Life isn’t fair

There are many things I would like to teach my children as they grow. I think that everyone should know how to swim. I think that everyone should know how to find worms and how to bait them on a hook, even if they think it’s gross and only do it once. I think that everyone should know how to cook a basic meal where all four food groups are represented. I think everyone should know how to be truthful and, when the truth would be hurtful to another, how to soften it if necessary.

I think everyone needs to know that life is rarely fair.

I would like it very much if my children could learn that last one without feeling like there is a constant push-pull going on between their father and myself, but guess what! Life isn’t fair, and in this way it is particularly unfair for them. Nothing is fair in divorce.

I’ve cycled through a number of stages when it comes to how I view my part in this process. Waaaaaayy back at the beginning, I was resolute in my certainty that I had saved my children from something much worse. Let’s be clear: That’s not an indictment of their father, but of our marriage and the circumstances we were in. I grew up in a household where divorce would have been a preferable alternative; I was not going to put my children through a similar misery. So the first stage could be termed the I Am Right stage, where my Mother Bear instinct says I was 100% correct and I have done my children a service.

The second stage is where reality sets in; although many things are far better, other things are worse. Reality is hardly springtime and sunshine and rainbows. It’s hard—a different kind of hard, of course, but not without problems. And because in my particular situation my children were being told this was MY choice, MY fault, I suddenly had an outlet for the maelstrom of feelings I’d been dealing with: Anger. The second stage is the Red Hot Fury stage, where I am struggling to make a new normal while having to field questions like “What does it mean, ‘you’re selfish,’ Mama?” and always having to be the bad guy.

In the third stage, compassion comes creeping back to me in drips and drabs. I find myself mired in Guilt. The kids are stuck in the middle, and although I’m doing what I think I need to do for them, I cannot fix this entirely. It’s an inherently broken situation. I begin to see their father not as someone intentionally difficult, but as someone who is deeply hurt and unable to repair. Everything he does that makes me want to scream is born of a deep sense of having been horribly wronged, and whether or not I agree that to be factual, it’s his reality. I am the agent of destruction in this scenario, and although I still hold my decisions to be the right ones under the circumstances, I’m beginning to see that no one wins when anyone is still hurting.

The fourth stage is slow to come, and my grasp on it is tenuous. It is the closest thing to Acceptance one gets to have in a situation full of woulda-coulda-shouldas. It is acceptance that life isn’t fair and we can only do the best we can; acceptance that the various realities may NEVER align and that my time is better spent tending to the things I actually can control and nurturing my children as best I can. Even when they’re mad at me. Even when little fists beat on my back while hot tears are smeared on my chest.

I spent a big chunk of my day in court yesterday. It’s been over five years since I asked my husband at the time to please leave, and life is still unfair. I sat and listened to the opposing counsel announce the unfairness of my “unilateral decision” to “tear these children away from their father” so many times, that eventually I used the sheet of paper sitting between myself and my lawyer to communicate that this would work much better as a drinking game—every time he says “unilateral,” I get to have a shot. My lawyer responded that at least I know what unilateral means, as most of his clients don’t, and for a moment I almost laughed; it was so absurd, all of it, and four hours of concentrating on not throwing up can use an injection of levity, however small.

I watched an entire strategy mounted on the premise that This Is Not Fair And We Need To Make It Fair, and I admitted (several times) that yes, it’s not fair. The image of King Solomon would not leave my mind—the only way to make it fair is to cut the kids in half, and while that might meet some criterion for fairness, it’s clearly not the answer.

Life isn’t fair. Divorce is at the sucktastic end of the unfair spectrum.

I felt sympathy—extreme sympathy, actually—towards my ex’s position right up until the moment he nearly spat with anger when indignantly complaining that Otto refers to the children as “our kids.”

Because clearly that means that he’s being edged out, made irrelevant, and replaced. Right? It couldn’t mean that Otto has the patience and endurance of a saint, that he has willingly stepped into the middle of a really difficult situation and done his best to care and provide for these kids… kids who are trapped in an unfair situation; kids who wanted nothing more than for him to vanish, in the beginning; kids who did everything in their power to shove him away; kids who he is perfectly clear already have a father, but for whom more love can never be a bad thing.

Life isn’t fair, but that unfairness must take on a much greater magnitude if your life view is that love must be meted out lest someone gets more than you or usurps what is yours. I find that really, really tragic.

The judge elected to deliberate overnight and today we wait to hear the verdict on how and where the children will be spending their summer. I can tell you without knowing what he’ll say that the answer will not be fair. There isn’t a way to make it so. Whatever he says, I will think it’s too much and their dad will think it’s too little. The kids will end up there at some point when they want to be here and here at some point when they want to be there. It won’t be fair.

