Beki's Blog

My life and the journey to self-awareness

Taking Responsibility

I was a teenage mom. Feels weird to say that when I’m facing my 37th birthday in a few weeks.

I had my daughter 3 months after I graduated from High School. Her father and I split up by the time she was a year old. I did the best I could with entry level jobs and rented rooms. I am not going to lie – it was hard! I didn’t have any friends and I couldn’t even think about going to college. Work and come home and take care of my baby. That’s all I did for the 1st four years of her life.

I really wanted to go to college. For me, for her – to provide the both of us a better life. At age 22 I thought that getting a vocational degree in accounting would put me on that path. However, I had lost my job and had no way to pay for a babysitter. I moved my daughter in with her father. We had an oral agreement that when I was done with the accounting program (18 months) that she would move back in with me. I thought I was making the best choice for her and for me.

Now, I was 22 years old and had absolutely no real daily responsibilities. I didn’t have to come home and make dinner. I didn’t even have to go home if I didn’t want to! I got to be a normal 22 year old! And I did! I was having no problems with school and I was playing with friends almost every night. I can admit that during the next 6 to 9 months after moving my daughter in with her father, I didn’t see her as much as I should have. I still saw her – just not as often. The vocational program was ridiculously easy and I dropped out. I found a decent job in accounting, found a nice townhouse with my best friend and settled down. I spent regular time with my daughter and at the end of her Kindergarten year (also when the 18 months was up) I told her father I was ready to move her back in with me. What happened next surprised me, but will likely be of no surprise to anyone else. He said no.

I took him to court and had an attorney that told me there was NO WAY he would win. He won. And only because the court didn’t want her to change schools. If I moved to Sonoma we would have had 50%-50% custody. I could not live in Sonoma. I just couldn’t do it. The court’s decision was really hard on me. After battling with depression, I decided I would return to school. I went to the SRJC full time and worked full time. I saw my daughter every weekend for one night and the alternating weekends for the whole weekend. I went out and watched her play in a couple volleyball games. I went on a field trip. I went to back to school nights and tried to be as involved as her father would let me.

When she reached her teenage years and wanted to spend nights with her friends, I backed off. I didn’t force her to come and see me. Looking back – maybe I should have.

She has been a handful. She’s gotten into drugs and alcohol. She punched me in the face after getting caught shoplifting. She got kicked out of the main high school and went to a continuation high school. She did pull it together enough to graduate on time though. We were there for her graduation and I was so proud of her.

However, since she’s been about 15, she only speaks to me or spends time with me when she wants something. Unfortunately, I’ve fallen for her manipulative tactics every time. Each time my heart breaks a little more. How does one deal with this? I don’t want to completely shut out my daughter and first born, but she’s a user. Now she is no longer a minor. It’s hard to say she’s an adult though. Recently I believed that she had cleaned up her act, was taking classes at SRJC and looking for a job – so I cosigned a car for her. What a terrible choice I made. Even more recently I found out that she’s been convicted of a felony. It’s so hard to see her throwing her life away.

She resents me. I have tried to explain to her that I did the best I could with what I had at the time. This is all that we as parents can do. I have more tools at my disposal now for my 6 year old son than I did as a single mom in my early 20’s. It’s not her fault, she didn’t ask to be born to a teenage mom. However, at some point she has to believe and accept that I did the best I could. She has to take responsibility for her life and not blame me or her father.

That was hard for me to do with my own mother – but it’s so freeing once it’s done.

It’s been difficult for both of us. We grew up together, to a certain degree. I tried to balance taking care of my needs and hers. I don’t think that alone is isolated to young mothers, however perhaps mothers who have waited have an easier time with acheiving that balance.

The co-dependant in me wants to try and help my daughter, but my brain (and Daniel) make sure that I remember that I can’t help someone who doesn’t want help. I don’t know what to do. Her texts and emails are full of anger and are downright mean. I want to tell her to stop contacting me until she cleans up, but I don’t want her to think my door is forever closed. It’s so hard.

I love my daughter and wouldn’t change my life – however, as I’ve told her, having a child so young has definitely made my path more difficult.

Beka and Momma - happier times

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March 4, 2010 - Posted by | Me, Single Mom | , ,

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