinclined to activity or exertion: not energetic or vigorous: laziness: “The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway” (Proverbs 15:19).
- Wrath – strong vengeful anger or indignation: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
- Envy – painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage: jealousy: “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:1-2).
- Pride – quality or state of being proud: inordinate self-esteem: haughty or puffed up: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall”
As you can see, many of these sins are not things we would normally consider to be that bad (or that big of a deal) but God looks at these traits differently than we do. Sometimes we are operating in these things and we do not even know it. Even when someone tries to point these things out in us, many times, we will accuse that other person of being mean or insensitive or just plain wrong about us. Sometimes that may be true but what if they are right about us? Then what?
We often hear people complaining about society and how the world isn’t like it used to be and our youth are not as respectful, compassionate, thoughtful as they used to be but let me pose this question to you. Do
you understand that many of these complaints stem from the way
someone was raised?
God has given us, who are parents in any way, the responsibility to raise our children to become the adults that we want to see them become. Raising a child is more than just providing for them financially and physically but it is guiding them spiritually, mentally and emotionally. It is giving them opportunities to make mistakes while they are still under your guidance and care so that you can correct them and help them to understand why something is “this way” and not “that way.” I would encourage any of you that have been given the opportunity to impact the life of a child, in any way, to read this devotional. I truly believe in the saying, “when you KNOW better, you DO better.”
Why is it that there are so many different views on child support? There are those who look down on you for enforcing this LEGAL act. Then there are others who applaud you for not letting the non-custodial parent “slide”. No matter how many times I speak with someone about this subject, there is always one extreme or another. There is NEVER anyone who seems to be in the middle or even undecided on this subject, as I guess it should be. I mean, how can you really be in the “middle” about this issue and, even more so, what would that even look like?!?
The reason for this topic is because I was recently in court, with my ex, and I found out that he is working at a new job that he never reported. This job change was actually disclosed to me through others who told me that he was actually working at a new company but since he hadn’t mentioned anything to me, I didn’t really think anything of it or try to make a big deal out of it. Needless to say, I have been getting only $150/month for the 4 children we have together. This was based on his extremely part-time nightclub/bouncer job and NOT his full-time VA hospital job. Because of things like this, this is why I feel the way I do about the courts and about non-custodial parents getting off scot-free.
How can you live with yourself, as a parent (man or woman), knowing you are able and should be contributing more to the care and financial well-being of your children but you choose not to??? That makes no sense to me.
Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like when you have a child and the relationship between you and the other parent does not work out, you should still hold the other parent accountable for helping to provide financially for that child. Most of the time, this is the only way the non-custodial parent will still be involved in the life of the child because, from my own experience, most of the time they are not mature enough or available enough to parent the child consistently and be there emotionally and physically as well – so, in my opinion, the financial should be enforced if nothing else is. You did not lay down and make those babies by yourself and you should not have to care for them by yourself.
Now, I totally agree that child support is meant solely for the support of the children. I do not agree with parents who use the child support monies on themselves. I will never understand why some parents take what is rightfully due to their children and use it to pamper themselves with new hairdos, manicures/pedicures, new clothes, new shoes, etc. Why is that money not going towards getting your child(ren) all of those things and more??? That is also something that I will probably never totally get.
I just feel like single parents sometimes get a bad wrap, especially single mothers who pursue getting child support. Many men feel that all women are doing the same thing and that they are all just misusing the child support monies and only pursuing these payments out of revenge. My grandmother said that there is always a little bit of truth in everything so I suppose there is some truth in how these men feel as well. However, I also know that there are women who work hard to provide for their children and sometimes, there are men in (or out) of the picture who do everything in their power to avoid paying child support. Or, as in my case, they don’t report additional income in an effort to avoid paying even more, in child support, than they want to pay. Either way it goes, it is foolishness and it is a true sign, in my opinion, of a deadbeat parent.
I wish more people would support those of us who do right by our children and with the child support that we do get and stop treating us as if we are ALL the same. News flash….we are NOT all the same! And that’s my two cents….
Do your kids ever make you just want to pull your hair out? This is a very serious question by the way. This week alone my daughter’s school has had to call me, at work, to come to her school to bring her a change of clothes. Why, you say? Well, because she wants to leave out of the house dressed any type of way. Mind you, this is a little girl who is only 8 years old!!!!
I guess I need to start seeing if there is any way that I can go into work a half an hour to an hour later because obviously my sitter is not really checking my children before they leave for school in the morning. I have to be at work an hour before the kids leave out for school so I have a sitter who comes to the house to be there with my kids so I can get to work on time. She is a young college-aged girl and pretty responsible, from what I thought when I interviewed her. My kids love her and so do I but this past week has brought an issue to the surface that I didn’t know that we had. This issue of clothing and dressing appropriately.
