I am a 26–year-old mom with a 5-year-old son. His father and I separated before he was 2. My son and I moved to another state with my current partner. I am an artist and feel nourished here, spiritually and creatively. My son’s father intended to move here, too, but stayed in California with his partner. Our son has lived primarily with me, but he wanted to live with his father. After much soul searching, I agreed. He and his father have a solid relationship. Should I move back to California to be with my son, even if I find it draining there? I have visited many times since my son moved, and I question whether I can live there. I would be surviving, not thriving. My son wants me to live in California with him and his father. (I am unavailable for this.) I am plagued with guilt. I feel like I am a terrible and selfish person. I cannot afford to fly more than once a month. What should I do?
You must do whatever is necessary to be in your son’s life as much as possible. If you must sell your home and car and downsize your lifestyle so you can travel to California four times a month, do it. If you must move back to California, do it. Your son is the greatest work of art that you will ever contribute to creating. Traditional artwork is largely ephemeral. A human being who knows he is loved entirely, who knows how to give and receive love, who respects the planet, who can recognize and celebrate his unique talents and who has been supported by adults who are conscious and consistent is rare. Such a person changes the world.
Consider this: How many times have you lamented the lack of spiritually centered, emotionally healthy, intellectually invigorating people who are comfortable in their own skin; have a compassionate, global perspective; take action to institute inspired changes for the benefit of humanity; and know how to love themselves and others? Why not raise your son into the kind of adult that you wish inhabited the world?
Remember, if we abandon children or drift in and out of their lives, we wound them. Guilt, and the fear of being seen as selfish, is your body’s voice demanding that you not succumb to the ego’s sense of entitlement. Despite the ego’s complaints, you do not deserve to remain where you are. Where you are is merely preparation for what comes next. Your out-of-state sojourn has strengthened your sense of worth. Now, answer your new call into a deeper commitment to parenting and the selflessness it requires.
My boyfriend has one habit I hate: He refuses to make plans. My life is on hold daily until he decides how he wants to spend his weekendas or evenings. When I try to talk to him about this, he says he is spontaneous by nature. What can I do?
Do his emotional whims rule his work life, too? I doubt it. I suspect that he appears at work on schedule and expects to receive his paycheck on time. He’s just disguised his commitment phobia by using a word that implies he is more fun and free than you. Don’t fall for it. Push yourself to schedule time with friends and keep those plans. Fit your man in around your life. Don’t wait for him to start life for you.