Parenting After Divorce - It's Not a Competition

October 23, 2017


The ex and I have handled our divorce better than most. We communicate almost daily, by text or face-to-face. We never argue. We've even ridden together and eaten together as a family post divorce. We have simply chosen to put our kids first and skip all the drama. I look at it like this... We were together for 20 years. Why should I suddenly hate the father of my children? I don't, so I'm not going to act like I do.

Our family and friends have been impressed with how amicable it's been. But if there's one thing I heard over and over again, it was this: "Just wait until he starts dating. Everything will change."

I'd like to think I went into this with a level head. I knew he'd be dating. And I knew my kids would eventually meet someone new. Well it's already happened, a little sooner than I would have liked, and there's absolutely nothing I can do about it. I can voice my opinion that I don't like it, and I definitely don't like it. But if my kids are happy and healthy, I have to bite my tongue and live with it.

And biting my tongue is something I've become accustomed to. I always take the high road. I always choose to be the bigger person. I'm not going to waste my time and energy on things I can't change. Plus, I have too many other things to worry about. I'm over here trying to rebuild and live my best life.

What I am struggling with are the gifts 'Daddy's friend' keeps buying our kids. There's been new clothes, accessories and gift cards. And these are just the gifts I know about. Not to mention the spoiling Daddy has been doing on his own. Is it necessary? Absolutely not.

It's no longer about their happiness. It's about one-upping the other parent. And guess who doesn't have money to spend frivolously? The single mom who is doing everything on her own. And I could choose to be angry and bitter, but what I really am is sad. Sad that it has come to this. Sad that my kids' affections are being bought. And a little irritated that I've been forced to become the "No" parent.

But if this is the game we're going to play, I'll be happy to come in second every time. I only have one goal as a parent and that's for my kids to grow into kind, educated, well-adjusted adults. The toys and clothes will end up at Goodwill, but the memories I make with them will last a lifetime.

So at the end of the day, all I can do is push the animosity and anger aside, focus on the kids and hope for the best.


Allena said...

That is so hard - I think I would be the 'No' parent as well and it's frustrating to know that in the bigger picture it will make sense to the kids but right now they just see the presents. It sounds like you are doing the right thing and focusing on the right things, but I know that doesn't make it easy. It would be so hard for me to bite my tongue! Sending hugs and love your way! Keep at it, Mama - you rock!

Jennifer Domaszewicz said...

The dreaded "Disney Dad". Ugh. It's hard to keep kids level when Disney Dad is always trying to tip the scales. Hang in there! It will get better!

Theresa said...

The No parent always wins in the end. Kids see through that nonsense. Try to be happy for the things your kids are receiving since you can't participate and keep being a great parent. They will understand it all in the end.

Mrs. Match said...

Oh Misty, I'm so sorry you're going through this. The gifts are empty, and eventually they will see through it. What they really want is quality time, and they get that with you. Hopefully the novelty wears off, and hopefully your exe will put an end to the gift giving.