Let’s have a talk shall we? As I’ve stated in prior posts, I’m in a state of transition..that from married to single. It’s been a long time since I was single and my first time as a single parent trying to have a co-parenting relationship. I will always love my ex for it was he who gave me our son, but I have to say something… this crap gets hard sometimes!
Not that I’m looking to fix a flat tire or repair my marriage, but co-parenting when we can’t seem to act like adults is hard as hell. Yep, I said “we” purposely. I’m not going to sit here and let you believe that I’ve got this all figured out and I’m the best person when it comes to disengaging my personal animosities and trying to co-parent effectively. I don’t.
Most of the time it is trial and error. Many errors, some good things and a lot of okay things happen. I think letting go of old wounds from our marriage is what is contributing to the bad head space we can find ourselves in. Why? Because we’re both headstrong individuals who have to be right. We both want to have the last word. We both hope that we don’t screw up our son.
Our son lives with his dad 50% of the time and with me 50% of the time. His needs come first. Regardless of what is going on in our lives, we put his needs first. Yes, he is six and yes he is aware that his mommy and daddy will not live together anymore. But, more than that he realizes that the two people who gave him life love him more than we ever thought possible.
The reason why I am calling this post “Woman to Woman” is because I needed to get something off my chest. If you are a woman dating my ex and plan on being around there are some things you should know. A list of how to deal with me and my desire to raise an incredibly wonderful little boy in two separate homes. Here you go:
Never, ever listen to us argue. You see if my ex should get reckless and try to prove to you that I’m crazy and hold a personal conversation on the phone with me while you are riding in his car, be woman enough to tell him that it’s not acceptable. What we argue about should never concern you in your preliminary role.
Just because I don’t know you doesn’t mean that I don’t do my research. I’m a protective mama cub. I only have one child and he means more to me than anything in my life. That being said who you are (your first and last name) matter to me.
I don’t want him back. Nope, I don’t. I love my ex because he and I were together so long. We made memories. Some good, some bad, but in the end the greatest thing we ever did was have our son. I’m not trying to do it again. No matter what you hear.
Understand that no one will ever take my place. Not that I think you believe that, but my ex said that to me. He actually said, “No one can ever take your place as our son’s mother.” Dude, I know this. I still have the incision where he was taken from me five weeks early. There is never a replacement for the original. I’m his mommy.
What happens in my home is my business and vice versa. Unless my son volunteers information, I will never, ever question him about what occurs at his father’s house. It’s none of my business unless it affects his well-being. That being said, very little will ever affect his well-being (because his dad adores him) so I don’t care what happens at daddy’s house as long as he is being loved, fed, clothed and nurtured in the best way possible.
Being a part of his dad’s life long term will mean that you will have to meet me. Understand that I bear no ill will or animosity towards you. I am a mother. I am a woman and I believe in the unity of all women. I encourage us to be civil and make the transition for my child seamless and positive. But, understand that you will have to do your part…know and accept that I will always want to do what is in the best interest of my son. No one is more qualified to make important decisions than his dad and I. No one.
One of the greatest things his dad did after we split was rush over to my house because our son had a nose bleed that wouldn’t stop. It was almost 20 minutes of blood gushing and him screaming. His dad called and he screamed, “I want my daddy”. His dad was in a movie and left and said, “I’ll be there in 10 minutes.” You know what? He was. Not because of me, but because his son needed him. That was pretty awesome and it made me realize one thing…his dad will move mountains for him and for that I am eternally thankful.
I am new to this co-parenting thing and no I didn’t expect to have it figured out, but I’m trying. His dad and I make a lot of stupid mistakes (mainly because we’re pig-headed) but we are trying. We will someday get this right, but I want the temporary (or permanent) women to know that there is no reason to be less than a woman when attaching yourself to the foolishness that may be us. We love our son and we will get it right (hopefully sooner rather than later) someday.
My latest short story was published on one of my favorite websites. I originally wrote it to end the way I wrote it, but the response to write a second part has been overwhelming. I am extremely happy that people like it and they want to know what happens next. Please read it and give me your feedback.
It’s called By Faith and you can check it out here
If you haven’t heard, I was honored to get an article published on one of my favorite blogs…MyBrownBaby (yep, one word). MyBrownBaby is an incredible blog started by Denene Millner who states that “MyBrownBaby isn’t about pointing fingers at or putting down white moms. It’s about helping black moms. It’s also about providing a service for those who need the information but can’t find it or who just want someone to commiserate with them—help them sort through the beautiful struggle that comes with being black parents in America.” You love it right?
