Motherhood has changed and challenged me like nothing else in my life. Many times I have questioned myself if I am a “good mother” and how to do it right. As all mothers (and fathers) do, we intend to avoid mistakes and to take care of our children in the best possible way.
And yet, at some point we might find ourselves confronted with a situation that contradicts our good intentions.
For me, it was that moment, when I had to make the choice of continuing or leaving my marriage. This crossroad brought me in touch with all my conflicting ideas about being a mother.
How can I be a good mother if I am about to leave my family? Shouldn´t I just keep going for the sake of my children and their wellbeing?
To make it worse, it wasn´t that my marriage was a terrible one. We didn´t even have fights. How can you leave a marriage that everyone else regarded as perfect?
I was torn apart for a while and I couldn´t come to terms with myself. How can you explain what you can hardly put into words for yourself? How can you explain, that you simply feel you are losing yourself and that you don´t like the person you have become over all these years? How can you explain, that you don´t see a chance of it working out differently because you have grown apart so much?
There was no one who could really help me with this decision. Maybe for the first time ever, I realized that I would have to rely on my own guidance.
I knew my body was slowly taking the toll. I had developed physical symptoms that alarmed me and yet I tried to ignore them. I felt drained, tired and semi-depressed. I almost go used to the fact, that I needed more and more energy to make up for it. Until the moment when I knew I couldn´t go on like this.
I was also worried about the memories my children would have of their mother. A mother that seemingly had it all together until fairly insignificant things and events would bring out her rage. I felt ashamed and frustrated about my own behaviour.
And then I decided I had to take the risk.
The risk that we would face a challenging time, the risk that my kids would never forgive me, the risk that I might regret my decision.
Then the moment came when our children had to face the truth. Whatever you say, you know that a world collapses with a few words.
And it takes a while until you see a new one arising.
It´s five years now since all our lives have changed. But it didn´t take that long to see that it was a necessary step and that we all were capable of taking it.
My children both had their unique way of dealing with the challenge. They both have grown so much. And so has our relationship. I am very happy to say, that since I have brought about this drastic change of life, it has also changed me as a mother. I am more stable, healthy and happy than ever. And I know, I can give a lot more to my children. We now have a relationship that once was beyond my imagination. It is one of openness, trust, joy & fun and of a much deeper love.
I have learned that there is no sense in sacrificing a mother´s life in order to avoid suffering for her children. As much as we want to provide them with a harmonious home and a happy childhood experience we have to be clear that we can´t fake, what isn´t there.
What are we teaching them if we stick to a relationship out of commitment, but where one or two partners are not happy? What is the message we are sending out if we just pretend everything is ok, when it´s not, because we don´t want to face our own fears regarding a possible break-up and different course of life?
I strongly believe it is our duty as parents to provide clarity and honesty around partnership, as to encourage them to not only see their responsibility but also their freedom to bring about changes in their own life.
I guess it´s time to become very honest with our lives and it is high time that we start believing that a different life is possible, that wounds can be healed, that we have the courage that we need and the power to make a change.
For the sake of our own lives and the ones of our children.