Tonight, I realized I really am a single mom. As I sit here all alone waiting for the Dance Program to start I look around and I am the only one in the auditorium sitting all alone. My Son had Boy scouts tonight and my daughter is in the Program. I keep looking behind me to see if Archi will be walking in the door. I pray so hard for RaKel that he does walk in and for myself, I pray that if he does, that he does not bring HER. In my mind all I can think about is how vulnerable and week, I must look. She has him and he has her, and I have ……. My purse.
About two months ago, my husband of 20 years walked out my door. After that many years he had become a part of who I was. Even when he was not with me, I was part of a relationship, a couple, a family. When he walked out, I thought wow, this is a good thing! We can not get along any more anyway. All we do is yell and scream and frankly he has not been around emotionally for three years. Not to mention that he started working a second job about two years ago. Since then he just kept taking on more and more hours at his job at Home Improvement and we saw him less and less. At least I think he has been taking on more hours? He has not been ABLE to come to Ray's Baseball games, or RaKel's school programs for many years.
After we had been separated about two weeks, he decided to share with me that he has been having an affair for a few months. Not really an affair he says, just that they have been passing notes, back and forth, flirting. Nothing serious. Being a woman I realize at that exact minute …… He has been sharing who I am and what I do wrong with this other woman. He can vent to her and she can look pretty and cute and listen and sooth his hurt feelings. I have been trying with everything I had to make him feel happy again. I would try to call him, connect, do anything to make us be a couple again. Talk about feeling hurt and violated. This realization makes the tears flow, and the sobbing begin. Just to think about it make the hurt and bitterness come to the surface.
Because of his extreme schedule we had decided he should quit his day job last June, take a break and re-group. After all, I was making plenty of money and he deserved a break, did not he? His temper had been extremely short, he was always ornery and he was so stressed. After many weeks and months of confusion, I decided he must be depressed. I had tried to make a point of being there for him, but nothing seemed to help him out of the dark place he had began to dwell in. Then in September he decided to go back to the same job that he had worked at a few years before. I thought …. Oh good. Now he will get his confidence back, and he will start contributing again. Wrong! I have now realized that going back to his old job was his way to get back on his feet so that he could walk out the door.
All the thoughts have really started to dwell inside my head. How many other people has he been with? Is that why when we were on vacation in Lava Hot Springs he had wanted nothing to do with me sexually? What about the times he did not come home as soon as I had thought he should? The different scenes just keep playing over and over in my head.
The Kids and I talked about the fact that their Dad had a girlfriend and it helped them make sense of the entire situation. Ray looked at me with his Big Blue Eyes and said "Mom, if RaKel and I think Tammy is a home wrecker …… what do her kids think of our Dad"? All I could do was hug him. Frankly, I was not about to argument the point.
Tonight at the dance program, my life changed. When I see RaKel's boyfriend Steve show up I am so relieved. I am finally sitting next to someone, I am no longer alone. Together we all celebrated her success. We all went to dinner, and as I sit here drinking a glass of white wine I realize my family will never be the same.
This story is the about the first time I realized how alone I would feel as a Single Mom. I have never been so scared or felt so alone in my journey.
Some of the things I have learned along the way are that you must always be confident about the decisions you make about the Kids. You may or may not have an active father in the picture, but that really is not the issue. If you stop acting like the parent and like a friend you will have some very confused children. They may act as if they enjoy the new you, but when they act out, you will revert back to being the Parent and they will wonder where their friend went. Think your decisions through; Be confident in what you say and how you act, even when you're not feeling so confident inside. Be firm and loving, but most of all be the Parent.
I have also learned that it is critical that you keep your promises to the kids. Chances are the father will not be as involved or committed once he is spending time with his new girlfriend, her kids and her life. Let's just face an obvious fact, the mother married the children, she bonded with them in a way that no man will ever understand, it stands to reason she will feel more attached to the children while the father who has moved out of the home, in most cases, will not be as involved. He will not realize how much his actions hurt the kids on a day to day basis. As the custodial parent you see the hurt and the disappointment. While you may feel justified to have a little fun and to let your hair down, remember the kids did not ask for all these changes and they need you to be the stable Mother they have came to relly on.
One final thought is you have to create a new family unit with your kids. Because I had two children I told them we were the Three Musketeers. All for one and one for all! I expected them to commit to each other in a way they had never done before. We would all three be united and on each other's team. This may seem like a small step, but 11 year later I can promise you they still bring it up. My daughter is married, my son lives on his own and I am remarried with two Step-Daughters, but whenever one of us is down, the other two mention that we will always there for each other no matter who else may be in the picture . All for one and one for all!