A break up or divorce is always so much more difficult when children are involved. Gone are the days of just washing your hands of someone because you fell out of love or like with them! You will be seeing this person’s face and hearing this person’s voice for the rest of your natural born life! In the words of my boy Squints Palledorous (The Sandlot), FOR-EV-VOR! Unless the other parent ran off, which I know at times you might wish they would, you have to find a way to speak at least every other week. I mean really you should be able to converse about your child every other day, but lets face it within the first year of a break up your ex’s voice sounds like nails on a chalkboard. You are reminded of whatever pain they inflicted on you and reminded why you don’t love them anymore…sometimes wondering, how the hell did you fall in love with this person in the first place!
With most break ups, you’re allowed a mourning period to be away and get over the situation. But when photos of a happy family are going across your desktop and their face is popping up at the door every single weekend, it’s slightly harder. No matter who did what or how it ended, both people are hurting in their own way so you’re trying to mourn the loss of the relationship. But then you have this other little person that has nothing to do with the contention you have going on with the other adult. Actually this little person or persons are lost in a fog of confusion. They go from having two parents living under the same roof, to sometimes having to be in a new room in an instant. And then there’s mom and dad, who go from having a tag team partner to bathe & put to bed, to someone you can’t even share daily kid stories with. So everyone’s just screwed at this point!
I’m just wondering who do you share with? How do you learn how to share again? I mean I know it’s gonna take the child a while to adjust to new surroundings, to mommy & daddy not being together, to having two homes & sometimes two holidays. But what about the parent? Even when you’re over the relationship, you can’t seem to find a way to get through a conversation without throwing daggers at one another! I have to say that the one thing I HATE about being a single mom is not having someone at 8pm to share a glass of wine with and chit chat about the crazy toddler antics of the day. I’ve come to a point in my relationship with my ex where I forgive and don’t regret. I’m in a place where I see the blessing of our relationship and no matter what was said or how my ex feels about the relationship, I personally don’t see it as a waste. We have this really kid that only he and I could have created! Yet, we can’t seem to be able share everyday growing moments with another! It’s so frustrating! Actually, it’s very sad! To go from sharing everything for years, and now we’re at a stage in Jax’s life where everything is so exciting and changing everyday, and I’m alone in it.
I mean sure we could take the perfunctory year to let all wounds heal and find a place in our hearts to set it all aside and be respectful and loving toward one another, but then what happens to the child in that year. He doesn’t stand still. He’s still growing and learning. There are still decisions to be made in terms of schooling & health. We can’t just stop speaking to one another. I think that’s where people mess up. They are so busy trying to teach the other a lesson, staying on the defense, trying to inflict pain onto the other that they forget that there is an innocent person in the middle of this war, and that innocent person is taking the most infliction. Every negative thing you say about the other parent, every missed call at bedtime, every night spent away from the parent they are used to sharing a roof with is a war wound. It may not be gushing, but it does sting and it does add up. Now I’m not saying that every kid from a single parent household grows up with relationship or personality issues, but kids do feel the pain of separation greater than we do. When we are long over it, our kids still remember when it was Mommy & Daddy’s house and hoping that Mommy or Daddy will come back home.
Okay so what do you do? You suck up your pride and make it easier. Find the respect for this person they deserve as your child’s parent and work from there. The point is, you are still a family. You’re relationship though severed now, did exist and created an amazing person, so work from there. If the other parent is a good parent, continue to encourage them to be just that! Your child didn’t have a choice in being born, you made that decision so treat that relationship with the most respect. Try and understand the situation from you’re kid’s point of view. You look at the world through your child’s eyes anyway, so look at this break up through their eyes too. I promise you’ll stop feeling sorry for yourself and realize who is really hurting. You’ll forget how she broke your heart or how miserable you were or why he fell out of love. You’ll realize that when your kid is visiting and says he wants to go home it’s not to the other parent, its to your old life. See really, this break up can’t be about you!
Talk to your kids! No matter how young! Kids are not stupid, they can sense a change. You risk turning the confusion into resentment and anger in the long run, not making things clear. And yes they will ask over and over! Every time they see you together, it will seem like the progress you make will regress back to pure confusion as to why Daddy isn’t staying after his visit. Find a way to tackle this confusion together and that may lead to a smoother path of communication. Maybe standing together and working on making the little one(s) comfortable will help you both become comfortable with the new situation. And from there you can find a way to speak to one another and enjoy raising this child together. Raising kids is fun! Divorce or a break up shouldn’t change that! And no it’s not easy! The whole situation sucks, plain and simple! But your situation could always be worse than what it is, so stop harping on the negative and search for the positive. Be conscious of your ex-partner and their feelings, respecting them as a human being will help you respect their parental rights. Their time as your partner has ended, but not as a parent so encourage that! You’re family is not dissolved, it’s just gotten bigger and different, but it’s still a family. If you are still looking as your post divorce household as a family, then you are on the right track. Because you are, you’re kids still need both of you… and really you both need each other!