tough decisions

parentIt’s Father’s Day today, but this isn’t going to be a post about being a father, but rather a post about being a parent and making tough decisions. Mind you, I am not a parent to human children. I don’t plan to ever be. For whatever reason, my “mommy” gene skipped a species. I seem to have love for everything but primates. Having said that though, I am a step mother, but I use the term very loosely. My husband has a daughter from his first marriage, and so, she is technically my step daughter but I have no intentions to step in and play a mom role with her. She has a mother. I can be an adult figure in her life who also enjoys spending time with her and playing games, but I don’t ever want to be her mother, unless there comes a point in her life where she needs me to be. We’ll cross that bridge if it ever comes.

Today I am thinking about the sacrifices parents make for their children. Some parents will sacrifice their happiness just to keep the family together because it is best for the children. Is it though?

My husband made a decision years ago that changed every thing. He had a child with his wife, but the marriage was not a good one. He had two choices, stay and sacrifice his happiness just so his daughter could live with both her parents, or divorce and see where life takes things. He chose to divorce his wife and change his life and find happiness. Leaving his one year old daughter was the toughest decision he has ever had to make. Of course, he didn’t leave her. He is still her father and still very much a part of her life as much as he can be. He just isn’t living under the same roof. Why make a choice like that, though? Why not do what some feel is the better decision and live with his family even if he would be unhappy? Why not sacrifice that for your children? Because children aren’t stupid. As much as you can tell yourself you can hide the fighting and the sadness from your children, you really can’t. Children pick up on these things. Children notice these things. My husband did not want his daughter growing up with a different version of marriage than he believed in. He did not want her growing up thinking marriage is about two people toughing it out for the sake of children, but pretty much being miserable most times. He wants so much more for his daughter.

Years ago, when I worked on a private facility in California, I had a young girl helping me groom the animals one Sunday morning. She was the daughter of a celebrity, but in truth, that doesn’t matter. She could have been anyone’s daughter. She must have been 6, I think. As we were brushing the animals we got to talking and she told me she never wanted to be married. I asked her why. She said it was because marriage is a very very sad thing. There’s lots of crying in marriage, she goes on to tell me. It doesn’t take a genius to know these are the thoughts of a girl who witnesses her parents unhappy a lot and a mom who cries a lot.

Today, I am thinking of a friend. I know this friend is struggling with many things in life, including the man she shares it with. They aren’t a married couple and he is not the biological father of her children, but he has stepped in to be a father figure, which is a wonderful thing. But he is not a good man in my eyes and my friend is often in tears about him. He does not treat her well and in my opinion, she should leave him, but this is not my life to live. It is her decision and whatever decision she makes, as a friend, I shall always support her. But I worry, if she does decide to commit to him for a very long life together, what will her children think of marriage? I can tell you, by personal observation, that right now, they view a relationship between a man and a woman to be a very rough one and like the little girl I mentioned previously, they no doubt think marriage as a very sad place to be, at least for the woman. The two have a very unhealthy relationship and the children aren’t always hidden from it. Sometimes the fighting and the yelling and the crying is all out there for them to see.

Sometimes the best decisions you can makes for yourself, are also the best ones you can make for your children. It’s not all selfish.

© Semi-Charmed Life

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10 thoughts on “tough decisions

  1. I completely agree with you. When I split up with the Father of my children my Mother said to me why could I have not waited until the kids where grown up. I told her that that would be teaching them (especially my daughter) that happiness is something you give up on. I NEVER EVER want my believe that and I hope that if they are ever faced with the a similar situation they choose happiness over obligation.

    Mollyxxx

    • Why not wait until the kids are grown up? Wow… besides the fact you’re teaching your kids happiness is something to give up on, you’re also giving up on your own happiness as well. Can you imagine? Sticking it through at least 18 years just so your kids have both biological parents in the same house? How does this make any sense? How is this emotionally healthier to all parties involved instead of the parents splitting and finding a happier household?

  2. This post instantly had me back in my childhood years. By the age of five I realized that mom only stayed with my father because she thought it’s the best thing for me and my brother. From that point on I knew that the moment we were out of the house, mom would divorce dad. They fought a lot. It was clear that mom was not happy and would never be happy with my father. Looking back on that, I rather wish I grew up with a mom who was happy and laughing and full of fun instead of a mom who had to make a hell of an effort to pretend that she was happy. I could see it was only a mask. I vowed I would never stay with a man because I think it’s best for my children and I did not. Two marriages crashed because I chose the happiness of my children and myself above the marriage. I do not regret that. I am happy I did this.

    And I agree, your friend is in a very difficult situations, but it would be better for her to step out of the relationship if he has her in tears almost all of the time. It will be better for her AND for her children, because children want nothing more than to see their mom really happy. Children are wonderful creatures. Even when you think you hide something, they still see it. You are a wonderful friend for supporting her no matter what decision she makes.

    Marie xox

    • Thank you Marie. Children are very perceptive and we don’t give them enough credit for it. Even if you do hide all the fighting from your kids, they still pick up on the unhappiness between the two parents. They still pick up on the disconnect. My parents, though happy enough, weren’t very affectionate people with each other. They didn’t spend a lot of time as a couple holding hands, kissing and hugging in the house. Today, I am not a very affectionate person myself towards my husband. This makes me sad. It isn’t because I don’t love him or that I am not happy, it’s just habit, I guess. It’s not my natural inclination to be all over my husband. Some people are very physically affectionate people, others, not so much.

  3. God, this is so true. My parents broke up when I was six and I consider them to have done the best thing they could possibly have done, in the best way: I never saw them fight; they were friendly when my brother and I were around, and they both went on to lead full, happy lives, apart; and from that, my brother and I have the best role-models we could possibly have: respect, friendship, and the strength to built separate lives.

    Children aren’t stupid; and life is short. Be respectful, be honest.

    You might not be a parent, but I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.

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