I am a single mother. I have four children and two separate families. My family 1 consists of my my three older children(boy 1, boy 2 and boy 3), (me) and my ex partner
My second family consists of boy 3(you met him in family 1), (me) and my (persistent princess).
In family 1, I am a carefree mother, who spent time with her children as they grew up. I attended school functions and went on school trips. I raced my three boys in the park and I never let them win because they needed to learn how to be tough and to know that life isn’t always fair. My house was always clean and dinner was always ready on time.
I had a somewhat normal relationship with (cheating ***hole, who was then referred to as my best friend). I knew what my future held and I made plans with
(cheating ***hole) about growing old with him and still being in love. We took road trips and and life was exciting. There was lots of laughter and love in this family.
In family 2, I am a working mother with little time with my kids. I am always late for school functions and I have not volunteered to go on a school trip in over six years. I can’t stay home to raise my kids, it would be a bad financial decision.
I have no life partner and my future is up in the air. I don’t have a concrete future plan and I don’t have a man around the house to paint, put blinds up or put gas in my car. I am seeing a new man, but I am unsure what we mean to each other. It is hard to define. We like each other,but I am fearful that he will turn out to be like
(cheating ***hole) who at the moment has taught me not to believe in relationships and in love.
SPOILER ALERT: THE MAN CAVED AND I DID NOT! Are you confused? You can read about who caved right here or you can get caught up on this story, right here.
My four children, are having totally different experiences. They certainly have complete opposite childhood stories to tell their own children.
My son who sits in both family 1 and family 2, lives a double life. He was able to experience what it was like growing up with both his parents in the home, having a relationship with all his siblings, watching his siblings move out and then watching his family smash apart, like an egg falling to the ground, and all you can do is mutter to yourself knowing, this *hit is going to be a hassle to clean up. He has watched his parents be at odds with each other and watched his father change into this person that is indescribable.
You would think that he has the best of both worlds, being able to experience and have strong relationships with his siblings and his parents. The thing is, I think he is worse off than the other children who have grown up and are growing up in both families. He has the memories of what a two parent family was like, the great memories, the laughter, the trips and the love. Then he gets to see, both his parents struggle with their identities as they try to rebuild their lives separately.
He is now the man of the house in family 2. He keeps track of where I am going, who I am going with and gets a little bossy at times. Sometimes, I feel like I am answering my father and I am prone to lie so I don’t get in trouble with him.
“I am going to the library with my friend. I will be home by curfew.” I don’t think he believes me all the time. He will text me, if I don’t come home when I say I will come home . When I get his text, I know that I better respond right away and remember where I told him I was going, in order to keep my story straight. He even waits up for me. I always fail at sneaking in, he always catches me and gives me this look before he goes to bed.
“The most difficult part of dating as a single parent is deciding how much risk your own child’s heart is worth” – Dan Pearce
My (persistent princess) is a single child, being raised by a single mother and a distant and inconsistent father. She gets to be dropped off to daycare providers five days a week, so I can work. I have co-parented with private and public daycare centres her entire life. There has been more people who have assisted me in raising, educating, loving and caring for her when compared to her older siblings.
My (persistent princess) doesn’t get all of me, all the time because financially I am not able to be a stay at home mother. I am raising her on an income that is drastically different than the one I raised her older siblings on. Times are tight and money is scarce. Things are certainly different in terms of what she is able to have, when compared to what her siblings were able to have. Things are more expensive and the list of what is available to purchase now is exhaustive.
(cheating ***hole) to financially support her and be there for her has tired me out. I used to take it upon myself to arrange his access visits. I no longer feel it is my responsibility to encourage a man who was fully capable of being a father in the past, to be one now. It is is loss and he is sowing his own seeds of despair.
Boys 1 and 2 do not need me as much as they used to anymore. Soon they will delight me with weddings, children and celebrations. It feels really awkward thinking of how wonderful it will be to hold one of grandchildren or watch boy 1 and boy 2 fall in love.
Sometimes, I wish I could go back in time and and do things differently for them. Maybe I would offer them more independence like I do to persistent princess and boy 3 and maybe I wouldn’t spoil them so much as I did when they were kids. I did the best I could with what I had and as they travel on their own paths, I hope they have learned from the mistakes of their earliest teachers (me) and
I have experienced both the empty nest syndrome and the joys of watching milestones, sometimes on the same day. There are days, when the memories of the old days come flooding back to me. Three little boys running around the house, cars, trucks and bikes carelessly left in the backyard. My
(cheating ***hole), helping me to raise three boys and trying his best to make them into a better man than he was.
Then there are the days, when (persistent princess)’s voice travels through our little apartment and her laughter is so boastful and happy. Then I see a picture that boy 3 has taken of himself and persistent princess and it warms my heart to see that somehow they are able to stay close and protect each other. Then, I know I wouldn’t change anything because I love family 1 and family 2 with all I have.
You never know, maybe I will start family 3…
“I’ve remembered that most of life is about small, essential connections, so unobtrusive, so elastic, that you scarcely realize they’re actually holding you together. The big ones-the great, grand emotional bonds-those are the ones that break, the ones that fail you, the ones that give way and send you careening toward the foot of the bleak and jagged canyon. It’s the tough, gnarled, unadorned ties that really do bind, that never let you fall all the way down into darkness.” – Sharon Shinn