At some point in time (hopefully within the next few days), I will post an update on how I’ve been coping with life since my father passed. In the meantime, I thought I’d take a few moments to talk about Mother’s Day.
My first Mother’s Day was sub-par—not because nobody did anything for me, but because I was miserable on the inside. My twins were only a few weeks old and I was still adjusting to being a mom of not one, but two babies. On top of that, I was going through so many different things, that the day became one of resentment rather than joy. My journey into motherhood was rough and adjusting to life after having children was even rougher. Mother’s Day was a reminder of everything I ever thought I wanted burning up in flames right before me, and not properly knowing how to handle it.
My biggest stress was Dad. We were two people that fell in love and planned to stay in love, but couldn’t survive the challenges that came with love. We were young, both stubborn and unwilling to compromise. We went from being madly in love to not even being able to look at each other. Any of you who’ve ever split from a significant other with children involved, you know how messy these things get. I didn’t like him and he didn’t like me, and I hated any and everything that reminded me of him. I wanted him to disappear or move to a place far away so that I didn’t have to deal with him.
Dad and I split a few months after the twins’ first birthday. It was one of the best days of my life. I felt like I had been holding my breath all along, and I was finally able to breathe again. The road ahead was long and difficult, but we’ve since worked out our differences and are able to successfully co-parent our kids.
Dad and I got to a point where we were tired of the arguing, the yelling, and the clamor that came with the breakup. It didn’t make sense to either of us that we were such great friends, and now that we’re broken up, we couldn’t even say hello to each other. We came to an agreement that whatever differences we had we would leave aside and do what’s best for the children. We didn’t have to be friends, but we agreed to keep it peaceful anytime we are around the kids. If we have anything bad to say about each other, we never said it in front of the children because we respected them enough to allow them to form their own opinions and relationship with the other parent. How he felt about me or how I feel about him was not their business. That mutual respect we had for our children later blossomed to us respecting each other and eventually becoming friends and we were better able to co-parent.
Friends and strangers alike often commend us on what a great job we’ve done with the children. Sometimes, the strangers even assume that we’re a married couple and are incredibly shocked when they find out that we are not even together. Dad is happily married, and I am happily single.
What I want people to understand is that nothing worth having comes without hard work. Our society creates this image that once parents split; you have to hate each other and constantly have to be at war. I’m here to remind you today that you are not bound to those norms! Moms and dads that are not together can and SHOULD get along and raise their children as a team.
So this Mother’s Day, I want to issue a challenge. Before I get into it though, let me say this; I know that there are some situations where distance is best for various reasons, I understand and respect those situations. But for those of you who are not in those situations and it’s one or both of you complicating things, here’s what I want you to do. I am challenging you to let go of your resentment and pain. I am challenging you to forgive. It will not be easy, but it will bring your soul more peace. If you’ve never gotten along, NOW is a great time to start. If you are out there are daddy bashing in front of your children, I challenge you to stop. Every child has the right to form their own relationship with both of their parents. Your child’s relationship with their dad does not have to mirror yours with him; so don’t use your child as a pawn. Do not make them choose. And last but not least, I challenge you to say one nice thing about/to the father of your children.
I know that it is hard, and it will take some time. But I hope you use these words as a starting point and begin to build positively upon them. Above all the challenges, I wish all of you brilliant and wonderful moms a HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY. May your day be filled with peace, love, and abundant joy!