When I decided to start sharing advice for other single moms, I never expected the outpouring of support and the numerous e-mails from single moms hoping to get some advice from me on their particular situations. Many times, we just speak about each other’s situations and find solace in having someone to listen to that understands and you can relate to. But many times there are numerous questions asked, and although I am no expert, I have so many thoughts about single parenting and the path to happiness.
One of the biggest questions that I continue to get on a regular basis is how and why I was able to forgive my son’s father. How could I forgive my son’s father – both for the demise of the relationship and also for his lack of involvement in Micah’s life? I responded to each person and shared my thoughts and was able to really think about how I was able to forgive and move forward. So, I decided to share why I forgave my son’s father, and why you should forgive yours too!
1. He already moved on…now it’s time for you to do the same.
Do you think my son’s father was wallowing in what he did and trying to fix things – nope! He had already moved on several times over before I came to the conclusion that I needed to forgive him. He just kept moving forward, so why was I stuck on the impact the bad in our relationship caused – it was time for me to put on my big girl panties and move forward too!
2. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting.
I will never forget everything that has occurred in my relationship with my son’s father. I still tend to have flashbacks from time to time about the relationship – both good and bad. The bad would consume me sometimes…and I would feel so depressed. How I could I be so naive and vulnerable? How could he do this to me? To Micah? I thought that I could never forgive him. And sadly, I couldn’t let go because I knew that I wouldn’t forget. I needed to learn that forgiving did not mean that I had to forget. It is important to me that I remembered everything – to make sure that I pay attention to the signs in my next relationship, remember the type of person I’m dealing with in my son’s father, and to make sure that I never even consider getting back into a relationship with my son’s father. Make sure that you don’t mix up forgiving with forgetting – forgive him but learn from what happened and never forget.
3. Your child needs you to!
Regardless of the reason why you and your child’s father broke up, realize that your child will suffer if you don’t forgive and move forward. Kids are more resilient than we think them to be, and they recognize all that’s going on around them. They just don’t know how to communicate their thoughts with us, especially when they are younger. But your child needs you to be happy and healthy, and you can’t really do that if you’re holding on to anger and resentment – use this opportunity to forgive and move on.
4. Take back the power that your baby daddy has over you!
You know what you’re doing when you cannot forgive your child’s father and move forward? You are giving him the power to have complete control over your emotions, thoughts, and activities. Don’t give him that power over you! Don’t let what has happened in the past cloud your judgement. It will be amazing how much much weight is lifted off your shoulders when you forgive him and start following the steps to move forward.
5. Mom guilt is tough enough…don’t add extra guilt because of his lack of involvement.
Mom guilt is a b*#ch – that I definitively know. I fight mom guilt on a daily basis. But don’t add the extra guilt on yourself because you’re not in a relationship, his lack of involvement, or his lack of interest in being a parent. Yes, your child needs a father in his/her life, and yes, ideally, you would like their actual father to be there, but if that’s not the case – don’t feel guilty about it. It’s his loss if he doesn’t want to be a part of your child’s life or as engaged as he should be. You can’t beg him to be a part of your child’s life, he has to want to do that on his own. You just have to forgive and let it go, and start focusing on what’s most important – your child!
6. The forgiveness is more for you than for him.
A lot of the process of forgiveness is learning to forgive yourself. I have learned to forgive myself for allowing him to do the things that he did to me, because honestly, he did it because I allowed it. He was very good at hiding the truth, but I knew something was up and couldn’t put my finger on it – I should have been more persistent and if needed, I should have walked away if I sensed he wasn’t telling the truth. Who wants to be in a relationship with someone who they can’t trust? It took a long time for me to realize that I needed to forgive him, not for him, but for myself. I needed to forgive myself and let go of the ‘victim’ label. I needed to let go of the anger, and use all that has happened as a tool to be stronger for me and my child.
7. What was will never be again…but you still have to be parents.
Whether you stay in a relationship with your son’s father or you break up with him (as I did), it is important to realize that things will never be the same. What was will never be again, and a major part of forgiveness is acceptance. But regardless of this issue, you still have to be parents. All the anger and resentment will definitely create a negative impact on your ability to co-parent successfully. Do you want your child to see you both continuously arguing? Or do you want your child to see that you both can be grown-ups and handle your responsibilities as a parent successfully? I think most people will choose the latter.
Now if you don’t have any relationship with your son’s father, it follows the same concept. Things will never be the same. You are now a solo parent. And you have to forgive, let go, and move forward because your child solely depends on you for love, attention, and adoration. When you forgive and let go, you can move forward with your life happily and know that it he made the choice to remain out of his child’s life.
8. Bitterness can swallow you whole.
Bitterness can truly eat you alive and become a part of everything you do and the way you think. I think of my mom regularly and the fact that she has yet to forgive my father for all the things he put her through. A lot of the things happened over 30 years ago, but she still has not forgiven him or herself, and she definitely has not let it go. That bitterness has spilled into different aspects of her life, including her relationship with me. Our relationship has been impacted significantly because of her bitterness, and my biggest fear is that I become like that. I just can’t do that to myself or my son. So I will forgive, if only for the bitterness to stay far away.
So as you can see, it is important to forgive your baby daddy – it’s a step in the right direction to becoming a better person and a better mom. It’s not easy at all, and it’s taken me the better part of 3 years to even come this far, but I know it is whats best for both me and my son. I’ve forgiven my baby daddy – will you forgive yours too?
Once you are ready to forgive, you have to figure out how to actually do it – I’ll be sharing another post focused on how to forgive your baby daddy. Hope you enjoyed the post and it has made an impact on your day!