Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Letting it be

God, I look to you
I won't be overwhelmed
Give me vision, to see things like You do
Give me wisdom, You know just what to do - Jenn Johnson

"But mommmm-mmmm-mmm-mmmm-yyyyyyyyy..." my four year old whined, complete with the melodrama that usually accompanies her cries for justice.  I knew what was coming next. "It's. Not. Fai-www".

She and her brother were fighting over something meaningless.  As usual. I'm convinced that if there was an actual piece of crap laying around, and there was only one, they'd fight over it.  But I digress.

Usually they fight, one wins, and the winner does a victory dance and teases the other incessantly.  The other cries because it is't fair.  And it usually isn't. Life isn't fair.

Sometimes I feel like they feel.  I spend the day waking sleepy children, making breakfast, packing lunches, running for buses, driving to preschool, working, conference calling, picking up from preschool, working more, cleaning, picking up from the bus, working more, making dinner, forcing homework, making snacks, serving dinner, threatening no dessert if said dinner isn't eaten, cleaning up tables, playing referee  and...and...and.  Just when I'm about to wave my white flag in surrender, their dad's visitation time arrives and he gets to swoop in and save them.  From me.  And you know what comes next?  Mother's guilt, for coming very close to losing my mind. Again.

Keep in mind, I want to be very careful how I word this because I love my kids more than anything in the world.  I love that they love their dad and I don't want to get in the way of that.  I want them to choose their feelings for him based on their experiences, not mine.  And I never want to write anything I don't want them reading later, about him or about our situation. So, I'm trying to craft my words wisely, while also trying to explain how I feel.

When they are with their dad they have little rules or discipline because it's just a few hours per week.  They don't spend nights with him, so they're stuck with me at bedtime too.  When I do discipline them or set rules they don't like, I often hear "I want daddddddddy."  And though I hate to admit it, inside I am suddenly the one screaming: "It's not faiwwwww!"

And it's not.  So what am I going to do about it?  What can I do about it?

Recently, I've been struggling with this more often than I'd like to admit.  All I ever wanted to be was a mom.  All I still want to be is a mom, just not a single mom.  And definitely not responsible for the large majority of the parenting.  Currently, it's not quite happening that way, but as you know, this is not the way I planned it. It's easy to get caught up in anger and resentment.  I guess I have every right to be angry...every right to feel like I've been left with a huge responsibility.  Yet, living in a place of anger won't (and can't) do me any good.  Being resentful won't change the situation.  It will keep me, and eventually my kids, in a prison of unforgiveness and that is the last place I want us to be.

All I can do now is let it be.  Keep on keeping on.  Do the best I can.  Make meals.  Drive short people everywhere. Hug my babies.  Stop focusing on everything I lost and focus on everything I have.  Stop thinking of everything I wanted and dreamed of and planned for, and be thankful for more time with  these healthy, beautiful, patience-wearing, impressionable kids I have here.  I'm lucky that I get to be their mother.  No, life isn't perfect.  And rarely is it fair. For now, though, I choose to let it be.

What are you learning to "let be" in your life?


  1. What a beautiful blog Sarah. I wish you love and happiness, and help with your gorgeous angels aka short people (not like you or I could talk haha). I pray you find someone lucky and deserving of you and your two beautiful babies who can do you all justice... after all you deserve the very best! Kudos to you for being a fantastic single mom for now (mine was as well). xo

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Michelle!!! And you're right, we're just a house full of short people. Pretty soon they'll be referring to me as the short one around here!

  2. OH god, can I relate to that. I've recently started going out with friends quite a bit lately. For 6 years, I've been imprisoned in my "bad choice".... I wouldn't trade it for the world, but god, it's overwhelming some days. Like you (and ella!) i just want to scream Its not fair!!! This is not what my life was supposed to be.... Yet it is. Yet, I signed an 18 year contract to be everything this child has. 18 years... its a lifetime contract! And with all contracts, there's positives and negatives. He is mine, for better and for worse. I love him all the way to Maine and back and back again... but I am imprisoned in my house while my friends are texting me from the bar. I am imprisoned in my house when at 10p, I realize I can't run to the store for milk for cereal in the morning. I am imprisoned in the rule setting, the discipline, the role modeling. I can't waiver. I can't falter. My every move is watched by him...

