As a stepmother, I realize that we have very difficult positions in our stepfamilies. Many have been thoroughly discussed and explained right here on this blog. However, as a former single mother, I understand how difficult this position can be as well.
It is easy to lose yourself while going through a divorce or breakup while trying to raise a child simultaneously. As I’ve stated in earlier posts, the divorced mom has to keep going regardless. Finding the time to grieve the loss of a life she once knew and figuring out a way to move forward is a challenging task for the single divorced mom because she is often times the custodial parent. She is responsible for the daily tasks involving the children and can’t stop for long periods of time to cry, scream and/or just collect herself. As a result, her emotions are often all over the place and she clings to what she feels like she has some control over – HER CHILDREN. For a minute, let’s put ourselves in her shoes. Ex-husband gets more free time to grieve, to figure out his next move and to date. I realize that he’s a parent too, but let’s be honest; an every other weekend dad pales in comparison to the job of a full-time mom. On top of that, he has the nerve to demand when, where and for how long he can see children who she is primarily responsible for AND, don’t let him get a girlfriend or a wife, who is now on the other end putting in her demands as well. The nerve of these people trying to step in and tell her how to raise children that she’s had to give up her life and sacrifice so much for. Dad is clearly out having a life, while her time is limited because she has the kids most of the time.
I bet she’s thinking, “The nerve of these people.” “They should show me a little more respect as the woman who primarily cares for these children, instead of acting like my opinion doesn’t even count!” I certainly know that’s I initially felt this way as a single mother. It truly did feel like my ex and his wife were ganging up on me instead of working with me to raise our son.
As you can imagine I was initially really upset because the situation felt extremely unfair to me. But, then I started to look at the situation from a different point of view. I realized that my ex asking for more time to spend with our son could actually work to my benefit, duh! All along I had been complaining that while he got to run off and live his life, I was the one who had to sacrifice to be the full-time parent. Well giving him more uninterrupted time would give me more time! I’d be a fool to challenge that just because of my ego. As a result, I decided that he could have him whenever he wanted and our son could visit with him whenever and for how ever long he wanted to. I would not stand in their way because by doing so, I was standing in my way as well.
In a interview with Clutch Magazine, actress and divorced single mother, Nia Long said that she looks forward to her “Nia Time.” She went on to say that part of maintaining her peace of mind is making sure she carves out those moments for herself; moments to workout, take mini vacations or spend time with her girlfriends. By doing so, she is able to return to her mommy duties refreshed and recharged, ready to do it all over again! She also encouraged single mothers to ask and accept help and expressed that her ex-husband is very involved in their 9 year old son’s life.
It’s important for the single divorced mom to get out there and get her groove back. I want to encourage you all to let go a little and allow your ex-husband to spend more time with his kids. It doesn’t mean that you’ve lost or will lose anything. Your babies will ALWAYS be your babies, no matter how wonderful stepmom is, she’ll never be able to replace you. Find comfort in knowing that and use this time to get out there and regain your independence. Take a mini vacation, do something that you’ve always wanted to do, flirt a little, laugh a lot and finally realize that more time for dad means more time for you! It is possible to still be a divorced mom without losing yourself.
So to all my modern day divorced mommies, the next time the kids are away, (don’t worry they are in good hands) promise me that you will play. Put on a little black dress, call up a girlfriend and get out there and get your groove back. Remember, you are more than just a mom or an ex-wife, you are a beautiful woman who deserves to feel like that every moment you get. It doesn’t make you a bad parent. It will actually make you a better one!
Grace and Peace,