Fighting the undercurrent

I wasn’t going to talk about it, because I don’t want to talk about it. I want to take the high road. I want to believe things will work out quickly.

Here on the high road, I am having migraines every couple of days. I have some good meds for the migraines, stuff that’s so expensive that my insurance will only let me have six pills each month, which I think is pretty ridiculous for non-narcotic medicine that doesn’t even do me the courtesy of making me high. Hmph.

And I’m working, and taking care of the kids, and doing the things I need to do. And I’m happy, most of the time. But my head feels like it’s going to explode.

I am tired. I am tired of apologizing. I’m tired of spending my every conversation with Otto venting about the latest ridiculousness spouted forth to Put Me In My Place because I have dared to move forward with my life. I am tired of being treated like my every move is part of a nefarious plot.

I am tired of receiving no credit for stabilizing my children’s lives over the last few years, or for trying to figure out how we proceed now in a way that fosters the very relationship that is focused on making my children believe the sky is falling. I am tired of putting on a happy face for them because, HELLO, THAT IS WHAT WE PARENTS ARE SUPPOSED TO DO, when the other party in this equation is leaking so much self-pity that my very sensitive daughter is coated in its sticky poison and is now alternately furious with or clinging to me, sobbing that she is so worried about her father.

I am tired of being sabotaged. I am tired of my children paying the price because he is angry with me. I am tired of spending so much of my time trying to put back to rights everything he’s knocking over in his pain.

I am tired of defending him, with a hug and a gentle smile and reminders of love, while inside my head I am screaming, seething with rage that I am left to justify the indefensible. I am tired of being blamed and reviled when it would be so much easier to play the same game, let my emotions take precedence over what they need.

I am happy; happier than I’ve been in a very long time. The future will be wonderful for all of us, once we get through this. But getting through this is a lot of work, and I am tired.

And I am tired of pretending it’s not happening, or worrying that it will get worse if I speak my mind. It’s already worse. Here is my mind: I’m tired. It’s exhausting, watching someone self-destruct. It’s exhausting, trying to protect my children from so much love gone awry.

Years ago, fighting this particular undertow, I didn’t know if I was strong enough to swim clear. Now I know that I am, but that doesn’t make it less scary while I’m in it.


  1. Jazzy

    You are doing what is best for your children for sure. I grew up with split parents who were nasty all the time and it took me until I was 21 to finally tell them all to shut it. Keep up the good parenting and it will hopefully all work out sooner rather than later.

  2. Lady M

    I’m sorry that things are so difficult with your ex. Sending you lots of good wishes!

  3. Shash

    I’m sorry this is marring your happiness. My thoughts and positive vibes are headed your way!


  4. Daily Tragedies

    Oy. Are there any third-party grown-ups who could Put Him In His Place gently get him to see the damage he’s doing and persuade him to ease up a little?

    Sending you happy thoughts!

  5. Muirnait

    Oh hun, I’m sorry. :-( I know you’ll all figure it out, and you’ll be stronger for it. I’m just sorry you have to hurt in the meantime. You go, Momma Bear…I know you’ll do what’s best for Monkey and Chickie.

  6. Rebecca

    The exes, male or female, sometimes have no other concept than that of self. I empathize completely with that rage inside the head having just gone through a dream-fulfilling move to London that ended with a perjury filled court case because of my me me ex. Hard to be the upstanding person, hard to think well of someone you once loved and can only now hate. So sorry that your happiness is marred, but the one thing you can know for sure is that it won’t last forever.

  7. Carolie

    You are wonderful. He is doing himself no favors in the long run. No, I don’t know you. But I know that from what I read of how you parent, you are an AMAZING parent (and I am not particularly free with parenting compliments).

    I wish it wasn’t so hard. But if it helps even a little bit, I admire your strength and principles very, very much.

  8. Karen

    I am so sorry Mir. This too shall pass. My children are now 14 and 16. There are still bumps, there are still curious “what the $%^# is he thinking” days, weeks even, when his fear tars and feathers our lives. (“Go to Paris on a school trip in his junior year, why would you let him do that, don’t you love your son?” is my own personal recent fave. Said son took charge of the situation and he IS going). The good news is that, while it is incredibly difficult to swim upstream through this muck, the children eventually see, with astonishing clairty, the truth. And while they continue to love all parties involved, which is as it should be, they have perspective. I know it seems impossibly far away, but it isn’t. You are doing the right thing. Leap and the universe will catch you.

  9. Sara

    Ugh. I am sorry. Hoping for a good resolution very soon and wishing you peace and restoration.

