Thursday, March 10, 2011

I'm a Co-Parenter

Way back when, I was sitting in a room with a whole bunch of fabulous ladies.  We were all new momma's, we were all depressed and we all hated our husbands (or in my case - fiance).  Maybe that's what bonded us more than anything else, the fact that we could (and did) talk for hours about how angry we were at the men in our lives.  They didn't get it, they didn't do it right, and their breathing was just so damn loud.  They got to sleep through the night, they got to drink the beer, their nipples weren't being accosted every two hours by a new born, they were footloose and fancy free. 

At one point, it looked like we were all heading for divorce court, arm in arm together. 

In the end, I was the only one who ended up a single mom.  After the depression subsided, and the anger dissipated, and the children grew, my friends found that they actually really did love their husbands.  They found that they had weathered the storm and were stronger for it.  They found that marriage is hard work, and they were willing to do the grunt work with their partners in order to remain an intact family.  Luckily for them, their husbands kept on loving them while they were hurling diapers (dirty?  of course not!) and baby food during heated arguments.

Fundamentally, my relationship was not strong enough to survive the storm.  Fundamentally, we were two completely different people who had two completely different ideas about what life and relationships were all about and what was involved in making a relationship strong and cohesive.  I've been very angry about that for a very long time.  Angry at Mr. Ex for not seeing things from my perspective and not being there for me when I really, really needed him, but angry at myself for choosing someone when it was so completely obvious that his ideas were so absolutely different from mine.  I was angry for thinking I was fabulous enough to change everything about him, and for thinking he could love me for it.

I think part of being so content lately is realizing that I'm not angry anymore.  I'm not angry at him.  I'm not angry at myself.  I dont' want to punch him in the face anymore when I see him.  I felt like punching him in the face for a very, very long time.  Don't get me wrong, it has taken me over four years to get here, but I'm here.  It was horrible.  It was hard work.  There was a lot of yelling and many, many tears.  But I am here.  I'm not angry.  I have healed.  I'm not the victim.  I didn't do anything that I now regret (ie: moving to Switzerland in the middle of the night...).  I'm standing on my own two feet.  I didn't replace him (or the need for a *him*) with rebound man after rebound man.  I allowed myself to become whole and healed and here I am.

What does this mean?

Well, I can tell you it certainly does not mean that I will be running into Mr. Ex's arms and living happily ever after.  That ship has sailed (and I think it sunk somewhere around the Bermuda Triangle...Thank God!) 

It means that I'm not really a single mom.  I'm a co-parenter.  Whether I like it or not, my son has a father that is in it for the long haul.  He didn't desert.  He didn't bail.  He's taking an active role in raising Q.  This is the only thing that me and Mr. Ex have in common - raising a healthy, happy, well rounded child who is polite and works hard and understands the value of a dollar. 

In the end, all the other stuff is just that...stuff.  Stuff that doesn't matter.  We share Q fifty / fifty.  Not one week here, one week there, but one day here, one day there.  We live relatively close to eachother so that it's not difficult or inconvenient to do so.  We communicate.  We discuss.  If I'm angry about something, I wait a day or two to discuss it.  If I'm PMS-ing, I try to avoid Mr. Ex at all costs. 

And what do we have?

We have a well rounded child who doesn't feel awkward when his mother and father are in the same room.  A child who can talk to either one of us about anything that is troubling him.  And he can pick his audience.  If he thinks that Mommy will be more receptive to a certain topic - he knows he's free to do so.  He knows he doesn't have to pick favourites, and he knows there is enough love to go around. 

I think most people think that because I'm a single mom, I'm an advocate for being one.  Not entirely so.  I was in a room with four other women who all chose their hubbies.  I'm an advocate for finding what makes you happy and working really hard to make it so.  Me being happy didn't happen over night.  Me being happy didn't start with being a single mom or walking out on my ex. 

1 comment:

  1. When I went through my divorce, I felt the same thing. I had anger, yes...and it was healthy for me to be that way. At that time. (he had an affair. starting when the baby was 3 months. I found out when the baby was 3. ouch.) But we worked together for my Boo. And Boo is a better little girl because of it. He and I are now very good friends, and we co-parent just like you do.

    People comment on how different we are from most divorced couples. We go to school conferences together and even school fundraisers. No romance, just friends who made it through that rough spot...because we have a child whom we both love.

    Kudos to you my friend.
    I'm glad you found your happy place! And that it's because of YOU and not because you are with or without someone.