Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Role Change

     Being a parent is hard, period.  Children are a huge responsibility and it is the parents' job to take care of them.  We know how hard it is to care for them emotionally and financially.  With two parents, either in the household or amicably divorced, it is a full time responsibility.  The ideal situation is for children to be raised with both parents in the home.  The next is for divorced parents to work together and communicate while raising their children.

     Then, there are situations where there is only one parent.  Unfortunately, this can occur because one parent has passed away, but sometimes it occurs when one parent just chooses to be absent.  This is my situation.  I was a stay at home mom for years and now I am the only parent to my three children.  I know I am definitely not alone.  There are a lot of other moms out there who have found themselves in the same situation.

     It is hard enough learning how to be financially responsible when you have only been in the home for years, but really that is the easier part at times.  The harder part is trying to spread yourself among your children to meet their emotional needs.  I am extremely blessed that I have sweet kids that don't give me an ounce of trouble.  I am also extremely blessed that I have my family living on the same street who go above and beyond their responsibilities in helping me raise my kids.

     I have looked for articles, mainly out of curiosity, about moms in this situation.  There are many about the effects of kids growing up with an absent parent, but being selfish for a minute I am curious about the moms.  I love being a mom and it is always my top priority.  It does get really hard, though, trying to juggle all responsibilities myself.  There again, my family is a huge help.  Even down to fixing things in my home, I call on my dad and grandfather.  My dad is the official light bulb changer in my house.  We have high ceilings and three floors of lights that all seem to go out at the same time.  My dad won't let me get on a ladder (that and I am still his little girl that he likes to help in any way, which I LOVE) so he comes over and gets my boys and they get it done.  That is really simple in comparison to everything else.  My dad has gotten a little cheated out of just being a grandfather to my kids so he jumps in every time they need a dad.  My brother always pays attention to my car.  He will notice if a tire is low or if there is anything else that needs to be seen about.  He also spends time with my kids. He has three of his own, but he always seems to make sure he knows what is going on with mine and gives them personal attention if he thinks they need it.  These are just a couple of examples of things the men in my family do to help.  Believe me, there are MANY more!

     I have gone from being a stay at home mom and co parent to be the only breadwinner and parent.  That is a big role change!  I don't see it as unfair or have any bitterness towards it, but I have to admit it is really hard.  Probably the hardest thing is trying to figure out how to be a dad at times the kids need a dad.  My brother, sister's husband, grandfather, and father are always there for them, but you know how it is when things come up and you really don't have time to call for back up.  We have another older family member that is a huge part of their lives.  They are so blessed.  I always say God knew this is how it would turn out so He made sure they had plenty of good men around them.

     Some things are easy when it comes to my daughter.  There are a lot of times she just needs a mom and her situation isn't affected.  But, when it comes to my daughter and dating and boys, that is a hard one.  All of the men in our family are VERY protective of her.  They don't hesitate to give their advice.  But, I always worry about her dating that the boys won't feel like they have her father to answer to.  My dad can come over, but there won't always be a man around when a boy comes to pick her up for a date.  I will say, though, I am pretty good at taking care of myself and am not really shy when I get upset, but I know it isn't the same thing.  I am probably a lot more sensitive to my daughter being mistreated by a guy because I am playing both mom and dad.  Can I use this as an excuse?  Can I get twice as mad because I am angry for 2?  I will always wonder if a boy does something disrespectful to her if they would have done it had there been a dad around.  I can't help but feel like that is a big disadvantage to her. 

     Then, there are issues with the boys and them "maturing".  Some things boys just don't want to talk to their mom about.  I am really close to both of mine and feel like we have a very open and good communication, but there again, it isn't the same as talking to a man.  AND, there are some questions I simply can't answer because I am not a man.  Like with my daughter, there are times only a mom will do, but I think it has to be harder for the boys not having a dad around.  I know they would much rather talk to a dad about sports than me!  Also, they have a few more responsibilities than they should because they are the "men of the house".  I try really hard to let them just enjoy being kids and not giving them more to do than they would have had if there were two parents in the home, but I do have to have some help at times.

     I am not feeling sorry for myself in any way.  I just take my responsibility as a parent very seriously and I can't help but feel bad that they don't have the benefit of both parents.  Just like other kids in this same situation, they didn't ask to be put in it and certainly don't deserve it.  As for the men who choose to be irresponsible, you are only missing out.  I will stop there because that is the nicest thing I can say about those men.

      I am so thankful that my kids have strong men around them, but there are just some things that only a parent can be in charge of.  It is tiring, draining, emotional, and stressful, but I guess I get one positive out of it.  I get to take sole credit for the way they turn out!

     What do you think?  Are you or do you know someone in this situation?  Did you grow up with only one parent?

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