In my younger years (I’m only 27, so take that for what it is) I used to be stubbornly in control. Of everything. Single, selfish, and perfectly content.
Being a mom really slaps you in the face with life telling you “girlfriend, you have NO control. Better get used to it”. I had a really hard time not micromanaging my ex- husband when it came to the care of that newborn baby. I was obsessed, as most new mothers tend to be.
After long days at my full time job, I would grill my babysitter about Brandon’s day at her house. What was his poop like? How many times did he poop? How many naps? The duration? What has he eaten? Was he happy/ nice/ walking/ tired/ grouchy?
Poor lady. What a saint.
So when I was thrown into the whirlwind divorce and custody battle, those few hours or nights of being away from my baby were torture. I was miserable. I cried, sobbed, yelled and moped. I couldn’t calm down and enjoy any minute of my day.
When I started the custody arrangement of three months on and three months off with my ex- husband, I had to change something. I had to stop fighting what was my reality. I had to learn to come to some sort of peace with my life and my situation or I was never going to find happiness in this new life I had worked hard to detach myself from my monster of an ex- husband.
I don’t know how I did it, really. I decided that my happiness was important. I wasn’t a good mother if I was mad, fighting, or angry all the time. I was a wonderful mother when I was taking care of myself and living without worry.
That’s what I did. I struggled to remember the hobbies I used to have that brought me so much joy. I started drawing again, painting, yoga, running, biking – and just like that, my old self was sparkling through that murky shell I had over it for years. I’d forgotten who I was. I kind of liked me!
I also came to a realization. The thing that I liked to do the most, the thing that brought me absolute joy, was doing something terrifying. I used to move to random cities to just get an odd job and be there because it was new and scary. I would jump off high bridges into freezing rivers and go to restaurants by myself. I pushed my limits to feel alive.
So I started doing that too.
I got my first tattoo all by myself without telling a soul. (What a rush!)
I chopped 13 inches off my hair. (Whew – breezy!)
I started lifting weights and trying to be a legitimate bad ass at the gym. (Still trying to look like I know what I’m doing!)
I’m taking classes to become a certified divorce coach. (Hard!)
I always think about what I want my son to learn from me. God knows he’ll learn enough of “what NOT to do” from his father. I want him to see ambition, passion, fearlessness, and happiness. I want to instill in him a sense of adventure.
For anyone who is at the beginning, middle, or end of your divorce/ custody battle – just remember, you are important. You have to be whole, happy, and healthy to provide anything of value to your children. Teach them to let go of negative, terrible feelings. Teach them by example to love the life you’re given and thank God for the experiences we have.
So, as Elsa says (one million times) let it go!
what worries you, masters you – john locke