I can be Little Miss Sunshine all day and night, but if my ex decides to pull a jerk move, what am I going to do about it?
Sometimes being Ms.Nice really sucks! I am always a proponent of playing by the rules, especially with divorce, because sure as we don’t, we end up in court answering to a judge about it! Even without the threat of a judge coming down on us for not exactly playing fair, there’s always the risk that by being inflexible, inconsiderate, or rude, we’re asking for the same treatment from our ex.
How many times have you heard me say “if anyone’s going to be a jerk, let it be them!”? Many, many times.
So, how’s that working out?
For the most part, I would say being the bigger person pays dividends:
My kids see the example of me always be willing to compromise, talk or share. They know that I’m reasonable and not the one standing in the way of making things happen.
As a general rule, because I am willing to meet in the middle, my ex has little ammunition to hold against me if ever I ask for a favor.
If we ever need to return to court, I know no one will be accusing me of playing games, being unfair, not communicating, or standing in the way of co-parenting success!
So, how’s it not working?
As with anything in divorce and co-parenting, it takes two! It takes two to argue, just as it takes two to cooperate. I can be Little Miss Sunshine all day and night, but if my ex decides to pull a jerk move, what am I going to do about it? Yes, I can jump right into the same pit of mud and start giving it right back (and that’s oh so tempting!); but, then what?
I am contemplating my role as the bigger person in my relationship as I stare down Friday of Mother’s Day weekend. This is my ex’s week with the children. I do not technically get them back until Monday after school. Because I was a bonehead during my divorce, we did not spell out any plans for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. He doesn’t have to let me do anything with the kids on Sunday, if he doesn’t want to!
I fully understand that it is his time. I make it a rule to be completely respectful of his time versus my time. I try to never interfere with his time with the kids, and can’t say that I ever even ask for time over his week. When I got re-married, I planned the wedding on my week. If we want to go on vacation, someone needs surgery, or anything, it is always on my time! If I want to do something with the kids, but it’s not available over my time; then, sadly, it just doesn’t happen!
I swear I will probably book my own funeral for my week because my time is my time, his time is his time, and I am never causing problems with regard to messing with the schedule or taking over time.
When I dropped my kids off to him on Monday, the first thing my daughter did was get out of the car and, with tears in her eyes, pleaded with her father to have even part of Mother’s Day with me. I hadn’t put her up to this, I had merely explained to them that I wouldn’t see them until the next day; but, I would be loving and thinking of them because it wouldn’t be Mother’s Day without them being in my life! I was sadly resigned to the fact that our schedule wouldn’t allow for it, so I better not get my hopes up.
My ex very matter-of-factly stated that he would just have to see, and it all depended on what their plans were with their grandma- his mother. Grandma’s are very special, and I will never deny my kids that special connection with their own grandmother. Some of you may remember, however, that we have some history on Mother’s Day.
On our first Mother’s Day separated, my ex asked if he could have part of the day so the kids could be with their grandma. I very begrudgingly agreed, because she’s a big part of their life, even though I really wanted them all to myself. The next thing I knew, I started receiving phone calls from my family members asking what was wrong with me, and what kind of mother didn’t even want to spend time with her children on Mother’s Day- all because he told them that’s why the kids weren’t with me!
I could have committed homicide that day, but decided that my kids needed me more that the prison system did!
As this week went on, I decided it couldn’t hurt to at least express to my ex that it would mean a lot to me to spend at least part of the day with my children. Sure, he should plan to do something with his mother, but the kids should also have that opportunity with their own mom. I’m not going to yell and scream, threaten, or make a scene. He knows that it’s in his hands to give his children and the mother of his children what they desire. We all know what the bigger thing would be to do.
Maybe I will actually get to see my children on Mother’s Day, and maybe I won’t. If I don’t, I will have an interesting question to consider next month when Father’s Day rolls around, on my week.
I could be the bigger person, as usual, and offer the children to him for his special day. Heck, last year, we even baked him cookies for Father’s Day! I could give up part of what’s my time to allow our children to honor the man who helped give them life, and succeed in continuing to set the example of doing what’s right. My ex would be happy, my kids would be happy, and I would be doing my part as a co-parent!
The petty side of me also sees it as an opportunity to exercise some revenge. My pain and frustration begs me to do what I can to make him feel the same! Maybe I will have some important plans that particular day, and it just won’t be possible to find time to meet him to let the kids spend time with him?
I also wrestle with the fact that me being nice all along doesn’t really “pay” off for future needs. He will do whatever he wants to do whether I’m nice or not. Do I allow fear that me dishing out the same treatment will come back to bite me? If I do keep them with me on Father’s Day, what will be do to make me pay? Will this somehow be used against me in court, or otherwise?
Perhaps the most important question should be how these holiday games will affect my kids? Is it ever good for children to see their parents behaving like children? No. Is it positive for kids to see examples of manipulation and being mean versus cooperation and showing some kindness? Never. Is it in their best interest to celebrate Mother’s or Father’s Day with their mother or father? Absolutely!
So, we can all probably guess what I will really do when the shoe is on the other foot! Some may say that I lack a back bone. I think it’s more accurate to say that I’m just a decent person. I, personally, cannot understand how anyone could keep a parent and child apart on such a significant day. This Mother’s Day may be quiet and rather somber for me; but, I will take pleasure in knowing that the very next day, I can wrap my babies in my arms and they will be all mine to love on for the next week!
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you, and hugs to those who won’t get to be with their children on the day!