Preface: I wrote this this past summer, right after I had watched the movie “Bad Mom”. I left the movie feeling really great about myself as a mother, comparing myself to fictional characters. I do not always feel that great about my mothering skills, so thank you Mila Kunis.
I’m a single mom with a single child. Every summer since kindergarten she has gone to live with her dad. People ask me how I do it, and my only response is at I’m used to it. It never gets any easier or any harder. I can tell you one thing; we humans are stronger than we like to give credit to ourselves for. I will never say I can’t live without “blank” because I can, but it’s a challenge. If I was to mope around, not only would I be doing a disservice to myself, but even more so to my daughter. She needs to know that she will face challenges, and that she should not run from them, because she will dominate them. What greater gift can I give her than to give her tools to face real life? They are only kids for so long, and yes they should enjoy it, but they need to be given the skills to be successful adults. So if I ever seem like maybe i don’t care that she is gone, do not be mistaken. That little girl is the one thing I love more than anything in the universe, but she is growing and loving her father, stepmother and brother right now and I’m so happy for her.
Selfishness is inherent in all of us. Many moms would say, no way, I will fight for as much custody as possible. But that thinking isn’t (usually) about the child. That is selfish thinking. The mom is not more important than the dad, even if you want to think so. And how lucky am I that my daughter gets to grow up with a strong loving dad? How lucky is she? In this world, in this day, that can sometimes be such a luxury many kids cannot afford. Great dads need more acknowledgement, more praise, more respect.
And then there are moms who look at my summer with jealousy. Look, here is a mom who gets a 3 month break. Well, I have to admit, it is nice in some respect to focus solely on my needs for the summer, but I’d trade it in a heartbeat. I love the break for a few weeks, and I agree all moms need a break! But then the novelty wears off and I would like to see my girl.
I will tell her I love her, tell her I miss her, but I will never burden her with my feelings. No child needs that pressure. Part of being a mom is making your kids think you are invincible and that you can forge any storm. In fact, your children should not see the storm. Maybe they will notice something small is wrong, but they should never bear the burden that you are going through something huge. I want my daughter to look up to me and see a super woman. Why? Because I want her to strive to have the same fearless warrior attitude anytime anything goes wrong. To have her be able to look at a situation and say, why worry about this? And when she comes to me for advice I can share that I struggled too but I can give her the solution right then and there. Does this always happen? No, absolutely not. She has seen me buckle. But I can tell how deeply it affects her to see me sad. She is so deep and passionate about those she loves that she will want to fix it. She has even defended me when I was wrong. I want to minimize any affect like that on her.
My daughter is so strong. She has lived with change all of her life constantly moving around between her dad and I. But this girl lives with a smile on her face so often (with the exception of homework time and when she eats veggies). Anyone who knows her is affected by the life spring flowing out of her. I remember my friend Emily saying to me at the talent show that she didn’t think anything made my daughter nervous as we watched her have a little stage fright before her harmonica solo. She is really a force to be reckoned with. I can’t wait to see the magic she will create at every turn. I love this girl so very much.
And to all you moms out there. We all think we are failing. With all of the Instagram and Pinterest posts out there of what we think other moms are like, there are really just more normal moms behind it all. If you can look at your children and see that they are healthy (in the aspect that you can control), happy, peaceful, growing and hardworking then you have succeeded.