I have never been very good at hiding my emotions. I've often had people tell me my facial expressions make it easy to figure out what's going through my mind at any given time. So just imagine how I am for the few minutes I have to be in the same vicinity as my children's father twice a month to drop off and pick up K and J. It's near torture to remain civil but I try my best, for the sake of my children if nothing else.
Unfortunately, there have been times when I have not been able to keep my mouth shut and my thoughts to myself. There have been times, I'm embarrassed to say, that I have argued with my ex in front of my children and kicked myself later for my lack of self-control. I allowed the urge for me to let him know he is no longer in control of me, my moves, my thoughts, my feelings, my LIFE...I allowed that urge to overshadow the need to keep it together for the sake of my children. I want them to have happy memories of their childhood, even if the structure of their home is unconventional by society's standards. Watching Mommy argue with Daddy in the parking lot of McDonald's is not the type of memory I had in mind.
After the last confrontation a few weeks ago, in which I have to say I did my best to stay calm and did not say any bad words (rude gestures out of my kids' line of vision don't count, right??), K asked me with tears in her eyes why her daddy and I don't like each other. My heart broke for her. Just the thought of my parents going at each other the way she has seen her father and I do on a number of occasions crushes me. I can't imagine how a 9 and 8 year old would feel seeing that.
At that moment, I knew something had to give. And after almost 6 years of single motherhood, I have finally come to understand the best way to avoid confrontation...ignore him. We rarely speak to each other anyway; our preferred method of communication is text messages. Unless a text comes through that specifically relates to the well-being of K and J, I ignore it. It's just better that way. Since employing this simple yet effective approach which has also been embraced by Mely over at one of my favorite blogs to follow, Sex, Lies & Bacon, I have found there is much less drama between us. And when we have to be around each other to pick up and drop off the kids, I choose to say my hellos and goodbyes to K and J inside the car rather than outside. That way, they should only see Mommy and Daddy smiling at them as they come and go, not saying hateful things to each other.
Who knows? Maybe one day I'll be in a place where he and I can have a civil conversation with each other, filled with respect for each other's feelings, and the urge to show my independence will stay below the surface. Only time will tell...
- Hey! I'm Charlotte, a thirty-something year old, single mother of two preteens who keep me on my toes! I am also a survivor of domestic abuse and adultery in the context of a marriage. I have spent the past several years rebuilding my life and using my experiences to educate and encourage others. I would love to connect with you on social media - check out the links in the Follow Me section above, and don't forget to subscribe to the blog for the latest updates!
- ▼ July (5)