I realize that this post might ruffle a few feathers. I realize that I am speaking from my own experience. And I realize that my ex-husband will read this and unleash yet another round of hatred and immaturity on me. I also realize that all family units are not the same. Not all mothers are on the 'best' list and that men are screwed over by woman in the name of the children almost daily. I do live in the real world. But, some of us are doing everything we are supposed to do and still being deemed evil by the 'new' woman in our ex-husband's life. And I think it is unfair. So let's hit some emotional cords in an attempt to declare that I am not his ex-wife, I am THEIR mother.
I am the mom of three beautiful, intelligent, amazing children who are in my custody more than 80% of the time. I bore these children from my womb, nursed them, diapered them, stayed up late with them and have raised them since the moment that stick turned blue. There is no other human on this planet that has spent more time with these children. Those are simple facts that will never be changed. Now, as a single mother and the full custody, sole parent in the home, I am on duty all day, every day. I help them do their homework, nurse their boo-boos, make their meals, help them with getting dressed, baths and more. Literally, I do absolutely everything for them. All while managing a busy business that I am blessed to run from home and taking care of a 30 year old house that always needs attention. I am not perfect. My house is generally in need of a little more clean, my kids get chicken nuggets for dinner when I am tired and I have been known to put them to bed at 6:30 just so I can get a moment of peace. I get my feelings hurt when people have opinions about my motherhood and how I run my life and I turn into mama bear at the slightest hint that my children might be hurt. But I am, and always will be, their mother. Somehow in the process of the divorce, which is still seriously ugly almost two years later, and in the introduction of a woman that my ex-husband quickly moved in with - whom he has never formally introduced me to, by the way - I have become the annoying ex-wife. My calls to talk to my children while they are in his custody at his girlfriend's house are ignored. My attempts to protect my children against things I know will harm them causes me to be classified as a harassing b-word and my concerns are dismissed. I know where it all comes from. And I understand it. They want to have a perfect family when my kids are there all of 4 days a month. They want the image. Want the attention and want everyone to think that they have created the perfect environment for my kids. In fact, my ex-husband has said just that on many occasions. And I know the woman he is living with has a deep disrespect for me. I am sure the stories he has told her about me are less than flattering, and mostly untrue, and meant to make him look more desirable. I battle constantly with the urge to tell her the truth. But I don't. Because none of it helps my children. In reality, she may be a better match for him and I am all OK with that. The truth of the matter is that I do not care one bit what anyone thinks of me as an ex-wife. I wanted this divorce for a reason and it is, by far, the best decision I have made other than having my children. As an ex-wife, I am sure I come across in the ugliest of lights. It is just the position I accept in my circumstances. But, as these children's mother, I feel I should garner a certain level of respect. I feel I deserve the benefit of being able to get in touch with my kids and have my wishes as a mother considered. Everything I do is for the happiness, safety and benefit of my kids. Everything. People these days, and I have talked to many ex-wives about this, seem to put more value on a woman who is divorced as the evil ex-wife. We can do no right. We have an obsession with the men and their new women. Can't let go of the little things. Are harassing and childish. The worse of it seems to come from the new woman. Which totally baffles me, to be honest. But the truth is, we feel a great responsibility in raising our children. As single moms there seems to be a little more pressure to take perfect care of them and make sure they have all of the values, self esteem and needs necessary to become responsible adults. Most of us do it with very little or no support. But to the new women in our children's lives. The ones that take responsibility for our children when they are there, we are not out to get you. We are not out to ruin your relationship with our ex. Most of us are thrilled that you took them off our hands. We wish you the best with what we did not want. But we do hope that you can see us as not the woman in the stories that may be one sided. Not as the competition trying to ruin your perfect relationship. Not as the thorn in your side you have chosen to accept as part of the deal. But as the children's mother who wants nothing more than to know that her children are loved, cared for, safe and coming home to her. That her wishes and complete devotion to her children started in the decision to have them. That her love for them is all day, every day, no matter what. No breaks, no cracks, no desire to be anything else. And that though she wishes with all of her heart that she had been able to make decisions that would have kept the kids in a family unit that included both parents, her decision to leave the man did not include leaving her children. Nor did it include being treated with total disregard because she happens to be the ex. I give massive kudos to the woman out there who do everything in their power to truly treat their partner's ex-spouse as the respected mother of the children. I have several friends who you would find difficult to tell the difference between the children they have in their relationship and the ones who came as part of the deal. I had hoped my situation would be the same. Unfortunately, it is not nor does it seem it ever will be. So to the women who are stepping in after he has already been married and has had children. The ones who are in the honeymoon phase and feel he can do no wrong. The ones who think that it is the burden of the ex-wife to shoulder all of the wrongs he claims were done to him. It is time to focus on what is important. When you decided to allow the children into your life, you took on the understanding that I am not his ex-wife, I am THEIR Mother. And that position, regardless of personal emotions, should be respected and revered.