Posts Tagged With: coparenting

the responsibility of farmers and pigs

It’s YBW’s week back to work and he went in today to get a jump start. I’m not sure when but he was gone when I woke at 8:25.
I showered and got dressed and went downstairs.
Out the front door sidelights I saw the front yard, and thought, Damn, we didn’t tell the kid to mow the lawn.
I went into the kitchen and got excited when I saw a piece of paper at his place at the table.
(I got excited! YBW asked him to mow, so I wouldn’t have to. The kid often behaves as though what I say doesn’t always apply to him.)

Then I read the note.

Thing G,
Comb your hair before you go to work.
–Dad

And I was hit with the full force of the truth.

The reason the kid doesn’t think about anything but himself is because he’s not encouraged to.
He takes no responsibility as a human being and member of this household because he isn’t expected to.

We’re in tricky treacherous territory now. Because this is when it becomes personal for YBW. This is when he hears me say he’s a failure as a father.
Only, I’m not saying that.
I think he’s a kind and loving father. In fact, it’s one of the things I’ve always loved most about him. He’s even kind and loving to my children, not because he has to, but because he can.
I don’t think he’s failed as a father. I think he’s raised his children exactly the way he was raised.
How can that be a fail?
He has taken care of them with all the love and kindness he possesses.

Taken care of them to such a degree that one doesn’t have to worry about helping maintain his household.
Taken care of them to such a degree that one doesn’t even have to worry about helping himself.

Thing G will be twenty years old in forty-three days. He is so well loved and taken care of he doesn’t even need to remember to comb his own hair.

My husband was raised by a stay at home mother who literally did everything for the household.
Since the divorce of their parents, YBW’s sons were raised by a full time working father who did everything for the household.
He parented the way he was parented.
His love is evident in that he did everything for his children.

How is this a fail?
My husband isn’t a failure as a dad.
He love his children.
He takes good care of them.

He is responsible for them. Well, one of them anyway.
He bears all the responsibility for Thing G.
We talk often of transferring the responsibility from the father to the son.
I still haven’t figured out if it’s that YBW doesn’t know how, or if he doesn’t want to.
He talks about how he wants the kid to be educated or have a job and be able to ‘be in his own place’ and be responsible for his own life.
Simply put, the kid lacks the skills.
The kid lacks the skills because he’s still being told to comb his hair.
But not to mow the lawn.
Not to participate as a member of this household.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t know what that actually means.
Is is mixed messages?
Is it lack of effort on any or all parties?
Is it the never ending excuse of his diagnosis?
I legit don’t know.

What I do know is that there is an adult in this household that doesn’t participate in the day to day goings on.
Does it come down to expectations?
Does the kid meets the expectations presented to him…?
If this is what YBW expects from his son, and his son meets these expectations perfectly, then I am the one with misguided expectations.

At minimum, I expect adult members of a household carry their own weight. Ideally, to participate in the day to day operations to help things run smoothly.
I expect adults to know they’re supposed to comb their hair without being told.
I expect adults to know their responsibilities and to execute them without being told.
I expect adults to be respectful when they need to be reminded of their responsibilities.
There are thousands upon thousands of responsible non-neurotypical humans on this planet.
I’m past the point of being willing to teach.
It’s not my job.
I refuse to take on the responsibility of someone who won’t be responsible for himself.

There is nothing healthy about this situation.
Not for me.
Not for YBW.
Not for the kid.

I’m so tired, y’all.
Tired of living in a situation I didn’t create.
Tired of watching the toll it takes on the man I love.
Tired of watching the kid waste his life.
Tired of feeling helpless and hopeless in what’s supposed to be my home.

I worked so hard to accept what I can’t change. And I even went so far as planning to accept that change may never come.
There is a common expression, but I like Thing 2’s version,’Not my pig. Not my farm.’
It’s easy to say that.
Thing G is not my pig and this is not my farm. However, when I joined my life with YBW I willingly took some responsibility for that pig and this farm.
My question is when does the responsibility shift from the farmer to the pig?
Can I accept that day may never come?

At this stage of the game, these constant reminders to do things for which you’re responsible should not exist.
But that’s the thing, right?
He’s not actually responsible for anything.
Not unloading the dishwasher.
Not mowing the lawn.
Not even combing his own hair.
How can one be expected to be a responsible member of a household, or be responsible to create one’s own household if they’re not actually expected to be responsible?

Y’all I don’t know the answer to any of these questions.
I truly need to learn to stop asking.
It would take the pressure off my husband.
It would make my life so much simpler.
And if I’m not entirely comfortable in life, the least I can do is simplify it.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

managing expectations

Y’all ever get pissy about something and know you’re in the wrong but for whatever reason you can’t let it go and get more and more pissy?

