My Worst Fear

Ms Single Mama challenged us all to write about our worst fear and how we plan to fix this fear. So, here goes.

As soul-crushing and vomit-inducing as it was to hear “I just never really loved you”, it was an even bigger test to see the one whose ring you wore on your finger slide so easily into a new relationship. A relationship that involved another (younger, blonder) single mom and her two kids.

The first time all three of us met, it wasn’t pretty. He and She huddled together on the couch, blowing smoke in my direction while they looked over my parenting plan, scowling. She told him that my plan was “bullshit” and that he shouldn’t agree to it. He nodded in agreement.  It was official. I hated her.

That was 6 months ago. Since then, the three of us (and sometimes herex) have met with reasonable amounts of civility, and I’m quite proud of the fairly low amount of White Trashiness that has been involved in the exchange. Its still weird seeing her wear his T-Shirts; the ones I used to sleep in, and think about how smooth the transition from me to her was. Its almost like the life HE had with me and LB never even happened, and now there’s some blonde girl wearing his t-shirts.

Last weekend LB cried when I came to pick her up. For the first time, she didn’t want to leave “Daddy and Blondie” That was the day my worst fear surfaced. It hit me like a dodge ball to the face. Questions started bombarding me.

 What if this girl is more than just the next one to wear his T-shirt? What if their relationship lasts longer than ours did? What if the engagement that never followed through in my life, magically transports to HIS and HER reality? What if LB gets a half-sibling before I ever even start dating again? What if the family that her daddy has so neatly fit himself into becomes the family that LB wants to be apart of? What if that family becomes more important than me?

Yes. My biggest fear is one of complete selfishness. I want to be the most important person in LB’s life. I am afraid that a family that includes a mom & dad and two sisters will one day be the most important thing in her life, and the family she would rather be with. I’m afraid that crying when I come to pick her up will turn into tantrums, and then turn into begging and eventually a court order with her stating she would rather live with her dad than me.

I want the best thing for my daughter. I want her to be happy. I know she loves me and I know I’m a good mom, but I’m not her father. I can be the best single mom I can possibly be, but as long as her dad is here, there will always be an element in her life that I can’t fulfill the way he does. There will always be something that she experiences when she’s with him, that will be completely different than when she is with me. How can I compete with that?

I guess part of me is scared because I didn’t have much faith in his ability to be a good dad, let alone be part of a succesful family unit. I said it before in an earlier post, Its easy to be the hero, when the other guy is a raging low-life asshole. LB’s crying when I went to pick her up has confirmed my fears. He is no longer the asshole. He is daddy-dearest.

Solution: More than anything, I hate to live in fear. I would rather be angry, sick, tired, depressed and bed-ridden rather than constantly biting my nails.

  1. I keep reminding myself to give my daughter more credit. She’s a smart kid, and the fact that she get to be 2 little girls’ playmate every Sunday is a nice perk in her life, but she probably won’t disown me as her mother just so she can play with them everyday.
  2.  Give myself more credit. I have nurtured, cared, provided for and loved my child since the day of her birth, and she knows it. Even if her dad may offer her a more “traditional family”, the LB & Me team is a pretty sweet deal too. Constant attention 100% of the time? SCORE!
  3. I think of all the non-traditional families I know. My close friend is raising a child in a same-sex family, and that child is an amazing, creative, imaginative, happy little person. The thought of him choosing another family based on Mom & Dad vs Dad & Dad seems so ludicrous, that it brings me comfort when I think of LB choosing to live with the X and his “All American” family.
  4. I think of my best friend Jiji who is going to have LB as her flower girl, and how she was raised by a single mom as well. I think about all the people who love LB, and how lucky I am to have them in my (and her!) life. There is no shortage of adoration in her world.
  5. I think about my boss, whose own daughter eventually chose to live with her dad when she was in high school. I think about how hard that was for her, but what a strong & amazing person she remains. So I know if my fear DOES come to be reality, I know at least one person (and probably half of America) survived it.

My fear is nothing like a phobia of dying (though that thought makes me want to write my will NOW), and I’m sure every single mom whose Ex moved onto another family has felt the same way in the early stages of their single parenthood. Honestly, I think every mom has a primal fear that their child will be somehow taken away from them (lost, kidnapped, killed, removed WHATEVER), and I think that is where my fear is stemming from. That instinctual level of protection.

Luckly, I think I will be able to manage it one day. I think its ok to have fears, its just not ok to let them control your life. I refuse to do that.

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17 thoughts on “My Worst Fear

  1. If I may add one thing to your plans on kicking the fear:

    1. Every heart has infinite amounts of room for loving infinite amounts of people. She is lucky to have so many people who love her so much.

