It’s no secret that for most of my adult life I have been a single mother. Although I married a fantastic man, who is an amazing father to our children. I have never let go of the mindset of being a single mother. It was one of the toughest things to learn. How to be alone. How to be a two-in-one parent. It feels as though entrenched into me. But being married with a single mindset can never work. And so I embark on my journey toward unlearning.
Unlearn – discard (something learned, especially a bad habit or false or outdated information) from one’s memory.
Recently my eldest celebrated her birthday. I don’t see myself as someone who is “over the top” but around this time of the year, it’s as though I can’t control myself. Nothing ever seems enough. Then it occurred to me, that it was because I was trying to do enough – for two. Two separate parents. Incase her dad didn’t come through. This is not to say that he ever didn’t or that what he did was not enough. It is just how I feel. What I had conditioned myself to.
This last week before her birthday I was frantic about doing more. Getting her more things. More than this – she never asks me for anything. She actually told me, “Anything is okay mommy, anything you want to get me will be great.” Is this normal? I don’t feel like it. I feel like somewhere along the line, I did something wrong. Like maybe I had conditioned her to being the child of a single parent for too long too. Heartbreaking? Yeah! Around her birthday! As if this is what either of us needed.
Her birthday was wonderful. Despite myself and my craziness. She is loved. She has enough. I am enough.
In my reflections however, I decided I needed to unlearn this behaviour for my sanity, my marriage and for my children. Firstly, I don’t know where to start but to admit what I believe to be the root of my problems is wrong. My thoughts and their processes. As a start here are two of my thoughts and why they are not true.
- I am a single mother. (False) I am a parent, my children have a father, a mother, grandparents, uncles, aunties and friends. Their villages are full.
- My child deserves more. Better. (False) As much as I want to always and consistently give them more, and better. It does not mean that what I do have to offer them is not enough. I am enough. They are LOVED. They are loved. It is enough.
Perspective is everything. And so, I aim to be more grateful for what is. Within me, my children and what we have. I don’t think it’s going to happen overnight. But I hope that becoming more aware of the wrong thoughts will lead to better thinking in the future.