Being a Mom was the only real plan I ever had for my future!
I did have dreams of having my own business, but knowing what that looked like didn’t come until later in life. Raising kids from the time I was 17 taught me about the real world – fast!
When we first got together, he didn’t have the kids nor did he see them much. Now, before you jump to conclusions, this was back in the early 80’s and the laws were so very different. There was no joint custody in our county in Michigan. It was reasonable visitation. Basically, that meant whenever he was given permission to visit. Even then, the plans didn’t work out most of the time. The child support was paid and more. According to the court, you just better pay your support. If you complain about not getting your visitation, that is a separate issue and you have to file a motion for that. Oh, by the way, keep paying that support even though they never see it. The new man of the house handles all of the finances.
I always encouraged and supported his fight for his kids. After all, they didn’t get a voice. He did what he was could when he was permitted. At seventeen, the last thing I ever expected was to come home from high school my senior year and find his ex-wife at my kitchen table. The next thing I knew, I was taking care of their four kids full time. All while he was still paying child support. So I got trained on the job – real quick!
I never tried to be “the mom.” Even though they wanted to call me mom. I enforced the truth, which was that they had one mom and one dad. Especially when they called their biological father their “other” dad. As that is what they were instructed to do. This was the best way to help them make sense of it all. That didn’t go over to well with the ex, but oh well. The view from our side was very different than most you hear about. This is not about bashing anyone, it’s just about the truth.
Even after all the heartache and tears, I still wanted to have my own children. Most have told me that would have been the best birth control ever! Ha! I wouldn’t marry him until we finally had full custody and they were all living with us full time. The only way to make that happen was to not go after her for child support. We didn’t care, we just wanted to give them stability. That meant I was helping financially also for children that I was constantly reminded were not mine.
Once I had my first child, 24 years ago, we decided to put my career on hold and stay home full time. A few years later, I had twins. Now I knew, I was not going back to work. With 3 young kids and a couple of teens still in the house, it was the best thing for our family. In 2001, my twins were two and I began working at home. I heard all the sarcastic comments about how it is not a real business, but that boat that I bought my husband proved otherwise. Many just have a mindset of 9 to 5.
I remember putting my twins in a playpen or in front of a TV just to get a little work done. Business calls were made during that time and I apologized ahead of time for any noise or crying that could happen at any moment. The sacrifice of personal time, television and socializing to work on my business became the norm. I have been a work at home mom ever since.
After 34 years of being together, those four kids all have kids of their own. Raising kids today is so much different than back then. I read all these stories about step-families and the drama they go through. It is all very sad really when you think about it. Most of it could have been avoided if the adults would conduct themselves as such.
Set an example and live by it. Easier said than done. Parenting is a never-ending job and here is a newsflash for you – it does not end at 18! It may not continue in the same context. You may not be working the 25 hr shift anymore, but your mind never stops! You will still lose sleep, you still worry and there is nothing you can do it about it now because they are over 18!
I may ruffle some feathers with my view, but if you had walked in my shoes and knew the whole story, you may think differently. It amazes me how some moms are today. They have no clue where their kids are, what they are doing or who they are with. The kids use the excuse that it’s just what kids do today. That is just that an excuse. Being a parent is more important than being a friend. That within itself is a problem with today’s youth.
I honestly believe that Mom’s today put to much pressure on themselves to do everything right! The kids are gonna get into the finger paint even if it is sealed and high on a dresser. They are going to pull all of their clothes out of that dresser. Chances are an older sibling will try and stuff a younger one in that drawer while the other one falls asleep in the closet. When you look back, you just have to laugh and even cry because you miss those times as you watch those little kids get ready to turn 18.
Your business will always be there! Moments with your children today are tomorrow’s memories.
I welcome your viewpoints and comments!