The Part Time Mama | Mama Monday | 614 Mom

Thank you Betty for sharing your story with us.  Betty is The Single Mom Coach and is passionate about helping single moms feel empowered to live their best lives emotionally, spiritually, and financially.  

Growing up, all I ever wanted was to be a mom.  I was the girl who played with dolls, and planned on having a husband and 4 kids by age 25.  As a child, I was the only one in the house until I was 12 years old; so being a mom of multiple babies was a life goal.  I started babysitting young and by the time I was 19 years old; I was working at a daycare. Soon after I started that job, I was married.  And yes, I wanted to have babies right away. Finally, I had my sweet little boy a month after my 21st birthday.  Yes, I was delayed on my 4 kids by 25 years old plan, but sometimes our bodies don’t want to cooperate.

Sadly, by the age of 24 I found myself making a the hardest decision.  My marriage was rocky; I was suffering from depression and even attempted suicide.  My perfect life was falling apart and I didn’t know how to hold it together. When I was leaving my ex-husband, I had my car packed with everything my son and I owned.  It was so packed that my son couldn’t fit in the car. And honestly, I didn’t know where I was even going to stay. I begged my then husband to give me a few hours to figure it out and we would meet up so he can give me my son.  

I found a cheap hotel to stay until the new apartment was available.  I met up with my ex-husband and our child; I was full of joy when I saw them pull up.  I hugged my baby and held on to him for a while. We went to a local game place where my ex-husband asked for us to go in so my son could play.  My son was only 3 years old at the time and that was his favorite place. I just watched him intensely while we played. I had missed him so much that day.  But, my joy was soon disrupted when at the time we were supposed to leave; my ex –husband rushed to fasten my son in his car told me to get lost because I made my decision and left with my son.  I was left in the parking lot heartbroken. You see, all day I had a feeling that I would never see my son again. I regretted driving away, and kept thinking of all that crap in the car that I should’ve left behind.  I couldn’t believe my eyes. I couldn’t believe he would take him.

Weeks went by and I couldn’t see my son.  I went to every lawyer, and free legal clinic but I was stuck.  Between my depression, anxiety and now this separation; I was lost.  I was paralyzed. I would go near his house to get a glimpse of my baby but was too much of a coward to go in and get my baby.  I couldn’t function. The hardest part has been overcoming those debilitating thoughts these last ten years.

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Finally, I was able to see my son once a week, then twice, and then for the weekends.  At first my ex-husband would supervise the visits. Until his mom told him to stop being an asshole.  Months later, his mom told me that I was free to get my baby whenever I wanted. I wish I knew that.

 

A year later, I was better working and going to school full time.  I was committed to be a better version of myself. But, still found myself lost dealing with the divorce and legal shit I didn’t understand.  I felt manipulated into agreeing to only have my son on the weekends. But in all honesty, I was in a shithole financially and I knew my son would be better with his dad.  I was too weak to fight him and try to get child or spousal support. My ex-husband took advantage and got everything he wanted.

As time went by, I did my best.  My depression would come and go but I showed up everywhere for my son.  For years I heard family and friends praise my son’s father and treat him like he was a hero; I even had a family member told me that my ex-husband was a better father than I was a mother.  For years, I was the joke. My mother would beg me to go to court and fight for my son. But how could I, when nobody could show up for me financially to help me. I would go to lawyers charging thousands of dollars with no guarantees.  Couple of years later, my ex-husband remarried. I had to endure watching my son be raised by someone else. They made all the decisions. She is truly a great step-mom but I was often left out of big decisions related to my son. It has been rough.  For years I was on the sidelines of my son’s life watching him grow. I felt unworthy of being called a mother. I continued to be shamed and questioned by people when I would say anything about our parenting agreement. Every school year, I had to go to the school and fill out a whole form so I could be added to be an emergency contact.  They couldn’t even put me down for such an important matter. So, I rolled with the punches.

I finally snapped, after years of humiliation. I found out the word on the “street” is that I left my son.  Yes, his father told people, I left him and my son. SO, between that and all the shit he and his wife put me through.  I snapped at them. I no longer cared to turn the other cheek. I stood up for myself and claimed the space that I thought was taken away from me.  We haven’t had any more issues.

Last year, I finally completed my degree and watching my son’s pride as I walked across made me feel like I’ve done something right.  I consistently showed up for my son; I was at every game, every school play, everything that he did, I was there – humiliation and all.

At 34 years old, I am still not married and have one awesome kid instead of four.  I am the happiest part time mama you will meet. Because, my love for him and the way I show up for him, it’s full time.     

My secret - I never gave up, shame and all.     

Eryn GilsonComment