We won’t speak to the marriage. It didn’t end well. 

He’s a fantastic dad, though. Really, the very best.

His role as Dad didn’t end when our marriage did, and my commitment to always help foster the relationship between him and my boys didn’t either. 

RELATED: I Was Better Off Divorced

In a new chapter of life for me where I’m learning the concept of both/and, it’s worth noting that a person can both disappoint you in one arena of your relationship, and also exceed all of your expectations in another.

When it comes to fathering our boys, my ex-husband has and is exceeding all of my expectations. 

He loves them well. He teaches them how to love ME well. He gets their little butts in line and can put the fear of God in them while also being so soft towards them that his eyes well up with tears at the prospect of going a week without seeing them. He very rarely does go a week without seeing them, even in this strange new world of an “every other week” arrangement. 

No matter what happened between him and me, no matter what kind of hurt or sour feelings may brew beneath the surface concerning our relationship with one another, you better believe my heart will ALWAYS fill with happiness at the sight of him at our boys’ football games, birthday parties, field trips, award ceremonies, and even “just lost a tooth” celebrations.

There is nowhere I’d rather him be than actively participating in the special moments of our boys’ lives. And he always is. 

You don’t have to be a perfect person to still be a loving and impactful parent, and one wrong doesn’t cancel out all the rights.  

RELATED: Please, Don’t Say This to a Divorced Mom

In a world where it seems like more and more, people aim to be divisive—to prove a point, have a side, be right and point out the other person’s wrong—we could all stand to spend more time looking for some common bond, something to be unified on. In my opinion, there aren’t too many things better to join forces and unify over, than the goal of raising three little men who feel loved, and who aren’t little turds. 

I think we are doing that well, so I high five us.

Previously published on the author’s blog

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Hayley Hengst

Hello there! My name is Hayley Hengst. Mom to three Sweet Boy Hooligans, ages 4, 6, and 10. Regular contributor for Austin Moms, as well as my own personal blog, MotherFreaking.  Other than my boys, the things that make me happiest in life are books, coffee, warm fires, and twinkle lights. Also, queso.  You can follow me on Facebook, Hayley Hengst, or @motherfreaking.  I'm on IG as @motherfreakingmama.

My Husband Doesn’t Change Dirty Diapers

In: Marriage
Father holding baby

My husband doesn’t change dirty diapers. He hates it. The mere thought of a dirty diaper makes him gag. He will drive almost any bargain to get out of changing a diaper filled with anything stinky. In fact, there are a few things my husband doesn’t do that fall solely on me. If I sat down (okay, sort of like I am right now), I could compile an entire list of things my husband doesn’t do for our family. I could write about everything I do better than him and everything I know more about. But that wouldn’t be fair....

Keep Reading

You Came between Us

In: Marriage, Motherhood
Toddler between mom and dad under sheet

Right in the middle of our deepest love, you came—just between us. A silent, unseen surprise. A mysterious miracle of incarnated love and joy. From that sacred moment that we couldn’t imagine being any sweeter, came you. Sometime in the middle of all the daily goodbye hugs, my stomach began to grow and you came between us. This beautiful bundle of life blossoming right inside of me. And we were in awe of every single tiny formation of you. In awe of who you were, excited by who you’d be, in awe that you were ours. You came between us...

Keep Reading

To My Wife: I See Your Sacrifice

In: Marriage, Motherhood
Family of 3 sitting on floor together at home

Selfless. No other word more clearly depicts your commitment to your family. Motherhood is drastically different than you dreamed of your whole life—the dreams of what sort of mama you would be, of how much you would enjoy being a mother even on the tough days. Since day one of our relationship, you’ve been selfless. Since day one of being a mama, you’ve been selfless. Your love for your family shines through on the brightest and darkest days. But on the dark days, it shines the brightest. I can’t count the hours of sleep sacrificed, the tears cried, the time...

