The good, the bad, and the ugly…of divorced parenting

Last week I was presented with several challenges regarding my ex…

He started the week with this text “Good morning and Happy Sunday! Yes I am meaning to send this to you…” – is there another way to take this BESIDES a backhanded remark? I don’t endeavor to have that kind of relationship with him where we are sarcastic and joking with one another. Though I am a faithful sarcasm user…just trying really HARD to keep things superficial and emotionless.

Then my son was restricted from electronics for his suffering grades…my ex found him breaking that restriction while at his house, and he put a punishment in place (this was a complete surprise to me as he normally overlooks punishments I have placed – all the while saying he is “behind me 100%” at least when it’s convenient for him) – to read a book (biography on Theodore Roosevelt) and write a response. I had him finish his homework while with me for the first half of break, so his dad could see fit to effectuate the consequence he put in place during his time with our son. We’ll see if he follows through. That was always his downfall. (I actually think the consequence is decent enough)

Then he attended a field trip with my youngest (one I REALLY had been looking forward to attending, but my ex decided he wanted to go, soooo…)…which he sent me random joking texts while attending. I guess there isn’t the same background with the paramour so he couldn’t have sent the messages to her?

…so I received his jests…and he expects me to respond as though I don’t loathe him?

I ignored.

The same day he sent balloons to my other daughter’s school for her birthday.  Without realizing his folly of getting them on the bus to bring home…he asked me to save the day.

I sent a bouquet of balloons to _____ to school today without realizing that she could not take them on the bus.  THE SCHOOL closes at 4.  Is there anyway u could pick them up before the school closes?  I’m guessing no.

(my school dismisses at 3:50) and then…

She is going to be really upset.  Any ideas to save me from this blunder is appreciated.

At first I ignored the texts…it’s not my job to rescue him…right?  Then I got an email from her teacher. She would be happy to drop them off to me at the end of the day.  I thanked her profusely.  I let my ex know.  Then the teacher informed me that my daughter had made the executive decision to just cut the balloons off and leave them, that her dog was deathly afraid of balloons anyway…

I forwarded the message to my ex…his response to me…

Could u please email back and NOT let ___ cut the balloons.  I can save at my house.  They cost a lot of money.

WHY IS THIS MY PROBLEM???

Ultimately he found another savior in a parent he was on the field trip with who also had a child in the middle school our daughter attended…a relative of theirs dropped the balloons off at my school so they could be retrieved.

My daughter’s response to the gesture…”he sent me a bouquet of balloons at school!  It was embarrassing…and not in a good way.”

My daughter is a bit angry at her dad.  She, of the three, is having the most trouble with everything.  She has openly said she hates him.  She even said once when my youngest pointed out that she “used to like Daddy a lot” – “things change”.  She is thirteen now.  She is battling hormones and the betrayal of her father leaving her (in her eyes)…and taking up with another family.  While she doesn’t know how long the paramour has been in the picture, she also realizes that something isn’t quite right about their relationship and the timeline he asserts, or rather fails to assert.  Not to mention, the two little ‘annoying’ girls (ages 4 and 7) that come with the new relationship package that has been thrust upon her and her siblings.

Top that off with her own self image issues!!  My daughter is BEAUTIFUL…and I’m not just saying that because she’s mine…she has gorgeous long golden/strawberry blond hair and amazing golden hazel eyes.  Unfortunately she was also gifted with a big frame.  While she swims and is in excellent health, she also has broad shoulders.  While all around her there are stick thin, petite young things, she is a tall, thick beauty.  She laments her lack of skinny all too often.  We work through these issues together on a daily basis.  Many days, she is happy enough with the strengths and positive qualities she DOES represent.  She even worked through finding a great swimsuit this week that makes her look great and she is comfortable in! (though she felt she needed to do bikini because that was “what everyone else wears” – I was able to direct her to a cute little tankini that she is fabulous in! 🙂 )

So now enter my ex.  She hates him openly.  She is down and depressed sometimes about her self-image (as most teenaged girls tend to be).  He has decided that she needs to see a counselor.  He is going to FORCE her to go.  And while I can’t say that I think she needs it, as she is open and honest in dealing with things regularly with me, I can’t truly say ANYTHING because then I’m not open to “helping my daughter”…or providing her with “what is in her best interest”.

I don’t want my daughter to feel that she is somehow broken.  That she needs fixing.  And I realize that is not the position of the counselor, I believe that is the position of my ex.  He wants her to behave differently toward him…to accept his overtures of atonement (aka buying her stuff she wants and laying on the loving comments).  He is projecting on our daughter the belief he held about me throughout our marriage…

  • after an empty compliment “why can’t you just say thank you?”
  • after doing some random act that wasn’t solicited, even though about 20 others HAD been solicited “why can’t you just appreciate what I AM doing?”
  • after purchasing a gift that didn’t fit my personality “why aren’t you more excited about what I did for you?”

But I am going along.  She will see this counselor.  And I hope that she, in some way, DOES help my daughter…

My son and I had a heart wrenching conversation about my ex this week as well.

