Many – if not all of you – know that I was a single mom for 10 years.
For the majority of those 10 years continuing into the last 3, I received little to no financial support from Logan’s father. He owes thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars and no one holds him responsible.
This used to make me really, really angry. Like punch a hole in the wall (or wishing I could) kind of angry. The kind of rage and anger that builds up inside and makes you feel like you could be physically violent towards someone. Seriously. I’m the least violent person on the planet, but knowing that my son’s father didn’t feel it necessary to help me out much made me feel VERY angry.
I let this anger fester and build for a long time, honestly. As every month passed, and nothing changed, that anger grew. It made me question a lot of people, a lot of things, even God. It wasn’t FAIR. As a parent with full custody, if I decided to stop investing money for my child’s wellbeing – for food, for clothing, for daycare while I worked – DSS would be at my doorstep hauling him off to foster care. How come his own father wasn’t being held to a similar standard?
I wasn’t wrong in wanting there to be two parents who cared equally for their child. In a perfect world, two parents would both contribute equally to the child’s well being, financially and otherwise. The problem came when I let it fester and get to the point where it bubbled under the surface all day, every day. That anger was always there. It affected a lot of what I did, what decisions I made, what actions I took. Although I was extremely careful never, ever to say anything negative in front of or to Logan about the situation, I acted like a child in other areas of my life. I wasn’t doing it intentionally, but in many ways I was seeking revenge. I wanted SOMEONE to pay.
There was a point in my life where I worked a full time job and a part time job. I would work 8-5 and then head to a bar where I waited tables until about 3am. I would get home with just enough time to scarf food and fall asleep for 4 hours before getting up and doing it all over again. I rarely saw my son. I was barely keeping my head above water. And while I was struggling, working my butt off to provide the bare necessities, Logan’s father was taking vacations to Mexico with his girlfriend.
I am not even kidding, people. I wish I were.
But that’s not the point of this post.
I woke up one morning and realized I had to let it go.
And I know that it isn’t this easy for everyone, but I honestly did just that. I LET IT GO. I decided right then and there that HIS crappy actions were not going to affect my life negatively for one more second. Was it fair? Hell no. But this was where my life was at, it was the card I’d been handed, and it was time to stop walking around like a big ball of anger at someone who wasn’t the least bit affected by my anger. He didn’t know how angry I was, and if he ever started to realize it, he sure didn’t care. So who was the anger affecting?
That saying about ‘holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die…’ – that was true in my life. I was walking around, this big ball of anger and it was affecting no one but me.
So I let it go. That was probably 5 years ago. The only child support I’ve received since then was one payment from a tax garnishment. It wasn’t a voluntary payment, it was a forced one. And it was JUST ONCE. But I’m not angry. In fact, I still go out of my way to ensure that Logan spends time with his Dad several times a year, sometimes on our dime.
I changed my mentality. I decided to not expect anything from someone who clearly didn’t care to give me anything, even though Logan and I both deserved help. I decided that *if* I ever saw a check in my mailbox, it would be an added bonus, some sweet relief that month that I wasn’t expecting.
Changing my perspective changed my life. It sounds dramatic, but I’m serious. I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. I felt happier. I still had to work hard to provide for my son, but it was easier to do it without the anger hovering above me all the time.
Some might say I’ve let myself become a doormat in this situation. And truthfully, I probably have. Legally and morally, a father SHOULD provide for his child. But for me to invest the time, energy and money into pursuing it – for me it wasn’t worth it. I am happier now that I’m not wrapped up in the drama of being angry, of wanting justice, of being judgmental.
I let myself hit almost rock bottom in my personal life before I realized how much holding on to the anger was affecting me. When I said goodbye to that anger, it was like opening up every door and window in a house for the first time. Fresh air and sunshine flooded in.
That’s not to say that life has been smooth sailing since then. It’s not to say that it hasn’t been difficult and that at times, I haven’t wished for a check to show up every month. And, just recently I decided it was time to pursue child support again. But it’s not from anger or because I want to seek justice. I know in my heart probably nothing will change, and I probably won’t see any money in my mailbox.
And I’m ok with that.
I learned a lesson when I let go of the anger. I learned to let God be the judge. I learned Grace. I learned that above all, people WILL disappoint you. They will mistreat you, they will be unfair to you. At some point, someone or SOMEONES will do this to you. And I learned how to forgive, how to move forward and how not to let someone else’s actions consume me.
I’m a happier person for it.