Thank you so much dear readers for all of your comments over my last post “I’m Failing Too”. The outpour of love, support and encouragement has been invaluable. You really are my village and I’m encouraged by that.
I wanted to share this great comment from a reader about my post:
Thanks for that insightful dialogue. I wish I knew what you’ve already grasp while raising my son as a single parent. He and I would have a better relationship and he would not be burden with the guilt of being a failure and responsible for everything and every body. You see as being a stressed out single parent I was quick to point out how his actions and attitude and wants and needs contributed to my already stressful and guilt ridden life. I wished I had taken more time to enjoy the wonderful and amazing young boy he was and let him now he was wonderful just the way he was and gotten him the help and support he needed along the way.
First, I was so thankful that she read and responded to my post. But, I wanted to say this to her and all parents out there…parenting isn’t perfect. We’re going to make mistakes. It gets hard. We just hope we don’t damage our children too much along the way.
I completely understood where she was coming from. My mother was a stressed out single parent after my dad left. It was hard. She took out her anger, stress and frustrations on me because I was the oldest. She may think of it differently, but that was one of the reasons that I didn’t want to have children. I was afraid of being a single parent.
Nothing is ever guaranteed. You get married and you don’t expect to get divorced or to have your partner die. These are life events that could totally change you. Adjusting is hard for some. Easier for others. I have a confession…it was hard for me too.
What changed? I knew when my marriage ended that I would never, ever, ever let my son feel like I did growing up. I was going to partner with him. I was going to make him feel loved, valued and appreciated. I was going to constantly remind him that he mattered to me and that my life would be nothing if he wasn’t in it. So, I do.
That may be why everyone thinks I’m a great mother, but I try. I try daily. However, it isn’t easy and some parents succumb to the stress. It is so easy to do so. In my mother’s case, she was busy working 3 jobs to keep a roof over our head, clothes on our back and food on the table.
This didn’t leave her with much time to love, cuddle and nurture my little spirit. She was busy being the financial provider, disciplinarian and educator. She wore multiple hats and that didn’t allow her to be what I needed.
As a child I couldn’t understand the enormous amounts of stress she was under and how that played out in her parenting. It just created a wedge between us where I wanted to escape. I wanted to get far away from my “mean mommy” and find someone who could love me. But who? My dad wasn’t around.
When I met and married my son’s father I knew that he wanted to have children. More than anything he wanted to be a father. I agreed. We sat in pre-marital counseling and the Rev. asked “Do you know what her biggest fear is?” He replied “Yes, she’s afraid of being a mother. Which is crazy. She’s a phenomenal aunt and great with children.”
When I agreed to have children my biggest fears played out during my pregnancy and in the early stages of raising him. But, he was fine. He was doing things in his own time. I loved him for who he was…God’s gift to me.
When my marriage ended, I tried to protect him as much as possible. Some days were good. Some days were bad, but I never wanted him to feel like it was his fault. I keep children out of adult’s business and I’ve cried more times alone in my room while he was sleep only to wake up, wash my face and fix him breakfast. Life will go on.
I try not to let the stresses that I endure affect him. It’s easier said than done, I know, but I don’t want him to feel like I felt. That is my driving motivation to be better. To do better. I don’t have it all together and most days I feel like I’m winging it, but trust me it will get easier.
We just have to love and do our best. Parenting isn’t perfect. Each child is different. Each situation is different. But, you will survive.