I used to
think know I was a good mother. For the first few years of my son’s life he was all I had to worry about and so he received 100% of my attention all of the time. My ex took care of money, most things that needed fixing and any other unpleasantry that life threw at us, while my job was to take care of our son.
I’ve always been a hard worker and so I approached my job as a mother with the gusto that I would any other I’d had in my life.
I was an amazing mother back then, without a doubt.
When my relationship with my ex began to crumble around me I lost my focus. I became obsessed with finding out whether or not he was cheating on me. I got caught up in my depression, my fear and my loneliness and before long taking care of my son became secondary to those things whether I wanted them to or not.
This is not to say I neglected him in any way because I certainly didn’t. He was still loved and cared for, but I was no longer the happy, completely engaged mother he knew for the first few years of his life and the truth is I’m not sure I will ever be her again.
Last night I received a string of texts from my ex regarding my current inadequacies as a parent. I know why they came, as the result of a disagreement we had earlier in the week. I’ve known him long enough to realize when these types of temper tantrums are coming, but yesterday had been a particularly stressful day for me already so when he started insulting me as a mother I took it to heart and broke down.
I’m juggling a lot in order to provide for my son and I am on my own in parenting here. Am I a perfect mother? Hell no. Sometimes that’s hard for me to accept since my pride wants me to be, but I’m slowly learning to let go of ideas of perfection in order to stay sane and happy.
My son doesn’t eat vegetables with me, and while I know he should I refuse to force him to sit at a table and watch him gag on them like his father does. That’s just not the type of parent I want to be.
His father wants him to be a baseball star and play all kinds of sports, and while that would certainly be nice I’m not going to force him to do so when at 6-years-old he has voiced his fear of playing on a team to me because he feels “he isn’t good enough.” Playing sports with a team is supposed to be fun, not anxiety-ridden. Instead I choose to watch him smile and play imaginative games with his friends in the yard, play video games or contently build with Legos.
His father thinks he shouldn’t have stuffed animals, and shouldn’t snuggle or ever sleep in the same bed as me because “he’s too old for that.” He’s 6-years-old. He’s a little boy who has been through a lot of shit in the last few years. If he wants security or comfort from me in the form of snuggles or a sleepover in my bed I’m going to give it to him. THAT’S the kind of parent I am.
The list goes on as to why my ex thinks he’s a better parent than me and what he thinks I should and should not be doing. I may have done things his way three years ago, but he gave up the right to tell me how to parent when he stuck his penis inside another woman.
And the truth is even if I listened to him and corrected every one of the things he says I’m doing wrong, he’d find a new list of things to taunt me with. It’s his way of still controlling me. He can no longer put me down as a woman because I’m far too confident in that area, but he knows that there are times I am insecure as a mother.
I know I am the only one who will ever change the way his insults affect me.
So I’m sitting here today vowing to stop being so hard on myself as a single mom, embracing my imperfections as a mother and knowing that despite them all I have an amazing, healthy and happy little boy.
I may never be the same type of mother I was when he was first born, but I
think know I’m still a damn good one.