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Single Parent Struggles

Shifting some focus here and moving away from the post I have been working on for a few weeks. I hope the post will spark conversations; I may do a forum, but I am still deciding. I'll let y'all know when it drops.

But, moving on to my shift. Who has or is struggling with their teenager? Or even a toddler, anyone really who is struggling as a parent. If you've been following me, you know that my son is struggling with feeling abandoned, more specifically by my most recent ex. As I said in my last few blogs, he is in weekly counseling, and there has been improvement, I can see it, but, holy damn. Right now, our current struggle is getting him to go to school and how he talks to me. And before any of you say anything about, he needs his a$$ whooped and stuff like that, just don't. I am not going to go into extreme details but whooping his a$$ is not in the equation and, therefore, not part of the solution, so check yourself at the door.

I feel like I am failing as a parent. That I have failed him, more specifically. There have been only two real father figures in his life, my daughter's dad and my current ex. He called my daughter's dad, dad, and he treated him like a son. His whole family accepted him, and my ex-mother-in-law still sends him birthday cards and continues to treat him like a grandson. She is a wonderful person. BUT, back to the real issue. If you go read or re-read my blog titled Strength, you'll get the jist about my daughter's dad and why he is completely out of the picture. That is, in my opinion, when the issues with my son actually started, when her dad abandoned us all. I had to teach my son how to shave… ME. It was a challenge, but I did it. I also had to teach him how to tie a tie; thank goodness for YouTube for that.

Now, before I go any further, let me say that my son never knew his bio-dad, and if I am able to have a say for the rest of my life, he will never know him. His dad was… well, to be honest, I have no freaking clue. Looking back, and even in counseling, we can't pinpoint why I said yes and why I went through with marrying him. I believe at the time that I did, in fact, love him, but I was never in love with him. I mean, once we got married, he became a totally different person. He got mean and abusive, and when we moved him to Texas, it got worse. My unit helped move him out and get a restraining order, and he went back to PA, but the damage was done. I was pregnant with my son through all of this, and I thought at one point I almost lost him because of how he was hitting me. But I survived, my son survived, and he signed over his rights. So, in my opinion, that’s a win. But the damage was still done.

Between his dad, my daughter's dad, and my current ex, there really was no co-parenting that could have been done. My daughter's dad claimed that I was the one who didn’t want to co-parent and, therefore, everything was my fault. Ok, pal, whatever you say, you're the one who left and chose your new family over your own kids and flaunted it on Facebook, where BOTH KIDS SAW IT. Also, along with a lot of other sh!t - reference my blog Strength for those details.

Being a single parent and having to play both roles is not easy. It is a struggle every single day, and as much as I love seeing stories of both parents co-parenting and being involved and stepping up, it hurts, it really hurts. My daughter's father was really only in his life for about 4 years, but my current ex was in his life for a decade. That one, I think, hurts him the most. He looked up to him, considered him, and wanted him to be his father. There was a point in our relationship that both kids wanted to change their names to his last name, and they wanted him to adopt them. I feel like a complete failure to them because now he's gone, he vanished. Of course, I think it's my fault like I could have done something different, but as my counselor and friends keep reminding me, you can't force someone to love you and to stay, no matter how much you love them; one-sided love is never enough.

Most days, I want to sit and cry when the thoughts take over my mind and heart, but I can't. I refuse to let my children see me cry. I try to give them everything they want and need; I try to show them that I am enough to be both parents. Some days are better than others, but lately, most days are not. Yes, I am finally feeling happy and free and wanting to live my life for me and them, but I feel selfish. My kids need me to be strong, yet when I try to be, I fail. I say that because of the current situation with my son. Last weekend I wanted to do some self-care. Haven't done it in a while, and it was needed, especially after being in the hospital for 3 days. I needed time, and I needed to treat myself and make myself feel happy. Well, how dare I? That’s basically how it went. My daughter was a bit jealous but wouldn’t really go hang by the pool with me because it was too hot and she was bored, lol Oh well. My son, on the other hand, was gone all weekend, and how dare I do something for myself and not give him all this money to go do sh!t with his friends. I honestly didn’t have the money. So he threw back in my face that I got my nails done, got a massage, and my foot tattoo fixed. First of all, I had to take money out of my savings for that, and if I hadn’t done something for myself, I probably would have broken. Second of all, I changed my plans to stay home for the weekend because child support hadn't come, and my damn car is still in the shop, and every penny left is needed to pay for it. So, before you come at me, yes, I gave him some money, not as much as he wanted, but I gave him money, and no, I did not put my kids last, I always make sure that they have what they need and almost every single time, I go without or give up something in order to make sure they have what they need. I'll never put my needs before my kids, so don't get it twisted. But if I can’t do something for myself sometimes, I will break.

My son is struggling, and it is affecting everything around him, around us and I don’t know what to do. Because he is struggling so much, I feel like I've failed him, in every and all ways. Because if he wasn't struggling, then I didn’t do anything wrong, right? His bio-dad still, to this day, will not give us his medical history, so I have no clue about anything and don't know if what he is dealing with is hereditary or not. I would assume so, but I just don't know and frankly, I don’t think I will ever know. All that aside, I feel like giving up (NOT SUICIDAL), it's not worth the heartache, or the headache for that matter, to continue to fight with him about going to school or how he talks to me. One of my best friends, who is like a brother to me and an uncle to my kids, is so wonderful. He will take my kids fishing and hang out with them, he tries to be that person for my son, and it means so much to me. I know they talk, and my son looks up to him like an uncle and my current work village have all offered to help guide him and be that person for him. But will it be enough? I don't think these thoughts of being a failure to my son will ever go away, to be honest. I've dealt with so much sh!t in my life, what's one more heartache?

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Give yourself some grace. You are a good mom. You cannot control the actions of other but you can learn from them. Being a single parent is tough but don't give up because your babies need you.

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