And now for something completely different, except not really

By Mir
August 1, 2004

I know that I tend towards the melancholy, soul-searching, where-is-my-life-going sorts of stuff on Sunday night, but that is not what I have for you tonight. Nope. Tonight my ex was kind enough to switch the channel from “vague discontent” to “is it really possible that a person could be so smart and yet so lacking in common sense.” Be sure to thank him for his (unwitting) efforts when you next see him. Which, for most of you, will be never (and thank your stars for that as well), and for those of you who might happen to run into him, don’t bother, because I doubt you could get a word in edgewise, anyway.

My ex has plenty to say. Oh yes. First, he wants to tell you that he is “a very involved father.” He used that phrase this evening no less than three times. I may have physical custody but he does “just as much” for and with the children as I do. Uh huh. I registered our daughter for camp; I paid for camp; I took her to the pediatrician for a physical; I submitted the health forms; I took her on no less than three shopping trips for the various gear she requires; then went shopping two additional times without her for her dang shoes; labelled all of her gear; packed her backpack; and in the morning will pack her a lunch and take her to camp. But he wanted me to understand that this was a joint venture. Because he gave me some sperm six years ago, I think. Ooooookay.

Next, we have been tossing around the idea of starting Chickadee in piano lessons. This has somehow turned into I am not fulfilling my obligations as a good mother because she is not already in lessons, and when I pointed out that I am trying to figure out the whole job thing and what my schedule is going to be before I make another time commitment, he suggested I leave it to him to handle, during his visitation time. Which led to my pointing out that visitation will change once school starts, because right now he gets the kids at 1:00 one day a week. And before I knew it, he was gesticulating wildly about how I can’t just cheat him out of those hours of visitation, they’ll have to be made up elsewhere. And as I stood there looking at him like he had two heads–no, that’s not right, more like he was going to sprout a second set of arms, ala Stitch–I found myself telling him that while he seems to believe my primary goal in life is to keep him from his children, my priority lies in letting them be kids. Well, he was having none of that silliness. I make them go to bed far too early for his liking (he wants to keep them later, since he’s not the one who has to get them up for school), and he could handle the piano lessons (leaving me to travel to his town any time he’s away on business or late for visitation; oh yeah, bringing that up really ticked him off), and I was just being difficult.

Don’t get me wrong. As much as he irritates the living crap out of me, I appreciate that my children’s father does love them and want to be a part of their lives. And he does the best that he can, I guess. But this constant insistence that all things be equal is making me batty. It rather reminds me of being married. You know; it’s like being told–after I stayed up all night breastfeeding and changing diapers and then spending the day with a colicky infant and screaming toddler and he came home from work and played with them for half an hour before bed–that we were equal parenting partners. Um, no. We weren’t then and we aren’t now.

I fail to understand why acknowledging that I bear the majority of the parenting duties threatens him to the point where he becomes agitated if I do not agree to his delusional assertions that he does exactly as much as I do. I know this, of course. Usually I try to just nod and agree rather than argue. It’s pointless to argue. Nonetheless, I just don’t get it.

Want to hear the scariest part of this? Somehow we resolved this little scuffle; we agreed to disagree, or deal with it another time… I don’t really even know… and I remembered that I’d wanted to tell him that the kids had gotten into a big discussion about how Daddy should get married again and have more babies! (Yes, they really did. Mostly Chickadee saying she wanted a little sister, but Monkey was brought on board when he figured out this would mean he could have a shot at being a big brother.) I was curious to see what he would say. Keep in mind that this is a man who bemoans his financial situation at every possible juncture; there’s never a moment’s hesitation in telling you how poor and badly off he is. His reaction to the kids’ discussion?

“I really miss having kids in the house all the time. I probably will have a couple more if I can.”

Because children are replaceable, dontcha know. And they’re a must-have accessory in all the finest homes. Hunter Douglas blinds, real oak floors, and oh yeah, a couple of smallish people to run around.

I mean, okay, whatever floats his boat. I don’t begrudge him having more kids. People do that all the time. But his reasoning scares the bejeezus out of me. And don’t even get me started on what sort of impact that would have on our kids, and on one very sensitive little girl in particular. Right now, all he offers them is Fun Daddy with the toys and the fun activities. If Fun Daddy has other kids, other financial obligations, and a wife who is (rightfully) going to want him to spend most of his time with her and their kids? My kids are going to tire of him, and quickly.

But at least we can all agree that when that happens, it will somehow be my fault. Ah, the many rewards of motherhood.


Things I Might Once Have Said


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