Co-parenting with an addict means I am basically raising my son alone

As his former spouse, I know that deep down in there somewhere is a man who wants to do well in the world. Someone who wants to be reconnected to his son, who yearns to prove to the world that he's capable. But as a mom, I put up giant barriers and protectors.

my co-parent is an addict

Sitting in court my heart pounds. It feels as though there's blood ringing in my ears and it is getting harder to breathe the longer I wait.

Waiting is the worst part.

It used to be waiting for my ex to come home drunk, praying the angels were watching over him and everyone on the road around him. It used to be waiting for an answer in court as we sorted through the another OUI (operating under the influence) charge and arrest for driving without a license. Waiting for recovery, waiting for a shift, waiting for our official divorce, waiting for child support, waiting for the ball to drop.

Always, always waiting.

Today, I am waiting for a final judgment that never comes because my son's father doesn't show. I am told (again) it isn't fair that he isn't in court due to his incarceration. So I'm stuck waiting...

The title of this article implies that my son's father is a co-parent, but that isn't entirely true. He's supposed to be, but honestly, my son hasn't seen his father in almost a year. And he's only 3 years old.

The day-to-day life of potty training, doctor's appointments, playing, safety, education and love falls on me. I love my life with my little man and I wouldn't change a thing. To be able to raise him on my own (with help from everyone in our village), is the most satisfying thing in the world. I have moments when I make mistakes and many more moments when I know I'm on the exact right path.

Just last week he told me his stuffed puppy Biscuit said the word 'stupid-head' (thanks to Lilo & Stitch—oops!). At that moment, I had a number of choices. I decided to tell him the puppy needed a time-out. He placed Biscuit in the time out chair and proceeded to do EVERYTHING I do.

He told him that 'stupid head' was a naughty word and we only use kind words in our home. He told him he needed to say sorry and began to walk away. As he did, he said "Did you say you were sorry? It's okay, I love you so much." He let Biscuit out of time out and went about his morning.

I thought to myself: "I did that." That exact moment of modeling firm, yet loving behavior was an example of the work I've been doing for years.

It's one of the moments I'll hold onto when he's having a meltdown or in a rare moment when he asks if his daddy is going to come home and play with him.

Co-parenting with an addict is one of the most gut-wrenching things you can do. As his former spouse, I know that deep down in there somewhere is a man who wants to do well in the world. Someone who wants to be reconnected to his son, who yearns to prove to the world that he's capable. But as a mom, I put up giant barriers and protectors. I beg the court system to keep us as safe as they're legally able to, and I wait.

I am always waiting.

Many divorced couples use the term single parent and wear it bravely. While it may be true that they are single and a parent, they are often accompanied by a co-parent who is healthy enough to participate in their child's life. I use single and solo-mother interchangeably. Solo, to me, truly embraces where I am on this journey. I do a lot alone—the Biscuit time-out moments, the holiday planning, the threenager attitude navigation.

I always hope in the future my son will see his dad make it into recovery. Deep down I want them to eventually have a connection. Today I can't envision that future, but as with any aspect of having an addict in your life, the vision may change tomorrow or next week or five years from now.

Tonight, I'll go home to snuggle with my kiddo in our bedroom. I'll subconsciously wait for a ball to drop and hold my heart together as best I'm able to when the tears stream down my cheeks.

My supposed co-parent misses these moments. It's heartbreaking and yet also affords me the opportunity to never miss a single one.

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A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

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Laetitia lipstick

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This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!


Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.


Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.


'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."


Glow assorted teas

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This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.


Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.


Premium frother

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This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!


Bath soak infusion kit

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Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.


Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.


Superfood honey

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With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.


Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


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A couple of months ago, I was on the lookout for a moisturizer that would not only keep my legs from looking like an ashy mess, but also truly nourish and benefit my skin. I've developed a deep interest in skin care for my face over the past few years and decided it's high time to extend that degree of consideration to the rest of my body. (After all, there's more of it, right?)

It's not that I'm too concerned with aging, but let's be real. If there's something that can be done to slow the Wrinkle Express, I'm going to give it a go. I also wanted to find something natural that wouldn't turn into a goopy mess the second I started sweating.

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