Now, before you judge me, please listen to all of the facts. I do not go out buying my kids inappropriate attire. I am fairly modest and I dress my children in modest, yet also trendy ways, as well. However, we all know how kids can be, especially little girls. There have been times when I have thrown new clothes away and had to send one of my daughters back to their room, to change, because I noticed that one of them had decided to cut their pants up or do something else destructive (yet creative in their own minds) to look more “stylish” and to “fit in”. I was no angel when I was younger either but I think this is a different issue totally. Kids today definitely have it much harder than even my generation did when we were kids.
Celebrities – who are supposed to be “role-models” for our children – are talking about things and making it seem as if you have to wear a certain thing or look a certain way to be accepted. The media is presenting images and they are targeting our young girls more now than ever before in history. This whole world is being oversexualized. Our kids minds are being warped and their innocence is being taken away, little by little. I think it is an absolute shame.
If we don’t do something now to change this and teach our daughters that they are beautiful no matter what then we are going to have a bigger problem on our hands in the future. But this is not just something that we should be teaching our daughters because our sons also need to be taught to respect their mothers, sisters and any other women who may come into their lives. After all, we are raising young boys and girls who will become men and women someday. Something to think about…
So, what do you do when you have an issue with your child that you are not sure how to approach? How about your sitter or anyone else who is supposed to be a responsible adult in your child’s life?
“There’s never ever, ever, ever, ever been a show like Veggietales!”
Yep, you guessed it, the kids are out of school today and, thus, it’s family day in our house (however, family day has become just another way of saying that the kids have control of what we watch – and do – for the day). My kids have chosen to program a number of shows including: mostly Disney channel shows, but they also threw in other favorites like Veggietales, Toy Story, and Doc McStuffins, this morning. My thought is that the older girls only threw in those last two so that the younger kids can think they got a chance to watch something that interested them… I don’t know who they think they’re fooling but as long as everyone’s happy, it works for me.
I tend to treasure moments when I can be with my children, especially since I work full-time and barely have enough energy (or time) left after the work day to engage my children, so weekends (and any “vacation” days that I can take off) are definitely very special and very much looked forward to, by everyone, in my home.
My older girls and I cook dinner together during the week, and sometimes prepare meals in advance on the weekends before a super busy week, so we are able to chat and reconnect during those times but I find it takes a whole different type of effort to engage and reconnect with my little ones, especially when there is homework to be done, studying to do, dinner to prepare and hair to be done and nighttime routines to be kept.
I was recently speaking with a married friend and she agreed that this is even hard for her and she expressed how strong she thinks I am for doing it alone. This was definitely an encouragement but also an eye-opener since I’ve always felt that having a partner/spouse to share the load with would be ideal and help make things easier…and while that has some truth in it, it is also still sometimes difficult even with both parents in the home. This allowed me to see how much women are connected, whether single or married, novice or experienced, we all have some of the same struggles and it is in these things that we can connect (and should connect) with other women.
So, here are some ways to aid in reconnecting with our children, but you can also use this as a guide to reconnect with others in your life…
- Be Intentional: Much like any other relationship in our lives, we must be intentional with engaging our children. Intentional is doing something deliberately and on purpose. If we want to truly engage with our children, we must be aggressive and deliberate with the things that we say and do…the way we go about engaging them. Turn off the cell phones, tablets, laptops, television and engage…have a conversation for starters. Find out what your child does and does not like. I don’t care what you do, just do something!
- Be Realistic: You know your child better than anyone else so you know what will draw them in and what will not. Even if you don’t, you are more than capable of finding out. It’s probably not a good idea to plan dress-up and tea party time if you have a 16-year old daughter that has no interest in dressing up or tea. Plan your outings and activities appropriately and be realistic in your planning. Being realistic could just mean making sure that you allot enough time for a particular activity and being open to your child revamping your plans.
- Be Willing to Sacrifice: This means just what it sounds like. Be willing to sacrifice. You probably won’t be able to watch that show at that time but does that show even really matter??? You can always DVR it or watch it on Netflix, Hulu Plus, On-Demand, or even at another time (since most shows come on multiple times before the new episode appears). So, be willing to give up some things, if you want to truly show your child that they matter to you.
