My oldest son stayed more and more often with Jégwan and I. It was more convenient for him due to his work and his girlfriend. Both my children go to school in the town, where I live. Their father lives an hour’s drive away. So it seemed like a natural progression that my oldest son stayed more and more with us.
Previously, Jégwan and I never had the kids staying with us on Mondays and Tuesdays as well as every other weekend. I loved those days without obligations. Every other Tuesday, I had the great joy of being home alone. Those days I totally enjoyed. Treated myself to girl movies, so I could cry a little, drank red wine and soaked in the bathtub or sang 80s songs which no one else in my family wanted to listen to.
My girlfriends mirrored my uncertainty about whether it was ok to speak out against the children. They believed that the children should be able to stay as much as they wanted at our house. If I said no to them, then they would feel unloved. And unwelcome.
What kind of mother would I be, if I said no to my children? I was afraid to hurt them if I said no.
Slowly, I began to become more and more annoyed with the kids. I oozed on the inside without words. Every time the Socializing Agreement went off schedule, I could feel how I became more and more angry. Because I missed my “days off ” like crazy .
Was I a bad mom, if I didn’t want the kids with me all time? At first I thought: Yes, I am. I felt ashamed.
After a few months it dawned on me that I had lost my integrity and begun to blame the children for my lack of peace and joy. I had to change. Take my feelings seriously. For my own sake and for my children.
If I didn’t have the courage to express what I needed, how would my children ever learn that? They could clearly feel my energy and that I was very irritable, even though I tried to hide it behind a smile.
I had to go talk with my children if I wanted to remain authentic.
I explained to the boys that I need these kids-free days, because I can only recharge alone. And that Jégwan and I need to have time together without children. My son asked me if I did not want the best in life for them. I do of course, but it must be within the framework of the adults around them. And not vice versa.
I believe that if the adults are good at listening to their own needs, take responsibility for them and make sure to fill themselves up and have caring relationship, then we are good role models for our children. We show them the way.
So I ask my boys to respect the fellowship agreement we have.
It may sound harsh and unfair, but on the hand, our kids are always welcome here, because we have recharged and ready for visitation.
If I had not listened to my feelings I had grown into an angry and belittled Martyr who did and said the right things, but felt unhappy. That wouldn’t work in my book. I believe that this kind of energy is harmful to children.
Clear and honest communication on my own behalf is the way to a good relationship with the kids. Even if what I do communicate, doesn’t suit them, my job is to accept that they do not agree. I try to be true to myself and stick to my core values.
I told the boys that they are always welcome to ask if they want to stay for here longer, but it must be agreed on from time to time. I need to know what I can count on and plan around.
Yesterday my oldest son asked if he could stay longer. I could clearly feel that I was almost in tears because I had been looking forward to being home alone. So I said no, it does fit with my plans.
He wanted to know what I had planned, since he could not stay longer. I started to mess around with a long explanation to cover up my bad conscience.
My beautiful son looked smiling at me and said: “Mom, can’t you just honestly say that you would enjoy some time alone with red wine and movies.” He was just curious. I did not need to justify it, even though he said he was in doubt whether I loved him.
He then teased me and added: “Mom, I know just which buttons to push.”
I am so happy and proud that I dared to be true to myself. My boys have had a happier mom and they know that when they are here, I enjoy them.