We’ve all dealt with jealousy a time or two but what happens when that jealousy is between baby mamas and children?
Been there and done it.
My children have an older sister who has them by 10 years. About three years ago, her mother made the decision to move out of state. But before the move, I already saw signs of jealousy creeping up.
When she would come up for visits, I noticed her taking inventory of Matt and Cait’s clothes and shoes. She would make little comments like, “Must be nice”, or something to that effect.
More recently, I’ve heard rumors of their being jealousy concerning their father doing more for my two children than for his oldest child.
It is true that he does spend more time with his children by me than his oldest. Any judge and jury can try and convict him on those charges but really, I’m not trying to feel it.
People can make judgments and assumptions all they want from the outside looking in.
But only those involved know the facts.
Here’s what I know for a fact.
I paid the cost to be here in this place with their father.
It did not come easy. It involved a lot of pride being swallowed, a lot of tears being shed and a lot of conversations with God and close family and friends. I didn’t get here waiting on him to do or be the man I thought he could or should be.
I got here by deciding I was going to deal with the man he IS and make the most of it for the sake of our children.
I made a lot of mistakes along the way and so did he but ultimately, I decided that no matter what, I was going to give my children a fighting chance at having a relationship with their dad.
There’s nothing “fair” about parenting. Go ahead and wipe that notion of fairness right on out of your head. There’s nothing convenient or self serving about it. I’ve made plenty of decisions not for my sake, but for theirs. And one decision I made was to do everything within my power to facilitate their relationship with their dad.
Not every woman is willing to do what I did and make the sacrifices I’ve made to make that happen and I understand that.
I also understand that’s the difference between my children’s relationship with their father and other children’s relationship to their fathers dealing with similar circumstances.
You can’t hate on me or the relationship my children enjoy with their dad if you’re not willing to do the work it takes to make that happen.
Even if you’re not married to the man you’ve made children with and are no longer in a romantic relationship with him, that doesn’t mean the work stops. For many it does, but for the ones who are serious about doing what’s necessary to have the father of their children around, the work doesn’t stop when two people call the relationship done. What happens is that a NEW relationship begins.
It takes just as much work, just as much sacrifice and just as much determination as a romantic relationship.
What keeps me motivated?
It was my decision to get with their dad so why should I punk out on them just because things got a little tough? Why do I get to get off the hook so easily at their expense? I owed it to them to figure out a way to make the best of a situation I chose and they inherited.
There are some days when it feels like I’m doing all the work. It feels like I’m doing all the bending, making all the concessions, making all of the effort.
And then there are those days when I realize that all of my sacrificing isn’t in vain and it’s paying off.
What day is that?
When their father and I can play with our children together in a public place, share memories, exchange gifts with our children, snap pictures, share hugs and love on our babies TOGETHER; you don’t get moments like that for free.
You don’t just luck up on those type of moments.
That takes real, honest effort and a heart willing to forgive.
A heart willing to stop keeping a running tab of wrongdoing.
A heart willing to let the past go.
A heart willing to accept an apology even if you know he’ll probably do it again later on.
A heart willing to give him a second, third and fourth chance to do right by his children.
You don’t get there for free.
So yea, people may look in with jealousy, thinking this or that… but they don’t see the work that has gone into making this relationship with my children’s father what it is today.
That’s my message to single mothers. Sure, there are some raggedy men out there, no doubt. But there are also some men of well intentions that although they want to do right, just can’t seem to do so. They love their children with all their hearts but for one reason or another, they can’t seem to translate this love to the world in an acceptable way.
I know my children’s father loves them. It’s this understanding that fuels me when things get tough. He can be inconsiderate and absent minded. He’s not the best at prioritizing. There are some things he considers to be “important” that I would have made a different choice regarding. He still frustrates me.
But we keep trying.
When he apologizes, I accept it.
When he reschedules, I allow it.
I show respect now and I’m starting to get it back.
We can share memorable moments with our children without the cops being called.
Did that happen by accident?
I paid the cost.
And watching my children laugh and play with their dad at birthday parties and holidays is well worth the price tag.
You have to ask yourself what matters most to you. Does it matter how you look to your girlfriends and family or does it matter how your children get to grow up? For what it’s worth, I grew up knowing my father and he was a fixture in my life. But that too came with a price tag. My mother made a decision long ago that the preservation of her family meant more to her than her own need to get even.
Everything has a cost and you have to decide what worthy of your payment.
In my opinion, anything that insures your children grow up happy, healthy and loved by two parents is a no-brainer.
At least from me, you won’t be judged and I certainly won’t be jealous.
After all, you paid the cost to be there.