Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mother's Day for the Divorced Mom


I've got motherhood on the brain.  After all, it is Mother's Day on Sunday.  I have been on my own for almost two years.  Sam and I got separated in July of 2011.  I remember the first month or so feeling so good.  I felt like I was being carried by some unseen force.  But then I remember a few months later, feeling defeated--feeling like my life was never going to be good again, at least, it was never going to be the same.  The adrenaline had worn off and the daily grind was a struggle for me.

Things are better now but sometimes I still catch myself daydreaming of my "other life."  You know, the one that I would be living if I hadn't got divorced.  I let myself go there for about thirty seconds and then I snap back to reality.  Don't get me wrong.  I love my life.  I am very blessed.  But every so often, I just want my old life back, where my kids didn't pack little bags and go back and forth between two houses and everything was just less complicated.  For me, that will always be the worst part of getting divorced--knowing that my kids' lives will never be the same.  I know that I will eventually get remarried and my life will probably be even better than it was before.  But I can't say that for my kids.  I still maintain that I got divorced in large part for my kids but I think it is going to take years for my children to understand and believe it was for the best.

I had the perfect childhood with a mom and dad who loved each other and everything was pretty idyllic.  My kids will never have that.  They will always have two homes. They will eventually have to deal with step-parents and step siblings. They will have the long awkward wedding invitations listing two sets of parents.

But at this point, I can't do anything about that.  All I can do is reassure my kids that both Sam and I love them more than anything.  I tell them that they are going to be fantastic, strong, amazing adults because they had to go through some really hard stuff as kids.  They will already know something about adversity when they are called on to face greater trials. 



But back to my mothering...I go back and forth between bursting with pride in how well I am doing and feeling like a total failure.   I guess that's normal.

Here is the thing..I'm not so good at the homemaking side of mothering.  We dig through the baskets of clean clothes every day for underwear and socks.  (I call it "go fish!")  Dinner is usually something fast and easy--most nights there is no roast in the oven.  But that was never my forte.

I feel like my strength is holding my big ol' 9 year old in my lap and crying with him because he wishes his parents weren't divorced.  I am good at going to five sports stores looking for a particular pair of bball socks for his Easter basket. I am good at listening to my 8 yr old's lengthy stories about what one girl said to another at school today.  I am great at taking her shopping and finding her the cutest clothes.   I am good at putting on a full witch costume and helping with the school parties on Halloween.  I am really good at body slamming my 3 year old and wrestling with him in my bed for thirty mins in the afternoon when all of his siblings are gone.  I am good at cheering him on as he learns to use the potty. I am good at snuggling with my 5 year old in the morning and telling him how special he is.  I am good at taking him to BYU sporting events even though he gets tired and wants to leave early.  I am good at reading with him before he goes to bed.

So while I mess up every.single.day and say things in frustration that I want to take back or I lose my patience, I need to remember that I am doing the best I can.  I am not the perfect mother--not even close.  But my mother wasn't perfect either (sorry mom!)  However, she was and still is the best mom for me.  I think I am the best mom for my kids.  And that is something worth celebrating.

22 comments:

Jacqui said...

Perfectly said.

gwen said...

Love this.

Charlotte said...

Oh Brooke, I don't even know you, and yet I feel like you've got it just right. Happy Mother's Day to you. Celebrate indeed!

D-dawg said...

This is the best Mother's Day post ever. I love how you focuses on your strengths and listed them out. I need to do that. It's so much easier to see our faults. Good job- I think you're awesome. And happy Mothers Day!!!

Ashley said...

This made me cry but that's not hard to do these days. If we judge your mothering by it's fruits then you are doing incredibly well. Your kids are darling, good, high-achieving and happy (like their mom, coincidentally . . . ) You should also get props for being on such good terms with Sam and how that benefits the kids. You didn't chose to get divorced (well at least not to be in the situation that led to it) but every time you've had a choice you've done the best thing for your kids. The only place you are off-base here is saying mom wasn't perfect. Hi mom! Happy Mother's Day!

The Mostess said...

It's true! Your mom is AH-MAZING!

Hi, Linda! Looking for a new daughter? I'm an orphan. My parents died tragically in a fire. It's just so sad.

Think it over!

PS--coming back to comment for real. I just needed to strike while the iron seemed hot.

The Mostess said...

Okay, okay, I'm back.

You really are a great mom. And you're the best mom for your adorable kids. They're lucky to have you-and you're lucky to have them.

Happy Mother's Day! You're fab!

Linda said...

Whatayamean, I'm not perfect???
And Kaari, you are IN, baby! And Beezie, too! I love you!
And Brookie,neither one of us was/is the most conventional mother, but both of us have turned out a pretty good product. (so far). Ashley is right, your kids are proof that you are a great mother! happy Mother's Day!

