If I’m The Good Example Then We Are All Screwed

Mediocre Edited

The aftercare director at my daughters’ school told me that she wishes all her parents acted the way my ex and I do.  We discussed as we waited for the girls to get their crap together and say goodbye to their friends for the 10th time, since they won’t see them again until tomorrow (which is apparently very long when your little).  I thanked her and left.

Later that day, what she had said really started to sink in.  Why, I’m not sure, as I’ve been told this so many times over the years.  Maybe because I feel like people are getting worse not better?  Maybe because I value her opinion?  No idea.  Either way it occurred to me that if I’m considered a good example of anything: we…are…all…fucking…screwed.

When not screaming at each other in front of the school, not having to explain what a whore is to your 7 year-old because that’s “Daddy’s nickname for you” (seriously, I couldn’t make this shit up), when not having the entire planet be aware of your marital status becomes the standard, we are doomed.

“I am, as I’ve said, merely competent.  But in an age of incompetence, that makes me extraordinary.”  ~Billy Joel

Co-parents are told they are different from “regular” families, that they are not the “norm”, and the like.  At divorce rates of 53% of first marriages and 65% of second marriages, dare I say that is the norm?  As such, I’m thinking we need some ground rules so I’m not the example:

  1. No yelling in public (also wear shoes).  Not only does this make you look like an ass, it embarrasses your children, and can bite you later in court.  A public argument can quickly lead to witness testimony that he is “scary, intimidating, or dangerous”.
  2. Watch name calling.  I don’t mean avoid calling him a lying-cheating-dirtbag-who-stole-all-your-family’s-money-and-left-you-with-several-children-he-never-sees-and-you-hope-he-gets-untreatable-syphilis-so-when-he-goes-crazy-you-can-get-a-restraining-order-because-he-doesn’t-pay-child support-anyway in front of the kids (OK, so don’t do that either).  What I mean though is don’t call him “my ex asshole” and the like.  It makes people uncomfortable. “My child’s father or mother” is sufficient.  Little Timmy’s parents that you aren’t friends with, but see regularly at school functions, don’t care that you were married and now divorced.  They get it.
  3. Don’t make your divorce other people’s problem.  It is not up to the soccer coach to know your visitation schedule, nor the school’s job to know who pays for what.  If an administrator hands you a delinquent bill, the correct response is, “I apologize, I didn’t know there was a balance.  I will contact their father, work this out, and get back to you.”  An incorrect response would be, “I paid my half so you can contact his useless ass and figure it out.”  Again, you look like the jerk, they don’t care, and if only half the bill is paid, your child is going to be kicked out of whatever wasn’t paid as owed.  They have absolutely no obligation to figure out who is responsible for what.  They have a bill, it gets paid, or your child doesn’t participate.  End of story.
  4. Make all the parents equal.  The school doesn’t care if you don’t like your children’s new slut step-mother.  All step-parents are to be respected and if there is an issue, work it out amongst yourselves.  Do not get others involved.  You do not remove the other parent’s emergency contacts from school lists or doctor’s offices.  They are allowed to choose their own contacts and the businesses they are related to do not need to be in the middle of your bullshit.  Figure it out.

There are only 4 rules there and they seem like common sense.  However, if they were common, I wouldn’t be the example (I can barely work our oven for God’s sake).  I use reuseable bags, recycle, and support animal organizations, but now and then PETA does something fucking ridiculous and makes all of us “tree huggers” look like lunatics.  Being raised Catholic, I don’t necessarily like being associated with all that messy Inquisition stuff.  Since divorced individuals are no longer the minority (depending on which study you read), we need to be an example to our newcomers and more importantly, not make school staff cringe.  Let’s not make each other embarrassed to be a co-parent, because Lord knows I should not be the example.

Happy Anniversary Personal Responsibility Co-Parenting!

Happy Anniversary Edited

September marks one year since Personal Responsibility Co-Parenting went live.  Lots of shit has happened since we managed to make it around the sun again.  We’ve learned lots of lessons such as letting go of control, changes in dynamics, letting your children have their own independent path, what constitutes abuse and what most certainly doesn’t, respecting all parents, and so forth.  If you read blogs, this is where I would put in a list of hyperlinks in a mastrabatory manner, which makes you feel the need to click and reread my work.  I will refrain but you are welcome to read the archives on the left…you’re welcome.

Some posts were well received and others were not.  I don’t apologize for any of them as the only complaints I get are from those who never even attempt my strategies/lessons/wine recommendations/advice/tools.

I’ve been told I should cuss less because it can be a turn off to some readers or in the bullshit world of writing and blogging, “I would be more accessible should I use cleaner language”.  Fuck that.  Anyone who knows me knows if I didn’t cuss, I probably wouldn’t be able to form a single declarative sentence.  I jest, but seriously, not being able to fully express yourself is like angrily hanging up your cell phone by pushing “end call”.  It’s SO much more satisfying to slam down a receiver.  Go big or go home.

I receive many emails per post.  Anyone who has emailed me knows that I answer each request personally and provide answers to any questions you may have.  There has been such an outpouring of love and gratitude for those I’ve managed to assist.  This isn’t life and death, but it is life altering for both you and your children.  If I can make one graduation, dance recital, or soccer game easier for one kid or one parent (but let’s face it, we can drink, so really it’s for the kids), everything I’ve ever written is worth it.

Thank you to all my readers and for your emails, the good and the bad.  Even if you disagree, you at least read it and one day when faced with another shitty co-parenting situation you may just try another path for shits and giggles and see a change.  Alternately, even if you completely disagree and never implement a single strategy, maybe it will make you think, research, and find a better, and completely different way that is at least less crappy than the status quo.

Mostly, I’m just glad to have made the revolution around the sun once again with my liver still functioning.  I screw up daily, but I apologize when I do, and I constantly remind myself to thrive instead of simply survive.  Let’s face it: parenting is hard and we need to be helping one another.  People are shitty to each other.  Women treat each other poorly so often that it is a running joke.  Men hold each other back, because they are afraid of competition.  Parents compare each and every thing their child does because they feel they need to raise Doogie Howser.  Everyone needs to calm the fuck down.  Sidenote:  I really don’t care when your kid stopped crapping himself.  I don’t know any healthy adults who shit their pants so I’m gonna say, it was bound to happen.  Good job Timmy!  Just stop.

While everyone is better in some ways, you are better in others.  Each of you deserve to occupy your space.  We all need to be building each other up and providing support.  Nothing gets shut down and deleted faster than a “my kid is better than yours” comment here.

Syndrome

All children are hard to raise and all families take work no matter what your family looks like.  Let’s decide this year to help each other out.  Here’s to a new year of co-parenting!  Good luck and drink wine!