My daughter is a highly social creature and is often a sought-after playmate. (She’s ten, and I mean all of that in the most innocent and child-appropriate way possible, for any of you readers new to this site.) For any of you experienced parents, you know what a child is like when she returns home from a sleep-over, and my daughter was no exception this past weekend: she was crabby and belligerent, pouty and generally unpleasant to be around.
After about the fifth, “why can’t we have a nicer house?” or “I wish we could turn our basement into a rec room like theirs,” I lost my cool. And I broke a cardinal rule: I sandbagged my ex, threw him right under the proverbial bus. Why? Because I’d lost patience, I was sick of hearing about it and, truth be told, I was feeling many of the same resentful sentiments. That’s right — I caught the “lack bug.”
So my poor children got an earful of what they probably didn’t need to hear — that I’d never expected to be a sole provider; that, if their father had been a decent spouse and earner, we’d have a nicer home and so on and so forth. It wasn’t pretty. Nor was it appropriate. I’m not proud. In fact, I feel a bit ashamed about the whole thing.
Later I apologized and told them that he’s always been a loving father and has many excellent qualities, which is why I fell for him in the first place yada yada yada…
And then we went back to the basics of not comparing ourselves to others, being grateful for the awesome little family that we have and living well with the resources at hand. Which, as it turns out, was a pretty ingenious strategy, because my daughter immediately started cleaning up the messy little spots around the house and enlisted her brother to do the same. Because living well means living in a tidier space, obviously…or taking a little more pride in our home…
Whatever it was, it was contagious, and we were all energized to spiff up the place a bit. And then I think we all felt a little better after that.
As for me, I know succumbing to the residual resentment and blame of my failed marriage is no way to parent, nor is it any way to live. (In my defense, can I at least claim PMS?) So I’ve recommitted to living well regardless of resources; to taking responsibility for my choices, my family and my home; for rejoicing in and being grateful for the abundance in my (our) lives; and for living as the best woman / mother / mate I can be.