Single Mother & The Not So Understanding Toddler
The one thing you’re not prepared for as a single parent are those ULTIMATE single parent moments with your child. You know the ones that solidify your status of single parent. There is no back up, the daddy or mommy is not gonna come to the rescue and do their part. The part they committed to before the baby came and then again confirming at the hospital? You know the moment I’m talking about! It’s that moment when that feeling of anger and resentment comes crawling up your neck like a bad itchy burning rash! And you curse them secretly in your heart for leaving you and your child to assume roles you weren’t suppose to. Yesterday I had my moment.
Jaxon was in an interesting mood yesterday. He only wanted waffles. Then he didn’t want to eat them at all. Then he only wanted them at my grandmother’s house. Well since we were gonna spend the day there anyway, why not? Frozen waffles packed in backpack and it’s off to GG’s. In the elevator he looks at me and says, “daddy at GG’s house?” I tell him no,that his father is not there believing that this answer will satisfy him. Boy was I wrong. He then asked me if his daddy would eat breakfast with him, to which I answered no, not today. Then I went into a longer explanation of why he wouldn’t be able to. Talking about his daddy working on that day, and that his daddy lived in a different state etc. He gave me an, okay as if he understand what I meant and that he was clear on the fact that his father would not be coming to breakfast that morning. Well the next 20 minutes after that were a bit confusing. He seemed to be irritated with everything and everyone until he finally said in a fit of tears those heart wrenching words, “I want my daddy!”
It felt like I had been sucker punched in the gut because I knew that the next few minutes were gonna be nothing but a fit of tears and that my son was ridiculously hurt. Well it was thirty minutes to be exact! You know there is nothing like that feeling of your child being hurt and there’s nothing you can do about it. My son crawled in my lap in a fit of screaming tear filled cries. I tried to soothe him and distract him. Well I soon realized that I was falling on deaf ears when he heard that breakfast was ready and he looked up at me and said, “Daddy? Daddy coming?” I took a deep breath and shook my head saying, no baby, he’s not. Of course he answered me with a crumbled up sour face and the tears began to flow again.
My only solution was to call his father, but of course that only made the situation worse when a voicemail answered Jaxon. However we did get daddy on the phone. And daddy letting him know that he would call him later didn’t help. As soon as Jaxon heard, bye, his heart broke all over again. My stomach was turning and turning over and over again at the painful sounds coming out of my son’s mouth. I remembered the last time he saw his dad had been at my grandmother’s house a couple of months ago. They hadn’t been able to speak in a few days.And Jax was a bit tired because he woke up very early and went to bed a bit late. So his whole world had come crashing down at the moment and all he wanted was to see his Daddy’s face and he wasn’t going to see his father that day. He wouldn’t be seeing his father for a long time. If you come from a broken home, you can relate to these moments your children have. But that doesn’t make it any better. If anything it makes it worse because you know what that pain feels like.
I can honestly say looking at my son’s face and hearing his cries made me hate my ex at that moment. I hated his guts for removing himself out of his son’s life on a daily basis for his own selfish reasons. I hated him for not being available at the exact moment to talk to his son. I hated him at that moment for not being in our city so he could just pop over and take my son for dinner or come and hug him tight. I hated him for living his life outside of being Jaxon’s father. I hated him for not fighting for his family so Jax never would have gone through this. I hated him for not taking every opportunity to leave town and come see his son. I hated him for not being able to switch places with Jaxon at that very moment. I hated him for making me go through these moments by myself. I hated him for making me mother and father. I hated him for making me raise Jaxon alone. I hated that the only thing he could do was soothe him over a phone call, and that was only for 53 seconds. I hated him for making Jaxon miss his dad.
