Three months ago my husband moved out. Two months ago, I filed papers for a divorce. One month ago, I spent any spare time in bed trying to wrap my head around the failure of my marriage. And last week, I dragged myself up, put a smile on a my face and started to refocus. And now that smile has become real.
I'll be honest, as I try to always be with you guys, I was not going to share this life changing experience on here. The title 'Divorce' comes with preconceived notions, ideas and judgements.... even from people who do not realize they are passing them. Especially if you are the one who filed the papers, as I did. I was advised by half of the people I know not to share and the other half to share. But what it boils down to is that this is my life I chronicle on here. And I can not call myself an honest person and ask you guys to believe my opinions and thoughts if I do not share this major life change with you.
But the most important reason I want to share is that I am now aware that I am embarking on an entirely new kind of motherhood. The motherhood of a single mom who does not live near family, has mostly friends who work out of the home and three children 6 and under.
And it is hard. Just as motherhood was before. Sure, if I want to go to the store I have to take the kids with me. But I did that a lot anyway and now we are learning math and reading and how to pick a product off the shelf. I even let them choose a brand new fruit or vegetable they have never had before when we go. So, sure, it is hard and they still act out sometimes, but they are participating in the process and that is a life lesson I am being forced to teach. One I will be thankful they know later, I am sure.
And yes, discipline on my own is challenging. Especially when they all get going and the noise of the three challenges the sound barrier. But what I say goes, no matter what and they are learning that no one is going to swoop in and excuse their behavior. Therefore, ironically, teaching them the right way to behave and do things is actually easier. And it seems to be more effective now! In fact, they are doing so well that my confidence in taking them places and being able to handle them is growing too!
Case in point: We just got in today from a 7 day Cruise with Disney Cruise Lines! Yes, just me and the three girls on a 7 day Cruise to Mexico. I was apprehensive at first when I accepted the trip. I sometimes feel I can barely handle them here at times, how could I possibly handle all three on a boat with three stops 24/7 for 7 days? My insecure doubts that I would not be good enough, skilled enough or patient enough seeped in. But I knew that this was a once in a lifetime for them and took them anyway. Though I admit I never took them off the ship.
And I surprised myself - and I think a whole lot of other people too. Of course, it helps that the Disney Cruise Ships have free childcare, and I did use it for at least a few hours a day (not so much for a 'break' but because the Kids Clubs was AWESOME and that is where they wanted to go!), but I did manage to take three daughters on a 7 day Cruise without incident. We had our meals together, played together, swam in the pool daily, went to shows, stood in line for characters and more. All without melt-downs, craziness or anyone commenting about me being a bad mother. In fact, I got more comments about how good my girls were.
Which pleased me to no end, I will not lie!
But I did it. My kids are happy, I am happy and it was a great time. Sure, I wish I had done better. I wish I had taken them to more events, had the money to treat them to more things and the ability to spend one on one time with them each more, but in the end, it was a great experience for us all. And I am really glad I did it.
Like every day from here on out, I will probably always wonder if I am doing the best for my kids. If their new childhood will affect them badly or if I will be able to handle every challenge that comes my way. More than financial or physically doing for them. But emotionally and intelligently. Do I have the strength and where-with-all to raise them on the same path I had planned all along?
Maybe not.... but I won't know until I do it. And I can't do it unless I believe I can. And I can not believe unless I trust myself and what I know about my abilities and how I have handled motherhood so far.
So though the prospect of being able to raise them right and with love and affection once scared the living crap out of me, I have come to understand that it does not have to be so scary. I am a mom, just like a ton of women. And whether I am single, married, widowed, divorced, adoptive or something else, I am still a mom. And the unity of motherhood and what that job entails will be the basis for my parenting now just as it was before.
My Day in Motherhood might start out and end differently now. I might have a new title as a Separated or Divorced mom. But what happens in between is still as fun and exciting and stressful and wonderful as it always has been. And my three beautiful, amazing, crazy, determined girls will be just fine. As long as I am.
And I am. Better than I have been in years.
New title and all.
Find more Motherhood Posts at My Recent Writings