Photo courtesy of totallifecounseling.com
Stepping up on my soapbox for a minute (or several depending on how heated I get while typing what I initially intend to say), to touch upon a topic that has been close to my heart for 11 years now. Maybe even longer than that, when you consider that I’ve been 100% invested in my daughter’s relationship with her father for over 14 years now.
This is prompted by some memes I have recently seen posted on FaceBook by acquaintances of mine. Memes that cast a negative light on the father/mother of said acquaintances’ children. I’m not sure what the intent is here. It’s not like the ex-spouse or other half of the parenting complex really cares about the meme. Slandering the other half of your child’s genetic makeup does not make you look any better or more proficient at parenting. I’m guessing it makes these people feel better about a choice they don’t feel completely confident about. It’s ok. It is totally normal to question embarking on a single life, parenting seemingly alone. You don’t have to defend your choice through a meme. Own your choice. It wasn’t working for you. You felt it would be best to move forward without your partner. No matter what the circumstances are, it is never in your child’s best interests to have you projecting their other parent in a negative light. It also makes you project such negativity. What a vicious cycle. When the child is forced to choose, it makes them feel that part of them is “bad”. Children should be exempt from the drama and difficulty of divorce.
No matter what issues I have ever had with my daughter’s father, I have always encouraged her to love him and fostered an environment where she feels free to speak of him in a positive way. She shares funny stories about him or cool things he does with her and my response is often “that’s so neat! Dad is really good at that stuff”. Or “you’re so lucky to have a Dad that is so hilarious. He is one of the funniest guys I know!”. Some of my favorite qualities in my daughter, are direct offshoots of her Dad. Have I ever been completely frustrated by him or discouraged in his decisions and choices? Of course! But I feel that way with lots of people. This man gave me the greatest gift I will ever receive in my entire life. For all of us, it is best that everyone is on good terms and works together. We are her parents. No matter who comes into or out of our lives, we are always a familial unit to one sweet girl. Never, ever will I take that most basic of rights away from her-the right to a family. In keeping with that, I foster the same relationship with my stepson and his mother. (He lives with us full-time). I try to be her advocate as much as possible, because I know she wishes she was raising her child. I also try to empathize with my daughter’s stepmom. Blended families are difficult to navigate. With a little intelligence and lots of empathy and compassion for all involved, the process can be much easier on everyone. Sadly, I sometimes think many people foster the drama…instead of the positive aspects of blended families. And there definitely are some. For both the kids and the parents. I sense an upcoming post. 🙂
I know there are many of you with difficult stories. Heartbreaking divorces. Negligent fathers/mothers. I am not condoning their actions on any level. I have learned from experience, that if you focus on the positive, you can create a better life for yourself and your child. That is all I want for each of you.