Now some of the reasons are far-fetched and unreasonable, and I know that his father is trying to figure out to be Jax’s dad in this new setting. In my heart I know how my ex feels about his son and that he’s just in a phase in his life where he just doesn’t get IT right now. And his not getting IT right now is because he’s human. Him not getting IT right now doesn’t mean that he won’t ever get it. And it doesn’t mean that him not getting IT right now won’t ruin their relationship in the future. Of course IT being that right now while he’s going through this transition, his son is going through a bigger one. IT being that going a few days between skyping and talking to Jax could affect Jax in a serious way. IT being that Jax being mad at him for not being there is normal and goes away as quickly as it came. IT being that Jax still remembers living in a two parent household. IT being that Jax misses being in a two parent household. Deep down I have as much faith in my ex now as I had the day Jax was born and I watched him change his first diaper with precision and care. Everyone is going through some sort of transition. I’m transitioning into single mom raising a child alone. Jax is transitioning into a single parent household. His father is transitioning into being a visiting parent. It isn’t easy on anyone. All three of us are dealing with it differently because we are going through different things. The best thing to do is to probably understand what the other two are going through and be respectful of their feelings & situation. Creating/ transitioning into a blended family is like playing double dutch. No one really knows when the right time is to jump in and start jumping. No one really understands their role at first, or where this is gonna go.
Jaxon’s crying and agony seemed like it was never gonna end and I just didn’t know what to say or do. This wasn’t a scratch I could bandage or a bump I could ice. This was his heart. His soul was broken at that moment. I could see the defeat and confusion in his eyes, and I had no other answer than the one he didn’t want to hear. I never felt so alone as a parent. The days of tag teaming parenting were definitely over. Here I was with a toddler emotionally aching and I was covered in an overwhelming shroud of guilt. I remember thinking about how I use to think my mother was so strong and resilient with being a single mom of four kids. It wasn’t until I became a single mother that I realized just HOW strong my mother is!
It’s more than just being physically tired and being overly organized and playing both roles. It’s not just the bullies or rejection at school that you have to worry about. But it’s the rejection they feel by an absent parent that you have to help them heal from. It’s the fight to show them that the love exists between all of you and that the other parent isn’t rejecting them. It’s the constant having to clarify and clear the confusion about having two houses and two sets of parents and the new circumstances. No matter how difficult or how easy the situation is the child will still at some point blame themselves, feel rejection and become resentful for a time. You could have your ex live down the street from you and the child sees both of you equally, it just doesn’t matter. I mean it’s better than the parent who ran off or if the child lives in a different state or country from their parent. But there is still going to be some sort of hurt because they are born to two parents, and if they go home to two parents and are loved by two parents together for a period of time, they expected that to last longer than you did.
There is never an easy to handle these things. And with my son being so young, it makes it that more confusing and hard for him to understand most of the time. All I can do is just keep the love flowing and the confusion down. That includes always trying to see his father’s side and understanding his position/place in this equation. Being aware of his feelings on his new role and being away from his son. Gently reminding him the affects his distance and new life is having or not having on his son. Gently and respectfully. Easier said than done, but it’s not about me. It’s about my son. And the best way to show your love for your child is to respect and love their parent. You can’t demand the child respect their parent if you don’t. It’s gonna be a long while before any of this easy. But it’s getting there. This isn’t the first time and won’t be the last time Jax has cried over his father not being there. It wasn’t the first the time or the last time I felt like the only parent Jax has. But it will get better. It will get different. The best thing to do is pray. Pray for peace. Pray for humility. Pray for understanding. Pray for strength. Pray for patience. Pray for thanks.
June 13, 2012 @ 9:58 pm
My heart just dropped reading this. I don’t have any children, but as a child of a single parent, I totally can relate to this. I always talk to my mom about divorce and she understands how I feel. I admire her and all of the single moms (and dads too) who are doing everything to support themselves and their children. Anyways, I enjoy reading your blog and keep it up Brooklyn! 🙂
June 15, 2012 @ 7:13 am
Thank you for this post Brooklyn. Sometimes, us fathers, can forget the pain & permanent damage we can cause in our selfishness. Sometimes we can forget about the promise we made “to always be there” for our child(ren), as we move through our own unimportant (but seems so important at the time) process. I have a son who lives half week with me & although it’s been this way for nearly 4 years now, I can still see the hurt in his eyes when we are in route to his mother’s home to make the exchange. It breaks my heart every week.
Today, after reading your heartfelt & eloquent story, my heart is filled with gratitude. I am grateful that I chose to honor my commitment to my soul, my son & my ex-wife. I honor myself by giving love & receiving the ever so priceless love from my son. I honor my son by keeping my word to never leave him. And, most importantly, I honor his mother by loving her as the conduit of unconditional love that birthed him into our lives.
Thank you for your inspiration & raw sincerity. I share your prayers.