Frustrations of Distance

Part of my personal struggle as a mother is being several hundred miles away from any of my 4 children. My 3 daughters live in Texas with their father, and my son lives in Missouri with his father. Yes, I am the mother that let go of her children instead of fighting to keep them. I know that initially, to outsiders especially, this is unthinkable and permanently labels me as a “bad mother”. HOWEVER, if you know me and/or the circumstances behind my decision, you might think twice before labeling another parent as “bad”.

I was a stay-at-home mom for 14 years. I did all the cooking, cleaning, & child rearing while my respective husbands were either traveling with work or too busy with other interests to be much help at home. Consequently, when my 2nd marriage fell apart, I had no job skills or education that would allow me to support 4 kids on my own. Therefore, I did the “unthinkable” and surrendered my children to their fathers. The ones that had the opportunity to go to school further their education and build careers. (Partially on my back)

Since being separated from my kids I have felt like the absent parent. I have been unable to be with them on birthdays and holidays (yes, even Mother’s Day). I have not been able to physically be there for them when things happen and they just need a hug from mommy. These little things are HUGE in a child’s world and my heart breaks on every occasion that it happens.

My daughters are entering puberty and I’m not there to have those private “discussions” with them. Instead, they are getting them from their new step-mother that really has no idea who they are as people. Just knowing this makes me feel ashamed as a parent and quite literally makes me ill.

My son is in the throes of teenager-hood and starting to really date girls and have serious feelings towards them. This scares the $h!t out of me!!! Also, since he is a teenage boy, he has zero respect for his father and is constantly breaking rules and challenging him in an effort to exert his independence and establish himself as his own man. He and I have always been very close and able to talk about anything. We still do have wonderful discussions and sometimes I even feel like I’m getting through to him…… then he goes and does something ridiculously stupid and lands himself in a load of trouble. I can’t help but feel as though part of his behavior is a direct rebellion towards me and my decision to leave him with his father.

The resulting feeling is one of failure and disgust in myself for not being there for my kids.