Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Dinner Date with Man Hands
For the past few weeks, I've been preaching my ideal philosophy to anyone who would listen. In comments on Huffington Post, in my guest post about non custodial mothers on Lee Block's Post Divorce Chronicles, to my new lovely writer friend Pauline, and right here on my own little blog. I've waxed poetic about how divorced parents "should be." The awesome Rocker Guy who cuts my hair made me feel super self-confident when he told me my hairstyle made me look a bit like Sharon Stone, but even more so, when he told me he wished ALL divorced parents would live by my accidental mantra:
We shouldn't hate each other more than we love our kids.
He became teary eyed when I said it, halfway through cutting my hair, and told me he came from a broken family with two other siblings. He's been through the sawmill of divorce, and years later, he's still piecing himself back together. He said his mother was so angry with his father, that in a way, she took it out on him when he was just a little boy. "I bet she didn't mean to," I said. "I don't think she did," he replied, "but I didn't know that back then. It sort of ruined me. I wished she'd loved me more than she hated my dad."
And so...I decided to take another look at myself. I think I'm a fairly gracious person, and I think I'm logical and fair. But I still get mad. I still feel vindictive and mean, and sometimes I feel like I should not be such a push-over and I should stand up against The Man. And The Man, in my divorced family situation, is not even my ex husband. It's his wife. She makes the decisions in his family now. She's always rude to me. I'm a little nervous around her and I wouldn't even be too surprised if she throws a drink in my face tonight at some point.
But I shouldn't be mad at anything, quite frankly, until I've at least tried to simply talk to her.
As a blended and highly non-traditional family, we've done things fairly rationally and have always made it a point to focus on the kids and do what is in their best interest. But even so, there have been times when we've disagreed, even ending up in court recently. And I've been tempted to take my disgruntlement to Family Court a few times. My friends and family have always wondered why I haven't.
After concentrating on that very fact for the last few weeks, I have to say, I'm glad I haven't. It's not what's best for my kids -- to spend their college money on court and lawyer fees. It's not in their best interest to be at war with their father and stepmother. Instead of all out war, or fighting in court, I'm going to try to do this my way. At least at first.
And I'm starting with having dinner with Man Hands. My kids step mom. After all, it is International Women's Day. We are the women who are raising my kids together, she and I.
Am I trying to defy gravity? I think I'm about to find out.
I'll let you know how it turns out.