Savani is a paralegal who lives in Yaletown. She shares custody of her five- and seven-year-old sons with her ex-husband. She’s on a recreational soccer league and recently ran a half marathon.
You know how some people are like “I don’t want to have children, I’m not meant to be a parent”? And then some people are like “Oh my god, I’m going to have six children, if not twelve” and they love children and can relate to children. I was always unsure, I’m the youngest of six so I have a lot of older siblings and they had a lot of kids. I like children, but I don’t love children. I can’t relate to them. I still struggle when playing with them and reading them books. I do it, but I struggle with it.
I had not the best childhood, so I made the decision to have a relationship with somebody, [my ex-husband], that’s actually a really nice person. He’s a great dad and a great human being. There was something missing in our relationship and we wanted to fill that void. That was at the heart of the reason we had kids. I don’t know if it was the right decision, it obviously didn’t fix our marriage. But we do have two wonderful kids. It wasn’t a good fit [with me and my partner] at the end of the day, I wasn’t the person that I wanted to be, how I envisioned myself to be. I was unhappy for years and it just kind of manifested into me being this bitch and he deserved something better.
Music actually played a part in [me leaving my marriage]. I was really unhappy for two years and the stress of being the only one working and the stress of two young children, and I was going to school too. I was at my breaking point and I had had enough. My girlfriend was like, come to California and do this [rock camp for girls]. I met a whole bunch of amazing women, spent forty-eight hours and learned to play the drums, wrote a song, made up a band and performed in a bar. I got to this space where all I heard was encouragement, and I had a breakdown where I was like “I can’t do this. It’s too terrifying. I can’t perform on stage, I can’t play drums. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.” But all I got from them was “You can. You can. You go girl, you rock it! We love you and we support you.” I went to do something that I didn’t think I could ever do, and it was frightening, but I got on stage and I did it.
I came back, and I think I struggled with “I can’t be alone, it’s too hard… let me just be unhappy.” But I just said [to my ex], “I’m not the person that I want to be, I want to be a different person, a better person. I know we have two kids, but I can’t do it anymore. I can’t live another twenty years and be this unhappy.” And so I left, and he didn’t take it very well, and the children didn’t take it very well. We’re two years later now, and the children still really struggle. [My youngest son] actually asked me earlier this week “I don’t want you and dad to be divorced, why can’t we all be together?” and I just said, “Mummy and Daddy are better this way, and we are not going to get back together. Mummy and Daddy are happier now,” he just kind of looks at me and he’s like “Otay…” He’ll ask again, I know he will, but then he’ll eventually get it. He’s getting there.
It’s funny, it took me months for me to even tell [my mother] I left. I was so afraid of what she might say, of her disappointment, because my ex was such a nice person and how could you leave someone that was so nice? You know what she said to me? “I just want you to be happy. He is a good guy, but you’re my child”. That was all I wanted. I try to be happy. I think about that sometimes: my mum didn’t get me all the way over here from a war torn country for me to be a total asshole.
I just want my children to understand that I’m trying to do the best that I can with what I have. It’s really hard because I’m divorced and we split our time with the kids evenly throughout the week, and their dad has always been “the fun one”. For a living he makes video games, so dad’s way cooler than mommy is. I basically do all the organizing, maybe it’s because I’m a paralegal and administrative work is my forte. It’s like being married still, I nag him and text him everyday when it comes to the children, I give instructions and he just does it. But we make decisions on the kids together. If they’re being difficult we will talk to each other, and the kids know that, they see that mom and dad are talking still. No matter what, we’re still their parents and that’s what we’re trying to show them.
I want to feed and clothe them, and give them hugs and kisses the best that I can. But it’s also hard for me to be sweet and loving all the time because I never had that growing up. You learn from what you’re shown: I was never hugged and kissed as a child and I still have issues with hugging and kissing. I’m way more hands on [than my parents were when they raised me]. I wasn’t really raised. [I was the] youngest of six kids, refugee parents, they worked all the time. I remember learning to turn the stove on at five, learning to do my own laundry at five. I basically was just a latch key kid. I took myself to kindergarten and then went back home and locked myself in the house until my brothers came home and that was about it. No parenting. No disrespect to my mum or anything, because it was a struggle for her and I know that, but I have to say that I grew myself. I try to make [my childrens’] lives very easy. I basically cave in to their every whim, I feel the guilt of the divorce so I give in a lot. It’s very hard for me to stick with my “nos” because sometimes I just miss them so much!
Being a parent is hard, it’s an uphill struggle every single day, and I try the best that I can. I am stumbling through this. I’m making mistakes as I go along. You know, I’ve made a lot of mistakes, and some I’ll never do again, and some I just keep on doing. It’s my internal struggle every day to get up and go on. I struggle with trying to balance work, and having a personal relationship with somebody, because at the end of the day everybody just wants to be loved and liked. I try to put up the cold front, but ever since Rock Camp, I’m slowly letting my guard down. I’m trying to be a happy person.