    And – god, I can’t believe the bastard went with another single mom. Mine did too. SUCKS. Benjamin cries when his Daddy leaves and has been asking more and more for him … one literal solution that may help – can he drop her off at your house, so the kicking and screaming doesn’t happen in front of his girlfriend and the other kids? Just an idea. And I would also try to talk to your Ex about these fears. Be totally honest with him and just say – I just want to make sure you always speak well of me in front of our daughter – always.

    Thanks! I LOVE this post – you’re definitely a front runner.

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  2. Very true, I also felt like you did…fear about the day when B’s Daddy’s new relationship beats the timeline of our marriage/relationship. Bottom line is…it’s going to happen for us, because this new girl is WAY more tolerant of his crap than I was.
    I will say, that with time (it’s been five years since we split), it definitely becomes easier. We had a child support/fact finding, income evaluation the other day and it was actually not an awful experience. We both chatted a bit and were friendly enough and the judge even said we both seemed so focused on doing what was best for our girl. Never thought that day would happen. So chin up and good post! (Even though I really want that flat iron!). 😉

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  3. I completely agree with your #2. As single parents, we need to embrace our “family”. At what point did the world (and single parents in general) decide that we weren’t a family because there wasn’t a mom, a dad, a dog and a picket fence?

    And who does this woman think she is? That’s not her baby and she doesn’t get a say. Courts don’t even acknowledge her opinion. Would she put up with that? Would she just allow some new woman to come in and start “parenting” her kids? Whatever happened to empathy?

    My ex went back to his ex-wife and they are engaged (and married and divorced twice). I don’t worry about losing my “place” in ym kids’ life because they are not given the opportunity to participate in the their dad’s life. So as far as they know, our family is us.

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  4. You know what? Like, 95% of the reason I stay here, in this town with no good friends and family, is the fear that if I moved five hours away to my hometown, that Son would someday want to go live with SD, and he’d be five hours away from me. I could not handle that. So I struggle here, in this town, just because of that future fear.

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  5. What an amazing post – you deserved the win. Every word you wrote spoke to me (egads, now I have a new fear to add to my list).

    Thanks for writing it.

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  6. I could 100% relate to this post. Ex-husband married single mom he cheated on me with. I divorced him for it and they immediately started pretending to be the “happy little blended family” and teaching my daughter to call this woman’s daughter her “sister”. If it were my daughter’s idea (and it wasn’t; my daughter was 2 at the time and ex admitted he was coaching/teaching to do this). He also started having our daughter call her stepmother’s parents by grandparent names and telling her that stepmother’s siblings are now her aunts and uncles.

    Ex was/is not a good husband nor father…but he’s a pretty good liar so he’s good at pretending and deceiving people that he is. I know that he can only keep up his appearances for so long before people (stepmother included in that) will see through it.

    I just keep repeating the mantra: “He’ll be him and I’ll be me. Our daughter is/will be smart enough to see the difference”.

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  7. Jaclyn- My Ex is telling my daughter the same thing. His girlfriend’s daughter came running up to me saying “He says LB is our sister now!” I was so furious I wanted to scream, but sadly, its not the kid’s fault. I hate how emotionally manipulative he is. Its not fair to a 2 year old.

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  8. my ex husband and i have joint custody of our daughter but she lives with him not me i have visitation every other weekend i did not mind this until my ex husband and his wife started having marriage problems he left leaveing my daughter to live with her she now has a new boyfriend i do not know this new boyfriend of her my ex has not came to see his daughter for three weeks what are my rights i want to protect my daughter and make her feel at least on of her parents wants and love her i decided this weekend to keep her even if i get into trouble cause she needs stablity which i can provide for her i do not have money right away for a attorney oh by the way i am engaged to a wonderful caring understanding man he is a hard worker and good provider he has two wonderful children which he has custody and which i help care for since we have lived together for two years i just need advice what will happen to me i love my daughter

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  9. Candace- Unless your Ex’s wife has adopted your daughter (or your husband has written her as having rights in your custody agreement) she has no legal rights to keep your daughter.

    Does your ex’s wife have any issues with her staying at your house since your ex moved out? I would go back to court and try to get your custody order modified ASAP, because legally, you are in contempt if you refuse to return the child to her custodial home at the end of you visitation time.

    Is your daughter old enough to choose who she wants to stay with? If she doesn’t want to live with your Ex’s wife, then she can say that in court.

    Good luck! See if you have local Women’s Resource Center or other community programs that can help you with legal advice, or call around to see if you can find a lawyer who has free consultations.

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