One sentence reoccurrs time and time again whenever any parent posts about a break up: “you have you’re kids, that’s all you need”
Sometimes, when I read it, I cringe a little inside. I know it sucks to end a relationship and people don’t quite know what to say, but sometimes? This isn’t it. I want to scream “BUT THEY DO WANT MORE THAN JUST THEIR KIDS! THEY WANT A LIFE!” Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure plenty of moms are happy being blissful single and only having their children to think of. But if we’re totally honest… are the kids really all that we need?
Personally, my answer to this would be no. Although grateful for my brood, they aren’t the only thing I crave. They’re lovely and provide me with great joy (and equal amounts of stress) but I would definitely miss the adult company of a partner, even a temporary one. Just because we’re moms, it doesn’t mean we don’t have needs. And sometimes those needs simply can’t be met by the reduced toy section of Ann summers.
A cuddle from a partner is much more different than one off your child for example; you cuddle a child to make them feel safe, you cuddle a partner and you feel safe. But it isn’t just a partner that some of us need, what about our lives? Our dreams? Our goals?
For so many women, splitting from a partner means so much more than just the end of a relationship. Sometimes their whole worlds have to change. Some might have to give up their job, a career. Some might have to move house, start over. Sometimes they have to give up things they once enjoyed such as going to the gym, participating in a college course, hobbies and interests. Even having to shelve dreams of new goals and career changes. When these things happen, they are losing a part of themselves and sometimes the kids aren’t all they need at all.
If (god forbid) I ever found myself single again and I read a comment like “don’t worry, you’ve got 4 kids, that’s all you need” I’d quite honestly be pissed! Because you know, I’m not just a mom. I’m a woman too, a person with individuality – I have dreams and goals and aspirations that I want for myself. I know that would have sounded incredibly selfish in the 60s but this is 2017 people! We’re more than just mothering machines! Being a mom is great and I’ve done a pretty ok job of momming so far, but that doesn’t mean I’d be happy to completely give up on myself and be content with just my kids. It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t miss adult company of the opposite sex, or going to the gym or writing my blog.
Because, I would miss it and I would still want it.
From the very moment your child is born they become the most important thing in your life and they will continue to be your top priority until the day you die, but that doesn’t mean you have to forget about yourself or sell yourself short. If anything, the end of a relationship is a chance to start over, thinking about it, it’s one less person to worry about so you’ve actually got more time for yourself.
So the next time you feel like comforting someone with the words “kids are all you need” remember, this woman isn’t just a mom. What she needs is your support and encouragement to not give up on herself. To keep those dreams of hers alive.
She’d also probably like a double Gin & Tonic #JustSaying
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