No?
So it’s just me then?
Yeah, that’s what I figured.

I got all bent out of shape because YBW told Thing G he’d make him a different dinner than the one we were having. (same food, just prepared differently)
This did not sit well with me.
Maybe it’s because I grew up poor, or didn’t have much when my girls were kids, but the idea of making more than one meal makes no sense to me.
It turns out that loads of people do it.
And though that’s the thing that set me off, it’s not actually the point.

The point is that if I had known Thing G wouldn’t eat what I suggested, I would have made something else. The kid is only home for dinner two nights a week, I want to feed him what he likes.

So I just got more and more frustrated.
YBW kept saying I thought he was an idiot.
Which infuriated me.
And there we are in the kitchen shouting at each other because I’m mad and he feels stupid.

He said something that truly shocked me.
He suggested that we go through life and I simply tolerate him. That he’s something I have to endure.

I don’t know if it was just that something was triggered in him or he really believes that.
I don’t believe that.

We function differently. That’s cool.
I need more information before executing plans.
He doesn’t want feel like I think he’s an idiot.

I absolutely overreacted.
I can be irritated by something and not become a screaming shrew. I’m not exactly sure how, but I’m all for figuring it out.

But when I’m frustrated or angry about something it makes me even more frustrated or angry when he starts telling me I think he’s stupid. That I think he’s a failure.
That was honestly the last thing in my mind.

The first thing was I’m so sick of our lives revolving around a young man who refuses to take responsibility for his own life.
The second thing was that I would never offer to make a second meal for literally anyone. That level of accommodation exceeds my level of tolerance.
The third and most important thought was if I had known he didn’t like this food prepared this way, I would have made something else. Why serve someone something they don’t like?

The food situation had been solved previously by having the boys decide the menus when they were here. That way they ate what they wanted. I was happy to prepare the meals as long as I didn’t have to plan them.
That went out the window when Thing C moved out.
Thing G can’t be bothered.
YBW expressed that he doesn’t think it matters all that much.

Y’all, it’s not about food.
It’s about family members functioning together to run a household.
It’s about people who can’t care enough to engage in their own lives creating a black hole in a household.
It’s about blending two families that function in completely different ways.

It isn’t YBW that I can’t endure.
It’s his kid.

And the worst part is that I actually love that kid!
I love the stuffing out of him and want every wonderful thing for him and his life.

I know I’m ridiculous for being angry about what I can’t do anything about. But I am.
I know I should apologize for being ridiculous. But I didn’t.

I made a commitment to YBW and his kid. To get him through college.
I will honor that commitment.
I will do my best not to become angry or irrational.

I shouldn’t make YBW miserable just because I’m frustrated.
I shouldn’t be miserable just because I’m frustrated.

The reality is it’s a no win situation.
Because Thing G frustrates me I’ll be miserable.
Because I’m miserable I’ll be angry.
Because I’m angry, YBW will be miserable.

I need to get over myself.
Truly, it is the simplest solution.

I’m not really sure what set me off.
I just know I’m so sick of it.
The feeling this way, I mean. It’s exhausting. But more than that, it’s not good for me to be so frustrated what the kid does and does not do. The kid doesn’t give any f**ks, why do I?
Um…because someone has to?
(le sigh, le really big sigh)

As long as Thing G is comfortable, YBW is willing to sacrifice his own comfort.
I’m not willing to sacrifice comfort. Mine or YBW’s.
So I act like a dick and cause more discomfort…?

It’s my life too!
I have to live in this house too!
Why does the comfort of the kid matter more than anyone else’s?
What does that teach the kid?
What does that teach other family members?

Why does what I expect or want or need get trumped by those of the kid?

What I really want is a little peace.
When the kid is in the house there isn’t any. It’s not because he actively breaks the peace. It’s that everything about him matters more than everything about everyone else. I have a hard time finding the peace in that. And not because I think I should matter more. But because as a family unit or humans in a shared household, there should be more balance in who and what matters.

What I really want is a little peace. (I know I already said it)
I want to be myself.
That is not to say I want to always get what I want. Just to be me. Without fear of upsetting the kid. Without fear of upsetting my husband.
I’m equal parts lovely and wretched.
I’m opinionated.
I’m impatient.
I’m quick tempered.
But I’m also kind.
I’m loyal.
And I’m the most fiercely loving person you’re likely to come across.
I understand that being in a relationship with me isn’t always sunshine and lollipops.
I am actively working on being a better me.
I have a willingness to become more.
I have a willingness to embrace change. What I do not have a willingness to do is change who I am to fit into a life someone else built. Neither do I expect that of the people I love.

Square peg – round hole is a realistic situation.
Neither the peg nor the hole should be expected to make all the changes. This is a delicate situation in which it takes time, and patience, and practice working together to change the environment so it’s a better fit for everyone equally.

