A Better Mom?

Perspective. Divorce may, just may, have enabled ME to be a better mom. The mom I was meant to be. Not what I expected. But a sudden, rather clear thought that came to be. Well isn’t that ironic.

Grief Will Stay

“I don’t think you will ever get over the grief.” These are words spoken to me from my counselor a few weeks ago. Having a family, being a mom was my dream. And while I will forever and always be a mom, the dream of family has become fleeting. I will never have it now. One of the unfortunate consequences of divorce is along with dissolving all that is unhealthy, all that is good is gone as well. Try as I might to act like a sieve to catch the little shiny pieces, the holes are too big and all washes through. It has been so tiring on my soul.

My brother continues to tell me to lose all expectations to avoid continuous disappointment. But this is so hard. I have become a single parent in almost all aspects. Do you know how hard it is to parent a 17 year old boy? I envy those who can go to bed at night with someone alongside them. Someone to discuss the day, to problem solve, to truly be a partner in all of life’s challenges. I won’t use running solo as an excuse to be less of a mom. Trust me, I am doing all that I can to steer both of my boys in the right direction. But I confess there are moments I feel I teeter on completely breaking down.

As much as it hurts to continue to feel grief, it’s here to stay. Yes, grief won’t leave. But, it may be time for me to work on accepting the grief, letting it lay where it may fall. I can not change grief. I certainly can not go back in time and change my dream. But I can accept.

“Growth is uncomfortable because you’ve never been here before – you’ve never been this version of you. So give yourself a little grace and breathe through it.” – Kristin Lohr

Faith

This is long overdue. An examination of my marathon. Writing, with my left hand, about each mile. What I was feeling, thinking, seeing. I did it. And now I am having a hard time with the “results.” At the advice of my yoga teacher, I named the race. Faith. Each mile I needed to somehow relate to faith. Mentally working through each mile may just give me my life lesson she had said.

And this is where I am struggling. It was mile 16 I saw my my sister-in-law, nieces, T, my dad, and my mom. My interaction was mostly with my mom however. T and my dad where standing back and up on some stairs. I wasn’t feeling very strong at this point or at least not as strong as I had in training. And from here it went downhill. After I saw my family, it went downhill. And honestly, I think it was more after I saw my mom specifically. Ugh. I became weaker. More in my head. Weak. Beaten. Defeated. Up until seeing my mom she had been sending me supportive texts. When I saw her, she was proud. She yelled out as I ran off “How are you feeling?” and T just happened to snap a picture the moment I turned to respond. The look on my face says it all.

So why after this point, the point where I should have felt an extra boost, did I lose energy?  I can still feel what it felt like now – the lack of energy. It was a gross feeling. It was so hard to keep moving. And truly I didn’t know if I could. I became my weak, old, self full of anxiety and panic. And that turns into a downward spiral. My brother was running also. He had been a few miles behind me. I called him to say I didn’t think I could do it. He told me to keep going, he’d catch up with me. I kept looking back, looking for him. He never caught up. But, the fact that he tried so hard still warms my heart. He was there for me.

I crossed the finish line that day. Not even close to the time I had trained for and expected. It wasn’t until hours later, I could reflect back on the race and notice the many gifts.

So faith. Faith in myself. In my strength. In my abilities. Trust in who I am. And probably most importantly, feeling confident in doing what I know is right…for me. Not doubting. Yes, faith.

Be

I’m trying, trying to demonstrate how I want my own boys to be

How I hope they will treat others…

But I am pushed back, not by them

I am not allowed to provide them the example I wish for them to witness

I have done all I feel I can, and then I try more

And my heart starts to ache, my breathing increases, but shallow

Don’t they deserve more?

Who are their role models?

How will they be better fathers and husbands if they haven’t witnessed a better example?

