Mommy, Why Are We Still Here?
Six Words that Changed my Perspective on Divorce.
One of the biggest reasons I stayed in my failing marriage so long was because I didn’t want to remove my children from the lifestyle we had created for them. If I were to leave, there was no way I could immediately replace what they’d lose.
The big house, in the nice neighborhood. Uprooting my youngest son from his high school, where I was the PTA President. Dismantling the community around them.
What I found was, those were my internal thoughts, not theirs. Things had become so bad in our home that they would rather have been anywhere but there. My oldest son spent more time away from home because that would negate him being accused of anything, and my youngest son felt like he was acting more at home than he was in his drama class at school.
I didn’t realize the damage that was being done by staying in such a negative environment. What was beautiful on the outside was horrible on the inside.
One day, while sitting in my office, my youngest son stood in the doorway. He looked at me and asked, “Mommy, why are we still here?” After giving it a moment’s thought, my response was, “I don’t know son.” That question prompted me to do some serious soul searching because in my mind, I was staying because of my children. I wanted them to have something nice, but what I didn’t understand was, it wasn’t nice anymore.
They didn’t want to be there anymore than I did. The reality was, they would be happier in a 3-bedroom apartment, than in our nice 5-bedroom home. From that moment on I was focused on how I could create peace for my family.
I know there are thousands of women around the world who have been or are being faced with the same dilemma. We often think staying in a failed marriage because of the kids is the right choice. We think we are doing them harm by removing them from what is familiar, even if what is familiar is toxic.
The reality is, our children want to feel safe, they want to feel loved. If those two values are in place, it can be accomplished from anywhere.
If you are in this position, take guilt, fear, shame, and pride out of the equation and decide solely based on what is healthy for you and your children. And, if that means leaving what is familiar to get to a better, more loving and peaceful place, honor that truth and make it happen.
Ask your children what they are feeling. Check in with them. Don’t just assume you know. They will thank you for it later.