The girls are home after their winter break visitation with dad. I’m humbled by some things and if I’m going to strive to “be better” in 2016, I need to own up to my human weaknesses, a.k.a. parts of me that suck.
1) I know I’ve espoused that I have to take the high road for my girls, but sometimes I’m really pissed off about that.
2) It sucks to “lose” a battle in an effort to win the war, when I don’t want to be fighting in the first f@!#$ing place. (The “war” being actually the goal of helping the girls grow up with minimal damage from parental conflict; to feeling loved without guilt, to being able to express their feelings without being burdened by bull!@$#)
3) Some days, I’m so very good at not letting my ex’s manipulation and shittiness get to me, but other days, I’m so very crappy at it, and that pisses me off too.
4) I feel guilty that I can’t be there all the time for my kids—and being there, meaning that I can’t be “present” in my mind as mentioned in number 1. I get it together in “actions” for the girls sake (never saying shitty things about their dad) but in my heart and spirit and mind, I struggle with this !@#$. Sometimes I’m so worried about what he will say or do in response to something, if he’ll take it out on the girls, and I just need to STOP letting it take up so much space in my head. Grr.
I hate that with the stupid phone call bull!@#$, I’ve acquiesced to just letting their calls go to my voicemail when they’re visiting with dad. Because it breaks my heart to hear them ask, ‘can this be a short call?’ because the t.v.’s blaring or I can hear him in the background, and even if he’s not overtly telling them to get off the phone, I know they can feel that they should. Hence asking to cut our conversations short.
I hate that he’s there listening and it swells his heart to see the girls “don’t want to talk” to mom—in the sense that he created this situation, and now he’s reaping the reward, because I can’t stand hearing them stress out. So with the help of the play therapist, I’m making a change. The girls and I talked about letting the phone go to voicemail, then I text a response. That way they can still hear from me, but they both said it’s easier for them. We now have a special word the girls can use on their voicemail if they feel they really need to talk to me. (But honestly, the time is short, why would they need to talk to me? It’s not like I disappear because they don’t see me…and maybe I should be happy that they get that).
The phone calls are for the girls, not for ME, not for HIM. We’ve talked about that, too. I even say, “who are the phone calls for?” And they holler “us!” and that makes me giggle.
And because of number f@#!-ing 1, I always carve out time for the girls to talk to their dad. Every damn night. And he’s programmed them to ask him, “how was YOUR day?” And every now and again, they’ll call and get voicemail, and they’ll say “Yes!” because they’re relieved (happy?) they don’t have to talk to him for a bit, because they’re busy doing their thing, being a kid, not feeling guilty about not being with him. And they know, at the end of the day, that it doesn’t matter, a five minute phone call doesn’t mean they love their dad more or less.
Over the break, DD1 was on the phone with her dad, and a neighbor stopped by to drop off some holiday goodies, fresh baked, straight out of her oven, delicious! The dog was barking, DD2 was giving our neighbor a hug, I hollered into the house for DD1 to come to the door, just say hi and thank you, and she could go back to her call.
Do you think he let her do that? Nope, DD1 was upset, angry, came to the door and shrugged and said hi in a frustrated tone, and returned back to the couch to finish her call. Do you think he gave her the benefit of the doubt? No, he peppered her with questions, so many questions, that when she was off the phone, DD1 told me, “I’m sorry, mom” still in her frustrated voice. “But it’s so stressful, G is barking, you’re telling me to come to the door, dad’s asking me a million questions.”
I responded that I was sorry—that it’s okay to say “can you hang on for a second? I just want to say hi,” and then go back to the phone.
DD1 repeated that dad is always asking her a million questions and it’s just stressful. I responded that I was sorry that dad made it stressful for her, and it’s okay to have her feelings, and I wished I could change that situation for her. UGH. Damn being neutral all the !@#$ time.
I guess I’m just sick and tired of his NEED for the girls to PROVE they love him all the damn time. When the girls ask if they can get off the phone or can it be a short call with him, he dawdles and strings them along for a few more minutes, because it’s another way for him to fill his need to be loved by them. I’m so sick of this shit. Rawr.
And yes, I agree with all the tenets about coparenting, that the kids deserve to have a relationship with and love both parents. I’m just sick and tired of the CRAP that comes with it. Rawr.
The children’s play therapist once told me that this is the price I pay, so to speak, because of my full physical custody situation. So, I guess I keep paying it. Some days I’m really good at seeing the big picture, and other days, so not.
I keep telling myself it will get easier when the girls are older, less vulnerable, more able to speak their minds. I hope so. I hope I can raise them to see that they can express themselves and are not responsible for taking care of their dad (or men in general).
And...I hope I can be better at being more patient and forgiving of the Ex...and myself.