I have to believe that it will be okay, somehow. I sit here and try to push King Solomon out of my mind’s eye. Instead, I replace him with Chickadee and Monkey as grown adults rather than the gangly weeds they currently are, and in my vision they are whole and happy and whisper to me, “We love you. We love all of you.”

It won’t be fair, but it will be enough.


  1. Gwen

    That is all that we can hope for, in the end, with our kids and our divorces and our struggles. That it will be enough. Thank you for writing it out.

  2. Jen

    Big hugs. Wise words from a wise woman. I wish my parents had been as wise as you. I’ll be thinking of you today, and sending virtual hugs your way.

  3. DBN

    I hope that you get the result you want. Your kids will love and appreciate that you fought for them.

  4. daysgoby

    Oh Mir. Blessings on you today.

  5. juliness

    You are so eloquent in describing the heartbreak of divorce and the heavy weight of being the bad guy. You are generous in allowing your ex to show his human side while being told you have none. You carry yourself with grace and conviction and that message comes through loud and clear, both to your children and anyone who knows you.

    You – all of you – are in my thoughts and prayers today.

  6. dad

    That…what you wrote in this blog…that’s what I was trying to tell you last night.

    You’re awesome!
    Otto too.

  7. Chris

    Use that love to hold you steady during this rocky episode.

  8. Charlise

    I am with you. I have two teenage girls and am divorced from their father. Divorce – well, I heard once that it is open heart surgery, and that is the best way I can describe it (without the anesthetic). When you add children it gets so very complicated. I think you describe this to a T. Thank you.

  9. Lisa

    You speak so eloquently so many of the truths that many of us live that I look forward to your post everyday.

  10. Ei

    Hugs Mir. Nope…it isn’t even a little bit fair, not to one of us in the situation. I was a child of divorce whose father went far away and never looked back. That certainly wasn’t fair to anyone. I’m now the mom in the divorce, trying to make sure my kids have ample time with their father, even when they are crying that they just want to be with mom. That isn’t fair either. There is no fair,instead there is only the best we can do.

  11. liz

    An amazing post — Thank you. Not the first time that you have managed to eloquently and gracefully put into words all the emotions tumbling around inside me, too.

    I am going through a custody battle with someone right now who believes the world has done him wrong, who is full of anger and hurt (but doesn’t recognize it as such and instead takes in out on others).

    Life is not fair, but we continue to work our hardest to do what is best for our children. Thoughts and prayers with you today when you hear what the judge has decided.

  12. All Adither

    Oof…so hard for everyone involved. You captured all the mixed emotions really well. I continue to think you’re wise and a fantastic writer.

  13. Deb

    Sending big hugs to you while you deal with this. Wishing the best outcome possible for everyone.

  14. Mandee

    I am so sorry that you are all having to go through this special realm of hell. Fingers crossed and prayers lifted that things turn out as well as they can.

  15. Pam

    Wow. This hits so close to my home — but I was never as eloquent as you in trying to explain it. My parents did divorce when I was young, and when my own marriage feel apart (I asked him to leave, too; he clearly was not happy spending any time with me and the children), I felt so guilty for so long. I still do, to some extent — I had to spend so much time earning the $ necessary to keep a roof over our heads that I feel like I can’t remember most of their childhoods. I could go on and on here, but will save you the drama….and wish you, and your children, and Otto, and the ex, too, the best. In 10 years, it will be better. It’s getting through those ten years that hurts, so much, every day.

  16. Susan

    I do sympathize, having come from a divorced family and as a single mom who raised a daughter. But I also know exactly what your ex is feeling when he hears another man call the children “our kids”. This is the man that gets to be with the children most of the time. A man who the children have come to love. Of course your ex is scared that he is losing his place in their lives. As wrong as he might be, his fear is real. Hopefully, when he understands that he’ll alwsys be their dad and that the more people they have to love them in their lives the better off they are, his fear will abate.

  17. Jennifer

    My thoughts are with you today. I hope all of you are able to find peace with whatever happens. It sounds like you are already getting there with the grace and honesty you always seem to show.

  18. joaaanna

    Hang in there Mir. Thinking of you and the kidlets today.

  19. premenopaws

    As the child of a divorce whereby one parent consistently acted in my best interest and the other acted out of anger and spite, I can tell you without a doubt that your kids will grow up and know the truth. They will love both their parents, sure, but they will know who was able to step beyond their own pain and anger and do what was right for them, and who was unable to see beyond themselves.

    As I’ve gone through my own divorce, I hold that lesson close. While I may feel like the bad guy sometimes, my kids will grow up and they will know the truth.

  20. Raquel

    I appreciate your honesty and thoughtfulness. I am a judge who is frequently in the position of making these kinds of decisions. I find myself saying to parents, “There are no winners here, no one is going to walk out of here saying ‘Hey, that was great and I’m happy with what she did.'” But what I do wish is that more people could be aware of the reality that the kids are really what matters, that they are at the center of conflict and they feel it and perhaps suffer the most from it. I am touched by what you’ve written and hope that others will be inspired by your self-awareness and empathy.

