Tag Archives: grown up life

Stories form us

I believe us humans learn how to behave, and a certain amount of our moral compass from stories, either family stories, books, tv – think Friends, songs, film etc. 

So by sticking our male children from 10-20+ in front of a story that is or similar to Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty for hours and days at a time (unlike a single story book) what can we expect from them as adults. It amazes me they can function in the real world at all after almost total submersion with their peers into a world of sex, violence and narcissism. 

I’m not saying they will all be serial killers but their out- look on the every day minutae of life will be framed by the stories they have been submerged in. Expectations of relationships and how to treat women, the ability to just restart if something goes wrong. How to treat fellow humans that get in your way. It scares me. 

Being a step parent is hard

Being a step child is hard too. But there are rewards. Step parenting should not be undertaken lightly. You have to do everything you would do for your own kids, but more to win them over, then yours are jealous…

This means cooking their favourite foods to be told their mum does it better, crispier, softer, with lemon, without. 

Washing all their clothes including skidded pants, and yes they will use every item of clothes in the cupboard and give you more to wash after one weekend than your own kids do for a week. 

Putting the clothes away as they are not back for two weeks. 

Changing endless bed sheets as the spare room is overtaken with sweet wrappers and nerf bullets.

You will not feel like a luxury bubble bath after hearing that they’ve accidentally poohed in the bath again. 

You will worry they’ve used your toothbrush again. 

You worry if it’s appropriate that they climb in bed in the morning for a cuddle.

You have to learn to cope with their little of big problems from autism to fear of spiders.

You will buy them clothes or suffer other people judging that you’d let your kids out in ……. Fill in the blanks or unsuitable clothing.

When they behave badly you can’t tell people they are not yours. 

Your weekend will be centred around them as you only have them two days in fourteen. 

They will sit in your favourite chair and you won’t say no.

You’ll watch their choice of TV.

You’ll buy them birthday or Christmas presents to watch them toss it aside to say they have a better one at home. 

You won’t be able to discipline them or they’ll hate you, run to dad or mum and say how evil you are. 

You will be their carer but not welcome at parent school meetings, or sports days or family celebrations, anything important in their life.

You won’t get a Mother’s Day card for all you do for them but you will help them make one for your partners ex.

They will assume you have to do all the things you do for them and not realise that actually you don’t. 

You will lose them if you split with your partner. 

You are a parent with no rights. 

You will get close to them yet have no say in their upbringing. 

 

It’s all worth it when my partner comes back from sports day and says his son asked why I wasn’t there (I  would love to be but wouldn’t want to upset his mum) but he missed me and that makes me feel like I’m doing ok. 

 

So you want a divorce? 20 thoughts.

So you want a divorce? Some tips if you have kids on how to keep it amicable from someone who failed. Do as I say not as I do! My biggest regret about my divorce is that we couldn’t keep it amicable. Written from the female perspective as I am, but I’m sure you can adapt it however your relationship is made up and balanced. 

1. Don’t post anything on face book or other media. Delete your account or at least post nothing. Your ex will grow resentment (yes they’ll find it even if blocked), your kids won’t understand that your fun without them isn’t a reflection on them or why you are being snide about dad. If they are young they will see it soon, it’s out there, just don’t. 

2. If you have the money be generous, if you don’t be grateful. Split it in half if it’s been a long marriage. 

3. Make a final settlement, otherwise you (or your new partner) will always resent paying or receiving and not be free.

4. Don’t ask your ex for help, no light bulbs changed or cakes made. It’s over.

5. Try to avoid lawyers, at least as much as possible, you have to legally disclose how much you have  to them and they seem to be able to make their fees exactly that! A good lawyer means one who’s made amicable divorces in the past, not a Rottweiler that will screw your ex.

6. Don’t text, email your ex anything but facts about the kids. No calling them a moron or sending emotional emails about ‘winning’ the divorce. Yep he did!

7. Do text them lots of info about your kids, so they know about sports days, the cat dying and events and what’s going on in their lives. Kids are terrible at coms. Schools are generally pretty hateful and uncommunicative to dads in my experience. 

8. Be prepared to lose most of your friends, don’t worry it leaves spaces to make new genuine ones. 

9. Be final. No getting back together and then splitting. It will break your kids hearts. 

10. Don’t play games and get mean, no starving ex to get them to sign (yes he did), your kids will suffer and you will only look bad. 

11. Don’t stop access to kids, for any reason apart from their safety. Set up a good routine.

12. If you disagree with something for kids, like phones, you can tell that to ex but you can’t stop it. You can’t micro manage their world with your ex anymore than your ex can manage yours. 