While he is the most accepting of the three, he is also a boy and laid back.  Getting in touch with his “feelings” isn’t always a comfortable place to go, so I think he just “goes with the flow” to ignore.  I don’t allow that to be the case all the time.  I challenge him to discuss his feelings and try to allow open space to voice them in a safe environment.  During these times, I have heard that he sometimes thinks I am a bully, and I have also heard that he is coming to realize that what I do is sometimes in an effort to build him up to be a better man.

This particular conversation with my son revealed some feelings he is holding on to about my ex…that he doesn’t feel that they (he and his siblings) come first (his work does) and that he doesn’t respect his father.  This assertion came with tears he quickly quelled and an end of the conversation in that direction.  Before the end, he was open to say that he resents that his dad asserts that their time with him is of utmost importance and they are not allowed to do other things in place of HIS time (ie. see friends, attend events, choose to not go), yet he is constantly cancelling due to “work responsibilities” so my son sees it as he is required to respect his time, yet he doesn’t respect the time in return.  Hypocrite in his eyes.

My children are so amazing.  I hate that they have to deal with these issues…

…I struggle daily to help them realize the truth of life and deal with what it has presented them with…the good and the bad.

…and I will continue to the best of my abilities.

“I am my kids’ mom”

About Making Sense from MY Perspective

I have a problem...I see myself through the eyes of my ex...and his glasses are not really the most flattering. I really need to get my own glasses...so this is MY Perspective.
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19 Responses to The good, the bad, and the ugly…of divorced parenting

  1. Jules says:

    Wow. First of all I applaud you for ignoring his texts and trying not to be sarcastic. (that’s hard, I know…I am full of it) The balloons were NOT your problem. I would have just let her cut them and not tell him. What is it with the jokes?? Does he think he can be “besties” with you after completely turning your life inside out and upside down? I don’t think so.

    I worry about my children. They are only 6 but I have concerns for their future. I will continue to learn how to deal with things through your blog. Thank you for sharing that story.

    • Thank you! I appreciate you reading…and even more thinking that I can help you deal with things yourself based on what I’ve written…no pressure there! lol
      Truly, your children will come through…just look around, there are millions of children of divorce out there…HOW they come through will be more about how you lead them through. We’ve all see those that become bitter and spiteful, those that relive their experiences through their own relationships, those that shrivel up and hide, those living in denial, or even those that decide that divorce is an accepted alternative…

      As parents, we have the opportunity to choose to show our children what growing up is about and how they need to deal with what life throws at them the best they can.

      In my opinion, that means with dignity, respect for self and others when earned, and achievement and success based on personal effort and sometimes struggles. I have never believed it meant seeking happiness. Happiness is a fleeting emotion that comes from circumstance when you achieve satisfaction in yourself or someone else. The true lessons should be for understanding satisfaction. …With a job well done, with a personal accomplishment, with the level of achievement reached, or even with acceptance that things aren’t always what you want them to be. I know, because I struggle daily with the satisfaction…and I won’t find true happiness until I truly find that satisfaction with my life overall.

      Thanks again for reading.

  2. bamboozled1 says:

    im not handling the buddy buddy jokes too well either… its SO STRANGE!
    but thats how guys ‘friend’ one another… im not sure they know how else to relate… more than once ive had to say, it aint ya boy fool!

    your daughter sounds lovely! im so sorry shes struggling… sure she knows tho, mummys always watching out for her! but girls do need their dads to not be eggs! i agree with you, i think he wants her in counselling to benefit him… thats probably going to backfire… and no doubt everyone at school thinks those balloons were just odd. have a giggle at that.

    also agree with your view on what happiness is… im still trying to work out a way to communicate it to my boys, so far ive got ‘be grateful for all the things you do have,you might not have as much as one person, but you have far more than another, have something to be proud of and nothing to be ashamed of, you get to choose which of your thoughts are really your own and act because you think its right not because someone else likes it, work to live, dont live to work’… something like that heh. …aka how not to be your dad heh.

    • I think for my ex, if we can just move into the “friend zone” then that means what he did is okay. He wants my approval/acceptance. I can’t give it. I don’t know that I can live with that level of “forgetness”, though I have forgiven him for his infidelity.

      Thanks for reading…and commenting. 🙂 I like your perspective of satisfaction where you show both sides of the coin…”have something to be proud of and nothing to be ashamed of” is a keeper! 🙂

      • bamboozled1 says:

        i feel the same way… what they did isnt something you can just put aside…. well, some days it is… but most days… hell no! and to be honest, now that i know some stuff, hes not the kind of person i would volunteer to be friends with anyway!

      • Amen…I’ve always said that in this time and place I wouldn’t be friends with him under good circumstances, why would I be under the ones we find ourselves in…

    • “have something to be proud of and nothing to be ashamed of”
      That is something to take with me. Thanks so much for this perspective.