  10. janie

    Mir, I totally know where you are coming from. I married the love of my life and dared to move an hour away and you would’ve thought that I was moving the kids to another country. My ex actually threatened to slam his car into a jersey wall during one particularly heated discussion about the whole thing. All the while, I never bad mouthed him, always painted him as a good father. ((((Hugs)))) 2 1/2 years later, the seas have calmed and all is well most of the time. Helps he has a really good rational thinking wife now too. ;)

  11. Judy

    Hugs to you, Mir… it’s not an easy thing to go through. But, like so many other people have said, the kids WILL finally see him for what he really is. You need to do what is best for you and the kids and this move sounds like it is. After it’s all done, things will work out. Your ex may not ever grow up, but the kids will and will adjust to the different arrangements. Sending happy thoughts your way… and try not to let the stress of his childishness affect your health (I know, easier said than done).

  12. tori

    I’m so sorry it is so hard right now! I’ll be thinking good thoughts for you and hoping everything settles down very soon. You deserve to be happy and move on so please don’t let anyone convince you (even for a second) that you don’t!

  13. Deb

    Oh Mir I wish I could say that this will stop one day but it kind of drizzles on. Thirteen years later and my husband is still dealing with an ex that crops up nuts every once in awhile. Tell your daughter she’s a remarkable person for caring so deeply for another and that it’s OK he’s a grown up and got all the way to grown up and will be strong eventually. We can’t please everyone all the time but we do have to do what is right…and what is right is building a strong happy family together which will maybe teach Daddy that finding his own strong happy place will make him feel better too. I think (as does everyone else) that you are doing a WONDERFUL job.

  14. Charity

    I’m usually more of a lurker, but I just wanted to add my support! I’m so sorry you are going through this, and BRAVA to you for having the courage to admit you’re tired. I’m sending prayers that it all gets better and soon!

  15. hollygee

    Dear Mir,
    It’s a horrible mess to deal with. You know that if he had been the one to have moved, you would have been expected to suck it up. You will get this behind you and prevail. I hope that the kids can bounce back and not sustain damage.

    Many good thoughts going your way. You are blessed.

  16. Woman with Kids

    I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. My ex has moved five times in six years, sometimes two hours away, but when I moved? He was “very concerned” about the distance I was creating. Huh. Hope it gets better.

  17. lastewie

    I’m sorry Mir. I have no words of wisdom. Poor kids, and poor you. The only thing that gets me through the crap times is remembering that it *will* pass.

  18. Kellie

    I’m sorry this is all happening for you. I won’t offer buckets of widsom but, hang in there. It WILL get better. You’re a fantastic mother and are doing things that will benefit you AND the children.

  19. D

    Mir, been there, done that. Moved 3000 miles away and faced the wrath. It was 10 years ago and yes, it was scary and exhausting and my tongue died from me biting it so much but it all worked out. It really did. There was court and expensive lawyers and rage and tears and guilt and scary moments of doubt and even scarier moments of putting my own Chick on a plane and missing her terribly but when the smoke clears? The fire is just a teeny ember and it all works out. Hang in there… and btw? I think I have that same migraine med! Remind Chick that it’s not her responsibility to worry and that grown ups can take care of themselves… keep reinforcing that one, it’ll come in handy over the years.

  20. Kelly

    You are doing the right thing, hard as it is and tempting as it is to stoop to his level. My 16 year old daughter at that age sounds a lot like your Chickadee, and we still have some of those conversations (that’s the hard part). The good part is that she sees which way the wind blows and ‘expects’ the muck from her dad. Your happiness and building a family together with Otto will go a long way towards helping the kids, and you’ll be in a better position to offer them the support they will continue to need as they deal with all the emotional ‘stuff’. (E-mail me if you ever need to vent — I know I don’t know you in person, but have dealt with some very similar issues…)

  21. EverydaySuperGoddess

    Oh, honey, can I relate. It’s exhausting and infuriating having to be the only grownup.

    But know that you are doing the right thing, and you’re doing it for the right reasons, and that’s really all you can do.

    Much love to you.

  22. karen

    I have been reading (lurking) for a very long time, and generally love EVERYTHING you write. I have to say, though, that I totally disagree with the fact that moving them away from their father is “the right thing”. Did you actually expect that no one would be upset over this? Sorry, but it seems to me that you and Otto should be working towards living near their father, not taking them away.

    Good luck with whatever happens.

  23. Busy Mom

    I am angry for you, even though I’m pretty sure that doesn’ help anything.

