Getting divorced sucked. Being married to someone who was SO obviously not right for me, sucked even more. I was 6 months pregnant, when I knew I would leave my husband. But how? When? Would I be ok? What about being a single mom? Could I do it? Would my son grow up with challenges he might now have if his parents had remained married? Would we be miserable co-parents?
I filed for divorce shortly after our son was born. I moved back to Austin, and remained focused on my son, my well being and our new life. The process of getting divorced was miserable. My ex was nasty. I cried daily. He said and did things, I don’t ever want to remember. It was supposed to be the best time of my life as a new mommy; And I worked hard, to remain focused and present in motherhood. I already felt like I had failed my son miserably by starting his life off with two parents who lived separately, but adding insult to injury was the fact that we could NOT get along.
I begged. I pleaded. I sought counsel as to how to deal with my ex husband who was so obviously lashing out at me. I vividly remember him holding our infant son and telling him that his mother was a word I’ll never repeat, but it starts with a C and ends with a T. I fell to the floor. I begged and pleaded for him to love our son more than he hated me. I begged and pleaded a lot more after that incident.
I stayed focused on our boy. I made sure to not speak poorly of him, even though I wanted to shout from the rooftops that he was making my life miserable! I would look into the eyes of my boy, and knew, that he would always love his daddy. No matter how poorly he was as a partner, he would someday look up to him, as his hero, and that was more important to me, than anything else.
Slowly but surely, my ex and I started to communicate. I think he finally saw his boy as a separate entity than me.
He finally realized that respecting me, was instrumental in his role as daddy. We started with emailing, then texting, then talking…and even sometimes laughing together. We were in this together.
We are raising a little human being from scratch. WE get to determine the element in which he thrives, and right now that is with both parents as attentive parties, just not always at the same time.
Most days, I see my ex-husband as the father of my child. The silly, creative daddy that loves building legos and teaching him about hammers and screwdrivers. The one that corrects him when he calls a tractor a bulldozer. The one that I know will be talking to him girls, the one teaching him how to drive, and doing all that other cool dad stuff that I’m just not equipped to do.
Some days, I falter. I still get annoyed at all of my ex’s shortcomings. The fact that he CANNOT remember the nap/lunch/playtime schedule. The fact that he thinks a baby food pouch is the equivalent to vegetables, or the fact that sometime he still gets defensive when I ask him if he can step it up because our boy needs more from his daddy now that he’s getting older.
But, most days, I’m excited that our boy has such a playful and loving soul as his daddy.
Every day, I remind our boy how loved he is by both mommy and daddy.
Am I a single mom pulling double duty without a break and on little sleep? Totally. But do I hate my ex husband for it? NO way. Once the dust settles from divorce, legal matters are taken care of and life continues, you CAN move forward and amicably co-parent. You CAN hate who your ex-husband is (that’s the beauty of being divorced! You don’t have to be married to that person anymore!) and still LOVE (ok maybe not love but at least tolerate) your child’s father.
Because in the end, the one that wins is your child, and that is worth every ounce of struggle.
So, Happy Father’s Day to the daddy of my perfect, incredible son that has made me the best version of myself and has rocked my world in the most incredible ways.
And Happy Father’s Day to the men that couldn’t quite nail it as husband and daddy. Soak in these moments with your child. Respect your child’s mothers, speak highly of them in their presence. Carry yourselves the way you want your children to eventually carry themselves. Practice self care today and every day, and know that loving your children, with every ounce of your soul, is precisely why you’ve been put on this earth.