It’s a great blog with a wealth of information, articles, tips and stories from both men and women about children. I have been following along for the last couple of years. So, in light of #domesticviolenceawareness I decided to share my story in hopes of getting it published and bringing home what I’ve been sharing all month with you.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Domestic Violence is a topic that is close to my heart. I’ve shared more with you than I’ve shared with my own family. (I guess you guys/gals are my family). This writing has been therapeutic for me and I’ve grown through it. Which is incredibly helpful. Well, I decided to submit an article for publication earlier this month and I got notified on Wednesday that it was accepted and went live. I am overjoyed and I hope you have a chance to check out my latest piece and to subscribe to this incredible blog!
The sounds of screams, fists flying, furniture breaking and blood on clothing; are all vivid images from my childhood that still haunt me to this day. My mother left. Many women don’t. Domestic violence is not always physical. It can take many forms including sexual, emotional, verbal and psychological. It’s all about power and control. It has lasting effects.
I read this article last month on My Brown Baby entitled “#WhyIStayed: Teaching our Daughters & Sons How to Love Sans Violence” and was moved to write about this topic in October. Why? Because October is also Domestic Violence Awareness month and we need to stop blaming the victims for domestic violence and encourage them to get help and get out of destructive situations.
So, how did domestic violence affect me after witnessing it? I suffered all forms of domestic violence at one point in my life with the exception of physical, but it was just as painful. Domestic violence affected my self-esteem and made me vulnerable and susceptible to unhealthy situations and relationships. You know the kinds of relationships where you think your first name is B*tch? How about the relationships where you’re being yelled at constantly with no regard to your feelings? How about the relationships where you feel that you’re just not good enough because he likes skinny women and I’m too thick for him? How about the relationship where he forced himself on you?
Domestic violence is serious. I suffered the affects for many years. Silently. As confident as I was on the outside, I was a wreck on the inside. I thought no one cared or that it was “my cross to bear”. Suffering alone and in silence strips you of your voice. You begin to doubt yourself and realize that maybe just maybe you deserved all those bad words or things that have happened to you. But, you don’t.
Domestic violence is simply about power and control. Hurt people hurt people. You can’t change someone. You have to love you first. Loving you is the fundamental point of everything we do in life. If you can’t love you, how can you expect someone else to love you? Truth? You can’t.
You can’t change someone. You can’t heal a broken person when you in fact are broken. I know. I tried. I failed. All I earned was a broken, battered, abused heart and spirit. So, what do you do? You focus on you. Till this day, the best line I ever heard was from the comedian; Katt Williams when he says “B*tch, it’s called self-esteem! It’s the esteem of your mother*cking self. How the f*ck can I f*ck up how you feel about you…?” Vulgar and crude…Yes. But, it’s accurate and on point nonetheless.
That sketch reminded me that I’m the only one who can control how I feel about myself. I stopped waiting on others to validate me or my existence. I accepted who I am and I love me first. Think of it this way…when you fly they always instruct you in an emergency situation if the oxygen masks should deploy that you secure your mask first before helping someone else. Why? Because you can’t help someone else if you die. Help yourself first.
I read this beautiful post by the author of Life In a Blender where she wrote how she wanted to be remembered and it was absolutely beautiful. It got me to be thinking how I want to be remembered. People have always thought it weird of me to think about death, but as a Christian, I always wondered why is it weird? As my grandma says, “Only people afraid of dying are those that don’t know where they’re going.” I know where I’m going so death isn’t something I worry about nor am I morbidly obsessed about it, but I want you to know how I want to be remembered so that should I die before you and head off to the great beyond, I hope some of what I said below will make you smile because you remembered me as this person. Here goes… I want to be remembered as someone that…
Loved Jesus, my family and friends. In that order. I was an evolving individual who tried to live each day better than the last.
Lived life on her own terms. I made mistakes and admitted to some and not others, but I grew from the lessons I learned.
Was a servant leader. I lived life trying to be of service to others. I got the greatest joy of being in the Lord’s army and realized that I could do more serving others than anything else in this world.
Was a great mother who loved her son more than life itself. Someone that put his needs first and made sure that he had all that he could but more importantly that he was reminded of God’s grace and mercy.
Was a lover of food. I liked to try new things and enjoyed the fellowship and frivolity of my friends. My friends were my family.
Was a lover of colors. I liked the color of blue because it reminded me of the ocean in Jamaica. I loved the color of yellow because it reminded me of the sun shining on my beautiful brown skin as I swam in Hawaii.
Was a lover of strength. Strength in a man, car or anyone was attractive. I tried to have strength in all things but I sometimes felt weak.
Had an imperfect relationship with an imperfect man who was a runner. My dad. But God built that bridge and we took steps towards a reconciliation.
Knew what it felt like to have a broken heart, but God heals all and in the end I just loved love.
So, smile and think about all the things you’ve done and still want to do so that in the end how will you be remembered?