  24. Kar

    I am a frequent reader, but not a frequent commenter. I know the emotions that you are going through and it sucks! You deserve the credit for being the bigger person and doing what is right for your kids….because in the end, that is all that matters. Even when it is hard and you are frustraed, you can be rational and know you are dealing with a jerk. But the kids can’t do that and shouldn’t have to do that. Good Luck!

  25. Katie

    I wish I could do more than say I’m hoping for the best for you. Keep up the great work, Chickadee and Monkey are fabulous children and you deserve all the credit.

  26. OneTiredMomma

    You are great.
    X not so great.
    Otto is great.
    Migraines not so great.

    Head on applied directly to the forehead.
    Head on… oh sorry.

    You ARE great, these sucky days will pass… and can I please have a migraine pill or know your supplier?

  27. Susan

    Oh I just want to hug you. And bring you a nice cup of tea.

    Or maybe a stiff drink.

  28. karen

    Mir, I offer no solutions, but I have heaps and heaps of sympathy. I’m going through a similar thing, was dragged with children back from Colorado which we loved to Pennsylvania. Yuck.

    Okay, I do have advice: be careful. Get it in writing. Document everything that you do with, for, and because of the children. Document everything he says, especially in front of the children. Get help. Don’t do this alone.

    My heart goes out to you.

  29. Jenn2

    I am so very sorry that your happiness is being tainted by a difficult situation. I am praying for all of you, especially your ex. He’s being a butt-head, I know, but men do that. A lot, I’ve found.

  30. Two Sirius

    Oh, god. I understand, I really do, because I’ve been in that exact same place numerous times, and I’m quite certain that I’ll be there again.

    Of course you’re tired of it. And it’s grossly unfair. But you know what? You won’t stop doing it, because you’re a good mother and that’s what we do.

    I know you’ve probably heard this a million times, because I have too, but it does help a little: they’ll get it when they’re older. They’ll understand where the good in their childhoods came from. And I know that’s true, because it’s exactly what happened with me.

    Hang in there. It sucks, but your kids really will thank you someday.

  31. Sophie

    oh my god, Mir, I am so sorry. It sounds so familiar to what I went through in ’92 and ’93. I thought I would never get through it, NEVER. Somehow I did, and you and your kids will, too. I wish I could wave a magic wand and take away all the hurt. All I have to offer today is a shout from the other end of the long, dark tunnel and this quote (which I read almost daily for 5 years)

    “Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter.
    Who would think that those branches would turn green again and blossom,
    but we hope it, we know it.”

    Johann Goethe

  32. Randi

    I’m always one to speak my mind…and Mir, you have ALWAYS taken the high road with me, at least, and haven’t blocked me from commenting LOL…good for you. Outsiders can sometimes see into situations a bit clearer because our emotions aren’t as entangled into the situation.

    You have two sides here: Otto and the Ex. Otto represents another chance at having a “normal” (what IS normal, anyway) family life. A chance at being happy with who you are, and what you’re accomplishing.

    The Ex is your children’s father. From what I gather he has visitation rights every other weekend and seems to care about his kids.

    I’m not going to lie and say you’re in an easy place right now. I’m also not going to say what I think you should or should not do: it’s not my call. I will, however, tell you that I grew up with a distant father (emotionally, NOT physically) and that I’m STILL, 27 years later, trying to deal with it. The kid’s father cares about them, so that will help. Finding the balance is where you’re at right now, and it’s not easy.

    Please, though, don’t make the mistake of thinking that Otto will take their dad’s place in ANY way/shape/form. I have had a step-dad for 14 years, and even though he’s a great guy, he’s never once been “dad”. Kudos to Otto for accepting your entire family. If he’s great with the kids, then that’s amazing. But, unfortunately, life doesn’t end like a story book…in situations like this there is rarely a true happily ever after.

  33. MMM

    Oh, I am SO SORRY, Mir. So, so sorry. Just think…a year from now, this craziness will just be a memory, and the 4 of you will be all snug in your new routine!

  34. Stephanie

    Mir, I feel that moving the children away from everything they know (home, school, friends, father, etc.) would undo all the hard work you put in trying to stabilize their lives. That’s just too many new things at once. That would stress ME out to the point of nervous breakdown. There’s just no way they are going to get through this quickly or easily.

  35. Aimee

    What I can offer is this: My parents divorced when I was twelve. My mom was the one who took the high road, my dad was the one who bad-mouthed (and he *still* does it occasionally, even though he’s been re-married for over 20 years.) The kids are going to figure out what he’s doing — maybe not right away, but eventually. Some people may feel compelled to judge you, but ultimately, you know your kids best. You know what’s best for them, and you. You are the one who has been with them, every day. Otto’s job is not portable, yours is, and your ex is an adult. Be strong, as I know you are, and try talking to your doctor about the medication. Maybe there are strings to be pulled, or an alternative that will make the insurance company pay for more of them. Most of all, just hang in there. There are an awful lot of people out here who believe in you and are pulling for your happiness.

