Co-Parenting?

How do you co-parent with a man who most often than not refuses to speak to OUR children together when confronting them with a concern? Who most often than not refuses to discuss any “big” decisions regarding OUR boys? Who most often than not disregards my perspective as it relates to OUR boys? Tell me please, how do you co-parent? Let me give you a few, what I feel significant, examples of times I have struggled:

1.) T was in 6th grade and wanting a phone. I was not comfortable at the time fulfilling this want. Allow me to back track a bit. D was in 7th grade when we allowed him to get a phone. The circumstance being he was going on a school trip out of state and had a fairly significant history of separation anxiety. So we made the leap, and provided him with a phone. With good intentions as most parents do, we vowed to closely monitor his activity on the phone, know passwords, etc, etc. Honestly, try as we did, it wasn’t quite that easy and before long it all got away from us. I felt like I totally lost control. As a result, second go around, I was determined to be better, learn from my mistakes. My ex husband was crystal clear on my stance of not wanting T to have a phone. A brief conversation one particular day this was conveyed with clarity. However, it fell on deaf ears as the following morning I received a text with T’s new phone number.

Please tell where co-parenting resides in this example?

2.) The day came when D was ready to buy a car. We agreed to help D, significantly. My ex-husband took him to test drive a specific car D had found on-line. Actually my ex-husband would not take him until he had found several cars on-line he was interested in test driving. Side note – I think this was more about my ex-husband being lazy than anything else. They called from a dealership just a few short hours later ready to purchase a car – the first one they saw. I felt it had too many miles, and suggested they look at a few more. My ex-husband responded with “He wants this car. I am not going to argue with him. I don’t have much time. I have someplace I need to be.” And that was that. D had his new car.

Is this co-parenting?

3.) T had mentioned he was the only one without social media. He honestly didn’t have much interest..so I thought. Until he friend requested me on Instagram. He apparently went to his dad for permission who thought it was no big deal. When I asked my ex-husband to please talk with me about our son joining social media in the future, his response was “Come on . It’s Instagram and we have his password. Please stop. Everything doesn’t have to be the sky is falling. It’s really ok.” A follow up phone call to this text included him asking “Do I need to call you to find out if the color sneakers I buy him is ok too?”

Is there any hint of co-parenting in this scenario?

Please. Please let me know. Let me know how you manage to co-parent. I feel as though I have tried so hard, so much and it’s starting to make me really angry. And resentful.

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Could it be?

The other day while driving I had one of those ah-ha moments. It was about being happy. Some time ago I wrote about my mom always telling me I was unhappy when I was younger. To this day, she continues to reference me as an unhappy child and how she tried so hard to “help.” My initial emotional reaction to this is anger. Even thinking about it boils my blood. But I suddenly realized it was HER feeling that she was placing on me. Growing up I couldn’t’ see this. I only knew how jumbled I felt inside. Anxiety, stress, anger, frustration, a feeling of being trapped and wanting to escape. I remember these feelings quite well. In fact I remember very clearly my first panic attack at 10 years old. And I remember clearly how for the next nearly 30 years after, I was intertwined with my mother’s emotions. If she answered the phone upset when I called, that only played out for me personally the rest of the day. Her thoughts quite honestly became mine. Although I never saw this.

I.Never.Saw.This.

Until quite literally almost 6 years ago I woke up. That’s what it felt like – waking up. And suddenly I saw so much and thought HOLY SHIT! It was this time I separated from my now ex-husband while also distancing myself from my mother. And it was this time that my panic and anxiety all but disappeared. How ironic.

To only validate my recent ah-ha moment, my mom sent me a text a few days ago. It read:
“I really cannot wait for Prince Charming to walk into your life even tho it’s not of that much importance to you. If that day happens I’ll be beyond happy.”

So even though she acknowledges it’s not as important to me, it’s what she wants. It’s what will make HER happy. At 43 years old, she still tells me I need to wear my hair a certain way, to put more makeup on. She even told me recently she’ll pay for a make-over. These are things SHE wants me to do. And yet, I feel fine the way I am. I have worked so hard on my emotional, psychological, and physical state. And I am proud of this work. I think I do a pretty damn good job.

The smile I wear walking through the halls at work (that yes, realistically aren’t every day because nothing is perfect), the peace I feel while running, the positive energy I share at yoga, the laughs I have with friends, the excitement I feel when watching T play hockey, the proud feeling when D receives another college acceptance…all of this and then some is my happy.

MY happy.

Struggling With….

I love D, my 18 year old son, with all of my heart. But I am struggling. Actions he has made, comments he has stated, points of view he has expressed, and small mannerisms he has made are in direct conflict with how I felt I raised him. Is this because I faltered more than I thought? Is it his Dad in him? Is it immaturity? Is it him simply figuring himself out too?

It’s probably all of the above. When I see his Dad in him, the parts of his Dad that I, dare I say, despise, well I struggle with that the most. Because I just don’t respect it. At all. And with this, D has turned to his father a bit more these days. Ironically, this is what I have always wanted. However, it’s become a bit of opposing sides if that makes sense. His father has become the one who just makes things easy for D. No thought, no push back, no parenting really. And so I have become the bad cop. The one to avoid. The one who is left in the dark.

