By Neysa Ellery Taylor
I mean, really, get over it. I know, I know… Easier said than done. But for real, get over it. Why? Because it’s no longer about you – it’s about your kids. Now before you get all bent out of shape, calling your girlfriends and organizing a picket line on my lawn, let me tell you – I was a baby mama at one time. I had my oldest daughter BEFORE I was married. And she wasn’t an infant when I tied the knot. She was old enough to be in several wedding pictures walking around and had a matching outfit. And I was preggers with my 2nd when I got married. So I have some “baby mama street cred.”
And let me tell you, I wasn’t always so smart. I remember cussing out my baby daddy (now hubs) on many an occasion. I remember being so hurt that I didn’t want to see him at all – even if it was a moment when he was coming to pick up his daughter. I was ANGRY, hurt, and emotional. Just ask my friends or my sister-in-law. She had to talk me down many a night when I tearfully wondered, “What the hell happened?” But after many nights of “woe is me-ness,” I had to realize that even if my child’s father no longer wanted me, I should be happy that he wanted to spend time with his child. That is when it shifted. It wasn’t about me anymore.
Was he perfect? Umm, no. Far from it. He made tons of mistakes and so did I. Hell, he still isn’t perfect and neither am I. But the one thing we’ve always had in common is that we put our kids first. Always.
So enough of the autobiography, this is my letter to you: Get over it. Being a baby mama/single parent/single mother/fatherless family is hard work. It is tiring work. And often times, it’s thankless work. From the emotional hardships to the fiscal ones, being a single parent is hard. So why make it harder?
Yes, there are deadbeat dads in the world. Yes, there are fathers who conceive babies and then seemingly fall off the face of the earth. But this post isn’t about that. This post is about dads who want to be involved. Single mom, get over it. I understand. I know, “you loved this man and now he’s gone.” Or “What about the promises that he made to me?” Or “but it hurts to even look at him.” I get it. I’ve been there. But the Word says in 1 Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” It’s time to grow up. It’s not about you any more. It’s about your child.
I mean think about it logically:
1. Aren’t children better off knowing the love of two parents?
2. Doesn’t your child deserve the best foundation you can possibly give them?
Most moms that I know would answer “yes” to both of those questions. So why are you trying to be a wedge between your child and their father. Let me tell you what it is: Selfishness and Pride. Your pride hurts because you have been left behind. And that is giving root to your selfishness. Believe me, that’s not a good combination.
So stop, take a moment and do an assessment of your former lover/child’s father:
1. Is he a decent person?
2. Does he use drugs?
3. Is he trying to spend time with his kids?
4. If he has other kids, how does he treat them?
5. Would any harm befall your child if he spends time with them?
If all of the answers to the previous questions are positives, then let that man see his kids. It’s really that simple.
So if you need a few action steps, here you go:
1. Get some spiritual counseling to help you deal with your feelings of loss over the relationship. Really, go talk to someone. Spend time with God, not praying for your boo to return, but praying that from this moment forward – you can be the parent/person that He wants you to be.
2. Call the father of your child and ask him to meet you at Starbucks so that you can talk about how to be great parents. If your state has it, take a sample parenting plan with you and just work through the sections. Be open and receptive to the father wanting to spend time with the child. Work to achieve a 50/50 balance with the father.
3. If the father has moved on, ask to later meet her. Make sure she is of good character. If you see an issue (drugs, bad parenting skills), bring it to your ex’s attention without malice. If there is no issue, then praise GOD that your child is around good people. ***Note: you don’t have to like his new boo, but you do have to respect her.
4. Move on. Think about it. Your child is now spending more time with their father. You have something that tons of single parents would love to have – MORE TIME! Take advantage of it. Do some soul searching? Concentrate on yourself. Learn to love again.
Remember: this is about your child. Real mothers, loving mothers, go through the steps because they want their children to have every advantage possible. And you will be rewarded. You are rewarded when you see that report card, when your baby graduates without having had a baby of their own, when your child gets baptized, or when a random adult says “your baby has such good manners.” Those are the times when it is all worth it. Those are the times when you get your pat on the back. And that’s the moment when you know that you have indeed moved out of the way, so that your child can flourish.
Neysa Ellery Taylor lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, Chris, and their 4 children – Asyen, Maya, Preston, and Patrick. An Emmy-Award winning journalist, she hopes to share her passion for marriage and God through her writing. You can read more of her work at www.myriadthatisme.blogspot.com