I guess because of Mother’s day, I’ve been reflecting on my personal journey as a mother, from the birth of my first child in 1997, to present day where my youngest has just recently turned one. I’ve been thinking about what kind of mother I was when I began, and who I am now…how my own mother was and how I am similar and yet different…the things I am proud of, and the ways that I feel I have greatly failed.
I think one of the worst consequences of my husband’s affair have been how my sons have been directly and indirectly affected. I never told any of them anything, although the oldest 2 are aware that my husband was unfaithful because of overhearing conversations ( and fights…and me screaming and yelling…). They don’t know any particular details though. The younger boys are just too young to understand, but I’m sure they are aware that there have been problems and issues between their father and I. At times the tension in this house has been so thick that one could cut it with a knife. In any case, each one has been affected by this. I am ashamed to say that one of the main ways is through me. I have never been a pillar of patience. I’m not known for being easy going and laid back. But ever since the time around my husband’s affair, I have found it 100 times more difficult to not get angry over the stupidest things. I yell at the slightest provocation. I get easily annoyed and I snap at them. Sometimes, I just want to run away because I feel like I can’t take anymore. I’m not the mother I’m supposed to be, the mother that my sons need…many days, I feel like I am a contender for Worst Mother In The World.
I wonder…what am I teaching my sons? Am I showing them what it means to be a forgiving spouse? Are they learning that when they marry, their wives may hurt them, in big and small ways, but they can survive through their struggles and build a stronger marriage…or am I teaching them that it’s ok to be unfaithful because their wives will ( or should ) forgive them and move on? Will they abuse their wives’ trust? Will they treat them like doormats? Will they be faithful because they have experienced the pain that infidelity has brought into their lives? Or will they cheat because they think this is what men do?
I struggle with my feelings, every single day. I want to be the mom my boys deserve. I want them to see marriage as a blessing, and I want them to see my husband and I as an example of a strong, happy marriage. Is it already too late for that? Will they ever see past what has happened? I don’t know. And how can I expect them to? Because I’m still unsure of the outcome. As much as I believe my husband has changed, as much as I believe that he regrets the affair and has no intention of cheating again, I can’t say that I trust him. I can’t say that I believe in him, that I think he will always make good decisions from here on out. When I look at our future, whereas before I could envision us growing old together, sitting in rocking chairs on our front porch, watching our grandkids play…well, now the future is like a big, blank canvas. I would like to think that what we’ll end up with is a life as beautiful as a painting by Van Gogh, but I’m fearful it will instead be like a caricature by an unknown, untalented artist… a joke, a waste of energy and a waste of time.