  21. Bob

    My heart goes out to you for the anguish you are so clearly suffering. Your family are in my thoughts.

  22. RuthWells

    No words — you said it all. Just hugs.

  23. Kirsetin

    Ah, Mir. What a wonderful commentary on the unfairness of it all. My heart goes out to all of you. On the bright side, at least your kids will end up with an awesome vocabulary, courtesy of a mom who knows the meaning of unilateral. They’ll also have the advantage of being able to look back and peek inside your thoughts, because you have been brave enough to write it all down. That alone may tip the scales of life in their favor. Fairness, after all?

  24. dcfullest

    I am praying for you.

  25. Sue

    Hugs to all of you. You have such insight and eloquence. And you have good kids and lots of people who love them. It’s all still a big puddle of suckiness though.

  26. Catherine

    More positive thoughts sent your way to keep you strong through the verdict. You’re right, this isn’t fair. And you’re right, no one will like the turn-out. No one will get what they feel these deserve 100%.

    My parents divorced before I can remember them being married. The settlement was simple, every other Christmas and one month in the summer. My mom gave my father much more than that. As a child I was so angry with her for keeping me from him. As an adult, and a mother, I cannot believe how strong she was, to put me on a plane year after year, to kiss me goodbye for three months at a stretch. And to never, ever say a bad word about my father to me or in my presence. As a young-adult I came to know the truth, but not from her mouth.

    You’re doing the right thing. You’re also teaching both your children that there are great injustices in this world, but it’s how we handle them that defines who we are.

  27. Laura

    All of you are in my thoughts and prayers today.

  28. The Other Dawn

    My sister is going through this exact same thing. But her ex is SO terrible, that my niece has plucked out every. single. one. of her eyelashes. Why? Because she is pulling them out to MAKE WISHES that she will not have to go there.

    It breaks our hearts, and it isn’t fair. But at least it’s an unfair she doesn’t have living in her house every single day.

    Wishing you the best.

  29. Randi

    hugs hugs hugs hugs BIG hugs. I am a child of divorced parents and, much like Catherine, my mother never said anything bad about my father. Fortunately, even though it seems as though you and the kids father have your differences, you’ve been able to be civil and not say anything bad to the children about him.

    You are starting a new family, and that is a wonderful thing. I never had a stable father in my life, and just having Otto will make a huge difference to the kids. Please let us know how things turn out.

  30. ImpostorMom

    My parents divorced when I was 7 and I never wished a single day that they had stayed together. Together the environment was toxic. My mother did what she had to do and what she felt was best for all of us.

    But life is rarely fair and it is difficult for all parties involved. It is what it is and you have to know that you are a wonderful mother to those two and all you can do is continue to provide love and support to them and let go of the other side that you cannot control.

  31. mammafor2

    I am glad to see that you are taking the “higher” road in all of this. You, too, could be angry and spitting bullets out right now. However, you are trusting and praying… You are a wonderful woman and a fabulous mother!! Your kiddos will see this, one day, and know you have done the best possible for them!
    May many blessings be on your family today and in the future! :)

  32. Melissa

    Oh, you are all in my thoughts today. You are absolutely doing your best.

  33. Beth

    Hugs and pats, Pretty Tulip!

    You’re doing the best you can for the kids, and that’s what matters in both the short and long runs.

  34. Lucinda

    As another child of divorce where one parent was bitter (and unfortunately primary custody holder) and another was silent, I am constantly amazed at how you tread these murky waters. You keep it all in perspective and make difficult short-term decisions for a long-term outcome. And you do it wonderfully. God bless you and your family. Your kids are going to come out of this just fine.

  35. Kristi

    Tough, so tough for you all. Hoping you can find some sort of peace.

  36. Patricia

    First, I love your dad. His short comment made me teary.

    Divorce is tough and it sucks on so many levels. None of those are fair to anyone. I know in my own growing up my mom focused on what she wanted the happy ending to be and then worked backwards to how we got there. I have a strong feeling that when she took that approach with the judge (and boy were there a ton of judges) it worked (along with the pitbull of a lawyer she finally hired). I was finally adopted at age 6 and lost? (more like a gain from my viewpoint) contact with bio-father.

    I want to remind you (and mostly the ex) that compromise, by definition, means that no one gets what they want. But I really want to say that success if ultimately that the kids grow up knowing they were loved and supported by their parents — all of their parents, including Otto.

    Otto is good for you and good for your kids. And remember you wouldn’t be having this argument if the ex re-married.

  37. Kris

    One of the worst visits with my nephew ever was when I finally sat him down and dispelled the warped “reality” he had of his father and mother (my sister) in their divorce. He was old enough to know the truth, but it certainly wasn’t going to come from his father. And he was constantly told (by his father and his father’s family, of course) that it was all my sister’s fault.

