My daughter, Averie, had her 6th-grade Orientation this week. When I picked her up from her Dad’s on Monday, he offered to take her so I could stay home. He said all the students do is find their lockers and I wouldn’t be missing anything because we’d have an open house to attend anyway. I somewhat reluctantly and somewhat gratefully agreed to allow her Dad to take her to the Orientation, without me.
While chatting on our way home, she shared her Dad’s girlfriend, and her daughter would be attending the Orientation with them. I thought to myself, “Ohh, now I see why he didn’t want me to go,” I desperately tried to remain nonchalant, but my brain went to work on every worst-case scenario, “He didn’t tell me they were going on purpose! He’s trying to replace me!” I was spinning the fuck out into a big dark hole of fear and doubt.
My insecurity had me questioning the solidarity of my place in Averie’s life as her Mom because I felt guilty for agreeing not to go. I cried, hard, filled with shame for not making Averie’s Orientation a priority. It hurt, but I let it happen. I let the tears come.
After, I calmly called Ave’s Dad. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t the reason he didn’t want me to go. He very kindly reassured me that he had no problem with me attending and I was more than welcome to go. I hung up feeling reassured but not at all comfortable with how hard this situation had triggered my insecurity, and I was determined to own it.
I coached myself, hard. If the roles were reversed, if I were taking Averie and her Dad was staying home, I never would have even questioned it. Also, I was okay with him taking Averie until I found out his girlfriend was going. But why?? Because I thought, “If she was going to make Averie a priority and attend, shouldn’t I?” I believed their attendance meant they were making Averie MORE of a priority than I was, in turn making me a bad mom. But why does it have to be one or the other? Why is it either he’s the good Dad, or I’m the good Mom? Why can’t we both be good parents? We can, you know why? This isn’t a competition. When you turn it into one, nobody really wins.
It’s not me versus her Dad or me versus his girlfriend. It’s about 3 people who all love and want the best for Averie. Her Dad was just trying to do me a favor and be a good Dad. I don’t have to attend every single thing to be a good Mom. I am a good Mom, I am HER Mom. Delegating some of these things to her Dad doesn’t mean I don’t care. Actually, it means I care a lot. I care enough to know the importance of sharing our daughter and making sure she gets to share these milestones with her Dad. He has as much of a right to claim these experiences as his own, as I do. And how lucky am I that he’s found someone who loves Averie so much that she’s willing to invest her time and her evening, in supporting Ave at these events? Super freaking lucky, actually. I should and do, feel incredibly blessed that Averie has another woman in her life who loves her that much.
Don’t let your fear keep you from sharing your child or children with others. Allow your kids the opportunity to be loved MORE. It is not Mom versus Dad, Stepmom versus Biomom, Dad versus Stepdad. It is a group of people who all have something fundamental in common, the love of a child.
They say it takes a village, be the village. Look beyond the needs of your own ego and let that other person love the shit out of your kids. I know it can be scary, but you will ALWAYS be their Mom or Dad, no one can take that away from you. Your child loving someone else does not detract from the love they have for you. That’s impossible because love does not depreciate, it only grows. Love has a compounding effect, it is infinite. Love results in more love. Love, is always the answer.