Bad Mum

Magazine

4 October 2018

Time

“Time takes care of most things”………a phrase my mother always relies on when the shit really hits the fan. She doesn’t even specify the amount of time required though, and it’s almost 1 whole year since Liam stopped living with me and started living with his Dad. So, maybe, in the next 17 days I’ll feel ok about it all, or, I’ll just feel the same as I do now, utterly at sea, lost in the tidal wave of emotions that this situation has created and wondering if time will ever take care of it like my Mum has promised.



It’s difficult to know where to begin this story. Do I start 10 years ago at the beginning of my relationship with Liam’s Dad, or do I go back to the 26th of September last year when Liam left, after a brutal 6 months of suffering at the hands of his ever-increasing violence towards me? I have no idea to this day why any of that happened, and I’m not sure I’ll ever get an answer as Liam is too young to explain how he feels about it. I have asked him. His response is “I was just going through a phase”. His temperament hasn’t changed, he still pushes the boundaries with his father, but he is no match for him physically the way he was with me, although that will change with time. So the shouting and screaming when Liam doesn’t get his own way is the same, but the punching, kicking, lashing out, throwing objects and running away, that for now is reined in, again, for reasons that no one is able to explain.
And I suppose the question I assume everyone will ask is why didn’t you get him help? Why did you send him away? You can’t care about him all that much if he doesn’t live with you anymore? My own judgement of myself is harsh. I can only imagine the judgement of anyone else would be far worse, because what mother in her right mind wouldn’t want her kid living with her?

This weekend was Liam’s birthday. His 10th birthday. Double figures. And I wasn’t there. Not involved. On the peripheral. I’ve had a good cry about it, but Liam was having a birthday party so he didn’t really care if I was there or not. Yet another hard reality of this part-time mum role I seem to have found myself in. And the truth is that Liam doesn’t seem to care whether I’m there or not. He has a new life, with a Dad and a step mum, and a dog. And a new house, and a new school, and a bigger family with cousins who are the same age, all of which to Liam is a huge upgrade to what he had with me. A mum who did her best, had no partner, no social life, a full-time job so swimming lessons, rugby and judo, scouts and school trips could be paid for. So that weekends were spent going to places and doing “nice” things because that’s what we do for our kids. For Liam that wasn’t enough. So when he did start his new school, and I suggested picking him up, Liam said no, because all of his friends thought his step mum was his Mum, and he didn’t want to have to explain to them who I was. That was pretty much like a bullet to the heart, and we’ve spoken about it recently, but he still doesn’t want me to pick him up from school because his friends will ask too many questions apparently.

I spend the majority of most days thinking about this situation. What could I have done differently? The possibilities are endless. I have let him down, and no matter how many times I’m told by family and friends that I haven’t deep down I know I have.

I miss him. And this is intolerable. Our routine. Gone. I play a bit part. An activity to be ticked off by him when I see him for his visits. And he’s fine with it, his old life with me like a distant memory. No emotion. No attachment. As if that’s how it’s always been.

What now? Yet another question I ask on a daily basis that I haven’t found the answer to. I am alone, living in a friend’s spare room, trying to figure out where to be. Liam doesn’t want me too close by (and whilst I realise he shouldn’t get a choice about where I live, I feel like he is so traumatised by what’s happened that if he told me I had to live in China I’d probably agree). I like my job, and that’s probably the only positive thing I can think of right now. Liking your job is a great way to take your mind off things, given that you spend 5 days a week there. So that’s really helped.


Friends and family have kindly told me this is “my time”. I literally don’t know what to do with that. I didn’t ask for it, and I don’t have a clue what to do with it. I have no social life, no circle of friends where I currently live, nothing to do on the weekends I don’t have Liam. It’s like starting over again and at 36 it feels pretty rubbish. But, I have to start over, not just for my sake, but for Liam’s as well. I worked really hard to give him a good life, and I can’t bear the thought of slipping into some sort of dark hole because he no longer lives with me full time. I don’t want him to grow up and think that my life was over because he went away, so I probably need to follow people’s advice and get one. It won’t be easy, no part of navigating a way through this mess will be, but going forward is the only option for both of us, and time will at least take care of that.

Written by Bex @motherofalltaboos

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