Wow, 26 years old and the first half of my twenties is gone. I can’t help but start adding up what my life has amounted to, and all I can come up with is motherhood. I haven’t got much right in this life. I don’t have a stellar career (or even a job that relates to the fraction of a college education that I have), I don’t own a house, I have a tad too much debt, I’ve been married but that didn’t end so beautifully – I am now divorced. I don’t have a savings account, I am drowning in the duties of homeschooling, housework, working, and a failed few months of trying my hand at the dating thing. Suddenly, I am wishing for time to go backwards so I can try again, but since time doesn’t go backwards, maybe I can make something more of myself before 30 hits.
I have, however, done the best I know how as a Mom. My oldest turned 6 on Tuesday and we had his party on Saturday. He had a great time, and made me proud with how grateful he was to his aunt for his cake and his guests for attending. He enjoyed the gifts he received, and it was amazing to watch him interact with everyone. He is a very social little guy, and I think I am finally okay with accepting that public school will become a part of our life this fall. Hopefully I will be able to adapt to the change and lead my boys in a way that makes public school a positive experience for them and me both.
Yet, parenting isn’t just about me. And this post is going to take a swing toward the “what it takes to be effective as a parent” side of things. My ex and I have had our share of ups and downs in the last 10 years of knowing each other. We were in a relationship for almost 7 years, married for just over 5, and we will always be a part of each others lives. We have two kids together, there is no escaping one another. Some days, this doesn’t seem so bad, other days, I have wished for nothing more than an “escape”. Yet, we are the best parents possible when we are getting along.
Let’s face it, how can you effectively raise and lead two people to be the best they can…together…if you can’t discuss how your day went without having an argument. Raising kids after a divorce isn’t just about pick ups and drop offs. It’s about the success of the children, as people, with real feelings. They need us to put ourselves aside and focus on them. Yet, if we focus solely on them then it becomes easy to fight, because let’s face it….we are exes for a reason. Fighting comes far too easily. But we are doing it. For 2.5 years now we have been on a journey toward accepting each others separate and personal lives, finding ways to communicate and get along, and raising kids together. We are that oddly divorced couple that can go to dinner, shoot pool, and hang out. Yet, our kids are better for it. Raising the boys isn’t just about me, and it isn’t just about him. It’s about a team effort toward making the lives of two people as bright as we possibly can – even through the mud, the muck, the hurt and the wounds.
Maybe I haven’t accomplished as much with my life as I always thought I would, but I have learned to put my best foot forward in a yucky situation. I have learned to put aside how I’m feeling or how hurt I am for the sake of someone else, and I can make the best of what is around me. Maybe the big “I’m 30” post will come with some achievements that are more tangible to the world, but for now I’ll take what I’ve got and be thankful for it.
And who knows, maybe by 30 I’ll have turned my novel’s first draft into something published…in fact, I think I’ll work on it for a bit tonight.