Expectations.
Am I expected to do all the compromise? All the changing?
Do I expect YBW to do all the compromise? All the changing?
Do I expect Thing G to do all the compromise? All the changing?
Any one of those expectations is unrealistic. The expectation that every person can compromise a little, can change a little will create an environment in which each member is more comfortable.
I’d like to better manage my expectations.

I just want to be comfortable in my environment.
I want the others to also be comfortable in the environment.

Thing is, I believe I’m the only one that’s uncomfortable.
So is it a me problem as opposed to a we problem?

I honestly don’t know.
What I do know is that I need to stop being a dick.
I need to pay attention to how what I say and do impacts the people around me.
I need to have courage and be kind.
I need to do everything in love.

I’m tired of this same old song.
I think I’m the only one singing it.
I must stop singing it.
It’s the only way I’ll find peace.

Categories: me, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

it can’t be a contest if I choose not to particpate

Thing 2 told her father she’s coming to live here in the fall…this was her decision and hers alone. I offered to help her tell him, she told me she wanted to do it herself, partly because it was her plan and she wanted to advocate for it and partly because she knew if I was involved he’d think I was coercing her. Thing 2 is very bright.

She told him on Tuesday, and this is the email he sent to me Wednesday. Following that is my response this morning.

I am thrilled FOR my daughter, not because she’ll be with me, but because she is ready to climb out of the hole he helped her dig. She’s climbing out all by herself. I couldn’t be more proud.

I don’t understand this “you win” nonsense…but then I have never played the game.

(email he sent early Wednesday morning)
I don’t know where to start and wish I didn’t have to. The idea of letting Thing 2 go to Va. just hurts me so, but it is probably the best thing for her. I just want her to be in the best place for her to grow. Living here has been a slow learning process for her and I feel to blame for that just because she has been home alone far more than she should have been. I have to work and keep the bills paid, food on the table and have entertainment expenses. If she had gone to CHS this past year it may have been a different result and I believe better.
You have gone to Va. and tried to make a new life for yourself but I have been left to try to make a life here where my life of taking care of my family has been twisted to become something different. I am not sure what I can do to help Thing 2 here now that I have committed to the expenses of this house but it would have been the best thing for Thing 2 if she had stayed in school at CHS. I could give up and make my expenses less but now she wants to create a new life in Virginia and that may be the best thing for her.
So now I have to go to work like always and soon I must find a way to make a new life for me.
You Win……..JM

(my resonse)
JM,
The fact that you said, “you win” makes me feel sad and kind of sick.
Nobody wins here. Thing 2 failed her junior year and wants to drop out of high school.
Everybody fails.

I agree she would have been better off at CHS…and that might have been able to happen second semester had she been able to get it together enough to pass first semester and transfer back. But she was not supported by the people who are supposed to support her. We are her parents. We must behave like parents and support our children.
We failed her.

You work the way you work, the way you’ve always worked. It’s not an excuse, it just is.
I understand you’re having to reconfigure the plan of your life. I understand that it’s hard. You’ve stood on your own two feet financially since you bought your first house…now you have to figure out how to stand on your own two feet emotionally, and it’s hard, and you don’t have much practice…so it’s going to feel icky, and I’m sad that it’s icky for you.

I had nothing to do with Thing 2’s decision. She called me and asked if she could come here, asked if she could be in my home. My babies will always have a home wherever I am, I can not, did not tell her no.
I did not feel that I’ve “won” anything. I don’t view those girls as a contest with you. I don’t consider them items with which to hurt and humiliate you. They are my babies. I will always work tirelessly to do what I believe is best for them.
Thing 2 believes she will find success by relocating her life, I support that, not because she’s coming here to where I am, but because I heard her voice, heard the long dormant fire in her belly crackling as she spoke to me. Heard her planning, and being excited to plan, her future.

The fact that you say I’ve won makes me think you’ve got it all wrong…I don’t believe it’s a contest.
I chose to do what I believed was best for me when you decided what was best for you was for me to be away from you. I saw your seriousness and chose to make arrangements to leave when you expressed your desire for change.
I never saw any of our life as a contest, that feels hurtful, as though knowing you and loving you is somehow negated. If it’s a contest then we’ve both lost.

I don’t like that you’re hurting. I have not liked hurting. I don’t understand what happened to the kindness between us, I guess it went away when it turned into some kind of contest.
I choose not to participate in any contest with you. I choose to just be. I choose to just care.

Thing 2 needs something, she’s looking for something, perhaps she’ll find it here, perhaps not. But she’s looking. I don’t want to discourage that.
R

So the high road pays off…my friend and mentor will love that!

Categories: divorce, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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