  36. Karen Rani

    What Busy Mom said. Seething. I’m sorry.

  37. whimspiration

    Since you have already had “the talk” with them, they are old enough to be told (in your own, caring way) that even though their father loves them very much, sometimes people get sad or angry and do or say things they shouldn’t. While it is good for them to know that their father is not invincible and does have enotions, it is wrong of him to tell them all about his adult concerns because they are children. Let them know that he will be fine, as he has been the other times he has done this, but that it is not wrong to be concerned for someone they love. Assure them that there is nothing wrong with them, but that their father has a problem that makes him more easy to be upset and he doesn’t know how to express it corretly. Let them know that he probably doesn’t mean to make them feel bad too.

    That way, you aren’t talking bad about him, they know what’s going on, and can better deal with the part of the situation that they are being exposed to.

    My ex-husband had serious mental issues, and it was difficult starting to explain them to my 9yo, but after I started, it became much simpler to explain that it wasn’t daddy’s fault he had a problem in his head, but he does and it sometimes make him act in these ways, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love her (my eldest), but when he starts doing (whatever) the best thing to do is just to go into the living room and watch TV with one of his roomates.

  38. Caroline

    When they are old enough to understand (and probably earlier), your children will always respect yor for taking the high road.

  39. carrien

    I[‘m a grown-up survivor of a similar parental mess, and I echo everyone else. To this day I honor my mother for her refusal to say anything bad about our father in front of us, and there was/is a lot she could say. We had to drag it out of her after we were adults. He had no such qualms, was mean critical, tore her apart verbally whenever he had the chance. We know, we knew then who was more of a grown-up. He shot himself in the foot with his immature behavior, and none of us given the choice wanted to stay with him.

    (This is a terrible story, I”m not sure why I’m sharing, but I meet a woman once who’s husband moved her across the country when she was pregnant and divorced her 2 months after the baby was born. He planned it all so that he could be where he wanted and she, because of Canadian custody laws, couldn’t leave with the baby and go back to family, he wanted her to be be stuck there so he could “Be a dad”. Sometimes men are assholes, you’re not alone.

  40. Patricia

    If only I could give you the hug you need — heck, if only I could make it all better.

    I’ve mentioned before that I was once in the same position as your children. My parents were divorced when I was rather young and my mother re-married when I was 5. Here’s the short list of what I’ve been through: I was abducted by my bio-dad for a period of time until his OWN step-father stepped in and did the right thing (to this day, Sam holds saint status in my heart); my mother and I spent a weekend hiding from him in a nunnery (none of us are Catholic, but there’s some sweet people who protected me); I was subjected to years of “That’s not your family;” being forced to visit people who hated my mother so much and I was so young I never saw where the line was between hate for her and hate for me; I had a mother who put herself through school so we could have food on the table (and don’t get me started on the year we basically lived on scrambled egg sandwiches) and a bio-dad who bought me anything I looked at; Bio-dad was more than willing to move on and marry again — he even had other kids — however, when my mother declared her intentions of getting married, he and his family worked to block them getting married in the church they were members of; my mother married in her parents home — which was in fact sweeter than anything else possible. Over the next year of our life, my mother’s head could have exploded a thousand times, it didn’t. To this day, if I ask her about any of it, she will say she doesn’t believe he set out to be that mean and angry; he just felt backed into a corner (um, that’s grace, no matter how you slice it).
    I’m going to fast forward to share the end result, really with hopes that maybe seeing the end line will help all parties be the most rational. Today, I talk to my mother daily — she is an active part of my life. Her husband (who became my dad) is also as active in my life. I have NO idea where the man who caused me so much pain and suffering is today. I have no idea if he stayed married, what or who he kids are. And you know something, when I think about who I’d like to re-connect with my past, his name has never come up.
    Those people who put you through the most pain (even if it because they themselves are in pain), in the name of love or not, are never the people you call when you have a laugh in your soul or a tear on your cheek.
    As always, you, Otto, and the kids are in my prayers. May God bless you all with the wisdom and joy that truly only come from Him.

  41. Elizabeth

    Coming from a single parent family, with a mother who you remind me of (independant, smart, strong, etc.), I am de-lurking to let you know that one of the best things she ever did was to never speak badly of my father. Given what I know now, 20+ years later, it is probably all she ever wanted to do.
    Thank you for taking the high road.
    To this day, that choice she made makes me respect her even more. I can only guess your children will feel the same way in years to come.

