Regretfully, my intentions to write daily haven’t come to fruition. Having been on my second Parenting-Through-Separation course today, it was made clear to document EVERYTHING and, whilst that seems like a cynical, deceitful thing to be doing, not doing so might come and bite me in the arse in a few months. So, by doing this, it might not feel so underhanded.
It is now Friday; 5 sleeps on from when we told the kids we were no longer going to be together. I cried more tears on Sunday than I had in a very long time: tears for me, for failing at this marriage malarky, but buckets and buckets for those three kids who were broken. Despite this, AH tried to discuss the parenting time-split. His timing has never been great but if he thought I was going to sit down at the end of an emotional day and make decisions about whether he would parent two or three days of a week, he was mistaken (not to mention, heartless and beyond stupid).
On Monday, we functioned as usual, ie. I got kids up and ready for school, went to work, sorted dinner. AH came as we’ve agreed once he’d finished work to spend time with the kids (he will come every evening and spend some time. I’ve offered to include him in our dinner so he feels included). Following dinner, he said his byes and left to his friends, where he’d stay for two nights, before moving into one of the rented accommodations I’d managed to find. Kids, especially, Miss 5, were upset but it didn’t take long before we were able to read stories, get smiles and have a wonderful evening. I went to bed feeling somewhat relieved – I’d survived Day 1 of “The New Normal” and it had been good. Great, actually! Day 2 was pretty much the same – again, a lovely evening once AH had departed (and even before he left; don’t get me wrong and think it was only nice once he had left the building. We are both doing our bit to be amicable in front of the kids and, therefore, treating each other nicer than we have for a long time). I was actually finding I could tell people out what was going on without having tears well up. I’d recall the nasty and belittling comments I’ve had directed at me of late and got thinking “I deserve better than that”. It was a feeling of alleviation and just HAPPINESS (and, despite being on an anti-depressant medication for some time, this was the first time I’ve felt that, for a real long time).
Found it odd that, for someone who is telling me he’s all about prioritising the kids and that he’ll fight for primary caregiver status, when I suggested on Monday that we cancel the planned babysitter for this coming Saturday for a party for local friends (given it’s the first weekend of the separation and the kids shouldn’t be left with a stranger), he baulked at the idea of him not going to the party, even though if he’s to be weekend daddy, this is something he may have to sacrifice quite often in future. I imagine there’s been a ‘proposal’ soon to ensure Cinderella does get to the ball.
Days 3 and 4 also went smoothly. AH came while I was a work and moved all his stuff out. Was odd to come home to empty drawers and an empty cupboard (given he was going to be staying in the house a couple of nights a week, I expected some clothes and necessities to be left, but he’s never thought as pragmatically as me). Was great to have an empty cupboard to put some duvets, which have been dumped on our floor every since the warmer nights have come, out of sight.
I’ve got to admit, I’m getting a bit tired (read, cranky) as my bed is being invaded each night by my very own members of the Buckwackers: either Master 8 or Miss 5 have established that my defences are down, in my effort to cut them a bit of slack while they adjust, so I’m yet to have a night of interrupted sleep. Not to mention the damn cat who has a foot fetish – and MUST be as close to a pair as possible, even it there’s an Antarctic-sized expanse on the other side.
So today is changeover day. AH goes back to the house. I come to the rental. I’ve looked forward to having my own time for a while … I don’t get much of it despite needing it. I sat through my P-T-S course this morning and didn’t even shed a tear (rewind one week when I couldn’t say a damn thing without blubbing). I brought my supplies to the rental (including some things that have been on my to-do list for over a year) then went back to the home to give it a much-needed clean [and this thought comes to me: why would I clean the home when I’m not going to be in it for a couple of days? I’ll get back Sunday afternoon and I guarantee it won’t look the same. If AH is so sure he can give 50-50 care, will I be expected to be the only one to clean the home as I’m there the majority of the time, or will it be an even split? Will I still need to change all the linen, fold and put away all the washing, ensure school uniforms are ready for the week?? Asked AH to change Miss 5’s bedding and got a “why?” which makes me think that, yes, I am expected to continue to play house cleaner].
To this end, I suggested this evening that AH takes the kids every Tuesday to their swimming lessons so that I can put in more hours at work (I had initially suggested that he do it every 2nd Tuesday). I don’t think it fair that I’m the one doing the morning routine, cleaning, tidying, schlepping between after-school activities and playdates – and he gets to be Good-Time, Weekend Daddy (you know, pj’s til midday, no pressure to be anywhere at a given time, parks, FUN!). We’ll see where that goes.
Despite it being AH’s time to be main parent, he can’t make it to school pick-up so I offer to go for him. Not a great start for proving “I can be primary caregiver”. AH cooks dinner. I can’t bring myself to take part in prayers before dinner and it gets questioned by AH. It would seem the hypocrisy of standing in front of our families and his friends in a church 12 years ago pledging to “love and honour for the rest of my life” and being in the place we find ourselves today hasn’t yet been realised by him.
I’m saying my goodbyes to teary Miss 5 when AH lets Masters 5 & 10 get the tablet. Now for those who don’t have young boys and a tablet, you might not know of the phenomenon that occurs when you combine the two forces: the outside world ceases to exist and eyes can only be focused on the screen in front of them. I managed to get very short, emotion-free hugs from them and left. Much respect for your caring parenting skills. I’ve tried to reason that this might have been done purely to alleviate any tears from them, but it was the most awful thing to have to go through. You prick!
Now I’m a mess. I don’t know if it’s being in this place which is not a home, being without my kids, not having a tv, being alone, the returning feeling that I’ve failed, or all the above. Considering it’s a Friday in NZ, I think not having a tv is actually a blessing that I should be grateful for. I miss my kids. I miss the house I’ve made a home. I miss my kids. I miss that annoying foot-loving cat. I MISS MY KIDS! And I hate you just a little bit, AH, for not being brave enough to acknowledge your faults and make an effort to fix them. You took the view that you should be allowed to say whatever you wanted, rather than sometimes shutting the fuck up and thinking about whether you might have perceived something wrong, whether you should have been a little bit curious and ASKED if I meant something to come across a certain way, whether you could’ve been a grown-up and kept those nasty digs to yourself and we are now here.
God, I hope this separation gets easier. Please tell me it does! (and I don’t mean my separation from AH – I mean my separation from the kids I carried for 38, 39 4/7 and 40 weeks respectively and have been a stay-at-home mum to ever since; while you, DESPITE MY WISH TO HOLD OFF FOR A YEAR, chose to study and leave me basically as a single parent while you slept, went to the library and let me drift further away. Definitely NOT my separation from you, you bullying, arrogant shit).
Time for bed and some deep breathing exercises, clearly 🙂