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Monday, March 23, 2015

The Co-Parenting Diaries: How To Not "Kill" Your Ex On The Bad Days


I had been sick...like hellaciously sick...for almost a week.

I finally caved and forced myself to ask the doctor for antibiotics last Monday, and she graciously obliged. Thankfully, I have been on the mend ever since.

However, up until last Monday I felt the worst I have felt in a very, very long time. My poor daughter barely survived my mood swings, my whining, and all the ranting that was a result of an extremely busy mommy being forced to "take it easy".

She was a complete angel during my down time, even though I probably didn't deserve such good behavior when mine was anything but angelic. She played quietly, watched movies, and we read or did a few puzzles when I felt up to it, but that was about it. Our normal routine was completely disrupted by the fact that I couldn't go longer than 30 seconds without being hit with a dizzy spell, a coughing fit, or the urgent need to blow my nose.

I mostly laid in bed and sulked until last Sunday when she had to go back to her dad's-leaving me alone and feeling completely guilty that I spent our entire weekend being sick and acting like a total, raging b*tch about it most of the time.

Doesn't my body know that motherhood is hard enough without throwing sickness into the mix?!

Anyway, needless to say, we got nothing done in the form of our normal routine things last week. I just did not have the energy for things like homework, laundry, appropriate dinner menu items, and remembering the 15 different things that had to go back to her dad's house on Sunday.

I was literally in single, sick mom survival mode.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I received this on Tuesday via text message from my daughter's father:

"Did you just forget to do her homework last week?"

Excuse me.

I re-read the text.

This could be interpreted as a harmless question if he wouldn't of known that I had been sick, BUT he did.

Because you see, last Saturday in the midst of my worst day, he had come by to pick our daughter up to take her to the St. Patrick's Day parade for a few hours. I agreed to let her go-thankful for the respite and for the fact that she wouldn't have to sit around the house with me reminding me how bored she was.

He came by about an hour later to pick her up.

It was in this moment that I-once again-found myself overtly impressed with his almost super natural ability to predict my current health condition based on the fact that my hair had built a nest on top of my head, that I was still in my pajamas at noon (which in his book is a HUGE no-no), and that my nose was as red as a canned beet.

"Are you sick?"

<insert eye roll here>

Nope. I'm fine. Feeling grand.

Ugh.

Get out of my house. 

He wrinkled his nose, hurried our daughter along, and managed to not make eye contact with me the entire 5 minutes he was in my house.

I think that's a new record. 

Seriously.

So, you're telling me that based on your keen observation of me over the weekend, you thought I actually had time to or felt up to doing homework?

<insert another eye roll here>

I apologized and asked him to catch her up as far as he could, and I would finish the rest on Wednesday night with her. He agreed to do that, and I thought the conversation was over.

Until, last Wednesday when I sat down to do homework with her and I realized that instead of catching her up as far as he could, and letting me do last week's homework, he decided to leave "my days" of homework blank. Yep. Just Wednesday's and Thursday's homework of the last two weeks were completely blank and right next to "my days" were giant red x's from our daughter's teacher marking them incomplete.

Are you kidding me?

No. Seriously.

ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!

I instantly grabbed my phone and proceeded to text furiously-spouting off all of the garbage I wanted to shove down his throat in that moment.

But, I didn't.

I deleted the text, sat my phone down, and thought long and hard about this man and the fact that this was about to be the first of many fights we were probably going to have about homework over the next 12 years.

Even though I didn't want to, I decided against it.

Because of all the things we have to fight about-this just wasn't worth it.

The truth was that this particular fight was futile and that it was most likely his way of trying to get under my skin as he is always so good at doing.

The man should have a Ph.D. in how to piss me off. Seriously. 

I went ahead and did the missed homework with her, finished the current week's homework, and wrote the teacher a note explaining the confusion hoping that our daughter would still get credit.

I also explained to our daughter that homework is homework, and no matter if she is at mine or dad's house ALL of the homework needs to be completed. I apologized for not helping her with my days and assured her I would try harder in the future.

*****

In the past-almost-3 years, I have had many, many, MANY days that I have wanted to "kill" my daughter's father.

Not literally, of course. 

But, you get what I'm saying.

I cannot even begin to count the number of weeks I have picked her up on Wednesday and none of her homework for the week  has been done yet, but we go ahead and tackle it anyway.

And don't even get me started on how many times I have been the only one to complete the monthly reading list with her or the fact that everything I send to his house that was once white never seems to come back quite that color.

The point is: I try every single day to pick my battles with my daughter's dad. I know deep down that no matter how much these things drive me crazy, they are not worth the fight. 

I also know that if I were to nitpick and make huge battles out of every single "small" thing, he would never take me seriously on the "big" things which matter more than homework, or forgotten tennis shoes, or the thousandth pair of misplaced gloves that were supposed to stay in the backpack. 

Is it hard? Yep. 

Do I sometimes let my blind rage get the best of me? Of course. I'm human. 

But, I always try to apologize when that does happen, and I always try to keep the mutual end that we are both working toward in sight.

I have been blessed that for the most part we agree on how to raise our daughter. Even when our opinions differ, we are usually able to work out a compromise.

Are we experts at this? No. 

And I don't think we ever will be.

But, I know without a shadow of a doubt, that he loves our daughter, and I know that she is probably the most loved and wanted little girl on the face of the planet.

I know that no matter what all that we both want for her is the absolute best, and I know that part of giving her the absolute best is to pick my battles and refrain from hopping aboard the crazy train.

I also know that just like me, he is human. And sometimes our pure human-ness gets the best of both of us.

We are two people who don't really like each other and who couldn't make a marriage work, but who are trying to co-parent a little girl. And at times that is a recipe for problems that go way deeper than the real issue at hand.

However, I know that it is our job to keep that in check, and to not allow momentary anger to disrupt the calm surface we know that she needs from us over an issue that most likely is being fueled by a much deeper issue we haven't quite resolved.

There is a lot of hurt in our relationship.

Hurt that will probably be there for a very long time.

But, somehow we have to manage to look past it everyday and not continue to punish her with choices that are being made as a result of that hurt.

*****

I have said it before and I will probably say it 1,000 more times: co-parenting is the hardest thing I have ever done. 

But, despite everything, we are making it work- one month, one week, one day, and one petty homework battle at a time.

1 comment:

  1. Choosing the high road has got to be a difficult, constant battle in this situation! You are doing a wonderful job!

    ReplyDelete

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