Friday, May 13, 2011

Hanging up my SuperMom Cape

I doubt my parenting skills often. Been doubting myself ever since the first day I brought my daughter home. I was all by myself with a 2 day old newborn. Those 6lbs 14.5oz wanted nothing more than to be loved. And I have tried my best to shower her with love and affection every single day. I have promised not to be like the Mom in the mall yesterday who slapped her 3 year old son across the face.

I know that life is full of ups and downs. Yesterday was a major down, and as a result I’m hanging up my SuperMom cape. My daughter who is 5½ was having a hard day after school. She was getting easily frustrated and whining a lot. When we finally got home she settled down a bit, and then went back to the whining. I firmly asked her to go to her room [something I never do], she looks over at me and says Mommy, I don’t want to live with you anymore, I wanna live with Daddy. My jaw dropped. I sat there starting at her for a good 5 minutes in shock, then again asked her to go to her room. As soon as she left the living room tears started flowing. Me, Mama, the most consistent person in her life. She really wants to just push me aside?

Mama who is always there for her to put a band-aid on an invisible scratch.
Mama who is there at every swimming glass grinning in pride at the edge of the pool.
Mama who dances and sings with her in the living room every evening.
Mama who is snuggled next to her every night.
Mama who is there at every parent-teacher conference, every pot-luck, every school event.
Mama who for her.
Mama who juggles being a fulltime student and fulltime employee, to make her life better.
Mama who has no social life, so I can be present and available for her every need.
Mama, whose number one priority is to love and support her.

Yes my daughter is only 5, and I know that she loves me, and that our bond is rock solid. Those tears flowed because for so long I have puffed out my chest and worn this SuperMom cape, so sure that single handedly I could provide for her every mental, emotional, and physical need. Shielding her away from toxic people and protecting her from harm. In that moment staring at her I realized that I can’t do it all, regardless of how hard I grind and how much I sacrifice.

As I was bawling on the couch, my friend who had witnessed everything went in and talked with her. She was able to communicate what she was feeling. She missed her Dad, and didn’t know why he wasn’t around all the time. Didn’t know why he said he would come and then didn’t. She was acting out because she was frustrated and didn’t know how to tell me. My heart b-r-o-k-e, because I cannot be her Mother and Father.  I have juggled this single parent thing, and tried to overcompensate for being the only adult in the home. My heart broke because I have tried to shield her from constant inconsistency, but it hasn’t worked. I’ve tried to redirect her sadness, and try to fill the void he’s left. She’s a kid, I thought, she’ll bounce back. But, she hasn’t, and this is why I hang up my SuperMom cape.

So SuperMom cape, I retire you. You are tired and worn, and need a break. I’m only human; I can only do so much. And while I never think my best is good enough, it has to be enough, because it’s all I have.