    After that very uncomfortable talk, I swear it was like a light went on. He still has a decent relationship with his father, but he really has an incredibly strong bond with his mother. He finally sees that she was the one that was “wronged” (for lack of a better term) and he learned how to do the math of his step-sister’s birthday related to the divorce of my sister. KWIM?

    It’ll take time, but I believe that in the long run, they come to realize the truth, whether it be little by little or a good, hearty “sit down” by a caring relative.

    Keeping good thoughts for you today, Mir. And Kudos to Otto for standing his ground in spite of it all. There’s no reason those kids can’t have more people to love them rather than be treated like “territory” by your ex.

    (Yes, I am “queen” of the quote marks. Heh.)

  38. Crockstar

    The days when I am angry with my ex and wish I had persued child support and forced him to face the reality that I did not get pregnant alone, I just have to remember the heartache and struggle joint custody can create. Yes, my ex choosing to divorce me because I didn’t keep our agreement of “no kids” will create another gut wrenching heartache for my daughter but like you said life is not fair.

    As a stepmom I do everything in my power to never make my husbands ex feel like I am replacing her. The stress my step kids went through living and dealing with her wrath over their dad’s new marriage and their mom’s fears of being replaced was painful to watch. I take a HUGE step back. I will just wait, albeit on the sidelines–almost in the parking lot, but my support and love will be there when they want it. Otto, sounds like the most wonderful patient guy. Hugs, to all of you, even your scared, jealous, and broken ex.

  39. Beth

    Hugs to you Mir. Love to Otto for loving those kids and giving them stability. Flowers and bubbles to Chickadee and Monkey to make them smile when life seems it’s crappiest. :) Prayers for your ex, to help him heal because that will ultimately make life easier on everyone.

  40. annette

    I hope your ex DOES read your blog. Praying for you today.

  41. jennielynn

    I am so sorry your ex can’t heal and that he is (unintentionally) hurting you and your children. I am praying for your whole family, especially your ex, because it is clear he is wounded and needs healing.

    You are a great mom and your children are so blessed to have you and Otto. One day, your ex will see that too. Bless you all.

  42. Headless Mom

    Oh Mir. I am in Otto’s position on this one and let me tell you it is not as easy as some may think. I pray for your family today-you’re right, your last paragraph says it best, whatever the ‘split’ of time someone, all of you, will be unhappy about some aspect of it.

    The worst part for me was when the mediator told us that as far as the state was concerned, I am nothing more than a babysitter. (I quit my job to be a SAHM for my kids, including the stepdaughter. Her mother left when she was very, very small. Babysitter, indeed.)

  43. emily

    I have lurked for a while, and recently in a stalker-ish act went and reread 100 pages worth of your archives.

    I had to speak up to say how eloquently this post represents how much love you have for your children. I will be thinking about you today. I hope that the resolution, however unfair to some parties, brings some peace to you and everyone involved.

  44. Tal

    Oh, but it’s hard taking the high road, isn’t it?

    Your words were good ones Mir. FWIW, divorced kids do come to see the truth, about both sides, eventually without help. I don’t mean that ominously either. They will grow up and see what happens today as proof of the love that their parents (all 2+ of them) have for them. One day. You will get to a point where a balance emerges, promise.

    Best wishes to all of you.

  45. April

    I’m so glad that A Bright Future pointed me in your direction, as your post is something I found myself nodding my head in agreement with you most of the time. It’s been 5 years for me, too, though luckily, my ex fought nothing so the divorce process only took 2 years. My kids barely see their father, and that’s in the best interest of them, no doubt, but it is really really hard. And so unfair.

  46. Damsel

    OH, Mir…. way big hugs to your family today. You are all in my prayers.

  47. Vane

    This post almost made me cry. I feel for you for having to go through this, but it seems to me your heart is in the right place.

    My prayers for you all, hoping that the judge’s resolution will be the best possible outcome for all (and no, like you said, it still won’t be fair).

  48. Aimee

    Oh, Mir. {{{hugs}}}

    I’ll be thinking of you today.

  49. Anna

    Thank you, Mir, for the reminder that I am so, so, SO fortunate to not have even a hint of divorce in my extended family.

  50. Jan

    If ever was a post filled with truth …

    I’m doing what I think I need to do for them, I cannot fix this entirely. It’s an inherently broken situation. I begin to see their father not as someone intentionally difficult, but as someone who is deeply hurt and unable to repair. Everything he does that makes me want to scream is born of a deep sense of having been horribly wronged, and whether or not I agree that to be factual, it’s his reality. I am the agent of destruction in this scenario,

    I’m really glad you wrote this part. I have been sometimes bothered by the piling-on your ex sometimes gets in the comments here (not in the posts — I think you are generally measured and fair, and if you are not, you are honestly expressing your own feelings, not just trying to get a jab in at him). Yeah, he’d be smart not to read, but if he does, it’s only going to make him hurt more. I don’t think anybody deserves the kind of hurt that would have to come from reading comment after comment about what a ‘great dad’ your ex-wife’s new husband is going to be, as she and he were in the process of moving them out of your day-to-day life.

