“Being a single mom is twice the work, twice the stress and twice the tears, but also twice the hugs, twice the love and twice the pride.” ~ Unknown
I used to apologize for not being the wife I thought I should have been—so I guess it’s no different that now that I am just a really bad ex-wife.
I know some may be incredulous when I say that I put my children first, yet for me there is no other way.
And I am not sorry any longer that I have and will continue to put them first, before anyone else—and I’ll prioritize whatever needs they have and the comfort zones they wish to remain in—because these children deserve only the best possible role models and life, and that is precisely what I intend to give them.
I used to believe that people could be taught to be a parent and how to suddenly start putting their children’s needs above their own, but now I see things differently. While maybe we can learn a new sport or how to drive a car—there is no learning how to be a parent.
It’s a trait that either comes out once we have these tiny little people to care for, or it doesn’t because we are overwhelmed that someone else’s needs have to come before our own.
I know that others may get mad at me and this situation, but honestly I don’t really lose sleep over that fact because I am too busy busting my ass day in and day out, being the best possible mother that I can be.
I’m too busy changing sheets, because someone threw up in them while they were sick, and between helping with in-depth science projects, playdates and birthday planning—I just don’t have time to worry about whether or not anyone else is happy with how I am raising my children.
It’s not that I don’t care about anyone else, but just that I no longer lose sleep over what people think about me, because I know now that even when I sleep, I am still wearing my superwoman cape, even if it’s spattered in sparkly pink paint and has grape jelly creased on the corners.
Failing my children is just not an option.
Maybe for some, there just needs to be a “bad guy” sometimes, and this time I don’t mind it being me. The irony is that I live my life trying to do only good—not just for myself and my children, but for the world—and maybe it’s because I know this truth so deeply that I don’t mind being painted over with the blackness of other people’s lies and insecurities.
The truth is, I am a really bad ex-wife, because I will no longer remain silent just to keep the peace.
Instead, I’ve learned that these two children are watching me, even when I can’t see them—and because of that, I owe it to them to live like the women I want them to grow up into, not just when it’s convenient, but all the time.
I’ve realized that children know more than we give them credit for, and instead of wishing to remain blind to this fact, I am embracing it instead, because I believe that children are capable of making decisions about themselves and their own lives, especially if they know they are loved and supported regardless of their choices.
I believe in talking with my children and empowering them to make choices that they feel emotionally and physically safe with. I know that if they are being taught to do this as children they will have no problem standing up for themselves as young women.
Maybe that is one of the biggest epiphanies that I’ve had—I’m not raising children, but instead women. Instead of just merely looking at them as the little people they are now, I try to envision what type of woman I am helping to create with each choice that I make.
What I’ve realized is that I can’t control anyone else’s actions but my own—but I can choose to be the best possible mother that I can be. Not because I will be perfect or won’t yell—I may even lock myself in the bathroom on occasion for a well-earned bath and let myself have a good hard cry.
But that doesn’t mean that I am not one helluva good mother.
I am an amazing mother, not because I send them off to school in matching outfits every morning, hair neatly plaited against their precious heads, but because they know without a doubt that no matter how old they get or where they end up in this world—if they need me, I will be there in a heartbeat.
Because when I gave birth to these two children, they became my top priority.
I may regret a few things as I get older, or maybe I will regret nothing at all, but the truth is that I won’t ever sit and wish I had spent less time with my children. I will never wish that we had fewer family movie nights or faerie tea parties in a field. I won’t wish that I hadn’t traveled with them as much as we have and plan to.
After all, I tell them all the time—how can I teach you about the world, if I don’t first show you the world?
The minute they took their first breath, I became a mother—and while I am still a woman, and maybe someday I will be someone’s lover again—I will be a mother even after I draw my last breath from this earth.
So I’m okay with being a bad ex-wife—especially because I know what an incredible mother I am.
Author: Kate Rose
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina