So, here’s a fun fact… my youngest son shares a birthday with his father, my ex-husband. Last year, just as I do every year, I made a post wishing my son a Happy Birthday. At the end of that post, I also extended a birthday greeting to my ex.
The following day I received a text message from a (now former) “friend” stating that they couldn’t stand that I wish my ex-husband a Happy Birthday every year, given the status of our current relationship (or lack thereof). Needless to say, that text message didn’t sit very well with me.
For starters, why anyone would feel so strongly about who I acknowledge on my social media pages is beyond me. Second, regardless of my feelings towards my ex, HE IS THE FATHER OF MY CHILDREN. If we’re being all the way real, my ex and I struggle daily… hell, we argued today. We loved passionately and when we divorced, we sparred passionately.
On top of not always getting along, right now I’m disappointed in him. I do feel like I carry more weight when it comes to our children and I’m not talking about financially, just the overall responsibilities that come with being the primary custodial parent, and I can admit that sometimes I’m resentful. This shit gets stressful. So, yes, sometimes I am a very frustrated ex-wife.
ONCE. That is the number times I have ever spoken negatively about our situation (post-divorce) on a social platform. Even though it was vague and passive aggressive, it didn’t feel right to me. I’ve become extremely protective over my ex and our situation. That is not to say that I don’t vent daily to those closest to me, but you will not find me bashing him for the world to see and you most definitely will not ever see me turn a blind eye to someone speaking badly about him IN FRONT OF OUR CHILDREN.
OH. HELL. NO.
If you are a person who bashes your child’s parent publicly and allow for people to speak negatively of them in front of your children, here are 5 reasons why you should probably stop:
1. Your children carry half of their DNA.
I’m sure there is some sciency shit that says that DNA is not split exactly equally, but whatever. You get the point. I have one child who is exactly like him and one child who is exactly like me. The child who is exactly like him is stubborn and inquisitive, but he’s also ridiculously smart and sensitive. The terror that is my mini is sneaky and impulsive, but he loves people so deeply and wants to help everyone with everything.
Every person is flawed just as (I believe that) every person has great qualities. Your children have inherited the good and the bad, so when you are bashing him, you are telling your children that the person who made them is terrible. Kids aren’t dumb. Negative words about their parents, get their wheels turning and thoughts flowing: So what does that say about me? Am I bad person too?
It may not phase all children, but it will bother some. Respect your children and leave the adult problems to the adults and away from people who don’t know you and who aren’t invested orhave your best interest. It’s none of their business.
2. You made the decision to be with them.
Did that sting? Good, it stings me often. Sittin’ around poutin’, feeling pissed off and frustrated… but hey, I chose him and, in some moments of my life (7 years), he was exactly what I wanted. Choosing “partners” is a responsibility. Period. When you choose who you choose, you are responsible for the “consequences.” Sex does not make a boy a man. Pregnancy does not make a man responsible. The birth of a child does not make a biological father a “daddy.”
I struggle daily co-parenting with my ex, but I made the decision to bear his children, therefore, I deal. My family doesn’t always understand why I go out of my way to make certain things happen, and that’s cool. They are entitled to their opinion. But at the end of the day, the year, this lifetime, I will have to answer to my children, and I want to make sure the answer is always, “I tried my hardest.” That is the consequence of my decision. Move your pride to the side and pull up your big kid pants.
3. Without him, there would be no them.
This may seem like it should be similar to #1, but it’s different. I see and hear so many woman say things like, “Ugh, I wish he was never born,” or “I wish I had never met him.” You will never hear those words come out of my mouth. Why? Simple: because I adore my little boys and if I had not had them, I would not be where I am in life (striving, progressing, blogging, etc.).
Could I have had babies with someone else and gotten different children? Absolutely! Hell, I’d probably have the precious baby girl I have always wanted, LOL. But those kids would not be the two little boys that I have right now… and those little boys are who I want.