Keep Reading

If You’re Fighting for Your Marriage Right Now, Keep Going

In: Marriage
Couple embracing with worried look on woman's face

My husband and I just celebrated 20 years of marriage last week. For the first five years of our marriage, we had no kids. We now have six. We have been through multiple moves, job changes, pregnancies, miscarriage, child loss, the death of loved ones, grief, three adoptions, mental illness etc. I see marriage totally differently than I did 20 years ago.  I believe, above everything, it takes two people willing to sacrifice and work hard (maybe one more than the other during different seasons) in order for the marriage to stay afloat. Marriage, if done right, does not puff one up...

Keep Reading

She Left Him on Valentine’s Day

In: Faith, Marriage
Husband kissing wife on cheek, color photo

“Can you believe that?” Those were the dreaded knife-cutting whispers I heard from across the table. I sunk deeper into my chair. My hopes fell as everyone would forever remember that I had left my fiancée on Valentine’s Day. Maybe one day it would just dissipate like the dream wedding I had planned or the canceled plane tickets for the Hawaiian honeymoon. Some bridesmaids and guests had already booked plane tickets. It was my own nightmare that kept replaying in my head over and over again. I had messed up. Big time. To be honest, if it made any difference,...

Keep Reading

“I Can’t Do This Anymore,” He Said—Then Everything Changed

In: Living, Marriage
Woman with head in hands

The questions are very much valid. Did I know when I married him? Did I know when we struggled with infertility and trying to become parents? Did I know when we unexpectedly became pregnant with our second child? When did you know your husband was an alcoholic? The answer is simple yet so complex, I pretty much knew from the first year, yet I was in complete denial. When I met him, he was just my type—a bad boy with a bad reputation, yet so cute! On our third date or so, I saw how much he could drink and how...

Keep Reading

I Want More than Mediocre Love

In: Marriage
Man and woman holding hands facing away from each other, silhouette

It felt like an out-of-body experience as I watched my fingers type into the Google search bar, “Local divorce lawyers near me.” I just want to know my options. Yet, my heart pounded as realized I was halfway serious in considering a divorce. There was no betrayal, no abuse, no lying, or cheating. My husband was and is a good man. The truth was he did not do anything wrong, I was just convinced he was doing nothing right. We were in the thick of life with a new baby, and I was certain that the man I loved was...

Keep Reading

My Husband’s in Love with a Different Woman Now

In: Living, Marriage, Motherhood
Couple standing by Christmas decorations

He’s in love with a different woman now . . . I met my husband seven years ago. We got married and went on adventures. Went to some weddings and had a bunch of kids. Every Christmas party season, we would celebrate by going out to dinner . . . except this year that one dress didn’t fit. I had my husband try to zip it, and then my mom . . . there was no budging. I had been tiny, I had been heavy—sick and healthy. My weight had been a roller coaster always. But, this special dress had always...

Keep Reading

Did I Deserve My Husband’s Affair?

In: Marriage
Woman looking out window

When my husband left and ran off with a lady from his office, all of my friends and family bombarded me with one massive conclusion: Divorce him! You deserve better! Back then, I agreed. “Yes! I deserve way better than this!” And like a fast-moving train locked in place, my deserving something better became the fuel to cut him off. Then, as time wore on, I began to wonder, what exactly did I “deserve”? In the dictionary, “deserve” means “to have earned or to be given something because of the way you have behaved or the qualities you have.” Am I...

Keep Reading

I’ve Changed My Mind about Everything but You

In: Marriage
Husband and wife selfie in field of wildflowers, color photo

I’ve changed my mind about almost everything but you. When I was a little girl, I couldn’t pick my favorite Spice Girl. I loved Baby Spice, but was also a big fan of sports. So what about Sporty Spice? And all their outfits were so cool, I couldn’t make up my mind about which one I hoped to become one day. When I was in middle school, I’d eagerly await my bi-weekly orthodontist appointments just so I could pick a new band color for my braces. And within a day or two, I’d have already decided I hated them, and...

Keep Reading