Your Kids Don’t Come First

Change is good.  It always is.  And I have to say that I just recently had an epiphany of sorts, and it has altered the way I think and feel in ways I could only previously imagine.

I feel that I have always been overly dependent on my daughter.   I almost feel sorry for putting her in a position where she was my wellspring of happiness and self-worth.  I knew that on a subconscious level, the reason “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman” from Frozen keeps playing inside my head is that I have associated it with my daughter.  Whatever she likes, I like too.  It’s as if I’ve lost my identity and wrapped myself emotionally and mentally around her.  That’s just totally unhealthy.

She was my number one.  Everything else took a step back.  But when I started reading the Wealthy Single Mommy blog, I learned how important it is that we don’t put our kids first.

Now before you feed me to the lions, hear me out.

Yes, I love my daughter.  I love her to the moon and back.  But that doesn’t mean that I live for her.  That she’s the reason for my existence.  Eventually, she’ll grow up and have a life of her own.

My job now is to be an example to her, to show her what it’s like to live a full and rich life.  I have to show her that it’s not her obligation to make me happy, that I can do that by myself.

I realize how my old mindset has carried over to my just-recently-ended romantic relationship.  Probably one of the reasons it didn’t work out, was because my then boyfriend saw how much of a doting mother I was to my daughter.  He felt out of place.  He felt less than important.  If I knew then what I know now, it would have made a whole world of difference.

My daughter is staying at her Dad’s for two weeks.  I’m at the halfway mark, and I’m proud to say that I no longer achingly pine away for her.  The gassy anxiety spells I used to have are now a thing of the past.  I enjoy my time alone, like a normal and healthy adult should.

If and when love comes knocking on my door again, I’ll know better to give him the attention he needs and deserves.  If he asks me out to a Gin Blossoms concert even on a weeknight, I’ll go.

Happy parents make happier kids.  If you know how to take care of yourself, then you’ll be better and more effective at taking care of your children.  That’s how it all adds up in the parenting equation.

Oh, The Thinks She Can Think!

As I was driving my six-year old daughter to school one morning, I told her how anxious I was about another weekend without her.  I’m a weekend orphan, as she spends weekends with her dad.  With wisdom pulled out from I don’t know where, she calmly tells me that I shouldn’t be sad even if she’s away.  “Mama, why don’t you go out with your friends?  You’re happy when you see me playing with my friends, right?  It’s the same… I’m happy when you see your friends.”

I couldn’t help but smile after she consoled me with those words.  It was jaw-dropping to think how mature she seems for her age.  There was nobody else there to witness that spectacle of wisdom, but I was beaming with pride at my little girl’s views on life.  At the rate she’s going with her smarts, I’m pretty sure that learning the ropes of government contracting basics will be a breeze for her- if she decides to pursue a career in that direction.

She has just taught me a valuable lesson in parenting.  When you give their kids everything, it gives them the impression that you don’t have a life of your own.  It sends a message to them that you don’t value yourself, because you have put your needs at the bottom of your priorities list.

I have built my entire world around my daughter and have let go of my identity.  I have given up so many things for her, but instead of her appreciating this, it makes her feel sad, knowing that this is slowly gnawing at my personal happiness and contentment.  This self-sacrifice is doing me- and her- more harm than good, I realized.

So on this solo Saturday night, I’ll grab this opportunity to just enjoy and bury myself in some reality TV.    Life isn’t only about Phineas and Ferb it seems…

Walking in My Daughter’s Shoes

Still reveling in the Mother’s Day high, I feel the aching urge to write a post through the eyes of my daughter.  In my opinion, this is the world as she sees it…

Free images from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My mom? I must say that she has an incredibly thick skull.  I don’t know if she’s just plain stubborn or she simply refuses to understand these things:

–      That it’s okay for me to sometimes stumble and fall, because I can always pick myself up and learn from the experience.  Scraped knees are the sign of wisdom gained from experience.

–      That I just have to master the art of coloring inside the lines, even if she says it’s alright not to.

–      That no matter what she thinks, I will always be a die-hard fan of Disney Princesses and Phineas and Ferb.

–      That I will grow up, and fall in love, and get hurt but rise above it.

And then, there are things about her which I just don’t understand:

–      Why- when I’m away at my dad’s and she’s left home alone- she has to spend hours playing on online bingo sites (knowing the perfectionist that she is, they have to be only the best bingo sites!).  Well, I’ve heard her say a couple of times that playing bingo is a no-brainer.

–      Why she dances like nobody’s watching whenever she plays old Janet Jackson mp3s.

–      Why she sometimes cries when she’s on the phone with someone I don’t know.

–      Why she acts as if she just hit a blank wall when I ask her the reason she and my dad separated.

I’m all of six summers old, and there are huge life mysteries hanging over my head.  My mom says, I will understand in time.  But, why can’t I understand them now?  There goes another mystery…

 

My Slinky-Dog Scare: The Near-Death Experience That Never Was

Many a grown adult has confessed to shedding a tear or two while watching Toy Story 3.  Although I am not part of that group, I just have to say that the slinky dog character in the movie nearly made me wet my pants a month ago.

During our recent trip to Hongkong Disneyland, my daughter was relentless in her pursuit to make me go on the Slinky Dog ride with her.  I was never a fan of theme park rides, so you can just imagine how I felt as we were queuing up for the ride.  My stomach was in knots, and I can barely think straight.  That slinky dog must’ve smelled my fear from a mile away.

In her most reassuring voice, my daughter said, “Mama, just hold my hand, close your eyes, and think of happy thoughts, ok?  It’s going to be fun!”  I couldn’t believe hearing those words from a 6-year old.  It was a Freaky Friday- Jaime Lee- Lindsay Lohan type of role reversal.  I felt as if she reattached our umbilical cord.  She made me feel safe beyond words.

As we got on the ride, I just kept my eyes on her and forced a huge grin.  I held her hand and screamed my lungs out.  Seeing her have fun was enough to make my fears drop a notch or two.

That day, I realized that there really are some things we learn from our kids.  My daughter taught me to just let go and be brave, that things don’t turn out as bad as we feared they would.  She is now my bastion of courage.  Whenever I look back on that moment, I feel like crying…

How about you?  What important life lesson have you learned from your kids?