I Hope She is Proud of Me by Stacey Honowitz
On this mothers day weekend, I have one question to ask. I want to know if my daughter will be proud of me when she is old enough to understand who I really am. Do you ever wonder what your child really thinks of you? Aside from the usual teenage antics that drive mothers into therapy, do you ever ask yourself if your child looks up to you as a role model?. Is it selfish to want to be the apple of your child’s eye. It’s time for a little role reversal, where we as the parent, instead bragging about our kids, want to dig deep and find out if our kids really like us. Maybe it is much more of an issue when parents are divorced. There does seem to be a sense of competition when the the kids have to spend time with one parent seperately. As mentioned earlier I am divorced and my daughter is only 3 1/2. She of course at this age is not aware of why mom and dad are not together. I know that everyone has their own opinion as to how you are supposed to deal with a child when you are divorcing. I am probably the poster child for things NOT to do, and here is why. I guess when one parent has been betrayed or “left behind” this idea of making that offending parent so wonderful just seems downright offensive. I know that every psychologist says to never bad mouth your ex in front them, but lots of times it’s a boldface lie to tell your child that “mom and dad” just didn’t want to live together anymore. I know deep down that we should spare the child all the salacious details, but I honestly did find it very hard to put on a happy face and tell her “daddy’s here'”, while really wanting to say, “that son of a bitch who left me is now here to take you to dinner.'”
I do not make any apologys for the way I feel, and when I see my daughter excited to see him I get a pit in my stomach. I guess I want her at this age to say “you were really lousy to mom, and no amount of pizza and ice cream is going to change that. ” She will not be exposed nor would she understand at this young age what transpired between us. She is oblivious as to the “real” reasons her mom and dad live in seperate houses . I think this is why I constantly want to know how she feels about me. To be quite honest, I do want her to like me better. I know that it might sound a little out there and people might wonder where the insecurity stems from. I am not embarrassed to say that its from a simple divorce. I would never doubt that my daughter loves me tons, as she tells me all the time. I think I am just really scared that one day she is going to tell me she likes her dad more, or that she wants to go live with him. I know that might sound ridiculous to some but it is a fear that I think truly exists amongst divorced couples. Sometimes when she sleeps at his house and doesn’t want to get on the phone, I get nervous thinking that this is the start of whats to come.
I don’t think married couples feel in competition with one another because they are living together and can see what goes on with the other parent all the time. The idea that your child is with someone that is not very fond of you is what is so troubling. Is that person bad mouthing you to make themselves look better? Its sometimes an awful position to be in, and when you know you have been wronged by this person, its even worse. The dynamics and emotions are so complicated, but I do know one thing she is loved like crazy by both of us.
Thats what makes this question so interesting. I want to know if she is proud of her mother for trying to keep it together during a really rough time. I want to know if she is proud of the way I am raising her. I want to know if she thinks I am too protective. I want to know if she says the obligatory I love you, because I say it first. I want to know if she thinks I am funny or a whack. I want to know if she thinks her dad is a jerk (Just threw that in to get your attention, but would be curious to know her answer). Most importantly I want to know if she knows how loved she is. It’s odd to want your child to be proud of you, but at the same time its such an honor. I beam when I look at her, even in the throws of her worst behavior. I want her to beam at me even if she thinks my behavior is bad. I would like to think of “Mothers Day” as “Child’s Day” because but for her, I wouldn’t be called mom. I know there will come a time when she will call me every name in the book but mom, so for now I will take whatever I can get. Happy mother’s to all, and I hope your kids are all proud of what you have done.