me closing out 2021... now boasting expert status on at-home haircuts and dressing up with nowhere to go... ready for whatever 2022 has in store ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I don’t use this blog space anymore, yet I also choose not to wipe it out. It’s a strange thing to look back on these years of early motherhood, which were blissful years for me in so many ways… while also now having the clarity and safety to recognize that I was living in so much fear and in such violence. I was trying so hard to fix it all and make this ‘perfect family’… treading water in brutal violence that stretched from before babies, through each pregnancy, with babies in my arms… and later with our kids watching. A decade and a half covered in bruises that were so commonplace I was accustomed to casually editing them out of photos without even letting myself process what they meant, for me or our kids. I look back at all those unedited pictures… so many over the years… a young mom… holding her baby… is it still a beautiful birthday celebration if you see all those bruises? Do the good memories hold up when that beauty is inextricably tangled in knots with violence and fear? It was beautiful. I made a beautiful and happy life, all of that was real and true. It is also real and true that there was much more to our story that was very dangerous and scary and deceptive and unhappy.
I have so much guilt about staying in violence for so long and much to say about how I wound up stuck in that place... and the role of stay-at-home parents in general. We are devalued, even by the laws, which plays deeply into keeping many women and children in abusive homes… including the ones you may least suspect. I started this blog contemplating the transition to being an at-home mom over a decade ago. I would not change any of my life’s choices, but tethering my security to a violent and deceptive man and working tirelessly to build a career that was not my own left me and our children very trapped… a lesson I now humbly realize many women learned generations before me. I am in awe of mothers who work outside the home… I am amazed and impressed by the sacrifices made and the examples they are setting for their children. I am also extremely proud of my decade plus of work as an at-home parent and the examples I have set. It’s a hard and complex job that deserves compensation and security from the partner whose professional career benefits, and I hope to work in some capacity to advocate for those laws to change, and the laws around women and children who are the victims of domestic abuse to change as well.
These kids and I are incredibly lucky to have an amazing family and support system that has helped us in so many ways. My heart breaks for women and children who are walking these steps without that same support, many of whom I’ve met in real life and online. I have much more to share about my own story and will find the right place to do it…
There are many fears that remain. The future is always uncertain and the system is poor, but I feel very hopeful about the years ahead and have learned so much from the years behind me. Knowing that I have been completely and totally honest and have nothing to hide and will never allow myself or these kids to live in violence again is a freedom greater than any money or security. I am so proud of these kids, and proud of myself… I have done my best by them, even when it was hard. I have sought advice from trusted friends and family as well as their teachers and counselors and therapists every step of the way. They are each thriving and I couldn’t be more grateful. I am happy to be a survivor of domestic violence and no longer a victim, and excited for the next chapter.
What a privilege it has been to share another year of safety with these three amazing people. I take such joy in being their mother… we have so much fun together, and I think that is what they’ll remember most about 2021.
Sending each of you love and strength for a healthy and happy new year.
Oh Lily, I am so happy to see this blog post! I have checked your blog for the last few days hoping you would write a New Year's Post like the last two years, and I am so happy to hear you and the kids are well, that you have a support system, and to see your beautiful and happy faces in the pics!ReplyDelete
I am sorry that violence was such an integrate part of your life for so long that it felt normal to you. My father was violent as well (only towards us kids, not towards our mom), and fear of him flipping out was such a normal part of my childhood as well. I am so proud of my mom for finally leaving him in the end (back in the early 90s), and I am happy to hear you are proud of yourself!
I wish you and your kids a wonderful 2022, with many more joyful moments together!
All the best,
Thank you so much for your kind words and support. I love hearing that looking back you are proud of your mom. Here's to a wonderful 2022 for all!ReplyDelete