  42. Carla Hinkle

    I am so sorry you are in this difficult situation. It would certainly give ME migraines (and I’ve never even had one). And it sounds like he is acting badly in front of the kids, which is *not* appropriate. You are taking the high road and good for you. Your kids will be the better for it. My parents divorced when I was in my 20s and even then, it was always a source of comfort that they never talked badly about each other to me or my sister.

    But to be honest, I can see how your ex would feel about a move so far away … and I think that it will be hard on the kids, too, to spend so much less time with their dad. There may be no way to work this one out so you don’t have to move so far — and everyone will just have to deal with it — but I think to expect your ex to just suck it up when his kids are going to be 2000 miles away from him, and seen at the most once a month, is just expecting too much.

  43. Allanna

    You will get through this, Mir.
    You are capable, intellegent, awesome, wonderful … and you have hundreds of people sending you their best wishes and having you in their prayers.

    I’m so sorry to hear that you have to have this stress-filled trial. It really sucks. But it will end. And you’ll be safely encircled in Otto’s arms, surrounded by your dear children.

    I hope that things start getting easier. I’ll pray for a Christmastime miracle for you.

  44. Jen

    I second all the good advice everyone else proffered. My parents divorced very messily (took 10 years to resolve) and BOTH parents revelled in rolling in the muck and putting me in the middle. I have major issues still and don’t have much contact with either parent. Even if it tears you up, the high road is absolutely the way to go. Your children will thank you for it forever. And, platitude or not, this too shall pass…

    Big internet hugs!

  45. Nancy

    (((Mir))) I think I’m having a migraine for you today.

  46. liz

    like some other readers, i have no words of wisdom. just wanted you to know that all of you are in my prayers. ((((hugs)))) [even though i’ve never met you. when/if i do, i’ll probably hug you on sight.]

  47. Laura

    Mir, I am so sorry. That just sucks.

    Just a quick comment about what a few people have said. I never read anything that suggested to me that you expect your ex to just “suck it up.” In fact, when you first wrote about the situation you did it with a lot of empathy, I thought. Of course your ex is upset at the prospect of the kids being far away- that isn’t the issue. The issue is the way he is dealing with it, and involving the kids.

    As far as the comment that a “step parent” can’t be a “real” parent… that’s a load of crap. I tried to think of a more elegant way to state that, but nope. Load. Of. Crap. Parent is a verb, as far as I’m concerned- not an adjective or a noun. It is something you decide to do, or not. There are plenty of “real” dads that don’t do it. My husband is not the biological father of my son, and couldn’t be a more amazing father.

    Good luck.

  48. Heidi

    I can understand your ex being torn up at the prospect of the kids being so far away; if the situation were reversed, you’d be going through an incredibly tough time, too. That being said, though, he is an adult, and I don’t think it’s appropriate for him to put his “stuff” on the kids. The high road is the one to take. It’s a tough/though wonderful situation, and I wish everyone the very best.

  49. Heather

    My fiance is my daughter’s “dad” even though she calls him Frank. Her bio dad is her daddy, he has a special place no matter what his shortcomings or faults. We moved 100 miles away from him for pressing financial reasons at the beginning of this year. It’s been difficult, but not impossible. A lot of driving back and forth a lot of travelling, a lot of miscommunications. But it was for the best and we all know it and deal with it like grownups.

    A step parent is truly a parent, if they choose to take on the job. Parenting is more about responsibility than genetics, IMO.

  50. Randi

    I’ve just got to come back to Laura’s comment…sorry Mir! Not trying to start a war in your comments, I promise!

    Laura, I HAVE a step-dad…AND a step-mom…step-sisters, half-brothers. My step-dad is a great guy…truly. He’s been there when my own dad wasn’t. But, I’m sorry to say, that blood is blood. No matter what, you will always have a yearning for it. That’s why a huge percentage of children who are adopted eventually want to find out who their biological parents are…they could have had the most amazing parents evah, yet they still have the desire to know their history.

    Men/Women who take on the role of parents to children who are not their own are absolutely amazing! But what I’m telling you, from the child’s point of view (because I was one) is that no matter how great they are, or how much the child appreciates and loves them, there is some piece that doesn’t fit the puzzle simply because of DNA…we’re biologically engineered that way.

    I’m not saying Otto won’t be a great step-dad…or that your husband isn’t an amazing father, but know that eventually blood needs to know blood (even if the parent is a true asshat like my father) because if you don’t, it feels like something is missing.

