While my obsession with words is well documented, there’s one area they exhaust me: the amount of interaction needed with my ex about the kids.
He tends not to answer emails, so I send texts. Endless texts.
Where is his car parked so I can get the kids’ stuff out of the boot? When is he be picking up the kids on Saturday? When does the eldest’s band day start on Sunday? When does he fly out to Indonesia on Sunday? Can he send me a list of all the kid activities that are on his days so I know where and when to go while he’s away? Is he working on Saturday, March 19, when I’m planning to have the youngest’s birthday? What does he want to do about Easter? What does he want to do about the school holidays? Did he call the school about the eldest getting a locker? Is he OK with me getting the youngest’s ears pierced for her birthday?
It goes on and on and on. And it won’t stop for years and years and years.
When we lived together we’d sort things out each night, face to face. Now he’s just the co-parent on the other end of the phone who doesn’t returns my the plastic containers from the kids’ lunchboxes (and vice versa) and has to be consulted on all the decisions that need to be made about my children’s lives.
I suspect everyone will give me lots of tips for cutting down on our co-parenting text tennis match, but things that need answers just keep cropping up.
When kids are involved you’re stuck with your ex. You might not live together any more, but they loom in your life at least until the kids leave school. And then you’ll still run into them at all the births, deaths, marriages …
Geez that’s hard.
Comedian Louis CK reckons: “I love being divorced. Every year has been better than the last. By the way, I’m not saying don’t get married. If you meet somebody, fall in love and get married. Then get divorced. Because that’s the best part. Divorce is forever! It really actually is. Marriage is for how long you can hack it. But divorce just gets stronger like a piece of oak. Nobody ever says ‘oh, my divorce is falling apart, it’s over, I can’t take it.'”
I know its his schtick, but I don’t think my divorce is getting stronger. It just keeps throwing up new challenges. (What am I talking about? I’m not even divorced yet. That fresh hell is still to come.)
Pre-kids, when you broke up with someone you never had to see them again. Admittedly that’s equally weird. It’s kind of like a death but they’re still alive. They were the closest person to you in the world and suddenly they vanish.
My ex hasn’t vanished. He makes almost daily appearances in my life via my phone and once a week on my doorstep … more often if there’s a sick kid we’re juggling.
It’s why I decided to suck it up princess and be cordial. It makes all the juggling so much more pleasant.
I HATE confrontation. HATE it.
If I was dreading every interaction with him, life would be such a miserable trek.
So we get along …
I read a rather confronting article on Huffington Post Divorce about how “You Don’t Have to Play Family With Your Ex ‘For The Children’.”
Tracy Shorn says: “Could we please stop using “FOR THE CHILDREN” as a cudgel with which to bludgeon divorced people?”
“You only control you. Make your own family traditions. Have your children’s back and let the ex figure out his or her relationship with the kids. Don’t stand in the way of that relationship. Don’t editorialize (i.e., “Mom’s a slut.”) Don’t fake friendship and model codependent phoniness. Back off and let go. Your only obligation is to abide by the court order with civility.”
She ends the article with the words: “And don’t invite exes to your birthday parties. Thank you.”
I invite my ex to the birthday parties. For the children.
It feels like the right thing to do.
Tracy REALLY doesn’t think it is.
We all have our paths we need to take. Who knows where mine will wend?
But for now the friendly thing is working.
I just wish it didn’t require so many texts to keep the co-parenting train on the move.
Still, it beats the alternative I so often see: co-parents who CAN’T interact with civility when it comes to their kids.
That would be soooooooo awful.