As frustrated as I get, I understand that without him, there would be no them. Therefore, I’ll thank God for his existence while keeping my distance, and I look forward to the day when co-parenting becomes easier.
4. You will grow from this.
There is nothing on this earth that will get a mama bear more fired up than someone messing with her livelihood or her children’s wellbeing. Most of the time when mamas start bashing their exes, it’s because she feels that he is doing one of those two things. I have only been separated/divorced for two and a half years, but I’ve grown so much. There is so much freedom in not arguing with someone. Freedom in walking away. Freedom in laughing at the situation and moving on (and enjoying) your day.
Rid yourself of the anger. Trust me, I know it’s hard, especially if you’re struggling and are unsupported, but living in rage isn’t going to do anything to make it better. Don’t give in to the petty arguments. If he’s not getting it on his own, publicly bashing him isn’t going to make him get it any faster. And trust me, people know the truth without you having to tell them. Let go and let God.
5. Your kids will figure it out on their own.
Do you hear me? Be still. Eventually, maybe at 10, maybe at 18, maybe at 21, your children will figure it out. They will see their father for who he is and they will appreciate you for doing what you didn’t want to do. I was raised by a single mother. My dad wasn’t absent, but he wasn’t consistent. My mom didn’t have to talk badly about him daily; she knew I would grow up and figure it out, and I did. She let me learn life lessons without forcing them down my throat or making my father out to be a monster. I respect her for that.
Since entering adulthood, I’ve been able to have some real conversations with my dad, even about his role as a grandfather to my children. These conversations were based off of the conclusions I had drawn over time. We’re cool now. He missed out on some things and I know that eats at him more than any words my mother could have ever called him. Do your part and the rest will play out.
So to the single moms out there grinding day in and day out: I see you.
To the dads who are doing what they are supposed to do and to the stand-ins who are doing what they are not obligated to do: You are awesome.
And to the grandparents who stepped up and help: Y’all da real MVPs!
Now, to those of you who aren’t helping to support your children: what the hell is wrong with you? What makes you so “special” that you feel you can bring children into this world and not provide for them and nurture them? If you decide that being in your children’s lives is not a priority, that’s cool, but do them a favor and stay away. Don’t peak your head in when your son gets sports scholarships to college and don’t show up when your daughter is living lavishly and leading a Fortune 500 Company.
Parenting is not an opt in/opt out service. Regardless of how many photos you post on social media and how many sob stories you tell, people know the truth. Show up or shut up. And if you don’t…
Karma is coming, and I hear she’s a bitch.
Oh, and I ended up telling my former friend that if God let me redo my life and I could only select 5 of my peers to join me in my new one, my ex-husband would be 1 or 2 on that list… every time, hands down. Does that sound bonkers?
I would do a lot of wild things to be able to be a mother to my sons. Wouldn’t you?
Through these boys I have learned to appreciate things that I probably couldn’t before their existence. I’ve also learned that I am flawed. But one thing I know for certain is that the moment I decided to have children with their father, I became eternally grateful for his existence, and his presence now is so much more than just being my “ex-husband.” That doesn’t mean we’re besties, but I will always appreciate the fact that he was placed on this earth.
Some may view me as weak for feeling that way, and that’s fine. At the end of the day, when my children are grown and raising families of their own, I want them to be able to look back and know that I did everything out of the love I have for them versus the frustration I feel towards my ex. He is an extension of them and, although I don’t always like him, I respect our situation.
Mamas keep doing you, don’t worry about the rest. Love your babies and pray for your exes. Spend less time with the people who don’t encourage you to be the bigger person. Keep your business with your baby daddy between those who know you… but behind closed doors raise hell, especially if you feel like you’re being taken advantage of. Don’t ever let anyone think that it is okay to disrespect you or provide minimally for your children.
If you’re head and heart are telling you two different things, ask yourself this question: Which decision is in the best interest of my children?
Keep pushin’ and just know that life has a funny way of working out exactly as it should.
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