single mom

Standing up

This post is a little bit angry.

You have been warned.

When I first started this blog, I mainly wanted to treat it almost as a diary only with less tears and smudged ink. I wanted to unleash how I felt, get my fingers moving across the keyboard and record my thoughts, feelings, fears, and aspirations in a way that was as positive as I could possibly make it. I wanted to be able to come back and look at the posts in a week or two, and feel better – even if no one else ever looks at it.

I recently made the deicision to go back to school. When I moved in with my now ex-husband, I gave up a lot of my dreams and goals. When we got pregnant, I gave up my social life, my friends and my identity. When my son was born, I made a half-assed attempt to get my education together. I loved the program I was enrolled in – working with persons with various (dis)abilities. I have always been fascinated with autism – stemming from my bus-buddy, a young man seven years my junior who had autism. Gabriel was smart, sweet, and incredibly talented. He would often sit and tell me about a movie he watched or video game he was playing in such detail I imagine it was still playing in his mind’s eye.



Who wouldn’t make sacrifices for a face like that?

When I left college to research a better fit for me, I helped my husband go back to school. We were married, had renovated a home and were even discussing getting pregnant again. When an opportunity to go into Public Relations – a career I have always wanted – presented itself to me, I sadly had to turn it down. It wasn’t feasible. Fast forward six months and my husband and I had separated, I was alone and struggling on a shitty salary, in an OK job, feeling completely unfulfilled. This was NOT the life I wanted for myself. So I decided to make the life I want for my son and I.

First, let me say that I am being a little bit selfish and that I think it’s OK. I give up my own sanity on a daily basis, so I figure selfishly wanting a better education, career, home, car, wardrobe, and POSSIBILITES can be allowed – mainly because that selfishness will spill over into the selflessness of being able to give my son all of the things that I want for him: an education, the opportunities to enjoy afterschool activities like sports, vacations to cool places, a safe home, a happy mom.

Evidently, all of this makes me a bad mom. Yep. I’m a bad mom for wanting to better myself.

Going back to school means a big sacrifice. It’s in another city, four hours from our present home. Daycare is expensive and hard to get into. The waitlist is about a year. So I put my name in, accepted my seat at school, went apartment hunting and accepted that, for the first time in my life, I will be living alone. My son will primarily be staying with my parents.

I felt really great about this decision – who is going to love my son more than his grandparents? They raised me in a home filled with love, and while it’s not the ideal situation, I’d rather my son be with them in a safe home, where he will be engaged, loved, cared for, spoiled, supported and disciplined according to my standards than for him to be in a daycare with strangers and twenty-five other kids, getting less one-on-one time, being exposed to behaviours and language I’m not comfortable with and missing the people who have been with him almost every day since he was born.

Many of the people I have spoken to about my plan have responded with love. Words of support and congratulations, wistful “I wish I would have been as brave as you are”, empowering “you deserve this” and warm “you’ll do great, no matter what” comments have made a hard decision a lot easier to take. All of my good feeling was spoiled in a single sentence, from a bitchy “frenemy” from high school.

“Wow, so you’re just leaving him behind like that?”

Cue the entire world of good feeling and excited anticipation falling down on my head.

Yes, I am leaving him behind. It’s a temporary fix – kind of like the temporary fix where we moved back into my mom’s place because my ex doesn’t financially support us. Or like the “temporary fix” where she’s been living with her parents, with her kids, for four years.

But I am NOT abandoning him. I will drive home every weekend I am able (weather permitting), and I am renting a two bedroom apartment so he can come and stay with me often . As soon as I find an affordable daycare that I feel comfortable having my son attend, he will move in with me.

I didn’t become a mother under the circumstances I would have liked, but I am blessed to have this little boy. I love him, and I want what’s best for him. An unhappy mom who never realized her dreams is not what’s best for him. A mom who’s working a minimum wage job and barely getting by is not what’s best for him.

So, to every person who feels that I am a bad mom for making a tough decision that they don’t have to make:

Walk in my shoes for a day. Feel the hurt that I feel in my heart day in and day out. Experience the fear I have for what the next year of my life is going to entail. Feel the loneliness I live with, knowing that I really have no one I can talk to who truly understands what I’m going through. After you’ve done that, go ahead and judge. Call me a bad mother… but you might be surprised to know that your opinion has changed.

 

F and I, being silly.

 
 

I never once complained to be perfect. Finley goes to bed late, watches TV, and sometimes to avoid a fight, I let him skip brushing his teeth. But I love him and cherish him and you can never take that from me.

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7 thoughts on “Standing up

  1. Go you! I think you have a great plan that, looking into the future, is going to be a healthy one for you and him. In the short-run it will be hard and there will be tears and sadness. But a mother who betters her circumstances, makes plans for the good care of her child, and does this with confidence should be judged: awesome.

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  2. I think what you are doing is well considered. As a single parent, you have fewer options and more difficult choices to make that many people may realize. While this period will be a challenge, I expect that your drive to make things better will reflect positively in your son's attitudes and character as he grows up.

    In the end, you are the one having to make the tough choices based on the available options. Not anyone else.

    Wishing you much success in the days to come. May you get to the place where your choices are more plentiful and easier to make.

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  3. See, when I read this I don't see a selfish Mom. I see someone who is sacrificing so much so that the life of her child will be better. You're trusting him with people who love him for his sake. Leaving him will be so hard on your Mama-heart. And while you are bettering your life, you are also improving his.

    I am amazed at the extent you are going for your son. I hope it proves to be the best decision for both of you.

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  4. Laura – It is wonderful to know that someone can see what I am hoping to achieve. My Mama-heart has her armour on from here on out, but the hurt has already begun to dull… I know the end result will be more than worth it.

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