- Follow-Through: This is similar to being intentional but also different in a way. Following through just means that you have set a date, time, planned an activity, etc. and now it is time to actually do this thing! Not that difficult right…this depends on you. Don’t cancel your date with your child for anything (if you can help it). Let everyone know that you have plans and ask them not to bother you unless it is an absolute emergency. Make adjustments as needed but be sure to follow-through on your commitment because there is nothing more heart-breaking than being told something, by someone you love, and then it not actually happening. So follow through!
What tools or techniques do you use to reconnect in your relationships? How long have you done things in this way? Add some of your favorite activities or stories from things that worked for you to engage with others. Would love for you to join in the conversation.
I recently read a blog post from someone and it was speaking about how hard it is to raise a child alone. Well, I have 5 of them and I will be the first to tell you that yes, it is very hard…especially as you add more little ones to the mix but it can also be very rewarding and fulfilling and we can all get through it. Much like anything else that we may want in life, we have to work at this thing called ‘Parenting’. Though it will probably take all of our time, energy, sanity and money (what little some of us may have, lol) the rewards of a “job well done” are endless. That is the goal…it’s my goal anyway. To know and be told that I have done a exceptional job raising my children.
Along this road there will be (and, in my life, already have been) many mistakes, times when we just don’t get it right and failures. However, we can also expect to have many triumphs, victories and battles won. Not all of this is bad, and it’s definitely not impossible, but some days it may seem that way. Please know that you’re not alone in this feeling.
I absolutely hate it when I cannot be myself so can I be real with y’all? There is no perfect life and no perfect person, on this Earth, so please believe me when I tell you that I am not here to judge but to help lighten your load in any way that you will let me. I am not a perfect mother but I strive for perfection everyday. Much like you, I want my children to grow up and have good memories of their childhood and, most of all, I want them to have good memories of me. And, in my opinion, that means that I have to spend time with them and make an intentional effort to be more involved in their lives on a personal and emotional level than just on a physical and rule-rendering level.
Whether you’re a new mom, an expectant mom or a seasoned mom…you are not alone. Moms, from all stages and areas of life, are here to come alongside of you and help pick you up when you fall but are also here to cheer you on when you get it right. I would love to be able to be a part of your support system and continue on this journey with you. Whether you just need a friend to listen to you, a shoulder to cry on, advice on how to deal with divorce and the court system, work/life balance, fashion and outfit ideas, kid-friendly/budget-friendly recipes, dating advice, info on all things ‘baby’, info on raising multiples, or parenting advice on things to come in your and your child’s life…please know that I am here for you.
I would also love for you to be my support system because, as most moms find out within the first few days after having a child, I do not have it all together and I need help too! So, let’s get through this together and reap the fruits of our labor in the end. Looking forward to new beginnings with you!
Stay Fantastic and Be ReNewed 🙂
A Fellow Single Mom
Top of the morning to ya!
Ok, maybe it’s not the ‘top of the morning’ but you get the idea. And whoever came up with that phrase? Anyway, this is my 10th blog post on here and I am like super duper excited. I have always had a passion for writing and have always wanted to share my life story with the world, in some way, and now, with the take off of social media, this is much more able to happen. Yay!
So, what shall I talk about? Decisions, decisions… I guess it’s only right to start by introducing you to myself, since I totally didn’t do that at the beginning, so here goes. Well, I am a 29 year old divorced female and single mother of 5…yes, you heard right F-I-V-E, 5 little ones and like Michelle Duggar says, “Yes, I gave birth to every one of them.” 🙂
I love to write, sing, learn, I’m all about family, love kids (not just my own) and I’m one of the biggest movie buffs you will probably ever meet in this lifetime. Anywho, enough about me, let me tell you about my brood. They range in age from 10 years to 3 months old, at the moment, and there is a set of multiples in the middle. (Yes, I wonder how I keep my sanity too.)
I live in a rural/city/suburban area (ok, you probably can tell that I don’t exactly know how to describe my town at the moment lol) and I love/hate it. I am your typical woman, in the fact that I wear make-up to hide my blemishes, wear spanx to hide (and hold up) everything else and am leaking breast milk as we speak, while at work (more on that later) 🙂 but I am NOT your typical woman, in the fact that I am very competitive, always give people more chances than they probably deserve and tend to be extremely okay with the thought of being a submissive wife to whomever is to be my future (and final) husband (more on that subject later too).
So, anyway, there is obviously so much more about me than I have shared here but let’s continue down this road together and hopefully you will see all the things that I haven’t shared in this initial introduction post. Can’t wait to begin this journey with you. Be sure to tell all your friends and leave comments as you see fit. Thank you all in advance for joining me and ask me anything…I’m happy to answer your questions.
Until next time…