Is it my ego that wants so desperately to impart wisdom with my words creating a change in D’s actions that I perceive as positive? Is it my own insecurities of not being a “good enough” mom fueling disappointment? Or is just life? Just life playing out as it does. Guilty is how I feel. For having any disappointment. For wanting him to be better. Guilty.

Struggling with…it all.

Addendum..

Timing sometimes can be so perfect. I couldn’t resist adding an addendum to my post from the other day..

My brother sent this to me hours after my last post. It’s an excerpt from “Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable” by Tim S. Grover.

“This is my fucking bus and there will be no fucking around on my bus; it will be clean and on time, and anyone who messes with me or my bus will be back on the street walking.”

Now that felt good. Good night.

Looking for Advice

Ah, the trials and tribulations of being a mother to a senior in high school. No one warned me that this time would be just as hard if not harder than those toddler years. But then again, if they had, I probably would not have been able to fully grasp what “hard” was until I experienced it myself. Here I am. Experiencing it for myself.

Frequent reminders to apply for scholarships, renew his expired license, provide me the schedule for his after school EMT course, etc, etc, etc. And all the while sitting with a constant worry as my son refuses to eat adequately. I’ve watched my son lose weight, skips meals, and even refuse to take a vitamin. My concerns are obviously warranted. And his pediatrician certainly validated this for me. Ironically though, my ex-husband has not. His feeling is “He’s fine. I see him eat. You are trying to control him.” I probably should mention here that my ex-husband has it in his head that I control everything. Despite my actions proving quite the opposite. It doesn’t matter. To him, I am controlling, and any time I try to “argue” this point, well, that just simply proves all the more I am controlling. Right?

So I’m stuck or so that’s how I feel. It has become quite impossible to co-parent with this man. I feel as though I am watching my son develop habits, learn ways to manage his feelings, and how to treat others by mimicking a man that struggles on all these fronts. And I am left to just watch, as though my hands are tied behind my back.

My brother, as always, has helped me, supported me, even opened my eyes when they were unknowingly closed shut. His advice in this case is to lay it all on the table, take no shit, don’t allow for the table to be turned, stay on the bus so to speak and drive off whether they choose to get on it or not. He recognized that this will be hard for me. And he recognized that my ex-husband will most likely respond in the same way he always does because it’s just hearing my voice that sets him off.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So…I am going to quit the bullshit and change it up. I don’t need to accept any disrespect from my 18 year old son or my ex-husband. I don’t deserve it. And honestly, accepting it will only teach my son that treating anyone that way is acceptable.

So here we go…I’m ready.

An Adult (by age anyway)

It’s snowing. Lightly. I can see the individual flakes dropping from the sky. Small piles filling the creases on the deck.

In two days you will turn 18. And technically the state will view you as an adult. Though you have looked forward to this day feeling it marks so much freedom, you must know it carries more responsibility as well. This in fact is yet another chapter of your precious life. Small steps to truly become independent in all ways. Finding my heart is swelling for you knowing so many wonderful things await you…it also has become a bit heavy for I understand this transition in your life pulls you in a direction that is opposite of where I stand.

In two short days, eighteen years ago you blessed this world with your being. To say it was easy and wonderful and magical would be untrue. I was young and hurting and unbalanced. I was drained. Labor had extended well over a day. The emergency c-section left me with a nicked blood vessel unbeknown to the doctors. So while my body tried to stabilize from the delivery, I was also loosing blood. But you, you were perfect. So incredibly beautiful. The day we left the hospital it was snowing. A bit more than it is today. And that day was the newest chapter in my life.

Like yesterday, the memory of your drunken face when you would finish breast feeding, how the crease above your top lip would remain. Your skin was so incredibly soft and your head fit perfectly in the crease of my arm. Looking at your toes, I would study you, this miracle given to me. So much has changed. Our home, the dynamics, the shifts in our personalities as we worked to be mother and son. Faltered more than a few times, I know I always tried my best. Snuggling next to you in your day bed, feeding you your first foods in your high chair, the clean baby smell after a bath..so many moments, so tangible. I feel them all.

So eighteen. Cliche as it sounds, I can’t believe it. Regardless, I will always adore your hugs. Your smile melts my heart every time. Your singing voice coming from the shower. Watching you walk around the house wrapped up in my blanket. And knowing the reason why you’ve taken a nap in my bed while I’m at work is because on a level you too feel this shift.

As the tears roll down my face, my heart feels so heavy. I miss you already. Know it doesn’t matter the age..you will always, always be my baby.

xo

Sitting Still

Awakening

The body in the morning

The energy

..moving and tingling

How everything feels so perfect

At peace

But to take that purest of feelings

And move it from the room with the heated floors

And into the world

It’s a transition

A bridge of sorts

That which I still work to construct

Not feverishly, but I suppose consciously

These fine lines

They blur at times

While confusion sets in, I clear

Where do I want to be?

What do I want to do?

Where shall I go?

 

Yoga words “First, you must learn to sit still..before you move.”