There have been so many times in my life when I have heard someone say “it wasn’t how I planned it!” I’m saying it now… because nothing in my life is how I would have ever envisaged it to be…
If we go right back in time to the turn of the century, I didn’t ever plan on having children. It held no appeal to the teenage me. With that said though, and the notion that children choose their parents, I CAN believe that I was actually meant to be a mum.
I also never planned to raise my children as a single mum.
And, as for the idea of falling in love with a man twice my age? Yes, I would have laughed at myself and queried which drugs I ‘had been taking (not to mention how many I had actually taken).
The emotions of separation
It’s a peculiar thing really, thinking about how differently I would have planned my life if I had thought to plan it at all. Actually, I hadn’t given it any real consideration by the time I found myself wandering the path I have now travelled.
The life I have created for myself is one that has phenomenal pressures and burdens. However, there’s always going to be a way of making the most of it, and making it work in MY favour.
At the start of this most recent chapter, I felt guilt, relief, sadness and a myriad of other emotions. I felt guilt for the children, I grieved for the future there would never be, as a nice, normal family. There was also relief that it was over and excitement for the future.
The biggest, and perhaps most unsettling emotion I felt though, was shame. I felt my cheeks burn with it each time I admitted I was a failure. Every time I told someone I couldn’t save my marriage, I felt I was putting an oversized flashing arrow above my head.
Over the first weeks, I came to realise that the shame I felt wasn’t because I felt ashamed. The shame was a perception, projected by society, the burning shame of raising children in a “broken home“.
It’s not a broken home
I now realise that my children are not growing up in a broken home. They have a happier Mum, and are, as a result, happier themselves.
The home they had prior to the separation was broken. It was full of negative energy and emotions that were far more damaging than living with one happy parent and having contact with another.
The ‘nice, normal family‘ I grieved over is a social construction, and one that does not reflect the reality of many. What is normal anyway, and who taught me what normal looks like?
Almost 8 months after the separation I can honestly say that I made the right decision. The tension has dissipated (unless it’s chore time for the kids of course), the children are happier, (See comment in brackets above) and I am ME again (well, getting there at least).