So I recently read a blog post by Annabashedly about loving differently as a result of being a child of divorce and I can’t help but admit that she really hit the nail on the head! This sweetly composed introspective post emanated with me catching me completely off guard because being in my mid 30’s I hadn’t actually thought about it for a very long time. In fact, I hadn’t realized that I am a child of divorced parents, my husband is a child of divorce, and we are raising our babies who are children of divorce.
Now either I don’t pay a whole lot of attention (which I am not ashamed to admit is always a possibility), or it just never bothered me.
Our babies are with us 50% of the time, they have not only suffered through their parents divorce but now they have two homes to be a part of, and two sets of differing values and teaching methods helping them through their emotions, their thoughts, and their lives. That has to be pretty difficult for them. I mean even the parental coping mechanisms are different insomuch that what they observe in their two homes bears absolutely no similarity what.so.ever.
But before you start conjuring up ways that we could improve our co-parenting methodology I will say this, that not all situations are ideal. Ours, is one of those not so ideal situations, and it is through no fault of the children. And I must say that being a “step-parent” within the bounds of our situation has been at times horrendous. There have been times when the children have hated me, and quite honestly why wouldn’t they? Children want their parents to be together regardless of the dynamics of the pre-divorce relationship, who am I to get angry at a child that does not understand the politics of adult liaisons. I myself recall at the age of 10 phoning every A Pattison in the national directory on the off chance that my father might pick up the phone and come home.
At this very point in time there is only one major positive to being a child of divorce raising children of divorce, and that is empathy. Call me bashful but I now believe very firmly that having parents that hated one another prepared me to raise these kids as my own. Understanding them, and not choosing to be offended when it was a possible outcome, all stems from my childhood and the issues that we had growing up. When one of the kids say “if mum and dad broke up, why can’t you break up?”, when they say “even eternal marriages can end”, they’re not wrong – they’ve simply seen what they’ve seen. All I can promise them is that through the grace of God we will raise them the best way that we know how, and that my love for their father will come second only to my love of God.
I will refrain from making them promises like “I will always be around” and “I will never leave you” because beautiful things can be broken, and I could always kick the bucket sooner than I planned. I will however vow to them that no matter what may come between their father and I that I will fight tooth and nail to try and make things work. I will tell them that I love them, because I do, I will not try to be their ‘friend’, instead I will try to be the best example of a loving mother that I know how, and I will make sure that our home is always a safe haven for them to return to. It’s hardly a chore loving these babies like they are my own, in my mind they already are.