At the start of my very first small circle group of our young adults ministry at church, I opened with the following line-
“I can’t stand my baby daddy.”
People thought it was hilarious, but I was being truthful. I’ve felt this way for years, and I think that was the first time I said it out loud for the world to hear.
I so struggle with writing this post. I struggle because this co-parenting thing, these deep-seated issues I have with my son’s father are things I don’t even want the Lord to heal me from. I know it’s stupid. It’s like when a person is clearly sick and you keep telling them they need to see a doctor, and they’re all like, “Nah. I’m straight. This’ll pass.” That’s me, but I’ve been saying that same line for years. It’s like God is just sitting there waiting on me to come to Him and talk about it, and I talk to Him about everything BUT that.
My friend Sha (along with her co-signer Alishia, lol) recently told me to dig deep to find out what feelings I’m harboring towards Ethan’s dad. Well, Sha, I don’t freakin wanna. It’s too hard. It’s much easier to stay angry and mad and completely ticked off, which is what I’ve felt since the day I found out I was pregnant with Ethan.
To find out junior year that I’m about to be a mom wasn’t one of my best moments. It was after freakin’ Homecoming and I’m like, hold up. Something isn’t quite right with my body. Lemme take this pregnancy test just in case, even though I know there is no way in heck it’s gonna be positive. I mean, come on. I just got done partying like a rockstar for Homecoming and a baby ain’t part of that picture. No way this test is gonna come back positive, right?
Wrong. I was so wrong.
I never felt fully capable or ready to be a mom. I still don’t. I don’t know if he was even ready to be a dad. I have no idea. I just felt like this whole parenting thing was thrust on to me (roll your eyes if you want, but if you think back on past people you have slept with, did you really ever consider-Dannnngg! I may end up having a freakin mini-me with this person and I’m so cool with it. You so did not do that, and if you did, well, gold star for you).
I struggle even more with writing this because (believe it or not) I don’t want to bash my child’s father. I really don’t. I really made that clear to God when writing this. At one time in my life, I loved this person. I really did. He was funny to me, and smart, and hey, I liked that he was the Ace on his line (in my mind I’m thinking, heyyyyy sorority girl and fraternity guy…we gone be cute, lol). But seriously, it was a lot that I admired about him. Honestly though, I never thought we were really right for each other, but you know how you just keep going with something just because you’re young and in the moment?? Well, that’s what I did. What I did NOT imagine was that I’d ever have a kid with him. I just didn’t see that happening (even though, yes, I was clearly doing the do–eye roll). Although I no longer feel romantic love for him, I’ll always love him as Ethan’s dad. We two people helped create one little cute and very energetic person who has both our features, personalities, and often our flaws all mashed up in one. The problem is the fact that when I look at Ethan, I mainly see his dad…which to me, has majorly sucked. Ethan for the longest was a constant reminder of a love that once was, that I no longer want, but have to be reminded of because we made a person together. It’s so hard because when I look at the one face that I love more than anything in the world, my son, I have to at the same time see the one person that I wish would disappear-his dad.
Don’t judge me, please. I feel enough mom/Christian guilt already.
I have felt this way for YEARS. My mom once told me that I’d probably feel like that up until Ethan is grown. Well ma, I don’t want to carry that load anymore. I really don’t. I don’t want Ethan to grow up with a bitter mom. I don’t want Ethan thinking it’s OK to be a hypocrite or that it’s cool to harbor negative feelings when I should really entrust every single thing, especially the things I hate talking about, to God. I don’t want to live like that, and I don’t want my son to continue witnessing that. It’s just that, Lord, I have no clue how to get rid of these feelings. I have no clue how to co-parent. I deeply feel like every time I’m in the best place ever, like a wack-a-mole, out pops Ethan’s dad wanting to be involved. How do we navigate this? How do we push aside years of negative feelings, anger, and frustration to raise a young black man that we hope isn’t affected by our dysfunction, yet who we know good and well is?
I feel like Ethan’s dad brings out the ugliest parts of me, and I’m ashamed of that. I be feeling like I’m a super Christian until I get a text or call from him about his work schedule or about pick up and drop off plans or about what works for me, but doesn’t work for him. I stress over how to express in a godly way that I feel like I’m pulling the most weight even though I’m sure his opinion differs. I really don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know how to be nice when communicating with this person. My friend told me the other night that I can’t match petty with petty. Well, friend, just go ahead and call me the Queen of petty-ness because to me, if Ethan’s dad gets petty, I gotta outdo him.
God, don’t get mad.
I have no clue what to do. I’ve held on to this for so long, and I’m having the toughest time giving it to God. God knows that, though. My family and friends know it, and now, so do all of you. But because God is God, and He is so gracious and loving and patient, gentle, and kind, He GENTLY reminds me of how I need to be. This week I was on edge. Right after I reached my breaking point, I sat in bed and just randomly scrolled through emails. (I absolutely hate unread emails). I was scrolling through and clicked on a devotional (that was unread, I may add) with the following verse that completely stabbed my heart—
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
I read this and thought, “Really, God? You’re really expecting this of me? Why? I don’t want to do this! It’s too much! You’re asking way too much. How dare you compare this with how you’ve forgiven me????!!! This is so not fair!”
I’m thinkin all this craziness while God is probably sitting back waiting on me to let it sink in and be obedient. Well God, you got me. I’ve been chewin on this verse since the time you led me to it through my email. I keep reading it and pondering on it. I keep wanting to make the verse evaporate from the bible, but it ain’t goin’ nowhere. How do I let go of this? Am I insane for holding all of this in for so long? What the heck is wrong with me?
I have so many questions, and I have a LOT of feelings I have to work through. I’m glad I was at least able to put down how I’ve been feeling because hey, it’s a start, and we all gotta start somewhere, right??
To my Ethan, if you read this, know that you were the best thing to ever happen to my life. You calmed me down (hey, I would sometimes do the fool in college). You put things in perspective for me. You ROCKED MY WORLD by just saying one word, “Ma.” I know I yell sometimes, and you look at me like I got slime on my face. I know I’m impatient. I know I get on to you so much about being respectful and presenting yourself well and loving Jesus, but I do all this because you’re my baby. You’re my mini-me. You push me to greatness and you help make life complete. You were never a mistake. You were just what I needed to get me to where I am today.
If Ethan’s dad ever reads this, I’d want him to know that I never intended on having feelings like these. It’s the one struggle in my life that I can’t seem to surrender to my Heavenly Father. I am literally crying saying this, but us taking on the responsibility of raising Ethan is overwhelming. I don’t feel qualified, and I don’t feel like you understand me and I wish I could express myself without anger, but I can’t. I really do try, but right now, I just can’t. Not all the time anyway. I hope you can forgive me for everything I have ever said or done that has caused me to step outside of the person I’m trying to be for Jesus. It sucks to even write this, but I have to get it out. Hopefully, with time and investing a LOT of quiet time/cry time with God, I’ll be in a space where I can know how to co-parent and how to do it respectfully and amicably. Until that time comes, all I can ask for is God’s grace and His direction in navigating through this world called co-parenting.
And to God, keep working on ya girl. I promise. I hear You.
One thought on “I don’t know how to co-parent (like a Christian)”
Powerful, I told mine I forgive her all that she did, she cussed me out. At the same time it was the start to better and so is this. Applaud you for the first step and am available for any others you need help with.