To Him: “This is a 24/7 job do you understand me…When she’s sick, when she’s tired, when she just plain old don’t feel like it, she don’t have anybody to pass the baton to. Nobody’s here to pass it to. She’s the first one to get up in the morning, the last one to go down at night. She’s the mother, the father, the Doctor, the nurse, the chauffeur and the therapist…so you may not like her, but you damn sure are gonna respect her and you gonna thank her.”
To Her: “Baby he gone, he don’t want you no more. You got to let him go. You need to think about how you all are gonna raise [him] right now, together, with what you got right now!”
(Loretta Divine, Love Is)
Preach on preacher!
Parenting as a single person does not and should not ever be single parenting, parenting singularly and alone.
Parenting while single requires you to love in the right now, accept the situation as is, learn to be okay with it, own your responsibility in the outcome, and respect the parenting partner, especially if you are not properly parenting. It is required in order for you to raise a child who is not stuck trying to figure out how he or she fits into your inability to heal from a failed relationship and a failure to parent.
We pass on our trauma to our kids when we blame the active parent for demanding that we take part in parenting equally or respect them enough to allow them to make decisions on behalf of the child that we are not included in. It’s not their fault we aren’t included, we don’t include ourselves. They are left being the child’s everything…while we are given the space to be selfish, chase our dreams in a bubble, and practice continuous self-care while they have to schedule an hour alone to take a bath and read a chapter of a book they bought a year ago. We owe them a big thank you!
The truth is, we are usually plagued by both a broken heart and guilt. A broken heart for the failed relationship and guilt for allowing that pain to keep us from our kids, usually to avoid the love we lost by avoiding what that love created. We take our guilt out on them instead of figuring out how to be active parents, we disrespect them and hurt our children. We hurl ourselves deeper into an abyss of blame and anger that is actually our own creation. So we verbally abuse them. Name call, spread untruths or half-truths about them, and disrespect our past with them. We try to place our own guilt as blame upon them.
Our inability to be active parents is our own fault, NO fault of theirs!
Others of us hold on to the pain of what we lost, and punish the other party. Especially when that other party is co-parenting based on their own needs and not the needs of the child. It feels like a second rejection. It feels like a rejection of us and then a rejection of the greatest extension of ourselves, our children. But people are allowed to not want to be with you. That choice is theirs to make, if it is what is best for their life. As much as it may disappoint you, the end of your relationship with your child’s parent is not a tool of punishment where their child is concerned. Some of us withhold our children as pawns until the other party makes the moves we want to see. Others of us hold threats of court and child support over their heads as low hanging beams, hoping when they finally stand upright they will see the same stars their rejection left floating around in our heads. Then some of us are just bitches. And be very clear, I have not mentioned gender purposefully, because these are things both men and women do.
It shouldn’t be an option for people to choose to parent, but sadly it is a choice some people make. There is nothing we can do about that but leave the light on. Why? Well, the child’s relationship with their parent is their own, not yours to control. Of course if that other parent is hurting the child in some way, then by all means take the reins… but if it’s simply a matter of coming and going, that child will let you know their level of interest. Unless of course it is so inconsistent it is causing heartbreak and uncertainty in the child. And true to form, they will make up their own minds. A parent with an open invitation into their child’s life who doesn’t come to the party has their own issues, it’s a reflection of how they see themselves. Maybe this can help you release some of the anger you have regarding their absence. You are involved, but it’s not about you. The person most affected, is the child.
So everyone needs to start where they are… the relationship is over, but the child is here… in need of two parents. It takes two people to make a baby by God’s design, that design doesn’t stop at conception. The same way a man and woman fit together to make a child, they fit together to raise one.