    My heart hurts for all five of you. You’re right that there is no ideal solution, that everyone is going to experience some loss today. And that just sucks.

    I’m glad you have Otto to be with you in your hurt. And I hope your ex has somebody to give him a hug today, too.

  51. Someone Being Me

    Ugh. I am the child of divorced parents. They divorced when I was 4. It was so hard to see my dad only every other weekend but my parents did a pretty good job of being agreeable, at least in front of the kids. I really appreciate now how hard it must have been for them to not argue in front of us about custody. I still get the guilt trips at every holiday about who got us last holiday and I am 27. It is doubly hard since my husband’s parents are divorced and we have to try to see everyone.

  52. The Other Leanne

    It’s a godawful, painful, unfair situation and my heart goes out to you today…today, of all days, my absent-father’s birthday. My mother said recently, “Divorce is just so painful for the children; they never get over it.” More painful would have been if they had stayed together. Less painful would have been a father who acted like he wanted to be with his children and didn’t use support as a weapon. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. Oh wait, this isn’t about me…

    No, it’s not fair, but it is not the worst thing to have a mother and a father and an Otto who love you and want to be with you. There has got to be a gentler solution than waving fear and anxiety in big dramatic ways! “Tearing these children away…” is so LifetimeMovieNetwork!
    Best wishes to you all.

  53. Rebecca

    Mir- You all are in my thoughts.

  54. BooMom

    Keeping you, Otto, Monkey and Chickadee in my thoughts and prayers today.

  55. Megan

    The lesson that life is not fair is the hardest one, because it takes the hardest experiences to teach it. My children have had to learn it down to their bones, learn it in a way that was incredibly hard and terrible. The fact that they are whole, happy, loving creatures who daily express this to me is something I am humbly, deeply grateful for. You and Otto and your ex are giving your children the unbelievable gift of knowing that they are loved. That fills in the holes and the hurts of life not being fair.

  56. Bronie

    praying for you all today that the outcome, though probably not “fair” will be on some level appropriate and agreeable for all of you involved. praying for peace and calm.

  57. elizabeth

    my ex and I have tried very hard to be civil and make the now teenager the priority in all dealings. we divorced when he was not quite 2. I’ve been lucky that we’ve never ended up in court over custody or visitation. when we lived closer, we shared custody generously. now that the ex is out of the country it is harder but the teenager has spent a good amount of time with his dad. that said, I still get irrationally angry when dealing with my ex on certain topics – he just will always hit those nerves I suppose. You are much more mature, reasonable and balanced than I. I want to be like you when I grow up.

    chocolate all around.

  58. the planet of janet

    you said it all — and you said it better than any of us could.

    and life ISN’T fair.

    i wish your ex could understand that having otto refer to monkey and chickadee as “our kids” is one of the greatest gifts he could give you. i have been in the other place… where the stepfather was brutally clear that the boys were MINE — with everything that implies. fortunately for us all, that situation is no more.

    hugs to you all.

  59. Sheila

    Mir, I think you are the Poster Woman for grace.

  60. carrie

    Positive thoughts are coming your way.

    And I totally love your Dad!

  61. Karen

    As a divorce lawyer, I have sat on both ends of that issue. I honestly don’t think that there is a more difficult thing for someone to go through then a removal matter. When a loving and involved parent has to watch his/her children move so far away. Compounded with the children building new relationships with a new parent figure. It is so emotional and so brutal – no matter which side you sit on. Mir, I am not being crital of you at all. I don’t know the details of your sitution and we all know there is no good guy/bad guy. Just have a bit of compassion for you ex (which seem to have). Imagine how hard it would be if you were in his shoes.

    Oh, and of course as soon as you show that compassion, the other side mistakes it for weakness and turns it against you. There is no fairness. You are right.

  62. Jocelyn

    I have been lurking for a long time and love your blog. This post, however, made me want to de-lurk to tell you that I think you are a great mom and I admire your perspective through the good and not so good times. My thoughts are with you and your family today.

  63. divrchk

    I know that it’s been hard for you to not be writing about this while it’s been in the works. You did so today with much grace and compassion for everyone involved – just amazing. Good luck waiting for the verdict and I hope that everyone is able to make the best of things with the decision.

  64. Kristi

    Mir, after finalizing my divorce in November (and foolishly thinking I would be done with court and the like) I have found myself back in court with my ex because of similar issues already. It is so very tough when the other party cannot let go of the pain, hurt, or anger – but I think you show a lot of insight and wisdom in understanding where that comes from. For me, I just have to let it go and realize that since leaving the marriage I choose not to “own” his emotional baggage any more. All you can do is act with integrity and with the best interests of your kids in mind, and hope and pray that the rest will work out.

