I took time off and regretted it.
I took 5 years off from raising my oldest son and I regret it. I honestly thought his father would do a better job because Brad Sr was more stable (and he was). Brad had a full-time job and his own place. I was taking on part-time jobs, which did not conflict with school, and bounced around from place to place. I was barely there, seeing him sporadically on weekends and school holidays.
I did not know the names of his teachers. I missed all the first days of schools. I had no school pictures. I missed all the IEP meetings (did not help Brad sr. did not attend as well. Was so lost when I attended my first IEP meeting in 2011).
I was watching 20/20 last night and they was discussing the good and bad of parenting, mostly bad. They discussed how some mothers took time off (temporarily or for good) from raising their kids. The fathers did the raising. One mother wanted to focus on her career. She did not want to be a mother. She lives thousands of miles away from her kids, while the dad raises them. She communicated to them via skype, email, im, etc.
Another mother disappeared for years and years. She missed all the important stuff like graduation. The family filed a missing persons report. Some even thought she died. She showed up after the kids were grown and basically admitted she abandoned them.
I thought Kalen would give me a chance to start over. Do all the things I did not do with Brad jr. Improve my self as a mother. I was one of those people, who never thought about having kids and did not want kids. I didn't like watching or babysitting or dealing with anyone else's kids. I did not want to date anyone with kids. If Brad did not lie about having kids before I met him offline, I would have never met him. I thought we would start the parenting thing together, not already start with a pre-made family. At that time, I think his oldest was about 10 and the youngest was a few months. The step kids was ok, but I did not try to develop a relationship with them. I was not ready to parent or step parent anything at that age. I found out about his kids a few months before we got married. I could have left him then, but my options for a better living situation was limited. Either try to work it out with Sr and his kids (Brad jr was not born at this time) OR move back to Texas with my crazy relatives. I did not like either, but I stayed with the relationship, got married, and got pregnant on my honeymoon with Brad Jr. yay me.
I turned down two good men (Eric in Macon, and Eugene in Virginia), who I met online before Mr. Colquitt, because they had a child. An 18 year old had no business raising a child, especially when she had limited life experience. Eric was one fine, bald, muscular, Caucasian Male.
When I was pregnant, Brad stayed with his father in Georgia, while I was here in Texas. I was not expecting Brad to show up. I think during pregnancy, I realized how much I missed my oldest son. I definitely felt the regret after he came to live here. Some things I could have taught him better than his father. Now, I could be a better parent to both my monkeys.
I think I became a better parent in my 30's. Those first 10 or so years were a test. I am still learning and still being tested. Every meltdown is a test. Every scream, every NO, every dirty pull-up I have to change. Every session of therapy. Every mess. Every time I look at the pager in church and hope it does not say "Please come now" instead of "Ready". Every trip to a public place, like the zoo. Every time I need to go to the bathroom and can't because I can't leave both kids alone together. Every time I have to watch another repeat episode of SpongeBob or that show with Charlie. I'm not there yet, but I'm not taking any more physical time off. Mentally, on the other hand, I need a break.