I have a severe fear of “fucking my child up”. I expect a LOT of myself as a mother. When I first had my son, I felt I had to make up for the fact that he had no father. I lacked severely in discipline because of this. I felt awful for disciplining him, so I wasn’t that harsh in my tactics. Eventually, I was able to notice that I was doing not only a disservice to myself but to him as well. I was able to change my parenting techniques and structured things better.
Keep in mind, parenting does not come with a handbook. When I was handed my son at 22 years old, the thoughts that crossed my mind were along the lines of “now what do I do?” and “why would someone trust me with this for the next 18 years……”
Sometimes I feel like I am just winging it and praying I am doing something right. The past 7 years I have spent most of my time making sure he is taken care of no matter what it costs for me. No matter what, this is always the story that I tell to show people where I have come from and where it is possible to go.
The years 2010-2014 were extremely rough, especially financially. 2013/2014 was some dark times and it was more apparent since I had a tiny human to take care of that could talk. At the time, I was donating plasma twice a week to make ends meet as I could barely afford rent. I had just enough money for the grocery store to buy milk. I take Asher to the grocery store and he asks for oranges. I had to tell my child “no” to oranges. My heart sank so low. He couldn’t understand why he wasn’t able to get oranges, he was 3/4. The fact was, I was willing to go without so many things to provide the world for that child…. yet I still couldn’t even buy damn oranges?? It was utterly defeating as a parent to feel that.
Within a year and a half, my financial situation did a complete turn around. Not only was I able to buy oranges, I was able to buy apples if he wanted them too ;). Slowly but surely, I no longer felt regret of not being able to provide little things for him and I was able to focus on the big picture. He had a roof over his head. Food in his belly (and NEVER went hungry). Clothes on his back. A mother who loved him beyond life. Nothing else mattered.
You see, my son has meant more to me than my own life. But that is the problem….. You can never put someone else’s value above yourself. Period. If I were to tragically lose my child, what would happen? My life would probably not go on. I am confident in knowing that is where I am at. That is not okay. As much as it hurts to say that, he cannot be the center of my world. Over the past 8 months, I have finally started putting myself on the list of things to care for. I cannot adequately take care of that boy whom I love deeply, if I am not taking care of self.
So as I sat in my car driving in traffic on my way home today, I felt defeated. As a mother. A student. A human. I didn’t feel good enough. I let out a few tears primarily for the fact that I feel like I am not doing enough. I hate that my son has to spend so much time away from me for the next year as I finish out my last year of graduate school while I am working full time. I feel utterly guilty as it is MY responsibility to do it all. I shouldn’t have to rely on others to help me. That is when I had to stop and realize that my independence will kill me. I have my parents and best friend offering help for me to achieve my dreams and goals. I don’t have to walk this life alone. This also means that I am setting my expectations of myself way too high. I will continue to feel not good enough if I continue to do that. Something has to give, otherwise that decision will be made for me.