    Good luck, I will be thinking about you!

  65. Stephanie Chance

    I’ve got tears in my eyes, that was so touching. And I can relate to every bit of it. All three sides, the mom, the dad, and the kids. I married a divorced dad, and I can really understand the pain and anger he is feeling, but realistically, he should be glad that Otto refers to them as ‘our kids,’ because how horrible would it be if your kids were living with someone who called them ‘your kids,’ implying that he wanted nothing to do with them. We are all parents to the kids – mother, father, step-parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents. All that matters is that you love them and want what is best for them. Sometimes what you think is best is different from what someone else thinks is best. In that case the mother is always right because that’s just how it is. :) You are doing a super fantabulous job!

  66. Stephanie Chance

    By the way, court sucks. My stomach churns just thinking about it. I’m so sorry you had to go through that.

  67. Liz

    Yes, but a life without you would surely make it less beautiful.

    Good luck, sweetie.

  68. Ramblin' Red

    I’m glad that you have a handle on Life’s Not Fair. Your kids will do well in life, seeing you embrace this lesson and live with grace, as you have and will continue to do.

  69. annie

    Oh, Mir. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    You just summed up the last 15 years of my life in
    a page on the web… You probably already know that it will get better. And it will get worse. Maybe over and over and over, but always remember: YOU are a wonderful mom!

  70. Libby

    That was incredible Mir. So eloquent and thoughtful. It made me cry big fat tears. At work no less. I am a child of divorce as well, but both my parents where/are complete angels (thank you God) so I never went through any of this. But still, divorce is hard no matter what. I hope things get better soon. Big hugs to all of you.

  71. elswhere

    Thinking of you.

  72. Amy-Go

    Oh Tulip. I’m praying for all of you today.

  73. Stacey

    More hugs to you, Mir. I wish I could say something to make it easier for you, but shoot, I can’t. Your writing is beautiful. Good luck.

  74. mamalang

    So much to say, but no words to say it. I hope that you all find the peace you need in this situation.

  75. CS

    It takes a strong woman to realize how unfair life is and yet still have compassion for the cause of the unfairness. You’re so very strong!!

  76. cristen

    very eloquently and wisely said.

  77. erma

    Thinking of you all today as the judge makes the decision…

  78. Jenni

    I’m the Otto of our family. And life isn’t fair. No custody arrangement will ever feel right to all parents. It is the nature of the beast.

  79. Woman with Kids

    From one perpetual bad guy to another, my thoughts are with you.

  80. Jaime


  81. TC

    I can’t forward this post to several women I love (and for whom–along with their children–I hurt on a regular basis) fast enough.

    Brilliantly, heartbreakingly said.

  82. Jill

    This is beautiful. And I’m sending you lots of good thoughts.

  83. crockpot lady

    I’m thinking of you.

  84. sophie

    As a stepmother who calls the girls “mine,” I give Otto many kudos. My father and stepmother did the same for each other’s kids. My stepmother died 8 years ago, and we are all adults. My stepbrothers don’t behave very well, but my dad still tries to keep in touch. Nothing about it is fair, but we can all only do what we can do to try to make it easier on the kids. Wishing you the best. your writing always strikes a chord with me. Thanks.

  85. Heather

    Very well said, as usual. Thinking and praying for you and the whole fam in this rough time.

  86. donna

    My heart goes out to your kids as I remember the court sessions from my parents divorce (much messier, believe me!) Kids are very perceptive, even when they don’t really understand what’s happening.
    Just continue being the great mom that you are and they’ll never forget that; your responses will be imbedded in their minds as they become adults and look at the situation from an older perception.
    Hugs to you and yours.

  87. Dave

    Love, love, love. I’m sending it all to all of you.

  88. paige

    Love and hugs and peace and healing to you all.

    Situations don’t come much more tough than this. I think you are doing the right thing by your kids. They will be ok. You will be ok. Otto will be ok.

    Hopefully the ex will eventually be ok(ish) too.

  89. Flea

    Mir, you’re doing such a fantastic job of connecting to yourself and your kids through all the craptacular aspects of this. As a child of divorce, I hurt for you all, including the ex. But Mir, fair or not, it’s going to be okay.

  90. Kate

    I am a daughter, not a mom or step mom. So, from that point of view, I’d like to say one of the best things about growing up is seeing the companions to “life is not fair.”

    Of course, many unfair things have happened in my life. However, for every “not fair” I have also been gifted, granted, lucked into or spontaneously given something because of someone else’s graciousness, generosity, or maturity.

    I hope your kids, when the time rolls around, realize in the “unfair” of divorce issues, there is the grace of you trying to do the best with what you have.