  3. Parenting is hard anyway,. after divorce, so much more complex. It is not the relationship between the parents that is the difficult thing (ie the children accepting the parents do not get along) but rather the juggling between them, the brokenness, not having that strong united base. I have read that the children who survive best into adulthood appear to be the ones that finally accept that one parent is their “family”, their strength, their refuge; while the other is a close relationship on the side.

    • bamboozled1 says:

      ohh, i think youve just spelled something out for me there too!
      i think its something that i understand, being the main parent… but im not entirely sure he does… yeah, hes the dad… but, i dont feel like, having been the one to leave, he should be treated as such… perhaps hes more like an uncle… ?

      • I am RIGHT THERE WITH YOU!! He’s a special relative, not a parent. Like a godfather maybe…feeling a special connection and shows up with presents and such, because there’s a feeling of responsibility, but it’s one that isn’t seen or felt or overt in any way…

      • That’s interesting because my grand-daughter went through a phase of calling every male ‘uncle’ when she was learning to talk. That phrase has stuck for him even now two years later, so uncle it is! 🙂

      • bamboozled1 says:

        When my grandfather calls me on the phone… He says, hi, it’s uncle **** here… Lol. I have so many cousins, I think he honestly forgets which ones are his!

    • I hope that my kids are some of the ‘make it through to the other side fairly unscathed’ variety…though I know from experience that a poor relationship with a father can have it’s effect. My ex told the kids at the time that his ‘explanation’ for the divorce was “sometimes people fall in love, and then they fall out of love, and they don’t make each other happy. So they can’t live with each other anymore” …and while I guess that explains a bit of what happened to us, I also think it tells a young girl that you must make someone happy or else they will ‘fall out of love’ with you and then leave. Because there is also the assertion that he left ME, not THEM…as though the kids and I can be separated in some way like that… I don’t know. I at least hope that I’m providing them with that refuge of “home”. Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

      • bamboozled1 says:

        ughhh, if that explanation comes out of his mouth i will be PISSED! sure, i get that thats where his head is… BUT… i told him to not even dare trying it. ever.

        and no, you dont leave me and not leave the kids… you leave everyone. kids dont separate themselves from us, were their parents, and i dont separate myself from them, but you did… and thats why they trust me and want to stay with me…

        they both said last night… i will never stay at his house! (and im not going to convince them otherwise) which, on one hand, makes me burst with happiness, yes, its selfish, so? heh. but also… hang on… im not going to get hungover sundays for a very long time am i? lol.

        it goes for boys also i think, one of his main issues i believe, is that his mum cheated on his dad, so he grew up with a kind of, keep mum happy or she will leave mentality, which he still has… and ended up being pinned on me… yayyyyy! not your boy! not your mother! not your friend! lol.

      • Ah! My kids were told he was unhappy too. It seems to be a common excuse. I agree that it is a bad message for my daughter. Think also about the bad message (on values) it gives to my sons. I am fortunate that they are all old enough to see through that message for what it is really worth and have made up their own minds to live by higher values. I am sure in time your children will too as you are a fantastic mother and mentor for them and they will follow your lead.

      • I’m so tired of hearing about this BS called happiness that we’re all supposed to aspire to…people say love is a choice. I say HAPPINESS is a CHOICE!!! You CHOOSE to be happy in a certain situation. If you aren’t happy, then it is your OWN DOING, not something that can be blamed on another person or on a situation or on a life circumstance. I KNOW that currently my unhappiness is all my own doing…I SHOULD be celebrating not having to do many things I expected to have to do (put up with) for years. I SHOULD be rejoicing that I don’t have to feel the way I did BEFORE he left anymore. My unhappiness isn’t because of him…it’s my own doing…and I’m working on fixing that mindset. Ok. rant over. lol

      • I agree with all that you say. I get so upset when my ex makes out that he left because he needed to find ‘happiness’. As you say, he ‘chose’ unhappiness. On the other hand; I was always one who was naturally ‘happy’ – ALWAYS. I appreciated the smaller things in life and was brimming over with pride for the bigger things (like our wonderful children). I have sometimes felt resentful that he took that away from me and thus my happiness. It is a very courageous step to admit that, even though it was his action that changed my life, it was ME that took away the ‘happiness’ bit. Thanks for prompting me on that.

      • I hope you didn’t take offense to my rant…reading it back now, it sounds rather bitchy! lol
        I do feel that happiness is an elusive “feeling” and you can act happy even when you aren’t or even choose to be unhappy in a positive situation due to dissatisfaction for one reason or another. I can’t say that I am an intrinsically “happy” person, but I do try to look at the joys in small things as well (and I definitely brim over with pride regarding my kids) 😉 I try not to complain or unload my burdens of displeasure on others. I try to be honest, upfront, and straightforward. Sometimes that isn’t very “happy” sounding…but it will always be straight. Still working on the happiness part here…and I think I always will be. But I think I rather seeing it as satisfaction. At the end of the day, I want to feel satisfied with who I am, what I do, and how I make people feel.

      • No offense taken. I think it is good to read other people’s “rants” because I know that I am not alone 🙂

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