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.

About Pepper

I am a single working mom, trying to raise my kid the best way I know how. Join me as I navigate my way through the jungle that is Single Mom-hood, armed with rose-colored glasses and strength of spirit. As pepper adds spice to food, so does my daughter add spice to my life. She makes life no less than…PEPPERRIFIC!

Catch me on G+.

Comments

  1. nice pep :)

  2. Emma Johnson says

    “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.”

    Love this! Great post and thanks for the shout-out. You’re doing a great job– as a mom and a blogger!

  3. Hi Pepper! Thank you so much for writing this, I feel like you read exactly what’s been on my mind for quite some time now. I’ve recently made this same discovery about myself, and I agree with you 100% on every point you make. I too, was depending on my daughter to make me happy. Not that I’d wait around for her to do/say something in order for me to smile, but my life revolved around hers completely. When I realized how unfair this was FOR HER, that’s when I experienced my own revelation, and became the mother I am now… free, happy, and leading by example!

    My daughter has seen the difference. Not only is it MUCH easier for the both of us when she goes to her dad’s house (which is practically every weekend), but it has given her so much more confidence in her parents’ separation. She’s not afraid anymore, and doesn’t feel guilty when she leaves either of our houses.

    As for me, I have literally never been happier than I am today. It took some time, and some pushing myself out the door when she wasn’t home, but I’ve overcome it, and I take full advantage of every single day. Whether she is with me or not, I’ve learned that I can still do things that Mommy wants to do.

    Glad to see that you are in a much better place! Take care!

    Aurelia

    • Oh, I couldn’t be happier for you, Aurelia! I want to give you a big HUG right now.
      Yes, my daughter used to feel some guilt whenever she’d leave me home alone. Now, we’re all better people because of my mindset shift.

    • Hi Pepper,

      I agree with whatever you have said. My kids are also the reason for my existence. I have been reminding myself not to take things too hard because eventually, she’ll grow up and have a life of her own.

      I also want to set a good example to her & show her what doesn’t kill us will makes us stronger . But how can I do it when my ex spouse is continuously doing things that affect her mentally?

      The more it happens every weekends, the more I feel I should be around for her.

      Maybe your ex spouse is more mature & didn’t create so many problems for you?

      • Hi Rebecca. Yes, I guess I’m lucky my ex hubby and I are on good terms, and he isn’t an a**hole. I understand how you want to guard your daughter. It’s difficult when you are unable to co-parent with her father.

  4. It is totally hard to keep our identities as mothers, so much of our world does and has to revolve around them. I struggled, too, to make the transition from having to care for them 24/7 to realizing they were maturing and needed space just as much as I do. As in all life, it’s about balance… kudos for finding yours!

  5. It’s like the little talk flight attendants give before a plane takes off. If for some reason the little oxygen masks come down from the ceiling, put yours on first and then help any little ones travelling with you. There has to be enough oil in your lamp to give light to others.

    LuAnn Braley
    AJ’s Hooligans @AtoZChallenge
    Back Porchervations

  6. Columba Lisa Smith says

    Wow, I can relate to this. I’ve been all about my kids for years. It’s kind of hard when they really do need their mom; but you are absolutely right. We are healthiest and better moms when we value ourselves as much as our kids. Thanks for sharing! I’m sorry about your ended relationship. God is good, even when life hurts; that’s what I’m learning in that department.

  7. Gina Valley (@GinaValley) says

    It’s good that you’ve come to realize that you were in an unhealthy, dependent relationship with your daughter. That’s the first step of growth. Sounds like you are well on your way to becoming the example she needs. Good for both of you!

  8. Wonderful post, and congrats on this epiphany! When we take care of ourselves and nurture our own needs and interests, we take better care of our kids, too.

  9. Sounds like your daughter is lucky to have such a wise mama and a great role model! I think I’m the live-for-her type; I’ve just never loved anyone so much! But it’s important that we keep our own interests outside of our children’s. Great points!

  10. Ang Johnson says

    I couldn’t agree more! Balance is the key in anything, but it can be tricky to find it!

  11. A healthy balance does make a world of difference. I’m loving your positive, happy attitude. It’s really coming through your words, and it’s a bit contagious!

  12. I especially liked your comment… 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.

  13. Hi Pepper,
    I agree with you!
    If we do not replenish our mommy energy first, we have little left for the most precious people in our live, our kids!

    I was a single mom for 17 years, and even now remarried, find that issues arise related to single mothering.

    I have a book coming out later this year for single moms– “Soul Mothers’ Wisdom/Seven Insights for the Single Mother.” In the book, I share my own story, my experience growing stronger, and the stories of many of the amazing single mothers I have met in my personal life and in my work as a social worker.

    It is mothers like you, reaching out to all of us, who keep us going!
    Thank you for your wisdom.
    Best regards,
    Bette Freedson

  14. I really believe that many people will criticize you for the way you think as they really made a perception that women need to take care their kids and they are the one responsible but forget that before that all women are individual and they have their existence before the kid.

  15. I agree with you. If I am not ok then how can I take care of my kid ! We should try to be happy to make our kid happy. :)

  16. “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.”

    — You were just sort of embroiled to that type of a person but generally, the way a man look at that is otherwise, that you’d be a dotting Mom to his offspring as well in the future, and that is more important than the sense of belongingness and virile worth. He shouldn’t feel out of place rather than being in the right place, and that would make a woman like you a world of difference, a stand out from the rest.

    • I guess you have a point. That’s what differentiates the men from the boys. A mature man would not feel “threatened” by my kid. I get you :)

  17. Happy parents definitely make happy kids! A lot of wisdom here. Thanks for sharing it.:)

  18. It’s true. I also believe that to be a good parent, you also have to be a sane and functioning one too. While it’s hard for parents to sometimes find try to enjoy their “me” time, it’s also necessary for our survival. =)

  19. What you have written here is a good glimpse into my journey in the last year or so. I’ve been a mom for 20 years. My 2 oldest sons are out of the house and I have a 9 year old son that I share custody of. For the first time in my adult life I’ve had to learn how to be an adult without kids! It’s a daunting task, but I think I’m figuring it out. The biggest challenge is trying to find adults that have free time to do stuff with. I’m getting good at being alone, and am appreciating the time I have to focus on ‘me’. Whether it’s getting to go for a run or watching Orange is the New Black…I’m beginning to like it…..

    • Hi Shawna! It’s good you’re starting to get the hang of living alone. Yes, it is sometimes difficult to find other adults to hang out with. Ultimately, we’ll have to learn to become best friends with ourselves.

  20. I’m a single mom too and my daughter is my first priority (which is probably a big reason why Ihavr difficulty dating but whatever she comes first) but it’s also important to find time for yourself

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