  51. Christina

    I had a similar experience like many of the other responders. My parents divorced before I was 2, and my mom never said a bad thing about my father. She had every right to – he had been verbally abusive to her, controlled her in every way, kidnapped me when she suggested a divorce, and was generally a self-centered idiot. But she didn’t say a thing, and encouraged me to have a relationship with my father.

    Even though she didn’t say anything, I knew what he was like, because I could see right through him as I got older. He would constantly try to tell me my mom wanted to keep me away from him, she was selfish and bitchy, and she “brainwashed” me against him, but I knew the truth. I didn’t get the full story on what happened in their marriage until I was a teenager and finally convinced my mom to open up and tell me.

    I’m sorry you’re going through all of this right now. But the kids will know the truth, no matter what happens. Kids have an amazing ability to judge character, especially as they become questioning pre-teens, and they will know that you have only been trying to do the best for them.

  52. msb

    It will get better. When I finally made up my mind to actually TELL my child some factual things about his father (after many years of defending him to our child out of guilt for ruining my child’s emotional well-being, etc.) he looked at me and said, “Let me guess,…” (and then proceeded to tell me how HE SAW his father after 10 long years of his father’s antics. He knew all along, exactly what his father was, etc., it wasn’t his fault, but he could be angry about it, too.

  53. Sheila

    It’s a real testament to you, Mir, that your kids are able to come to you with their anxieties, and the restraint you have shown is truly admirable. I’m sorry things are crappy now.

    I think you should give a copy of this entry to your ex. Sometimes the written word (certainly YOUR words) can communicate so much more than spoken words.

    Hang in there–

  54. Laura

    Randi- I completely disagree with your viewpoint, but I am sorry that I was dismissive and disrespectful of it in my comment. We all bring our own history to these things. You have, and so have I.

  55. Roshaundra

    Mir, it will all get better. You seem to be a very strong woman. Im sure you will get through this with the love and help of Otto (which I think is an amazing guy). Im so sorry!

    LAURA, I agree with you. I too have a step dad and he has been around for well over half my life. I love him to death. He is DAD and always will be. My biological father would come second to him any day. I believe that any man that comes along and is willing to accept a woman as is, is truly amazing! I say this because there doesn’t seem to be many men out there, like DAD.

  56. Patricia

    Chiming in a second time, sorry.

    Regardless if Otto will be a good parent (he will because Mir picked him and she doesn’t — now that she’s an adult and not a toddler — pick crap), closeness with a parent or a step-parent in life is all based on the relationships you have in youth. When the parent child relationship is about the child, the child’s needs, the child’s well-being, the later in life adult/adult-child relationship will flourish and grow and be healthy. However, for reasons I don’t understand, when the childhood relationship is all about the adult, the adult’s needs, the adult’s wants, the grown up version is never all that positive. Why this is someone far smarter than me will know. What I know is that parents who have great relationships with their children as adults (and frankly, as parents aren’t we really just wanting to raise good decent happy people who will want to be around in our old age?) put aside their own selfishness and put the kid first.
    Mir is one of the most amazing people I know for putting her kids first. She’s done it without question or hesitation. These are qualities I want when I grow up too. And my crystal ball shows an adult Monkey and an adult Chickadee telling Mir “thank you, we can see how much you gave us now.” My hope is that the ex will pull his head out and see the joy here, even if it hurts him, and work together to solve this. In absence of that hope coming true, I know Otto will be there for Mir and the kids. Everything will be ok.

  57. Liise

    Hi Mir:

    You’re Pretty!


  58. Jen

    I have to say, I am so, so sorry that you are going through this crap. As I commented before, I moved to another country to get a better life for my daughter, and yes, her father was annoyed and threatened all kinds etc. But in the end, I was only doing what I thought was best, and you know Mir, YOU are doing what YOU think is best, and only YOU know what is best for your children, so don’t let any of the negative comments on here get you down. Your ex is an adult – he will survive. He will see the kids as often as possible, and they’ll all be fine. Believe me! Your ex is wrong for the emotional blackmail, and it IS hard to take the high road and explain to the kids what is happening, but I have every faith in you. You have repeatedly shown what an intelligent and fantastic mother you are. I do not fear for Chickie and Monkey because I know you will do the right thing. For those who are worried about your ex – well, my ex was adamant we were going to “do this right”, he was not going to be an absent father, etc etc. Well, his intentions were good, but he hasn’t been too good at keeping that up when it got in the way of HIS life, so I wouldn’t worry too much. I don’t think men “get” that being a parent is putting the child first and themselves second. So do what you have to do, girl, and just know that there are lots of people out here rooting for you :)

  59. Carla Hinkle

    I didn’t mean to be flip when I said Mir expected her ex to “suck it up.” I do have a lot of sympathy for Mir, I really do. I just don’t think I totally agree with the school of thought that doesn’t see any validity to the ex’s being upset at his kids moving a 2 hour plane flight away.