  91. D

    I am 38 years old and when my step-fathers wife (my mom has passed) introduced me to her family as “my daughter” I felt sooooooo loved. I fought in court for 10 yrs so I could “do the best thing for the child” and today my 18 year old has no problem understanding who her father is, who her step father is, who loves her, and who is actually concerned about HER best interest. Tho at times I weep for the hurts in her heart, I also rejoice at the wisdome that goes with it. Honesty without rancor goes a long long way in healing little hearts and making stong spirits. Being “fair” isn’t what matters to kids, being where they want to WHEN they want to, within reaon, is what matters. Be Blessed Mir…

  92. carrien


    May the knot in the pit of your stomach be eased.

  93. Brigitte

    All your true-life friends and all of your “imaginary”
    e-friends are here for you, no matter the outcome.

  94. Paulla

    I’ve been reading here but never commented. I appreciate your humor.

    But I had to comment on this, because I so appreciate you sharing your heart. This is one of the best commentaries on the reality of divorce that I’ve seen. My parents could’ve/should’ve divorced when I was a kid, but didn’t until I was 29 years old – 12 years ago. After going through many of the phases you mentioned, plus all the phases of grief, I still have no idea if they “should” have done it sooner, when I was younger and more resilient, and didn’t have three kids of my own. As you say, either way, it would have been “unfair.”

    Thank you – I’m saving this one.

  95. Windy

    Mir, my prayers are with all of you. Divorce is hard, no matter what, and I’m glad that you do your best to see that it’s not harder than it has to be.

    Thanks for being willing to share.

  96. Leanne

    I’m a child of divorce.

    All I can tell you, is that you made me cry. The kids will want to read this when they’re a little bit older and don’t really “get” what happened or why it happened. They will want this view from the middle, instead of having to pick a side and try to determined which one of you is really right. Until then, they will always wonder, and that can also be thrown on top of the “not fair” pile.


  97. Loth

    My husband’s parents divorced. Twice. He and his sister were really put through the mill in the whole “we’re divorced, now we’re remarrying, whoops no, now we’re divorced again” malarkey. He has known for years where the “fault” lies and it didn’t come from either of his parents. The kids work it out eventually. Good luck.

  98. SheilaC

    I am so sorry about the unfairness of this situation, for all of you. It sounds like you are doing the right things for your children, and for you and Otto, and that you will have no regrets. Thank you for writing about this situation with such openness and honesty. It’s an education for me. I hope you get the best outcome possible for your whole family.

  99. MARSHA

    I had an awful divorce with my ex with a 3 month old child. The divorce technically (even though things are all symptoms of deeper problems with both of us) was HIS doing – he – technically was the one who caused the divorce. I hated him to the nth degree and couldn’t say his name without ending up a crying, blubbering, idiot for A VERY LONG TIME. I moved across the country to marry him and be nearer to HIS FAMILY – HIS HOMETOWN… and 3 years later there I was… divorced without any emotional support. It is 17 years later and I still live in “his” hometown. (now it is mine, too) I could never take my child away from his father… and his father was a down and out alcoholic for the first 10 years of my child’s life and wasn’t in my child’s life during that time either– but he could’ve been an axe murderer – he was still my child’s father. Yes, I stayed here for selfish reasons too – so him and his family could NEVER say I took their grandchild away from them… and I knew I wouldn’t be able to bear the summers / holidays I’d have to let my child go visit his paternal and parents/family. I’m kinda conservative on this subject (sorry for my opinion in advance)(probably cuz my mom moved me away from my dad through their divorce)- children need their two biological parents CLOSE to them.. even after the divorce. Unless, of course, the father is a raging lunatic or pedophile, etc… let’s be realistic. My ex has been clean and sober for 4 years now and I am so happy I didn’t move away. I think my son would’ve ended up blaming ME at some point if he didn’t end up having a relationship with his dad because we lived 500 miles away or whatever distance. At least I can say I did 200% to forge a relationship between him and his dad. Now, of course, he regrets the first 10 years he missed with him. But it wasn’t because I wasn’t here with him – it was his own fault.

  100. Karen

    Oh, please know my prayers and thoughts are with you. I am a single mom and have lived through some of the pain you are living with. I am also a school counselor and I work with kids every day. It is obvious you are trying to deal with these issues the best way you can and it is sad your ex doesn’t understand how lucky your kids are to have someone like Otto in their lives. Love multiplies. By seeing such examples of love from important adults, Chickadee and Monkey will be far better equipped to deal with life. I hope things go well and thank you for the example you are.

  101. Rachael

    I read over this…and I cringed…and then I wondered…do we have the same ex husband???????? Oy vey. I share in your emotional state today. ((HUGS))

  102. Lylah

    I’m the Otto in our family, too. I’m so sorry you’re going through this, but thank you for sharing your grace and your insight with the rest of us…

  103. Mary Ann

    I wish there were a way to transfer some strength to you all. Knowing you to be churchgoers, however, I can actually do so, by praying for you. Underway.

