I've always been a single mother. It feels as if it was always just us girls. When you saw me, you would see my three. As much as I disliked the single mother label, it was my reality. And, when decisions had to be made, I made them. Everything was up to me; I had the final say. I was in control of what they ate, when they slept, their schedules, activities, and discipline (or lack thereof). I was the president, CEO, and CFO of our home. Then something changed: I fell in love. And after one week of marriage, I learned a valuable lesson about myself: I have control issues.
Every decision I made for the girls was my own. I didn't have to consult anyone. There's no issue of control when you're the only one in control.
My husband is amazing! We both have children and blending our family is important to us. We want all of our girls to understand that no one is replacing a parent; you just get this awesome bonus parent that wants to help guide, nurture, and love you. Initially, I thought the girls would be the only ones that would have to adjust, but I quickly learned that I also had to make some adjustments.
I had to relinquish the control I've had for so long.
There was a new element that my husband brought into our marriage and our family - structure. Being a single mom, that was something I hadn't consistently provided for my girls. And he tried hard to take some responsibilities from me, but I kept fighting to keep them because I had grown accustomed to doing everything myself. Beyond my control issues, I learned another valuable lesson about myself: I didn't know how to accept help. I spent most of my parenting days as a single mom overworked and exhausted. I couldn't provide the structure the girls needed because I was just too tired to follow through. My husband began holding me accountable. He wasn't afraid to tell me the truth about myself, even if I didn't want to hear it. He made me understand in a loving way that I couldn't, and most importantly, didn't have to, do it all alone anymore.
How do I allow this man to help me? I was afraid of the unknown. What if he got tired of helping me? What if my life and responsibilities are too much for him to handle? How would this affect our marriage? I began to justify why I shouldn't let him help me. I knew then that I had to get out of my own way.
I believe in the power of prayer and I pray often. After much prayer, it was clear to me that I prayed for a husband that would be a help because, Lord knows, I didn't need another person to take of, but here I was blocking my blessing. My husband was an answer to a prayer; beyond just having a help mate, he was someone to share life with that understood my life as a mother with children with special needs. This man wanted to help with doctor appointments, therapies, show up for performances, and give me the time and space to be able to not be just a mother but also a woman. And I was blocking. I finally listened.
I sat my husband down and we discussed my past, my fears, and my initial hesitation. I began to open up and give him the opportunity to find his place in our lives. I stepped down as head of the house, and he took his rightful spot. We began to make decisions about our family together and I noticed I wasn't as tired, my load wasn't as heavy, I had more quality time to spend with the girls, and more time to invest in myself.
Marriage is teaching me so much about who I am. The lessons aren't easy but are totally worth it.