Being a mom again, I know that phrase may sound a little crazy, but that is the only way I know how to describe this current phase of my life. If you are a new expecting mom, I suppose the phrase sounds a little joyous, but being that my youngest will be 12 at the end of this year, I don’t fit that description.
When out speaking, I often share how my travels (though not big) helped to lead to many opportunities for my business and growth within myself, yet, it’s not easy to talk about the negative effects of my travels, being absent from my three children and the distance that grew between us. I couldn’t even bring myself to write any blogs about parenting and/or being mom, because I felt like I did not have that right, though people would always be like, “Girl i wish…” They didn’t really know. It’s hard to discuss, but I know that I have grown or am growing from it, so I will.
While I was only away for two years, it seems like a lifetime. Each time I visited home, I was amazed at the little people they were growing into being and longed to be able to be there with them during those transitional years. My mother and I are two very different type of parents. Having been raised by her, and knowing the effects of it, I would worry (and still do) about my children being faced with similar struggles in their future due to lack of independence. Coming from a small town, I worry that the world may overwhelm them, chew them up and spit them as it has done me many times. I wasn’t ready to adult, but I thought I was, and my mother who was often an enabler, didn’t try hard enough to make me see that leaving home early was not the solution. I didn’t fully understand the responsibility of trying to raise three children alone at 21. I thought it would be simple.
When it finally hit me so profoundly, that my oldest would be 18 this year, I endured a lot of guilt. My focus on a better life for myself and children, had led me down a path of no life. I selfishly chose to pursue my business, and I missed out on those precious years. While I would like to add, I thought I was making the best decision, because I could be a better mom with more stability, I don’t think that is as important.
Anyway, so I missed many experiences with my children and distance grew between us, and I now that I am back and living with them (well two of them, as one lives in another state), it’s like I have to learn them all over again. These new personalities and beliefs that they have adapted that are sometimes not like mine, are sometimes unfamiliar to me. Being that I have spent so much time alone, I am unused to having to consider someone else’s feelings and concerns.
And I have grown selfish in some ways. I am used to getting up at the crack of dawn to write and get a head start on my day. Now I must help this teen find this, and sign that paper for the other one. Before, it was get off work, come home, and do more work, now it’s checking math homework that I first have to research and teach myself again then go to war with my 13- year old, because she is more stubborn than me, so before she even begins to think I am right, I have to prove my intellect to her.
Whew! I know many have been doing this for years, and I too have done it before, but back then I did not take the time appreciate these moments and be present during them. My mind was always on the struggle. I didn’t understand how these moments will never come again, but now that I do, as nerve-racking and time consuming as they may be, I am learning to embrace them. Most of us don’t get second chances, in any form.