Divorce and An Apology to My Children
I am divorced with two little girls.
The guilt Mothers feel when raising children is something most people don't talk about. Whether you didn't do enough with them during the day or you didn't let them stay in the bath long enough or play long enough, or maybe you raised your voice right before bedtime, a lot of us are consumed with guilt and it's not OK. I feel like most of us are trying as hard as we can to raise good people, but for one reason or another the guilt creeps in and for lack of a better word, it sucks. I wrote this letter to myself two years ago. I never shared it with anyone because I thought the process of simply typing it would allow me to heal. But truth be told it didn’t and I think there are other women out there feeling this pain. It took me a long time to realize it's OK to have feelings of guilt and sadness and it's also OK to talk about it. The biggest source of my guilt comes from my divorce and for not giving my children what I thought was their best chance at success. If you aren't divorced you may not understand everything that is written here and if you are, I hope this helps you. I have promised to keep my new website real and divorce is very much “real life”. Time to talk about it.
An Apology to my children
I am sorry.
I wanted you both to have the most perfect life and I am sorry I couldn't give that to you. I am sorry that Daddy and I are no longer married and I am sorry that you had to suffer because of that. I'm so sorry that I cannot see you every single day. I'm so sorry I cannot wake up and hold you in my arms every morning like I use to. I am sorry that I cannot kiss your little faces every time you get hurt. I am sorry that I can't be there for every first anymore. I am sorry that you have to go back and forth between two homes, not knowing the schedule or what is to come the next day. I'm sorry some of your friends only go to Mommy's house and some only go to Daddy's house. I'm so sorry you don't always have your favorite shoes, your comfy leggings, or the lunch box that you like best.
I am sorry that you have to see mommy and daddy not acknowledge each other. I am sorry that you had to endure us not look up at each other at drop offs. I am sorry you can't hear us say hello, good bye, or thank you. I am sorry you have to sometimes bring things back and forth. I am sorry this is your "normal".
I am sorry that you have to answer other kids when they ask you why your mom and dad have two different houses. I'm sorry that it’s easier for you to say “Dad’s house” and “mom’s house” when you deserve to be able to say “our house”. I am sorry that you have to see us date. I am sorry I fell in love with someone that I dated for a long time and that when he hurt my heart I couldn't tell you why. I am sorry you had to say goodbye. And I'm sorry that when you asked why and started to cry, I cried too.
I am sorry that I can't always be strong. I am sorry that I am confused. I am so sorry that sometimes I too am scared to be alone. I feel like I'm walking down a path that I have never been down before and I don't know what direction to turn or where to go. I know you count on me for everything and I'm sorry that I keep second guessing myself.
Most of all, I am sorry that I cannot take away any sadness you have had to experience because of your mom and dad's divorce. I am sorry I am not in your shoes and I am so, so sorry I cannot take your place.
I'm sorry that I still can’t read this letter out loud. I started writing it two years ago and I just cried. I cried so much thinking of all the mornings I wouldn't be able to make you breakfast. So many nights I laid on my floor just crying uncontrollably because I felt so guilty for taking away just a piece of your innocence. I never posted this letter because I was afraid to say what I truly felt. I felt guilty for wanting to be happy.
I am sorry for always feeling guilty. You see, I was taught to always doubt myself. I was taught to not say too much. And to never speak up to the person who was raising me. She thought pretending to be perfect was better than being real. I'll tell you something real. What I have learned in the last four years is that women who show emotion are much stronger than those who do not. Women who aren't afraid to cry, laugh, scream, and speak up are stronger than those who hide behind others, pointing fingers, writing on social media, and pretending to be something they are not. I don't want you to be afraid. I want you to know it's OK to make mistakes. I want you to fall in love or fall out of love if you choose. I want you to not settle. I want you to speak up to not just strangers, but to me, to your Dad, and to whoever you are with, because you know what? Moms and Dad's make mistakes. They aren't perfect. But they are supposed to love you unconditionally and never leave your side and I promise to always, always, be here for you because you both are the reason I am not sorry for where I was and where I am now.