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Monday
Dec052016

The Next Chapter: In Which Feeling Like a Fraud Made Me My Most Authentic Self

It has been oh-so-long since I have written a Bloom blog.  I can think of many excuses for my hiatus, but if I am truly, brutally honest, the real reason is - Divorce. 

My blog has always been about parenting. While I never offered myself up as the perfect parent (if you’ve read my blog you’d know that, for sure), I was always a confident parent.  I made mistakes but I always understood that I was doing my best. I encouraged you to understand that about yourselves as parents, too.

 …and then, my family fell apart.

No matter how confident a person is in their decision to divorce, as a parent there is guilt. So much guilt…and sadness, and fear. I prided myself on putting my children first - and divorce seemed like a soul crushing assault on their somewhat idyllic young lives.  The ultimate mom fail. I was afraid I was going to ruin them.

To continue to write my blog without acknowledging this monumental change in my family life seemed disingenuous, and yet I wasn’t ready to go there with you. Honestly, I thought - how can I possibly offer up advice about parenting, when I have ripped apart my family?

I felt a like a fraud. 

You know who are most susceptible to fear of being judged? Those who judge! Oh, the poetic justice! Let me tell you a secret - I used to believe that I never judged anyone for getting divorced. But if I dig deep, I know that I did. This is how, and it’s subtle…

While I outwardly agreed that divorce may be the right choice for others, on the inside I thought - but not for me - never for me. I believed I would never make that choice because, after all, I am solid, strong, determined, reliable, good parent. Herein lies the passive-aggressive judgement, because the implication there is this - You, divorced parent, must therefore not be those things. Of course, there were extenuating circumstances in which I thought the reasons for ending a marriage were valid (oh so gracious of me to offer a pardon). If I didn't know the reasons, I'm sure I made up a story in my head, and that story was likely unflattering, or at least dismissive. (I am so sorry for this. The condescension and lack of humility is painful to admit.)

…and then, my marriage blew up.

I received more than a healthy dose of humility. I am not going to go into detail about what happened. I learned that sometimes, marriages fail. They fail even if you are a solid, strong, determined, reliable, good parent. I have also learned that it is not the responsibility (nor should it be the concern) of the divorced to justify their reasons to anyone but themselves. Interestingly, while I used to hold in higher regard those who sought to explain to me their reasons for divorce, now I find myself highly regarding those who do not seek to explain (other than to their close family and friends). 

It took some time for me to see that despite being in a family situation I never imagined, I can be - and I am - every bit the good mother I always was.

Divorce didn't change that. 

In fact,

I am a happier parent.

I am a more humble parent.

I am a more focused and attentive parent.

I am a more compassionate and understanding parent.

And... 

I am still not perfect.

(Divorce didn't change that, either.)

Life is messy and complicated, and so am I.

So is parenting. 

Good God, so is parenting.

I realize now, it is important to me to stand up as a divorced parent, and to own the fact that my voice is still worthy of being heard. 

So, here I am.

Here we are.

Messy and complicated us.


 

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