“Mommy, why can’t you and Daddy live in the same house again?”
My boy asked that one afternoon after I picked him up from school, it threw me off completely. He spent a week living with his father while I tried to chase a dream in Bali. After a few deep breaths, I finally told him “Because Mommy and Daddy are divorced, Alex.” Then I asked him to sit next to me.
“Do you remember what divorce means?” as I gently stroked his hair.
“No…” he said flatly.
“It means Mommy and Daddy decided to go our own way. To not be married and live together anymore but that doesn’t mean we stop loving you.” I told him. “It means now you have two homes.”
“And you will marry Oom Dan?” I could almost see his brain trying to connect the dots.
“Yes, Alex just like Daddy is now married to Tante. Mommy will marry Oom Dan and Oom Dan loves you too.”
He smiled and said “Okay so I have two Daddies and two Mommies?!”
“Yes you have! Aren’t you lucky to have 2 Daddies and 2 Mommies that love you?”
“Alex it’s okay to feel that way to want Daddy and Mommy to be together again, that’s normal. There is nothing wrong with that.”
He got up and started playing with his lego as if he hadn’t just asked me such a big question.
I sat with his question for awhile and discussed it with Dan. Before I moved to Bali he asked me similar yet deeper questions as he cried in my arms. He was truly heartbroken and my heart ached for him. Being the only boy in class whose mother and father is divorced must be hard for him. To see his friends show up with their parents for school activities must have been difficult to understand for Alex.
He realizes he is different…
But it is up to me as his mother to show him that being different is more than okay! To guide him to look at his situation from a different point of view. Instead of “Oh I am a product of a broken home.” Into “I have two families that love me so much.”
How will I do that? By working closely with his father, my fiancé, and his teachers. I don’t have all the formulas figured out just yet.
It will take time and patience…
He is only 7 years old.
This is where his father and I really need to be a team in helping him cope and even thrive despite how different his life is compared to his classmates.
Thankfully his father and I have reached a higher new level of co-parenting lately. We both want him to have a great life, to grow up to be a healthy well-mannered boy and we both realize we need to be a team despite of our circumstances.
We continue discuss openly different ways to discipline him and bring him up. This is something I have been struggling with. Most people don’t have little idea how hard it is to be the one who has to solely discipline him.
My boy is struggling and needs his father’s guidance too.
That’s why I am so grateful that his father recently has been more involved. We communicate almost daily now. We agreed that Alex needs to know what to expect. He needs structure. We worked out a schedule together to allow him to spend more time with his father.
We have some challenges too in school that we are still dealing with. Behavioral issues…I asked the teacher to uphold discipline despite his ‘sad story’ of being a child from divorced parents. It should not be used as an excuse to not do any work in school. His teacher felt deeply sorry for him, she almost cry when she said Alex told her that he was living with his father. His teacher nearly gasped in horror when I told her I plan to go back to work fulltime. The school counselor said his behavior improved greatly since I quit working a few months ago but I need to get back to work.
Being a single mom is hard enough. Being a child of divorced parents is difficult. It has been quite a challenging few months.
“When his love tank is full he will not care much. He just wants to feel loved.” Said a friend.
Then it hits me, that is why he could easily walk away after we discussed why his parents can’t live together anymore.
His love tank was full!
He feels loved. He feels heard. His concerns were addressed. He was satisfied.
My heart feels full of love.
I may have a lot more to learn about motherhood, about raising a boy but with the help of my future husband to be, my ex husband and his wife, I’m sure everything will be fine. I am so grateful that we are all in this together. For a boy who is greatly and deeply loved.