This breakup is a trying time for all of us not just me. I’m incredibly proud of the kind, thoughtful, and caring girls I’m raising. The breakup isn’t impacting them as badly as I anticipated. Of course they’re sad, but not in the way I expected. They’d grown very close to my ex during the time we were together. Although they feel bad that we broke up, what they really feel is bad for me. All they want is for me to be happy.
The breakup came as no surprise because they know there were difficulties we were trying to work through and they saw the tension in the relationship. In the weeks since we’ve broken up, I’ve had some very candid conversations with my girls to the level and depth I’ve deemed appropriate. I’ve talked to them openly about how I feel and what I’m going through. I’ve explained it in a way that doesn’t go into details so much as allows them to understand my emotions.
You see, I don’t hide my tears. I cry when I feel like crying and laugh when I feel like laughing. I don’t think it’s healthy for them to think I’m a super woman. To watch me go through a painful breakup yet hide the reality of the experience. That’s giving them a false sense of what it’s like to be an adult and a woman. I don’t want them to think that means you never hurt, struggle, or cry.
I understand that I’m setting the tone of normal for them and the living example of what womanhood looks like. If they go through their early years of life admiring and adoring me for my strengths but not seeing or understanding how I deal with my weakness or hard times, I feel like that’s setting them up to try to reach unrealistic expectations.
I didn’t want them to be frightened or uneasy seeing me cry. It’s not something that happens often so I understand how scary it can be for a child to see their parent cry. So the first time they saw me, instead of shunning them or running them out of the room, I invited them in. They came and sat on the bed and hugged me while I collected myself. Then I had a conversation with them and explained I was going through a rough time.
I told them that it might take some time for time for me to get back to my usual self. That for the most part, I was fine but that every now and then sadness would set in and I just had to let myself feel it and release it through my tears rather than bottle it up or hide it. They both understood and my 4-year-old cracked me up. She told me that maybe I should join the mom’s group again so I could be around other mommies because sometimes when you feel sad, it’s not good to be alone.
Then she said if I didn’t want to do that, maybe I should take a trip to spend some time with my boss and her husband because I always feel really happy when I go visit them. I couldn’t help but laugh and wonder at the same time at the level of her wisdom and observation. I realized I was definitely doing the right thing by sharing with them because they are well on their way to being such incredible young ladies.
So while the breakup is hard on us all, at the end of the day, the hardest part for the girls is seeing the impact it’s had on me. All they want is for their mom to feel better and be happy. They understand that’s something I’m working on and processing. They also understand that it doesn’t mean I’m going to be looking for anyone else any time soon.
I’m going to take the next year to just focus on myself, my girls, and building the life I want for us, and then I’ll reevaluate and see where I’m at in 2020. For now, this is just bringing us even closer together and I’m so grateful to have such wonderful daughters.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on letting your kids see you cry. Is it something you hide from them? Why or why not? Did you grow up ever seeing your parents cry? How did that impact you or make you see adulthood?