As a single mom, I’m learning that sometimes as moms we want to salvage a piece of the family that we had set on in our minds.
I had the perfect romance in others’ eyes. I was in love with my best friend of nine years. I waited for him for nine months while he did a tour in Afghanistan. I packed up my life twice and moved farther and farther away from our families in order to create and build the life that we as teens had dreamt up together. From the outside, we were perfect.
But what seems too perfect most times is not and there were so many things that happened throughout our relationship that continued to be unaddressed because I was in love with someone who liked to sweep his mistakes under the rug until one day they began to evidently cause problems in our relationship.
It was when he blatantly disrespected our daughters and our family by leaving us to go spend a week with an escort that I decided I had enough and packed up what I could and flew back to my hometown with our daughters. And still, I gave him the benefit of the doubt when he said it meant nothing, when he said he wanted to work it out, when four months later he said we would be fine and that we just needed time, when he said all he wanted to do was be a good father.
Time and time again, I tried. I tried to keep him updated on our daughter, tried to include him in her milestones, sent him pictures, tried to engage him during FaceTime calls. I’ve done what most moms do. To no avail, I persisted. Until I gave up, I gave him an ultimatum; he either tried, or I would protect my daughter’s emotional well being. Guess what happened? He didn’t try at all…
There really is a point where you have to really ask yourself though, is the effort on your part really worth it? In my case, it hasn’t been. As much as I love my daughter and would love her to have a relationship with her father, we’re not there yet. He’s not there yet. Every conversation turns into an argument and even when I try to deflect it and make it so that our daughter is the topic of conversation, as he persists he would like it to be, he turns the focus of the conversation on us. I don’t understand it and maybe in time I will but all I want him is to be a good father and to be involved yet he’s more concerned with being right.
All of it made me realize that I needed to step back because as a mom, I don’t get to clock out. I’m the one that takes care of her every need, even if sometimes that means I lose sleep. Even if that means I forget to eat. Even if that means a school assignment gets turned in late. Most fathers don’t operate that way, they don’t understand what it takes because they’re not tasked with doing so. Some, like my daughter’s father, show us through their actions that they believe it’s okay to pop in from time to time when they feel like it, while they make time for things they will not remember in a year or so.
That kind of inconsistency affects our children in the long run. If you ask a child if they have spoken to their father and they reply, “no, daddy’s busy, he doesn’t have time” it should infuriate you as much as it does me because no matter what the parents go through, a child should never feel like they are the last option. And if at any point you foresee that as the outcome, that is when you should say, “enough is enough”.
Do not ignore or dismiss the signs because you’re still hoping, let time take its course but protect your child. We really don’t need more men with daddy issues passing those very issues on to their children. It’s a vicious cycle that never ends, believe me.
Let’s raise children that do not need to recover from their childhood! 💛👶🏻