    That said, I completely appreciate how crappy it is for the ex to be behaving badly in front of the kids. That would have torn me up and I was 25 when my parents got divorced, not 5. Trying to navigate through that is an unenviable task, to say the least.

  60. Christina

    Hope it all works out in the long run – no advice, just a smile :)

  61. Susan

    Mir, just keep taking the high road and being the awesome parent that you are. Your ex is hurting right now (not that that excuses his awful behavior), and hopefully, eventually the hurt will wear off, along with the selfishness, and he’ll be the father you know he can be.

    My ex was awful when I was getting married (8 years ago), and yet, just a few weeks ago, I sat in the front pew of HIS wedding — we’ve become such good friends. His wife even made a corsage for me and had my husband, me and our kids (only one of which is his) included in the wedding photos. Who woulda thunk!? He deeply regrets being so nasty to me, way back when, and not being a better father. We have all moved on and, fortunately, all found true happiness.

    So, there is hope, even if it may not feel like it right now. Think positively. ((HUGS))

  62. Lilymane

    Oh Mir! I feel your pain (and tiredness!) I wish that my feeling it would somehow equate to lessening it for you but damn universe, that’s apparently not the way it works! I have an ex and we co-parented well for three years right up until the moment I got re-married to a man who was a long-time friend! Then stupidity and ridiculousness (and legal fees!!) ensued. I wish you better! Much better! You (and Otto and the kids!) are in my thoughts and prayers. Take care of yourself. Peace.

  63. Ruth

    Mir, please take time out to act tired, and take care of yourself. Everyone needs you at your best, including you, isn’t that true?

    On the side, I’m eating up the individual stories, I have so much to learn. To everyone, thanks for sharing.

  64. Em

    You’ve heard it all before…but I’ll say it again anyway. You are doing great. And you must take care of you so you can continue to do great. Nurture you. Then you can nurture others.

  65. Daisy

    You’ve heard it already, but some things are more effective when repeated. You are a good mother. You have done a great job of keeping your kids sane in the midst of life. And remember, this comes from a teacher who recognizes that your kids are human, not perfect, but pretty darn fantastic as they are. And when it comes down to it, being the kind of positive role model you are right now? That’s the best thing you can do for your kids.

  66. chris


    The high road is ever the easiest one. here’s hoping it is at least strewn with chocolate.

  67. angie

    I’m tooling along trying very hard to stay on the high road with you as I currently go through my own divorce. What keeps me up here is exactly as countless others have already said. I grew up with an angry and bitter mother who never let an opportunity pass by to badmouth my dad. My dad never said a bad word about my mom. Trust all the smart people here who have said that your kids will grow up and know the truth. They may be confused or hurt or angry when they’re in the middle of it, but they are smart and perceptive and they WILL appreciate the emotional safety and stability you provide now as they grow up, and they will look back and respect you when they’re adults. Speaking from my experience, they will always love the bitter angry parent, but they will lose a lot of respect for them. The relationship will never be the same.

  68. Lin

    You impress me…as a mother, as an ex-wife and as a woman. I hope it gets easier (very soon) for all of you.

  69. Dawn

    Oh my! Lots and lots of comments. Here’s my two cents….everyday, every conversation, every email, etc….love your children more than you hate (or dislike) your ex. Saying anything even a tiny thing negative about the other parent changes who the children are. High road forever!

  70. Suebob

    No advice, just wanted to let you know I am out here, listening and sympathizing.

    You are the best. I knew that as soon as I met you.

  71. Susan

    I wish you luck Mir, I know it isn’t easy. Obviously we can only hope you and your kids and your ex end up with a solution that serves you all well. As a parent I put myself in the position of having my children living a plane flight away and I cry. And I’d probably get a lawyer and fight that tooth and nail. How sad to not see your kids as frequently as you’d like. On the other hand, you’ve been struggling as a single mom and life will be easier for you if you’re in a shared household with a man you love and who loves your children. There is no easy answer and I won’t begin to make a judgment on the solution you all come up with. I wish you the best.

  72. ben

    And I’m sorry my computer picked this particular time to die. Wish I could give you a hug or something.

