Over the weekend I went out with a friend. We went to a festival and then to a local bar for some drinks. I ended up staying out much later than usual. With two teenagers at home I usually try to be home by midnight, on this particular night I did not get home until after 2. By 1 my youngest was texting me wanting to know where I was and when I would be home. Now mind you, she is 14 and my oldest is 17, more than fine to be at home alone. Also, she had a friend over as well. Yet, she is keeping tabs on me.
I told my friend my daughter was worried and that I had better go. She said to me “who’s the parent?” I actually had to think for a moment. I have been separated/divorced for over two years. I haven’t had a date at all during that time. I usually just spend time with friends here and there but being a solo parent most of my time is shuffling my kids from here to there. I have my kids full time so I never have a weekend to myself. So the one night I go out and actually enjoy myself, I am guilted into having to leave so I can go home and do what? Everyone was in bed by the time I got there. So what was the point? Why am I letting my daughter become my parent?
So why did I do what I did? You feel so much guilt as a divorced parent, you just want to make sure they are ok, always. You never want them to feel abandoned in any way, especially since they are already feeling that somewhat just by the breakup of the family. But does that mean we have to schedule our lives around their feelings? In a way yes, in a way no.
While I was having a great time for a change the minute I received that text everything changed. I could no longer enjoy myself knowing that my daughter was at home worrying about me. I do not want that ever. I never want her to feel like the parent and that she needs to take care of me. I want her to be the child and live her life in blissful ignorance until the day that she has to grow up and deal with the realities of life. So I guess if that means giving up a few hours here and there to make her comfortable, so be it, however, I will not let her feel like she can dictate my schedule, after all I am the parent – I think.