Ok Confession Time!
This is not going to be pretty but God placed this on my heart to talk about. I always try my very best to be an obedient servant but this one was hard. I talked to my fiancee about it, and really had a very stern talking to by my mother about it (lol) and I prayed about it. After a nice long cry I decided that there may be a woman out there with a guilty mom conscience that needs to hear my story. So here we are Warrior Women, ready to speak some truth and hoping you all don’t get too mad at me….
Confession: I Didn’t Raise My Kids…
Let’s back up for a bit here… I had my kids at 17 and 20 years old. I have no excuse for what I’ve done but I really want to try and paint an accurate picture here. I’ve been severely depressed for probably the bulk of my teenage and adult life. My children were little rays of sunlight that penetrated the dark clouds of my existence. Now I did not just give birth and hand them over. I think that early on I was a good mom. I fed, clothed, nurtured, and loved on them the best I could given my age and financial circumstances. Early on we had a good life.
I moved out of my mom’s house at 19. Thanks to public housing I was able to secure us a nice little 2 bedroom apartment not to far from my family. I didn’t want to be too far away, but on my own at the same time. For the time being we were pretty happy. The darkness didn’t stay away for long. I reverted to my old ways of using sex and a tool. It was a momentary escape from the war raging inside me. My own insecurities, my suicidal thoughts were getting louder and I needed something to shut it all up – even if it was for a few minutes. ( I didn’t know Jesus back then) Well out of this came my youngest. I didn’t know what I was going to do, how I was going to care for him but I was going to make it happen
At this point my oldest was going back and forth between my house and my mom’s. Which seemed perfectly OK with us at the time. He loved his Nana and would have rather we all lived there, which was a possibility but I was always at odds with my mother so it didn’t seem like a good fit for me. So at this stage in the game I was still a full time Mommy with a few breaks here and there. Totally normal.
When my youngest entered the world I was in complete awe of him. He came from something pretty ugly – but he was a gift from God and treasured him. I was all about being a good mom to both of my boys. To me at the time that was making sure they ate good, were clean, had a roof over their heads, and were clothed decently. I probably overwhelmed them with I love yous, hugs, and kisses… but I didn’t feel like I heard that enough growing up so I made sure they never questioned that. Not even for a minute.
A Turn For The Worse…
As time went on my oldest spent more and more time at my Mom’s house. It was a gradual thing and I honestly can’t even remember how this all started. Sorry… there was no big event to mark him being their permanently it just sort of happened. This is going to be a common theme in this story. When I was younger I had no voice. No backbone whatsoever and as a result a lot of things just sort of happened in my life. I always had custody of Ian and he always had a room at whatever house I was living in but it just kind of happened that he wasn’t there. Now at this point I am living directly around the corner from my mom so it never seemed like a big deal to me. I was right there… Or so I would tell myself.
I got a job working third shift because it was higher pay. Of course I’m still a single mom and needed help with the boys as far a child care was concerned. My mother agreed for both boys to stay at her house at night and I would be home to get them off to school in the morning. This went on for almost a year, then the youngest came back and the oldest seemed to be making guest appearance at my house. He has Asperger’s and does not like things to change to much so we never forced this issue. He actually preferred being at my Mom’s and enjoyed it when I came over to visit with him. I always brought groceries for my Mom’s house when I was shopping so she didn’t have to worry about feeding him.
I know, I know these are the little lies we tell ourselves to make us feel better. At the time I really felt like I was doing something! Like I was caring for my child by buying groceries and new outfit here and there.
I Thought I Was Doing The Right Thing…
So my youngest began having major behavioral problems at school. Like really bad, calls every day behavior problems. Then he’d come home and be my sweet little angel of a boy who never caused me a moments grief. This kid would do anything for you. He’d clean anything, do anything you’d ask… just awesome at home get him to school and he was Mr Hyde’s manipulative little brother. I was at my wit’s end and I had no idea how to fix any of this. I did everything… you name it. I tried it. He would not behave. My brother eventually gave me an olive branch – he figured he needed a firm man’s hand ( his father has never been in the picture). My brother offered to have Devon go to school from his house, which was a better township, and he’d come home every weekend and breaks etc.
So that was the arrangement… My son was to stay at my brother’s home for school only and would be at my house whenever school was not in session. It worked great for years. No discord, no arguments, in my mind it was the best arrangement ever. His grades were improving, he was getting the structure and discipline he needed and everything was sunshine and rainbows. One day I got a call from my brother that the school found out I didn’t live there and he was going to be charged tuition if I didn’t give him Guardianship. I sat on this situation for weeks not wanting to give up rights to my son. But eventually I caved and just let it happen. I signed the paper thinking this is my brother and he would never keep my son from me.
Yeah – So I thought. Eventually breaks and holidays were not mine. They always had plans. My I cried about it, complained about it but ultimately I had signed that piece of paper in that lawyer’s office and had no voice anymore. I was told by the attorney that I would have to go to court and prove that he was better with me and let’s be honest I have not had the best track record. I lived in the hood and was at this point out of a job, I didn’t have a leg to stand on.
Then It Got Really Ugly…
I spent years beating myself up over letting other people, family or not control my life. i had the most sever case of mom guilt ever. My spiraling resulted in me becoming homeless which meant I had nowhere for either of my kids to stay, well with me anyway. By this time i was living at my mom’s house and she moved in with her new husband, however my older sister was better adept to renovate and upkeep my mom’s house as I was still unemployed. I was going from place to place at the time, and was just not stable. Eventually I got my own place but it was too late. They were established where they were and the worst mom in history. I lost them.
How I Forgave Myself….
God. That’s just all I can say. We know that God forgives us but it is quite another thing to forgive ourselves. I have spent years praying that this situation would be magically altered but the truth is we have to own our mistakes. Jesus wipes away sin, not consequences. We may be forgiven but we may, in some cases, still face the ramifications of our deeds. I gave my power away. I must face the music not only in my own spirit but with my children as well. But prayer changes things.
One of the ways I forgive myself is by practicing self care and doing things for other people. Just being kind for no reason other than I am a good person, and by being in my boys lives as much as I can. I also refused to carry around any more baggage so I have to tell myself I can not change what happened but I am in control of how I move forward. What I do from here. They are old enough to make up their own minds now. My oldest is in college and my youngest is starting his senior year of high school this fall. The best advice I have ever heard was….
There is literally NOTHING you can do about the past. The best thing you can do is to atone and make the present and future better. We all make mistakes, some small some massive, but the trick is to not wallow in it for too long. Don’t get so beat down by what you have done that it makes it impossible for you to do any good at all. Forgive yourself and move on… Easy to say, not so easy to do. But you will not truly live an abundant life until you let go of the past, forgive your own misdeeds, and accept yourself for who you are, who you truly are. I allowed being an inconsistent mother define me. Do not let your past define you. You are beautifully and wonderfully made! You are a child of God.