    Hang in there, Mir…

  73. Terri

    You are doing the right thing! I had to go through this 6 years ago. The ex had moved to Russia after the divorse but refused to let me take the kids (11 and 13) to Florida when I remarried. We had to go to lawyers, mediation, tears (both of us) and guilt (mine) beforemy marriage happened. He didn’t want physical custody (idle threat of mine) but refused to let them move. It’s all good now. Visitation is harder on me than the kids– they still love their dad and he loves them.
    It made a world of difference for the kids (details would fill an encyclopedia) and Momma’s happy too. And Mr. Ex has a new bride and is happier than he ever was with me. So even the guilt is fading.
    So much for story number gazillion – your story is your story and I KNOW you will have a happy forever.
    To your and yours – A HAPPY FAMILY!!!

  74. daring one

    I’m so sorry about all of this and I’m sorry you have to hold it in so much of the time.

  75. alice

    I just wanted to say that I’m so sorry that you’re all having to deal with this. I hope that you’re getting enough tome to recharge (with Otto, with friends, anywhere) so that you’re not ending up being completely drained by all of this.

    Knowing that you can get through this is a blessing, but it’s also a burden. Because it means that you don’t have the luxury of throwing up your hands and saying ‘I can’t.’ Just know that you’ve got a posse of crazy internet people ready and waiting to help, however we can.

  76. Betsy

    Mir, you already know my mantra: take the high road so much you get nosebleeds.

    I’m just sorry that it’s giving you migraines instead…

  77. Judy

    *hugs* to you, Mir. Just *hugs*, and prayers too.

  78. Jess

    Years ago I was in the spot you were in. I was give a very good piece of advise. Just keep doing what you are doing. Your children will grow up the better for it and able to make their own minds up about their father. Good luck!!

  79. rachel

    thinking of you. hugs. hope the year of change starts to help end the migraines soon.

    I was Chickadee’s age when my parents divorced. They both managed to take the high road. I tell them how grateful I am regularly (um, I didn’t act it at the time, though).

  80. Belinda

    Ugh. Yes, all the therapy-driven “DETATCH” advice sounds so reasonable when you’re not in the midst of the undertoad, does it not? I understand, I’m sorry, and I have TOTAL faith in you AND your kids that you’ll come out on the other side, safe, dry, and content. Just try to focus on what the current situation will look like THEN, when you’re looking BACK on it. (((mir)))

    (Is it a Freudian slip that I just mis-typed “mire?”)

  81. Izzy

    Oh Mir… Never let it be said that you are not an amazing woman. I’m sorry about those migraines, too. You’re carrying more than your fair share on those shoulders. I wish I could help :)

  82. Kestralyn

    Belinda – Not certain if the Mir/Mire typing was a Freudian, but I think the “undertoad” for “undertow” is ;-) What a wonderful mental image of the struggle right now!

    I’m the only child of a divorced couple. My father was out of the house before I was three. My earliest memory of a man in the house is my step-dad (I call him by his name, but he’s my Daddy). He has always said that I was actually part of what he found so attractive about my mom, and he has proven it over the years. My father did the visitation thing with me for several years, but then he moved to Canada, and I saw him once a year or so. I actually saw his parents more often than him — they kept good relations with my mom. Neither of my parents were horrible about each other, but they wouldn’t talk to each other for years. At 13, I finally got tired of passing messages back and forth, carried the phone to my mom and said loudly enough for both to hear: “I’m out of this. I’m the kid — act like adults!”

    I have far more respect for my mom than I do for my father, and I love my Daddy dearly. Any point? Not really. Just sharing my story in the hopes that it will show that there are lots of paths to a positive outcome.

    And Ex (I’m sorry, I can’t remember your screen-name)? I hope you’re still reading the blog and these comments. Please note that we’re not turning on you — we know you’re hurting, and I’m sorry for that. We just want what’s best for Mir, Monkey, and Chickadee. And we trust her to know what that is.

  83. Jenifer

    I feel your exhaustion… my husband and I just won a long custody battle for his son, who was mentally and emotionally exhausted from the burdens his mother placed on him to be her “rock” and “man of the house” after she divorced my now husband. The poor kid was 14 years old…. too young to be handed the task of emotionally stabalizing his mother. Hang in there, as someone who has been through divorce as a child of it, a participant in it, and a partner of someone going through it…. it gets better….never cured but better. Time heals all wounds, and your daughter (while not knowing it now) will remember the level headed “rock” that you were for her.

  84. Krisco

    Remembering our conversation now from this summer. Hopefully thinking of the other side will help you to get through this tunnel now. Good luck Mir and know we are all pulling for you!

  85. JGS

    We all are pulling for you. I don’t think any of us worried about whether you’ll make it – just wishing we could do something to make it easier for you. Your family, your new, loving, caring family, will benefit immensely from the courageous way you are right now.

    All of us in the Okapi household are sending you positive energy.

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