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Hang together

April 3, 2011

Two days ago, my older son and I had a conversation in which he expressed his desire to jump off a bridge, and I told him his dad and I had already discussed it and were not going to let him. He, of course, reflexively answered, “But all my friends are going to jump off the–” but then stopped and said, “Wait. You and Dad already talked about it?” I told him we had, and he thought for a millisecond and then whined, “I wish I didn’t have to have you guys for my parents!”

Wow. It had to have been the best moment of my week. (It was a rough week at work.) First, who *doesn’t* want to be told, essentially, that you’re the Worst Mother in the World? It’s a pretty decent sign that you’re doing things right. (At the very least, you know you’re not the mom who buys weed for her kids and smokes with them.)

But second, it was great that he just lumped us in together. Worst Parents in the World. United front.

I remember back when we were still together, that same child played LOD and me against each other twice in a couple of months. It was kind of funny then, but once we split up, it became a stereotype I just wasn’t going to succumb to.

So it makes me feel good that even while LOD and I are circling around each other warily during these negotiations for the Big Life Change, we can still stay on top of the normal communications and decision-making required to ensure that our children hate us.

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. Chrissy permalink
    April 3, 2011 9:26 pm

    Way to form that united front! And a big pat on the back for being able to work together for your kids. I love hearing stories like this. And it’s true, that if you are the ‘worst parent(s) in the world’ to your children you are doing the right thing.

    But what does it mean if the STBX is making that same comment to you?

  2. Anne permalink
    April 3, 2011 11:27 pm

    This post is hilarious. Which is a huge relief because when I read the first sentence I thought the post was going to be about finding out your son is suicidal, which is totally NOT FUNNY.
    Also, Chrissy, what does STBX mean?

    • askmoxie permalink*
      April 4, 2011 12:13 pm

      Oh, Anne. No. That would be horrible. I just meant “jump off a bridge” because what he actually wanted to do was not important, it was just that there was no chance ever of us letting him do it.

      • Laura permalink
        April 5, 2011 11:09 am

        And I was like–he wants to go bungee jumping? Huh. Cause that hasn’t come up with my 9 yr old yet. 🙂

  3. Kathy B permalink
    April 3, 2011 11:42 pm

    *STBX = I think “soon to be ex”

    * “(At the very least, you know you’re not the mom who buys weed for her kids and smokes with them.)” — I know this parent. And now she can’t figure why the kids are always in trouble! (one kicked out of high school, one arrested etc.)

    • Chrissy permalink
      April 4, 2011 9:40 am

      @Kathy B – you are correct.

  4. April 4, 2011 12:14 am

    Great job! Loved this post.

  5. Slim permalink
    April 4, 2011 9:12 am

    I am reminded of those “There’s always room for Jell-O” ads, only in this case it’s “There’s always enough collaborative spirit left to suck the fun right out of your kids’ lives.” Well done, both of you.

  6. April 4, 2011 12:09 pm

    I also love it when my newly-ex and I can hang together in our complaints (serious and goofy) about the kids. I think one of the hardest parts of separated parenting is that I suddenly lost the other person who knows my kids as well as I do, and I lost that person to roll my eyes at, or heave the exasperated sighs with, or just generally commiserate about all things tough about parenting. I am glad when my ex complains to me about the kids and the annoying things they can do. It makes me feel less alone in the daily grind.

  7. Kathleen999 permalink
    April 4, 2011 6:58 pm

    United front is hard to do when married, so apart has got to way harder. Congrats!

    About the worst parent thing: My son told me the other day I was the worstest mom in the world. Part of me felt like I must be doing things right if he’s getting angry because I won’t let him do something. The other part of me felt really hurt to be called “worstest” when I am trying my best in the worst circumstances of my life. I told him later that it hurt my feelings to be called that, and he burst into tears, then we hugged and reconnected. But did I do the wrong thing by telling him? I want my kids to be aware that their words affect other people so that they learn to be empathetic and kind to others. But what is the right road to that awareness?

    • April 5, 2011 11:09 am

      Kathleen999, good question and I will interested in the replies too. I also have said similar things, especially when my son is obviously playing off both parents (Daddy lets me do this so why can’t I do this with you). He frequently says (as a 4 year old), I am a mean mummy and that he will move out and go and live with only with daddy (WTF). I generally respond that these are the rules at our house, and if he chose to not live here, that would be his decision but that it makes me sad. This usually triggers a sorry/make up reaction and while he will the accept the rule, I have wondered if I should be telling him how I feel. Same as you I want him to understand the impact of his words on others feelings.

      Usually, if I tell my co-parent what’s happening with our son, he will get on board and through this, we usually arrive at a consistent approach. Less confusing for a 4 year old – two sets of rules is hard.

      • Chrissy permalink
        April 5, 2011 4:57 pm

        So happy to hear that two ex’s can work together when difficulties arise with the children. When I express concern and a need for help with my kids to my STBX, he uses it against me, saying it just proves that I cannot be a good, competent mother. Keep up the united front! It gives me hope that maybe he can and/or will change sometime in the future.

      • askmoxie permalink*
        April 5, 2011 7:27 pm

        Chrissy, I can’t believe he tells you you can’t be a good mother. I feel sorry for him that he feels so inadequate that he has to attempt to tear you down.

    • Amy permalink
      April 5, 2011 2:55 pm

      I don’t think that was the wrong thing to do at all. I try not to be angry when I do it, but honestly, if anyone we love in our lives says something that is soul crushing, they need to know to have the opportunity to make amends. I think that is even more appropriate for kids, especially if you can do it after taking a deep breath so you do it well. I think it builds empathy and caring, just like it does when we say when we were wrong and make amends to them. I think what you did was really spot on.

      • askmoxie permalink*
        April 5, 2011 2:58 pm

        Amy, I’m with you. I think that if we want our kids to develop empathy, we need to tell them when they’ve hurt our feelings. You’d tell your child if they stepped on your foot and give them the chance to hug you to make you feel better.Why not do the same thing with emotional feelings?

        I also try to emphasize asking the other person what will make them feel better. Which has shortened itself to, “Go ask your brother how, and then fix it.”

  8. Dana Childs permalink
    April 5, 2011 7:23 pm

    I guess I just want to comment to the “worst parents in the world” part only because I think we all go through something similar whether we are together or apart and no matter what age our kids are. What is so shocking is that when your child actually makes some comment like “I hate you, I don’t like you, I don’t want to live here, I want to move out, etc…” because he’s mad at whatever you’re telling him to do or not do. In my case, my son is 7. And as surprising and hurtful as those statements can be, I then have to reflect back to when I was somewhere around that age, probably making similar statements to my stepfather when he laid down the law with me. He was strict and I didn’t like it and of course that was how I voiced my extreme displeasure over whatever the situation at the time was. And fast forward to the present: my son and me having some argument and me laying down the law. So in the end, I have to suck it up and chuckle and only hope that in about 15-20 years he will finally get what it’s all about. That what comes around goes around and we do know what’s best even if they don’t and maybe…just maybe, he’ll end up to be just as a good of a kid and then an adult as I’d like to think that I turned out to be. 🙂

  9. MomPlusKid permalink
    April 5, 2011 8:17 pm

    You’re negotiating menopause? That’s a losing battle, my friend….

    • Amy permalink
      April 15, 2011 2:59 pm

      That’s too funny! Thanks for the laugh:)

  10. April 15, 2011 10:56 am

    I just loved that he asked you first! lol! There’s only so much you can claim to hate your parents if you respect them enough to ask their permission about something like that! Too funny!

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