If love is a game then men and women often find themselves on opposing teams. Truth is I have felt in past relationships and my most recent one that the man in my life viewed me as his enemy at worst and his competition at best. In the case of my children’s father, there’s an invisible score board and shot clock between us. “Buying the kids expensive Christmas gifts”…lay up. “Offering to take them on the weekends”… two point jumper. “Being the custodial parent”… three pointer.
Truth is I don’t want love to be a game and I don’t want to score points for being the woman and the mother I thought I was supposed to be.
Likewise, I’m tired of him feeling like the game is over because he can’t make the free throws of expensive gifts and stability.
Why are we competing anyway?
Who told us that our children’s love and affection was a prize instead of blessing? Since the love of a child is unconditional by nature anyway, who told us it was something we had to compete for? I don’t need an elbow to the face every Christmas time when he’s able to buy more gifts than me and I certainly don’t feel like committing a technical foul against him just because I take time off work to nurse a sick child. Can’t we all just grow up and can’t we all just get over ourselves?
Communication has always been poor between my children’s father and I and for all my elloquence of speech, I’ve never been able to find a way to convey my true heart and intentions to him. Somehow or another, my intentions get lost in translation and all that gets processed are words like “snob”, “controlling” and “hypocrite”. I may be tough but words run deep with me. I’m a wordsmith so when someone chooses certain adjectives and directs them at me, I don’t simply brush them aside as meaningless. What would cause a person to say or assume these things about me?
One things for sure. I am not intentionally raising my two children without the help of their father. I didn’t sign up to do it alone but that’s exactly where I’ve found myself. However, when you find yourself being the responsible person in the relationship, be prepared to also be labeled as the controlling one. You’re the bad guy who prefers paid rent over new gadgets and toys. You suck all the fun out of pay days with your incessant need to be fiscally responsible and studious. God forbid you blow at least one paycheck on something fun and then spend the next week pushing the panic button, trying to figure out how to make ends meet. You make men feel like a child with your always correcting words like, “Maybe we should try to put something back for gas or not spend so much here and put the extra money there”. You are a mature adult and that unfortunately makes you an opponent.
Love is not a game to me. Is it complicated? Intricate? Demanding? Commanding? Yes, it is. But one thing it is not is a competition. I don’t love my children to spite their father. I love them because they have been given to me by God to love and nurture. I thought when I became a mother that I was supposed to be one and that included making them of a high priority and making sure that they were raised in the most loving and safe environment possible. That’s what I thought. But somewhere along the line, it became a game to their father and I.
I don’t want to play anymore.