I've been divorced for 11 years, but there have been very few times I've actually felt like a single mom. Today, seeing posts on “National Single Parents Day”, I'm filled with emotions and thoughts.
For the past two months, I've sadly felt like a single parent every day due to my kids' dad's cancer treatment. I always said I wasn't a single mom, because my boys have a fantastic, involved, supportive, and loving father who they also live with part of each week. Sometimes, as a solo parent at home, at meal times, or at bed time when they were younger, or while traveling solo with the kids, the “single parent” feeling would come up. But I was happy, and happy with our choices and our ability to even get divorced.
When I was on my cancer journey, 7 years ago, there were many days I also felt like a single mom. The days I was sick at home. The days when I had to make meals for the boys or walk them to school and there was no one else to do it. (By choice, by the way. I had several family members to help and friends nearby; but many days, I just wanted to be mom!).
I shared on social media last week about my ex, only because my son shared. It's not my story to share but there are parts of this story that are mine or ours. Like this part. When my son shared, he told me he couldn't believe how many people he heard from and he was so happy to receive the messages. It reminded me why I have always shared and why My Cancer Family is even here. It's because of the love, support and community. It's because during hard times, it feels good to hear from others. It feels good to connect with people who understand, or who can share their own experiences or offer wisdom.
It's been hard deciding what my ex needs to know about the kids. Should I reach out to him while he's in treatment? Are some of these things so mundane I don't need to? Are some too big for someone in treatment to deal with or think about?
We normally communicate often; almost too much. I always laugh and say it's more than when we were married. Do we share too much? Do we always need the other's opinion or thoughts? Is it nice that we do that, that we respect our joint custody and decision making; or sometimes is it really just too much?
So as I sit here sad and scared again because of cancer, I wonder how to be the ex-wife of someone on a cancer journey. I'm in the inner circle; but not really. I'm trying to help as much as possible, but not too much. Asking too many questions; but is it too much?
There certainly isn't a manual on this. Although we lived as a blended family together for six months during the pandemic I am still the ex, and now for a short time hopefully, sadly feeling like a “single” mom of the kids.
Have you been through this or anything like it? Please share your wisom with me!
I hope sharing my story helps YOU. If it does, Please help us help more people!