My ex-husband (a phrase I never thought I’d type) and I are told all the time how great we are at being divorced. How wonderful it is that we can do things together, with our kids, with our respective families and still be happy. We took our kids to Disney together for Hippolyta’s sake (along with his mom, who might need to be canonized soon for everything she does for us).
We’re super amazingly awesome at being divorced.
Except … we aren’t, really. We are good at being parents. I think there are days that we are great at it but no mom that I’ve ever met has felt great at parenting all the time.
But at being divorced? No. I’m not good at that.
I am not great at looking at my ex and not seeing a man that I love, even though I’m in love with someone else now. I am not great at not knowing how he spends his time when I have our children. I’ve lost the right to speak for him but I’d be shocked if he were great at seeing a ring from another man on my finger whenever we do pick up and drop off. I doubt that he’s great at hearing our children ask me to tell my fiancé that they say hi and that they love and miss him.
And I am not even remotely okay with it when he has our children.
Yes, the rational side of me knows that he’s a good dad, that our kids are benefited by our shared custody agreement, and that he deserves as much time with them as I do.
But in my heart of hearts, I am not all that rational.
My fiancé has had to come pick me up off the floor of my daughter’s room while I cry into her pile of stuffed animals that she has to have in her bed to even consider sleeping because I miss her. He has found me sitting at my son’s desk, reading his books, just to feel close to him. His response is always the same: “We get them back in a few days” and I know that he is attempting to apply logic to a situation that I find beyond illogical.
Your child not being in their bed, in your house, every night is not logical.
Waking up to an alarm half of the month and not to your sweaty, sleepy five year old climbing on top of you and mumbling something about chocolate milk for breakfast into your shoulder goes beyond all reason.
And as much as I would love to be the mom within the poster family for what things should look like after a marriage crashes and burns, I just can’t.
Please don’t tell me that I’m great at being divorced because it only reminds me that I wasn’t great enough to keep my marriage together.
Please don’t say how wonderful it is that my ex and I can still be friends because it’s a reminder that we stopped being friends long before we stopped being married.
Tell me I’m a good mom. There are days I won’t believe you, but still do it.
Tell him that he’s a good dad. Invite us to go do things when it’s the other parents week with our kids because we need a distraction from the lack of noise in our respective houses.
Or better yet, tell me that me sharing my experience with you has prompted you and your spouse to try and be great at marriage. Because being great at marriage is definitely not easy but it’s a hell of a lot better than being great at divorce.