    And yes, his dad gets him for a whole 24 hours a week, sometimes every other week. Where it is fun and games and parks and parades.

    The thing that I just KNOW... i just KNOW that this will pay off. I discipline because I love him. I set limits and boundaries because I want to grow a man that I'm proud of. I command respect and don't tolerate brattyness because someday, he will be taller than me and a surly teenager... but i KNOW that my presence alone will be enough to get his respect. And it's my job to ensure he respects women. Everyday when he opens the door automatically when I carry the grocerys in... or gets my shoes in the morning for me when he gets his shoes... or, even, putting the toothpaste on my toothbrush in the morning... I am raising a sweet boy. And it's not that I have ever expected him to get my shoes or put the toothpaste there... it's his love and respect for me that does those things. IT is automatic, ingrained.

    So, while I give up the bar and a social life and my friends and , even "me", for this time... I have to breathe and know that I am doing something bigger and something more profound than I could ever realize in this moment.

    1. Oh, Kelly, I SO relate. Their dad has them, on average, 7 hours per week. No overnights. When the kids get frustrated at me, I get angry at him because I feel like he left me with this responsibility. But, alone with the great responsibility comes great joy. I go through tough times with them, but I also experience some of the happiest times with them. And the good really does outweigh the bad! Do you mind if I share your comments on the blog's fb page?

  3. I absolute understand that circle of anger/resentment toward the ex. While my situation for leaving him was different, the aftermath remains. And your right- great responsibility brings great joy. Who else gets to be there to comfort in the middle of the night? Who else gets to know their teachers and get a huge hug at pickup from school? Who else cheers on the sidelines at every sports event? Who else gets to have the serendipitous conversations about not doing drugs and being a strong person (just had this conversation yesterday! Jeez Louise, talk about being unprepared..)

    Please do feel free to share :)

  4. I really like this blog, and I love that you are so careful of the way you worded this, so that if your munchkins were to ever read this, you are setting a good example. I am a single mother as well, but my daughter's father takes her on the weekends, which I feel blessed to even have that break after reading this. I can relate with you though, where you always feel like the bad guy when you discipline them. I put my 2 and a half year old in time out, and I set rules (where she clearly has little or no rules when she visits with her father) and when I do this, she too, wants her "daddy." And you're absolutely right, "it's not fai-www" I feel like the bad guy a lot, but I do it because I love her and want her to grow up in a structured home-- Like a previous woman mentioned, I know it will pay off some day. I am happy that you are so strong and optimistic about this all, because I remember the days (not so long ago) when she was 6 months old and visitation didn't exist. Her father was no part of her life, and he didn't even know what he was missing-- until one day, his family informed him, that although tiny, he was missing a HUGE part of his life; A beautiful blonde hair, blue eyed angel. Since that day, she's had him wrapped. When I do feel resentment towards him, I think of the days when I had no break at all, and how it could still be that way. Or how lucky I am to be able to have a healthy little girl and be able to experience motherhood in the first place. (as some people can't conceive, or some families do get pregnant, but their children have various life-threatening illnesses.) I don't do quite as much as you do, I work mainly on the weekends, and I only have one child, but I know it's a lot of work. Your hard work, strength, and optimism is admirable, and I wish you and your little ones nothing but a life full of happiness!

    1. Lauren, thanks so much for reading and for your comments!! You are so right. There is always someone who has it worse and at the end of the day, we are unbelievably blessed. Im so glad your daughter's father came around! That's so important for kids, especially little girls.

      It's easy to feel resentment and anger, but I never want my kids to feel that towards him because that was the example I had set! So, onward and upward for us as moms!! I have kids to raise and allowing myself to become comfortable with those feelings is a waste of time!


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