I have been a single parent for almost 12 years now, minus a few “situationships” along the way, but I’ve been mostly on my own. I had almost forgotten how hard it is in the beginning it is when you realize you’re doing it on your own until today.
Today my niece came to pick up her children from me. She had just left work and she was tired. She was complaining about all the things she had to do because “he” didn’t do any of it. Listening to her sounded so familiar, I heard my story.
I was her. I was a young mother of two children, both still in diapers. I worked a full time job where I commuted to work 45 minutes on the highway after dropping the girls off at a daycare 30 minutes out the way. I would come home to a husband, fresh out of jail, who didn’t know how to lift a finger to clean or cook. Yet he knew how to disappear.
I remember one time he left to go get milk for the kids cereal and came back 3 days later with no damn milk. Imagine how frustrating that is? Like why do I now have to call someone else to come get me to take me to the store, because you cant comprehend that the corner store is at the bottom of the neighborhood that you passed as you left. What did you have to go feed the cow and process the milk yourself. Its really not that hard.
Ok I’m getting sidetracked.
So anyways I remember being so frustrated and angry with him that the girls and I quit coming home. We would go to my Moms house, where he would follow, so I could have some help. I used to e so angry with everyone because here this low down bastard could help me take care of the family that he wanted to create.
I remember my AH HA moment. I was driving back to my moms house. It was late, and I was furious. My (then)husband had gotten himself arrested. He had dropped the girls off with his folks while he ran the streets, when he was supposed to take them to doctors appointments and spend time with him. Here I was late getting off due to a project at work, and I had to go find my children.
On the way back to my my Moms house, snow still on the banks from the blizzard and I was listening to Destinys Child’s new album – Destiny Fulfilled. (It was 2004). Their new album, in order, talked about a relationship from first flirting to complete failure. Somewhere between the song If and the song Through With Love I realized it. I was not his fuck up.
Now I dont think it was too much of what D3 was saying but more so the feeling I got when Michelle sang her verse on Through With Love. It made me realize that I was on my own and it was time to get over it. I couldnt let my happiness be determined by how he treated me. Hell he was happy, he was doing whatever he felt like, whenever he felt like doing it. I was the only one moping, but I was not the only one affected. I had two little faces that depended on me to tell them that life was going to be ok.
I say all this to say that we can’t control how someone treats us, but we can control how we respond. There is nothing harder than having to take care and raise children on your own. You will have other opinions to dodge, having no rest, cleaning and repeating yourself daily, but thats all part of being a mother. What difference will it make to complain? To be angry? You still have to do it. All I know is that at the end of the day I want to make sure my four little ones know that I am doing all I can for them. Because in the end, they are the only ones that matter.