How I Ditched the Perfect Family Image
Ever since I was a little girl, the image of the perfect family has always been ingrained in my conscious. I grew up in a loving, two-parent household in middle-class Louisville, Kentucky. My parents, married for some astounding 46 years, have always taught me the real value of having a life partner and I had the opportunity to witness what true love. When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I was devastated — not because I was too young to have a child, or financially incapable. I was unsettled because I didn’t have a ring.
Yes, I was in a relationship, but I watched all too many times what happens to relationships once the baby arrives. I’ve observed love expire from even the most enviable couples. I’ve noticed the title “love of my life” dwindle down to “my baby mama.” For me, that was the gravest title to carry, and I felt as though my life was headed in that direction.
Sure enough, nine months after giving birth, my daughter’s father and I split. My unfortunate nightmare had become my reality. Granted, our relationship had some problems, but I was willing to overlook them all for the sake of having the perfect family. After the break-up, I had time for soul-searching. I uncovered painful revelations. At the time my daughter was born, my relationship wasn’t the healthiest. My child’s father and I fought like cats and dogs, and it seemed like we could never reach a resolution on anything.
I had to be honest with myself. Was that the type of environment I wanted to raise my child? Did I want her to see me giving up on true happiness, just to appear normal to others from the surface? More importantly, when she grows older and develops relationships on her own, did I want her to conclude that screaming matches and tears were to expected? No! I had to let go! And once I let go of that perfect image, her father and I became dearer and acclimated to our roles as parents.
Funny how things tend to fall apart to come together. Without reservation, my daughter deserves to be nourished in a healthy setting and to observe the best model love. I know it can be done, as long as my happiness is placed first.
I had the opportunity to experience a healthy relationship as a child; letting go of the perfect family image changed my perspective of the true meaning of a happy family.