I was watching one of my guilty pleasures after my kids had gone to bed the other night, and had to write a post. Yes, I am referencing The Real Housewives of Atlanta, and yes, I am going to reference it in this post.
Kandi, one of the Housewives, is a single mother whose daughter has not had much contact with her father. He has decided he wants to have some kind of relationship with his daughter, but for the past 7 years has been absent, which is most of her life.
Kandi was speaking to her mother, and it was heart wrenching to watch. She talked about how she wanted the father to have some consistency with their daughter and how she overcompensates to make up for her lack of a father. She was talking about the guilt she feels.
This hit home with me on several levels.
First, a dead beat dad is not just a father that does not pay child support. A dead beat dad can be a father that never sees their children, does not call them or have any type of relationship with them. A deadbeat dad can also be a father who does take their children, but when he has them, does not interact with them in any way, virtually ignoring their needs.
Second, I believe that overcompensating for what our children our missing is so common. It is hard to be a single parent, and even harder when the onus is on you to do everything, provide everything and play both parents. As divorced mother’s we feel responsible for our children, sometimes in a different way than the father does.
These little beings came from our bodies. They embody our hearts and souls and we nurture them and care for them when they are sick. We celebrate triumphs and wipe away tears when they skin their knees. We are the tooth fairy, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. We revolve our lives around our children.
I am not saying that there are not situations, where the roles are reversed and the father is the one doing all of the above, while the absent mother is off in her own world. I know many men that are solely responsible for their children and applaud them for taking on the responsibility, as it is not easy.
But, are we doing more harm than good with that over compensation? I ask myself that question every single day. I wonder if my children will be less capable because I do more for them.
At the end of the exchange between Kandi and her mother, her mother said, “You are doing the best that you can. She has a strong Mama and a very strong Grandmama and in the end she will BE OKAY.”
These are words to live by. Be a strong Mama or Papa and in the end, your children will be okay.
Acknowledge, Accept, Empower and Heal.