Beginning each blog about this topic is tough. The voices in my head strike up their noise. How did I end up here? Has it been going on this long? How much longer will it be? Will I survive it? How will this time and distance effect my daughter? Will she ever be able to understand? Being a mother from a distance is the worst.
Being a mother from a distance is the last thing I ever planned to do. Yet, here I am. I did the best I could to prevent this. All the intentions were honest. It just did not work out the way I wanted. Plenty of things in life don’t turn out the way you want or expect. Life goes on, so shall parenting. Parenting is not limited to physical care and sleeping under the same roof every night. Parenting is about making an impact in your child’s life. Being a mother from a distance is capable of that impact too.
One of the first things I realized was that being a mother from a distance is not commonly understood. You’re not alone, but it is certainly not common. This can make it tough to receive sympathy or empathy from many. Plenty of times I found myself glossing over the fact that I even have a daughter. New people would see my baby boy and tell me all the horrors of toddler years they thought I was clueless of. I’ve even been asked if I would ever want to have a little girl. A few silent seconds tick by while I debate going into the story, followed by momentary regret not being forthright about her existence and ultimately decide to answer simply. Yes. Absolutely yes. I happen to have just such a little girl in mind even. A perfect princess already birthed, potty trained and everything.
As tough as these times can be without fellow noncustodial mothers to provide sympathy, being a mother from a distance is not the worst thing ever.
Being a mother from a distance is a good challenge. It will cause you to open your mind to new ways to interact with your little one. Use all the tools you have. Find new tools to add to this toolbox. Incorporate technology and snail mail alike. Each method of communication is like enveloping your child in a world of pleasant surprises. Don’t underestimate the power of a postcard or the impact of an emoji-filled message. My daughter and I play emoji challenges where we send trios of emojis and make the other guess what we are trying to reference. If we were together everyday our interaction and relationship would likely get swallowed in the day to day. These small exchanges may be momentary, but they convey love, thoughtfulness, and most importantly that we’re still here for each other.
Sometimes it can seem impossible to raise a child across time and space. I am telling you first-hand, it is difficult. It takes work. It is unconventional. At the same time, being a mother from a distance is still capable of having a positive influence and impact on your child’s life. Keep that in mind. Keep it somewhere for you to recall and think on. Send it on a postcard to yourself and watch the impact begin.
As Bette Midler once sang, from a distance we are instruments, there is harmony. Be the song of hope, happiness and peace for your child. It will echo across the distance and connect your hearts. Remembering this helps me realize being a mother from a distance is the best it can be.