Liz said...

You are an amazing mom and I'm glad your focusing on your strengths because it is really, REALLY easy to focus on the bad stuff that we all have. Your children are so fun and I'm always impressed by them.

Linda's not perfect? What?

Carolyn M said...

Brooke ... I love your blog. Its real and honest and I love that about you. You have a beautiful family and it starts with the mom - you ! Happy Happy Mothers Day to you and to your fabulous mother.

Cindy said...

Love this, love your blog!

melissa walker said...

I truly believe that every mom has her strengths no mom is the same--we all parent differently and it's okay--if mom and kids are doing well, you're doing a good job! You are a great example to me of a mom who makes the best of every situation--a great example to your kids of that too!

Carolyn said...

Beautiful post!

Emma Johnson said...

Brooke, I have often read your blog because I am a divorced mother too and I have enjoyed your honesty and your posts. There are certainly some challenges to being a divorced mom and it is a little overwhelming sometimes. When I got a divorce about five years ago I remember feeling the same defeat that you speak of. As I’m sure you are aware, life goes on and married life becomes a memory. Kids’ lives change too. Yes, they have to pack their bags and go back and forth between two houses. They have to adjust to their parents’ dating and meeting potential step-siblings. Kids however are resilient and it is troubling to me that you speak to your kids about going through “really hard stuff” and the adversity they face in their lives. Such an implication – that kids somehow suffer from some infirmity because of divorce – can lead to dangerous consequences. A story about the difficulty of divorce and the challenges kids face when “coping” with divorce will become a self-fulfilling prophecy for kids if they get enrolled in a story about being disadvantaged. Like their parents, kids have to be strong and it’s harder to move forward with positive energy and happiness if we believe we are victims. My boys have two houses to go to. They get extra birthday and holiday celebrations. They get the opportunity to spend time with their grandmothers and fun babysitters when I am at work. My boys’ families will likely increase and include step-parents, step-siblings, step-grandparents (or whatever you call it), but they will be blessed with more people in their lives. They have two parents that love them. My boys are at no disadvantage because their parents chose to divorce and I won’t ever allow them to believe such a story.

Jill said...

Motherhood is tricky no matter what the situation. We had two talks at church today that made me feel like a crappy mother, though that certainly wasn't their intention. I left the meeting in tears.

brooke said...
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Jamie Benson said...

@emma, Divorce is not a good thing or a fun situation for anybody. Pretending like it is, is not doing your kids any favors. Perhaps you will end up having to have the tough conversations you avoided later on in life, because they may have built up sadness and resentment that wasn't addressed at the time of divorce. I believe that validating that everyone is sad and wishes the divorce didn't happen makes them know their feelings are normal and justified. Teaching them to look at the bright side of situations is a valuable lesson but its a disservice to them to pretend like divorce is fun and that they are lucky. They know its not the ideal situation and kids need to get their feelings out and feel like you understand their struggles and sadness. Coming to terms with the facts of what is, makes it possible for the healing to begin properly......not forced. Everyone deals with things differently.....but sweeping the hard stuff inder the rug doesn't necessarily make it go away. Honesty always serves the children best.

Jamie Benson said...

Brooke, I have read your blog for a couple years now. I too have recently gone through a divorce and I thank you for your posts. It is nice to read words from someone who has been there and who understands. Thank you for the time you put into your posts. You have been able to put into words what a lot of us are going through.

Elizabeth said...

@Emma, Both my husband and I have divorced parents. It sucked as kids and sometimes at 41 it still sucks. End of story.

Brooke,
This is a true and beautiful post. You are the perfect mother for your children.
Ex

brooke said...
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brooke said...

Emma,

I appreciate your comment and I see your point. 95% of the time, my kids are happy and doing great. Once in awhile my two older children (ages 9 and 8) will cry about the divorce. I feel like it would be disingenuous to say "rah rah divorce is great! You get two homes and two bday parties, etc". Sometimes they just need to be sad about the divorce too.

When I was going through the really hard year of deciding if I was going to get divorced or not, my dad said to me. "I hate that you have to go through this. This is beneath you. You are too special to be trapped in a bad marriage and have to go through a divorce." He made me feel as if divorce was something that was happening to me but that it was not going to define me. I want my kids to feel the same way. I don't want them ever to think of divorce as a good thing. I tell them how sorry I am that it had to happen to us and I would have done anything in my power to take it away if I could have changed things. But I couldn't. The last thing I want is for them to think divorce is okay or good. I want them to fight for their own marriages.

So I guess my point is that I think it is okay to paint divorce as an ugly thing we didn't choose but that we are going to fight though it together. Right now, they are all doing well and happy so I think it is working for us.

Em said...

Say it, sista.