This post was prompted by an argument that occurred between my teenage son and ex-husband. I was thrown under the bus so my ex could save face. My ex has told his new wife, friends, and town of Shawville a selective version of our divorce.
Most of the time I don’t care what his version is. However, when selected pieces are fed to my children to undermine my relationship and somehow make me less in their eyes. I will not be silent.
When after 10 years, someone can’t be “friends” with me because I’m the “ex”. That’s an unpleasant reminder of the other side’s smear campaign and lack of accountability for two things:
1. The reason for the divorce (irrelevant to all).
2. The relationship fostered with the children by their father and stepmother.
I have struggled with whether to post the thoughts that follow but recent events with my oldest child lead me to want to speak a little of my truth. I may lose “friends” in posting this, most will just scroll over it. That’s okay – I understand. I had a wee heart to heart with someone recently who said “The bubbly Krista who helped me through rough times hasn’t been around for a couple of months.” Probably the biggest proponent of that is the fact that my children, are children of divorce and it has impacted them. Affected them – they need some repair and perspective. After 10 years of divorce, it is still unhealthy. My son was recently burdened by an untruth about why our marriage ended and it provoked him to question my integrity and loyalty as his mother. It burdened him with unnecessary information and inaccurate information. It is a slander that was spread through the small community I used to live and teach in. It reached my colleagues, my parents and my parents’ friends. I had to explain myself unnecessarily then and now recently to my son. Then I had to tell him the ugly truth about my divorce, a truth I have fought hard to protect all of my children from. “Children will be allowed to be children. There will be no yelling today…” The beginning of a long past family Christmas get together directed to my spouse.
Yelling, anger, verbal abuse, physical aggression towards children, selfishness, laziness, and disrespect were the instruments of destruction in my marriage. I used to drop my kids off some mornings before teaching, cry my eyes out to the parking lot of the school, brush myself off, enter the classroom and put on a show.
In my marriage, I did everything that both partners should share equally in and I decided that if that was the case – I would eliminate the toxic from our lives and continue on a lone parent as I had already been doing. This time, no anger.
For 10 years, I have been the lone parent, managing a career and raising children. Having 4 days of down time a month. That’s 480 days of down time for me over 10 years in contrast to my ex’s 3240 days to manage himself, his wife and his work without interruption from the realities of raising kids full time. My children have been burdened with the fact that child support is paid, amounts having been announced at family functions. Seeds have been planted by father and stepmother that they pay for our life.
Guess what? When mom has sole custody (never once challenged) her sacrifice is all of her time and the dad’s sacrifice is the pay cheque. P.S. child support amounts are decided by Justice Canada and not me and financial hardship (as claimed) can be filed through the courts.
My children chose not to see their father for 10 months straight because of his anger and lack of attention. Their initial assessment of a good time with their dad in the early years was that he did not yell much. That has been and remains the truth and reality as to why the divorce happened and why there is no shared custody. Not because I’m the big bad guy punishing my ex but because I love my children and I will not allow them to be immersed in a toxic environment.
My marriage ended because my spouse chose anger and himself over love and family. That is our truth. Nothing else.
Divorce is not the easy way out, it is painful and challenging. It demands that both parents set their own negative feelings aside for the sake of the children. The unfortunate truth is that is not always the case.
Spare your kids the details and love them to bits.
Parenting isn’t about you….
“Love your children more than you hate your ex” ~Tamara Judge
My children choose not to go to their dad’s. Tears pour as they struggle with protecting themselves, digesting their relationship with their father or lack there of, and worrying about hurting their dad’s feelings. Thank goodness for therapy. This is beyond my scope of being able to kiss it better or flip the switch with an ice cream.
I look at other people’s situations, how unhealthy their ex’s are and yet they send their kids to them half the time. Seven days on, seven days “off”. I’m envious and confused at the same time.
I couldn’t fathom sending my kids to their dad at 2.5 and 5 years old without supervision. Who would protect them? Who would be the voice of reason? How would I sleep?
Yet other people make the choice to send their kids, to not fight it. Do I have it wrong? Should I have chosen to do things differently? Maybe my kids would have seen the truth sooner and it wouldn’t be such a struggle for them?
Fourteen days “off”. To be turned off, to only worry about me. To do as I please. Sounds fantastic. I’m envious. I wish that could be our situation. As I get older having that kind of down time would be luxurious.
That’s not the choice I made. I feel I made the right choice and the reality is the Arrangement was never once challenged. My ex has not worked on himself.
My only regret is having spent energy behind the scenes doing damage control for my ex, trying to keep the kids positive. Many days and nights spent helping them accept a stepmother, again doing damage control for my ex burdening them with the need to make her feel special.
It is not the child’s responsibility to soothe your feelings, insecurities or to make you feel special. That should come organically because you are treating them like the treasures they are. Kinda like a karma thing…
As I write this Ginger calls.
Her: How are you?
Me: Good but effing tired.
Her: Let’s plan your kids coming here for a weekend so you can have some time to yourself. You need a break. Seriously, it’s happening.
I love my friends.