Divorce, sometimes, it takes time to get on your feet and stable in life.
My son started Boy Scouts for a year, but we quit after one year. My daughter took one year of ballet at one dance company, then quit the next year. We have tried figure skating, two different piano teachers, two different dance companies, a dozen different churches, gymnastics, language classes, football, 4-H, reading clubs, and Tae Kwon Do. They have been homeschooled and been to five different elementary schools. Lived in two different states, three different cities, and ten different homes.
When I list all of those changes, I am embarrassed. I feel like a failure as a mom. All I ever wanted was to give my children a loving, stable family. Like the one, I grew up in. A traditional family. With one home, a mom, a dad, sisters, brothers and a fluffy cat.
Instead, my kids are in their tenth home. Why all the changes? We got divorced.
When I left my husband, I knew I would have a rough ride ahead of me, but I didn’t expect it to be so disruptive to my kids. It was my choice to end the marriage, but I wish that hadn’t meant my kids would have to undergo so much change. I wouldn’t go back and change my mind. I would never decide to stay with their dad. But it is a choice that should never be taken lightly.
Divorce is a choice where you should consider every repercussion.
At first, a lot of the changes of homes and schools happened because I had to get a roof over our head that we could afford. Then it changed when I needed to get into a place more suitable for 2 little kids. Then it changed again when I found a job. Then it changed when I bought a house. And changed again when he sold his house and moved closer to us.
Why all the changes in kid activities? It’s complicated. Like everything related to divorce: “it’s complicated” can summarize it all. Were the kids unable to find a place they fit in because they felt lost at home? Are they perfectly normal trying to find their way in the world? Either way I am going to support them in whichever activities they want to try. I just hope that my choice to divorce isn’t causing their indecisiveness.
Mostly, it boils down to their dad and I didn’t agree on the activities. He wanted them to not be involved in the hustle & bustle of modern American culture, where soccer moms are shuffling their kids to and fro every night of the week. Eating out of the crock pot plugged into the outlet of the trunk of the minivan, in between gymnastic practice and church on Wednesday night. Which I can see his point.
I wanted my kids to grow up “normal”.
And “normal” in the US includes being involved in activities, starting at a young age. I also want my kids to have the opportunities to explore different activities. Maybe one activity will spark their interest and it will become a lifelong passion. And what about when they get into high school? These days, kids won’t be able to compete in sports or activities when they get to high school if they haven’t been practicing for years beforehand. Parents start their kids in sports these days at age three. I didn’t want my kids to fall behind. Just another disservice to feel guilty about as a mom.
The first three years after the divorce was when the most change occurred. Now, five years later, things are settling down. Less change. More structure. Their dad and I are figuring things out. Learning the new dance. Getting used to the new normal.
I have been in the same house now for 3 years, and I feel proud of that.
My kids are 8 and 9. I want to stay put until they graduate from college. But I won’t look in the crystal ball and try to predict the future because Lord knows I’m no good at that. But, what I do know is that my kids are loved. They will thrive whatever home they are in. Whether it is home #1 or #100. If it is a new city or language, my kids are resilient and will bloom where they are planted.
Of course, there will be complaining, but my job as a mom is to do the best I can. Which in our crazy life consists of being a stable rock despite a changing landscape. To encourage them when they feel lost or frustrated. To love them when they feel alone.
The truth is that no kid has a perfect childhood. And no parent is perfect. But I’ll be darned if I don’t try my best with the cards I’m dealt.