I know I’m overtired & overwhelmed & likely grossly malnourished as I’ve been living on a steady diet of protein bars, coffee & bottled water & that’s pretty much it. I haven’t slept for more than two hours straight, I’m homesick & I barely know what time it is. Fortunately, my three hour chat with the Gleason Table has kept me a little sane. 

But I miss my daughters & the longer they’re away from me, the more anxious I get. I worry if they’re safe, they’re eating right, are they having fun. What if their dad doesn’t bring them back? And then, the nagging thought that bothers me to the point that I cry a lot. 

What if I am a terrible mother?

Please don’t inundate this blog with comments about how great I am & poppycock. My intention isn’t to be self congratulatory or get compliments. It’s an honest question; am I a terrible mother? 

When I made the decision to move out here, my intentions were good. I wanted to give my daughters more than a mom who works themselves to death at two crappy retail jobs. I wanted to be better, be home for stuff, spend time with them. I wanted to show my 14 year old daughter that you work to achieve your goals. I wanted to increase my earning potential & give them more. But as their dad & grandparents rail me for taking them away so they’ll never see them again & I hang out in my empty house, I wonder if I truly am alienating them like those horrible women that all the Facebook memes talk about. 

Then I find myself talking to friends about helping him find a job here, opening a joint account so we can mutually save for visits, ensuring that they have skype dates, etc. I keep trying & trying to make this easier, but then I learn he’s spent one of the last five days with them. He took them for frozen yogurt & returned them to their grandmother. That’s when it hit me; I’m trying to force him to be a parent so I don’t feel like a bad mother. 

That probably sounds weird, and maybe selfish. But it’s what it is. I grew up without a dad, but that wasn’t by his choice. He died. I don’t want my girls to not have one. So, I push and I push & I probably alienate him further from his kids so that I can feel like I tried to make sure they have two parents. So, now, while I’m a zillion miles from my daughters, I can’t understand why he isn’t maximizing every second with them. I don’t understand why his family just admits that he’ll likely never be part of their lives after this month is done & he brings them to the airport. And I feel all this guilt because they blame me for “alienation.” (Except for an Uncle & a cousin who are really cool people & I’m very grateful for them) Meanwhile, the kids suffer because I encourage the relationship. They made Father’s Day crafts & my two youngest waited by the window because surely Daddy would surprise them. But no one came. Hours passed & not a phone call, until my eldest called. I strong arm him into taking them for a month while he tries to send them back. I force him to be a dad so I don’t feel like a bad mother. 

I remind him that my oldest daughter has her own phone & he can call whenever. But I can’t force someone to do what they don’t want to do. But I keep doing it to ease my conscience because they need a dad & what if it’s my fault that he’s not willing? 

I think about everything I do to be a good mother. I work, i stay healthy, I try to be a good person & kind. I try to be the example so they don’t need to look up to sports Heroes or celebrities, they can look up to me. But I still feel like if I can’t somehow make their relationship with their dad positive, I failed as a parent. 

So, I try to ride out the next 18 days, feeling lonely & isolated. No one has asked to go to the park or play on my phone. The minions movie comes out on Friday & I can’t take the Overlord, with her minion Steve. No one has told me about how this friend flirted with this boy and now this other friend is totes mad & so & so wore the same shirt & its war. But mostly, no tiny people have hugged me. I haven’t read the Paper Bag Princess for the zillionth time. And that’s because I made this choice to give them time with their dad. Time he’s not even using. And I can’t help but feel like it’s all my fault, like my choices to better my situation to give them more broke that relationship, which makes me a terrible mother & someday they’ll hate me for not doing more to help them see their dad, and no matter what I do to be a good role model, they’ll just think I’m a terrible mother. Maybe in the end, it won’t matter that I’m obviously doing something right, as the not so angry teen is bright & beautiful, the overlord has the highest grade in EVERYTHING, and the pirate princess is witty & funny. Maybe they’ll see me as the “self centred c***” their father calls me, which would likely break my heart. But maybe that’s what they’ll think & see, because maybe I’m just a terrible mother.