After his Affair – One Mom’s Journey with her Kids
Getting punched with the news.
You have an infant in your arms. Your two nursery schoolers are competing for the leftover space on your hips. You all move towards your door ringing at an awkward 6:23 am. Taking in the carefully worded news from your teary best friend’s husband, you call the father of your precious three. You ask what feels to be a ridiculous question. There is no response from your husband on the other end of the phone.
Does it make you a bad mom if you then throw a bag of candy at your preschool aged kids and encourage them to keep watching cartoons? Your mama bear gut approves because you have a nauseous feeling you need to have a nightmare adult conversation with your spouse of 10 years. Does your diaper wearing son sense mommy’s shock and disbelief? The neighbor who hosted his baby shower is having an affair with his father.
And the questions and the continuous heartstring pulls continue.
Stepping into a new unreality
You courageously move to start fresh for you and your children. But what do you say at the bus stop when an eager neighbor asks: “Oh, you just moved! What does your husband do?” Is it all right to say, with three sets of hungry eyes awaiting your answer: “Oh…Oh…we have a different type family.”? How do you balance competing priorities: a diaper needs to be changed, a tantruming child needs discipline, and then your divorce lawyer calls you to ask why you did not check your email about the upcoming trial between you and your children’s daddy.
Do they see the tears behind your big sunglasses as he pulls up to take them to the Disney vacation you always envisioned? Did they buy your: “Have so much fun!” You truly want joy for them, while you grieve the loss of the Happily Ever After Dream? Do they get how blessed you feel to have them as children. Yet attending soccer games and Holidays and Back to School Nights can be agonizing as newly single parent.
Do they feel sad other kids call you “Mrs” when they know there is no “r” in their unique home? Do they feel uncomfortable getting Christmas candy from the woman at daddy’s house on weekends? Do they feel the same sadness in the McDonald’s parking lot exchanges Christmas Eve? How do you respond when they bravely ask: “Did you start the divorce?” Yet you dare not tell them a truth too too traumatic for their age. Do they feel the tension at major milestone Life events for them, with two now split extended families? How do you comfort your own child 7 years later when they bawl and boldly express: “Yes, I still want you and daddy to live together.”
Taking care of yourself so you can take care of the kids
Are your trips to the Y to run and practice yoga and to save your sanity, while they are in childcare, enough to revamp and be ready and playful to them again? Do they feel all the love from the angel friends that always appear to watch them for child custody and support hearings? Will you be forgiven for the white lies said to protect them from the knowledge of your whereabouts? Do these playdates offer them enough deserved childhood innocence? Is your time away from them at therapists and divorce support groups and reiki and reflexology, all to heal and be better for them, worth the time away from your quickly budding children?
Do they hear your silent prayers on playgrounds to put on a happy face and be physically and emotionally available to them? Is it crazy to feel thankful for the awesome Hide and Seek spot you secured to catch a lifeline of a deep breath? Are you teaching them the grace to hold their heads up high, one baby step at a time, to move forward into a healthier lifestyle for the airplane mask wearer, therefore, them also?
Will they recognize the unfathomable faith and boldness and perseverance and grit you have cultivated from a moment that rocked your white picket fence? Will they ever know the gratitude in your heart for the amazing, resilient young adults they have become, despite being stripped of a “normal” family? Will they get, as Scott Peck said in the opening line of The Road Less Traveled, that “Life is difficult.” Yet it is still a beautiful and wonderful roller coaster ride, ripe with learning and fear and laughter and psychological leaps and bounds?
This mom is too tired to philosophize that answer now. However, the lump in my throat thinking of my pride in their adaptability and sweet sweetness speaks volumes, just as the contentment in my soul as I fall asleep filled with gratitude, Trusting another day with just the four of us will be okay, much, much more than okay.
Goodnight. Sweet Dreams.
For more articles on dealing with children during divorce, click on the links below.
Guiding Your Children Safely Through Your Divorce – a 3-Part Series
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