Things are good. Stressful, but good. To recap some of the major drama for you so you will be all caught up: My ex decided to introduce our older son (and probably the baby too, though he's not talking) to his girlfriend. Who is a family law attorney. I decided that working with just a mediator under these circumstances was not a good idea for me, so I contacted an attorney who is looking over everything and making sure our agreement is air tight. Then he broke up with the girlfriend. I was relieved to not have to worry about him getting free legal advice. That had really been stressing me out. But then a couple weeks ago he emailed me to tell me this old girlfriend was back in the picture and that she would be spending the night at his house while our older son would also be sleeping there. I tried to reason with him. He would not budge. It was awful, and I am slowly making my peace with that event and probable future events like it. MB seemed unharmed, thought it was a fun sleepover party, so the end. For now, until the next thing, right?
But that is not the purpose of my post. I have been dwelling on this stuff a lot - not just the girlfriend being around my kids part, but just the stress of dealing with my ex in general. He's a moody guy. Some days, he's a delight to talk with and drop offs go smoothly. Other days, he's angry and cloudy and pissed off about something and he's incredibly difficult to talk to, deal with or even be around. He's highly unreliable: We had agreements about both introducing significant others to our kids and not having sleepovers with them while the kids were under our care. Both agreements he disregarded when he decided it no longer suited what he wanted. So I have been spending a lot of my days thinking about how much I despise him. I write in my journal about all the things I hated about being married to him. I write about all the awful decisions he's made since our separation...all the awful decisions he's made since 2006. No, since 2002. I talk about it with my friends. I think about it while I'm at work. I get annoyed with my students because they want to understand something like FRACTIONS, and I'm sorry....I'm just so annoyed with my ex, can't you just ask your neighbor? It seems lately all I want to do is dwell on the fact that I hate my ex, he's an idiot, an objectionable person of the highest order, who makes poor parenting decisions, who makes me very angry and uncomfortable and stressed out even when I am not in the same room as him - or even in the same part of town.
It struck me today: Wait a minute. Isn't this why I decided to divorce him? Didn't I want to get all of his negative energy OUT of my life? Why am I letting him seep into every moment of my day? Why am I writing pages in the morning about him, about how I feel about him, about what he does that makes me despise him? This constant feeling of the BURDEN OF HIM, of managing his choices, managing his parenting, managing his financial decisions - I decided on August 17th to put that burden down. So why haven't I?
I know it's difficult when kids are involved. A good friend reminds me constantly that while the situation he is setting up for himself and his sons is not ideal for their future relationships, the kids are safe with him. Not exactly happy and excited to be with him, but safe. And whatever future relationship he is going to end up having with his sons is his to save or ruin on his own. I can't spend any more of my time hating him. I can't spend any more of my time dwelling on his awfulness. I decided to walk away and be happy, and that is what I need to start doing.
I don't want to write any more about the quality of care my boys get while they are with him. Let's face it, they are with him less than 25% of the week. Instead, I would like to focus on the quality of care they are getting with me. I would like to think about the project we will work on this weekend, the classes we will sign up for this summer, the play dates we schedule - things they get when they are with me that they don't get with him. I need to stop thinking about what kind of father he is (or is not) being for his sons, and focus only on what kind of mother I am being for them. Because that is why I left him. To be a better mother to my boys, to teach them what a happy home feels like. I can't do that if I'm emotionally dwelling on the things I wanted to leave behind.