  104. The Other Other Dawn

    My heart goes out to all of you. While I sympathize with your ex’s difficulty with the situation, I hope the day comes that he can realize the gift that Otto is in the children’s lives and that he’ll never be competition for their father’s love, only a good male role model for when dad can’t be with them. A good stepparent is a wonderful thing.

    My girls are grown now, but the damage done to their hearts and souls by their stepmother’s rejection (they were ready to welcome her – after all, she was someone they had known since they were in her daycare as a toddler and a preschooler and they trusted her) and by their father’s tacit approval of it, is something they’ll be dealing with for years.

  105. Cele

    Mir, I am coming to the dance late and there is nothing I can add or say that hasn’t been said, or would make it all right. Your head is on straight, you are giving it your best shot, and that my dear is the best you can do, because you are doing it all with love and an attempt to be fair.

  106. Kimberly

    You know yesterday when I emailed you back about cleaning up the dog poo, I had no idea what you meant by “bad day”. You totally win.

    I can feel what you wrote here. I came from divorce then later married a divorced man. I hated my step father growing up and now am the stepmother they would like to see get flattened by a piano. And also? On dark days when I doubt that my husband and I will make it, I wonder if I’m strong enough to not be fair.

  107. Ali B.

    Hey, Mir. This is beautiful. My own parents divorced. And there were things about it that weren’t fair, and there were and still are – all these years later – kind of sucktastic. But Mir? The divorce was the very best, least-unfair, least-sucktastic option. I know that, I feel that, in my heart of hearts. Your kids will, too.

    Funny how one person’s tearing-the-children-from-their-father is another person’s allowing-your-children-to-breathe. Speaking personally, I liked breathing a whole lot more than not-breathing.

    No, no, it’s not fair, and I’m sorry for that. But you’re showing real grace in this fourth stage, even if they’re saying things that make you want to vomit.

    (after the fourth stage may come a fifth, and then a sixth…and each one will be a little easier, on everyone)

    Regarding summer, I once heard this said about compromise: that you know it’s a good compromise only when everyone ends up unhappy. Thanks for not going all King Solomon on us. Hang in there.

  108. Zelda

    I am a child of divorce…a very acrimonious and horrible, messy divorce. My mom was mired in depression for a few years afterwards, and my dad couldn’t have been more of an asshole when he spoke about her (while he was busy getting married to the woman he cheated on my mom with). And money was tight and I knew too much too soon and grew up too fast.

    But now? I am seriously grateful to have learned some life lessons earlier than most people have to learn them. My mom showed me that it is possible to overcome impossible odds (she had never worked and suddenly needed to support 5 children). She taught me to never depend on another person for money or anything else–which doesn’t mean that I can’t be a stay at home mom, but that I keep my mind and options open at all times.

    I love my mom more than anything. My brother and three sisters and I are closer than we would have been without the divorce, sadly enough. And while we all went through an I-hate-my-dad phase, I think now we accept him with his flaws. It’s taken time and a lot of pain, but in the end…it is all okay, really. And perhaps better in some ways that we were disillusioned early on and didn’t have too many idealistic misconceptions about life and marriage and relationships to shatter. I think I have made wise decisions in relationships….looking for different characteristics in a partner than I might have otherwise.

    You’ll be fine, and your kids will be better than fine.

  109. Kim

    Thank you for writing this. I too asked him to leave and feel the guilt everytime we have to talk about our daughter. Everything that has ever been wrong in his life is a result of someone else. He is totally blameless. I was angry and guilty too. I’ve not quite made it to the acceptance stage yet. Sometimes I wonder, should we just get back together for the sake of my daughter and her happines. Then I guess I really would be crazy like he tells her. You and your family will be in my prayers.


  110. Karen (from Our Deer Baby)

    {{{{ HUGS }}}}

    You are a great mom, Otto is a great dad, and your kids will be fine, even it it’s not always easy to have that confidence about them.


  111. Shannon


  112. Kian

    I divorced 7 years ago and yeah, life isn’t fair but life is better. My ex, thankfully for me, suckily for the kids, only wanted to ensure that when I left, I was taking the kids with me. Like *leaving* them was an option. Then a couple years after that, when I remarried, he had the nerve to be peeved that the kids were calling my new husband “Dad” also. Too bad, life isn’t fair.

    Best of luck with today!!

  113. JSEE

    Can I ask what the Judge has decided? I head into court tomorrow on the same issue, i.e. what will the summer visitation schedule be for our 4-year old and 6-year old …

  114. LiteralDan

    It sounds like you and Otto are absolutely making the best out of an unfortunate situation, and your hearts and minds are in the right place.

    I wish you all continued luck in dealing with all of this.

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