13. Try to work around arrangements, lives are complicated but you can say no, sometimes making an ex husband take responsibility for the time he has his children and finding his own care arrangements can help the kids see daddy cares. Try to give notice.

14. If you do alternate weekends try to make it a pick up after school, then whole weekend and drop back to school. That way you get a chance for a proper relaxing weekend without home work and meals to prepare. He gets to do meals, homework and washing with kids and bonds through that (it really is the little things that count), the kids get a great role model of capable dad and the bond is stronger. 

15. Don’t send messages through kids, they get forgotten/missed and the child is drawn into your fight. Try to acknowledge messages politely so everyone knows what’s happening. 

16. Regular child sharing is great, as a woman it was my first taste of freedom for years and I learnt to value it, if you poison your child about ex they will not want to go and you will be exhausted and fed up of asking friends for a favour. 

17. Pay your maintenance when it’s due. 

18. Don’t speak ill of ex, it’s hard as we naturally need to alienate them to allow us to move on, (who wants to moon on about someone whos rejected them!)but your kids love them much as they love you, if you alienate the children have some very confused feelings. 

19. Make your new partner understand that you may not appear to hate you ex, but you will never be together again, reassure them. 

20. Be honest about your assets, including the bullion and the old stamp and the designer number plate. This is the mother of your children. Remember karma. 

Empty Nest

That was so quick, two little embryos grown and about to fly, literally to the other side of the world. I’m left with the pets and quiet bedrooms gathering dust.

 It didn’t all go to plan, I was expecting as the children left to be pet free and have time for our own adventure with my husband. Sadly five years ago he started his adventure without me! My lovely pets are showing remarkable health, bouncing along happily.  But this doesn’t mean huge changes are not afoot, life is going to be so free with no one to answer to and I – who thought 10 years ago my life was mapped out – have no idea what is behind that next enticing door. 

 

Isn’t life fun when you don’t know what’s going to happen next, plans are over rated!

She nodded as he lied to the children (2)

It might seem strange after such a short conversation to know it was over but she did. She told the kids dad had gone on another work trip, the kids were not phased he was always doing that. She met a divorced girl friend in the supermarket car park after dropping the kids off who just held her. She asked if he was on drugs, had a brain tumor or another woman. 

‘No no no he just doesn’t want me anymore.’

She googled what to do and decided that he had to decide if it was over and called him, he said it was but wanted some time to think about it. How long she asked? Six months he said, maybe more, she was thinking more like the weekend! She said if he needed that long he had to tell the kids. He agreed and came round in the evening and told the kids lies while she nodded.
‘It will be amicable’
‘I still love your mum’
‘There’s no one else’
‘If we split up everything will be divided equally’

I can’t do this anymore (1)

‘I can’t do this any more’
‘If you feel like that you had better leave’.
‘You mean the spare bedroom or …’
‘No. Just go’.
He left, it was probably their third or fourth major argument in their twenty five year marriage and still no raised voices. With the gift of hindsight she realised the argument a couple of years before was when she knew it was over, he had explained that he was only staying for the children. She thought it was just a blip. Now she realised he couldn’t even do that. She still loved him. He had been out the night before like he often did these days and when he got home she had complained that he never wore his wedding ring. She cried all night and in the morning they had this four line conversation and it was over.

Shades of Grey, Bitter Lake, Actions and consequences

My last blog documented a mini melt down, but I’m calmer now and I see things clearer. My son is 18 and I have to let go, for want of a better way to say it I have to care less, I can’t change the the love I feel but he’s not my responsibility any more.

My partners son who has some learning difficulties fell off my off road sidecar yesterday and has a sprained ankle. When I say fell, it was more of a step, and today I have resolved to renew my campaign of ‘actions have consequences’ with him. My partner was driving and feels guilty but the truth is it’s the lads actions of stepping off that caused him pain. Because of his condition too much is let slide and other people suffer the consequences of his actions. This time he is. For example I have to clean up when he spills sugar all over the table at breakfast, when actually he is quite capable of cleaning up himself or taking more care in the first place. His condition isn’t black and white, just because he has a few problems doesn’t mean he can’t do anything and he needs to be taught by his parents that actions have consequences. But I too need to remember that my actions have consequences.

I watched a brilliant film (twice) recently called Bitter Lake, it attempts to explain the mess of Afghanistan and that area. It talks of how past politicians presented ‘the problem’ as black and white, good and evil. It seems to me a lot of war is cast in this light, whoever we are, whichever side we are on, we are sold a war, or reason to war as we are the good and they are evil. My divorce too became like that. I’m certain it was for my ex too, I’m sure I was demonised as much as he has been, this demonising enables us to act in a way that would previously have been unthinkable. We need to keep in mind that there are so many shades of grey in any conflict and it’s not so simple as black and white, good and evil.