This is a hard one to talk about. Even for me and I’m usually open to discuss pretty much anything. (Sex, vaginas, mental health, even my feelings). But it’s been playing on my mind a lot recently and I know it’s because Maia’s getting older and more aware of what’s going on. – More aware that her father and I are not in fact “mummy and daddy that live together, share a bed, share the bills and share our problems”, but are “mummy and daddy that live apart, share Whatsapp messages, photos, videos and a few polite words face to face once a week.”
The guilt never really goes away. It sort of sits there in the back of my head just waiting and sometimes if I’m having a really crappy day or moment, I’ll think it: “Her parents aren’t together. Will this break her heart the way it breaks mine when I think about it?”.
I am a little anxious that we’re not setting the example for Maia of what a “rock solid steady healthy relationship” looks like. That we’re not your average “family unit”. We live with my parents, so everything’s a bit upside down. She will never remember us a couple, she’ll never know what it’s like with her parents together, holding hands or showing each other affection. In some ways this makes me sad, but as a positive, she will never have to suffer the immediate effects of a breakup, because we’ve already been through it, she’ll have grown up with us apart. I like to think remaining civil, showing that we get along and that she is our sole focus is the most important thing. There is no stress anymore, no pressure to act as if we’re happy when we weren’t. It sounds awful because of course a child needs her father, but it feels right. I know there are thousands of children who only see their father at weekends, or even less if they work abroad often, so really I’m just glad he comes as much as he does. They have their quality time together – once or twice a week- and I know he’d do anything for her.
Fortunately for my conscience, there are two people in Maia’s life with a wonderful relationship, it’s no perfect example, (well what’s a perfect example?) but it’s twenty-six years of marriage. I would say my parents are rock solid and steady, if a little odd. They are an unusual pair in many ways, but somehow it works. I hear Mum come home from work and talk about her day whilst Dad listens with genuine interest, I hear them laugh together, plan our holidays. I hear them happy. It hasn’t always been this way, Dad’s depression brought some horribly dark times but I believe this only made their marriage stronger. I also feel their individual weirdness compliments each others’ perfectly.
I do sometimes think what will the consequences be to raising her as a single mother. Will she lack confidence? Will she be insecure? Will it bother her, bringing friends over to her grandparents house? Will she compare herself to others whose parents are together? Will she need therapy and if so how much?!
I sort of get the feeling I know the answer to these questions, if we handle the situation accordingly. It’s really down to the way we interact with one another and the way I talk about her Dad. I would never talk negatively about him to Maia and I would expect the same from him. (The pages of my journal are a different story…Lord I do hope she never finds them…). Although we are no longer in a relationship, the same elements are still necessary for everything to work between the three of us; trust, respect, communication, and a general feeling of friendliness. Children sense tension far more than we realise. (Okay I admit I am still waiting for the general feeling of awkwardness to dissipate but I realise I may be waiting a while).
I try and reassure myself that at least she won’t grow up in a stressful household, parents always arguing, tension in the air. I would rather show my daughter it is better to be alone, than with someone that doesn’t make you happy. – For alone is not an unhappy place to be.
Children, in the beginning stages of their lives, see the world through their parents’ eyes. It depends on you how you perceive the situation. She will pick up on the fact that you’re worried about the situation or find it less than ideal. My friend, on the other hand, recently broke up with her partner, but communicated it to her 4-yo son as something entirely positive. The effect was that he looked forward to moving into a new apartment with new adventures, and his parents still see each other regularly and are polite and friendly with each other. As long as you don’t think it’s a problem, your kid won’t see a problem with it either. If you’re constantly fretting about, on the other hand, she’ll start to do too.
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Thank you for your comments, you’re absolutely right. It’s definitely not a problem and a huge positive that he comes every week, I’m so grateful and we’re both so much happier.
Hello! Thank you for your comment, I did mean more towards the teen period when she starts asking questions about her dad and I.. I’m finally getting used to the situation now, certainly feeling a lot more positive than I used to.
Thank you for this, it can’t have been easy for you to write this. I’ve definitely come to learn there is no “perfect happy family”, they don’t exist, even married couples go through hard times.
We’re both so much happier now, and I’m more than grateful that he comes and spends time with her, it’s important to me that he’s a part of her life, as you said it just wasn’t meant to be.
So happy for you that you’re in a relationship, I hope he treats you well and makes you happy :).
Thank you again for your comments
I’m so sorry about your Dad, that must have been awful for you and your Mum.. You’re so strong and wise and I admire you so much for your positivity.. I’m sure he’d be so proud of you 🙂
And yes haha I’ll be keeping a close eye on any boys she brings home! Xx
My parents broke up when I was 4 years old I can honestly say it didn’t affect me in the slightest, my mum and dad got on never had a bad word to say about eachother.
I love them both dearly and now am happy they are happy!
Just do what your doing and she will be just fine, she won’t feel left out or strange that your not with her dad all she needs is love and that’s what you both give her ❤️
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Hi Holly, thank you for your kind words and comments, this is so reassuring to read, it’s definitely not been easy but I know -as you say- if we’re both happy then she will be too.
All the best 🙂 xx
I think you should talk about it to the dad instead because well he is the dad and such a decision shouldn’t be taken on your own.
Your daughter will be fine, especially if she sees you guys happy. Don’t worry about that. But you might convey your anxiety about it to her and that won’t be good for her… And by the way you explained it, it just looks like you’re the only who is worried about it. You can still show it to Maia when you’ll be in a relationship as her dad could show her on his side as well. Besides it wouldn’t be good for her to see her mum staying with her dad just because she wants to suit this image of a “traditional family” and not because she was happy and both were in love of each other. Your daughter would grow up with a beautiful mindset and heart.
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Thank you for your comments and kind words 🙂 I talk to her Dad quite regularly and I’m thankful he’s so reasonable and that we get along! Xxx
I meant for this type of decision. Bigs decisions towards your daughter should be taken together :). She’s definitely lucky to have a dad like him.
Best of luck for everything xxxx
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