My purpose in my life was without a doubt to be a mom

And I will always work to be better at my purpose

 

Be kind, be considerate, be unselfish, be giving

Be love, be happiness, be compassionate, be alive

Be nurturing, be supportive, be forgiving, be strong

Be a hero in your future children’s eyes

….and do not allow a moment to slip by when you can be everything to them

 

Pain

As my oldest son D looked at me crying and yelling “It’s not funny mom when you joke you may have a boyfriend! Dad’s house is NOT my house. Stop telling me to keep some clothes there!” my heart was breaking. It quite literally felt like I was being smashed into tiny little pieces. I had no words in that moment. Just pain. This burst was apparently building inside of D. His pain glaring at me as his tears quickly slid down his beautiful cheeks. He yelled at me to “fix it.” His reference – the divorce, the two homes. As a mom, that’s what you do right? You fix it. But this I can not. So I walked heavily to the hallway that leads to his room and with a cracked voice flooded with emotion and so full of tears, I spoke the truth…”I believe your father and I have provided you with a wonderful life. And continue to give you a wonderful life. This (situation) is not what I wanted. But I have done and am doing everything I can to make this the best situation for T and you. I would like to think you’d feel I am deserving of happiness.” I just did not have the strength to look at him as I spoke. The hallway was dark and I knew he was tucked in his bed listening. His response was a sincere “I know.” Walking back to my own room, I cried myself to sleep.

My mother had given me a mug she had won for her dad at a carnival about 50 years ago. He passed away several years prior to my birth but many have said he is so much a part of me. Someone about two years ago accidentally broke the handle. I was able to superglue it back together….it continues to sit on my bureau holding miscellaneous items. Even though it was cracked, it was put back together with love and thoughtfulness. Just as it had  been presented to my grandfather from my mom so long ago – with love and thoughtfulness. It’s obviously not the same. When you look closely, you can see the crack. But it’s whole. And it’s perfect. And it represents so much.

Sometimes it’s more about how the pieces are put back together.

Purpose

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain

Ok so T and I have been reading daily quotes. And I absolutely love this one by Mark Twain. It gave me an excitement, almost sense of adventure. And one I have been so eager to embark on since I was a child really. I remember thinking strongly I had a purpose. A significant purpose. I’ve resigned myself to thinking it may not be some internationally known figure but simply a mom. Specifically to D and T. And the work I attempt to master with them will have a trickle down affect. And there lies my mark in this world.

Actually in yoga last week during shavasana, we listened to a commentary of sorts. The woman speaking asked “Who are you? And why are you here?” And this is where I am at. Facing this question. With sincerity. And purpose. And curiosity. And wonderment. And excitement.

About a month ago my yoga teacher – who I have known for about 15 years now – challenged me to write about each mile during my marathon. She felt truly examining where my mind was at each of these markers would lead me to the answer of what happened at mile 18. Why did it all change for me? Interestingly, she suggested I write with my left hand (I am a righty) because it would tap into a different part of my brain. Then she stated “I believe you will discover your life’s lesson.” Wow. I am ready. So ready.

What is your purpose in life? Have you pondered this before?

On Raising a Difficult Child

Oh I really don’t want to label D. But I must be honest. He’s difficult. With a capital D. He’s 16 and his favorite word remains “No.” Easy-going, laid back, lassie faire ….yeah so not D. Over his lifetime I have learned much however. And though I am far from an expert, I can offer these five tips/recommendations/suggestions when it comes to raising a difficult child.

  1. Leave your ego at the door. By all means do NOT go head to head with a difficult child. You know where that leads you? In a screaming frenzy-blood boiling-blood pressure elevated-crazy state of mind. Trust me. I know.
  2. Don’t ever give up. As hard and as challenging as a difficult child can be, don’t quit trying. We have a sign in my office that reads “The kids who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving of ways.” Know that being difficult can sometimes be a cover for something deeper. Have compassion. Maybe even some empathy.
  3. Continue to create opportunities….even when you know it’s fairly certain the response will be “No.” Perseverance, gentle perseverance. Lead the way.
  4. Always, always challenge the difficult attitude with love. Cliche I know. But it works.
  5. Be grateful. Yes, grateful. Why? Because raising a difficult child is an opportunity for you to become a better parent. Every situation is a chance to strengthen your parenting skills – albeit challenge your patience as well!

I have been blessed with a child who is difficult and a child who goes-with-the-flow. Both amaze me with their strengths. And, yes, they both have their weaknesses. After all, we all do. But how lucky am I to be their mom!

Do you have any more tips to add?