Repercussions

[Written yesterday.  Tuesday]

Today is Day 2 of the school holidays.  Normally, I love the holidays … we all get to cruise into the mornings; there’s no mad scramble to get out the door by 8:30 and the normal routine can relax a little.

But this has been Day 2 of HELL!  Day 3 if we include Sunday.

And all down to having tired kids who don’t think they need to do anything in this house to keep it ticking and who can’t handle their emotions.

As part of the new mediation plan, AH wants to bring the 2 kids he has on Saturday night back later (originally by 8 am; now by 9:30).  Despite having them for Saturday and (outside football season) being able to have breakfast with them then, he claims he wants to do that every 2nd Sunday too.  He texted on Sat to say he’d drop them off by 9 (why bother fighting for the extra time if you’re not going to make the most of it).  M9 and I have had a lovely 1-on-1 and are still just cruising on Sun, and he wants the extra time with me so at 8:40, I text AH to ask that he pushes it to 9:30, as agreed.  Turns out they had a BBQ at Grolsch’s last night and stayed over (first time the kids have stayed since they purchased a few months ago, which has been odd).

Which makes me think, it’s not about the kids.  He just wants the lie-in and to not disrupt the brother!

Ms6 is not herself as soon as she arrives: looks like she wants to cry.  It’s an awful day with her with emotions, tantrums, stubborn determination … and that’s just me! 🙂  Jokes.  She’s not herself at all.  Text AH to see if anything happened over the past few days.  Keen to know if I need to come at it differently.  Don’t get anything back from him so after the 3rd meltdown, call him 1:30 pm and I’ve woken him from his sleep.  Says that she’s been fine for him.  I question what time she got to sleep:  7:30-8 on Friday, I’m told, 8:30-9 on Sat.  My problem with that is both she and M11 have told me that she didn’t like sleeping at Grolsch’s and was crying.  They put M11 in the bed and, rather than top ‘n tail, put Ms6 on the floor.  No cushions or airbed … just on the floor with a pillow.  They were cold too.  Eventually, AH made up the couch and she slept out there with him.  So 9 pm was probably more like 10 pm before she actually dropped off.

I put her to bed at 6:10 and when I checked 5 minutes later, she was in la-la-land.

To make it worse, the boys are at each other.  There’s real hatred in both their eyes when they look at each other at times and it’s so upsetting.  How much is just an ‘ages and stages’ issue rather than separation?  M11 is definitely developing defiance, which I can appreciate is what he is meant to do.  But when everything is viewed negatively or from a victim perspective, then I have cause for concern.

And I come back to that feeling that these kids won’t reach their full potential.  My counsellor, playing devil’s advocate, said I didn’t trust my kids when I told her this concern.  Trust them to see right from wrong, to understand that things at our respective houses are merely ‘different’, to be able to handle two parents bringing them up from different pages.  And I sort of get that.

But when the relaxed, unlimited screen-time, crappier nutrition and shorter sleeps occur at one house, the old amygdala doesn’t work up to its full potential.  And there’s a knock-on effect.  And unfortunately that comes to the fore at my house!  And it’s not fair to the kids.  And it’s definitely not fair to me.

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Must. Do. Better.

I feel slightly ashamed that it’s been nearly three weeks since I got motivated enough to type here.  I’ve pulled the laptop onto the lap a few times but just haven’t had the impetus to take it further.  And considering what’s gone on, NOT documenting things is a dumb move.  Dumb!  Dumb!  Dumb!

What’s brought this funk-slump on?

Tired.  Lonely.  Cranky kids.  Hurt.  Over-committed.  Depressed.  Indecision.  Uncertainty.  Resignation.  Self-doubt.

So many emotions – just not many which are particularly positive.  Which I dislike.  I know that there’s silver linings out there and that sometimes they’re harder to see.  But, boy, they’re hiding themselves well right now.

And most of them stem from mediation, which took place 3 weecontrolks ago tomorrow.  Thankfully had a yoga sesh in the morning which had me at least starting on a zen footing.  Keep repeating my mantra …

… as well as constantly looking at the photos of the kids I’d taken in with me to keep me focused on what’s important.  The best interest of the kids is all that matters.

The irony is not lost on me.  We are going back to mediation because HE feels he doesn’t gets a weekend without kids.  Hardly putting their interests first, right there!

Apologies for the length.  I’m putting it here purely as a record for court, as it looks like we might be heading down this route.  I don’t want that!  God, I don’t want it.  But I must do better at covering my butt so here it begins …

Mediation starts with him saying he wants to go to week on/week off.  Reckons his work will allow it.  I’m completely against it:  there’s research that says it’s not good for the kids, it’s a long time for me to not see the kids and vice versa (where he said he’s had to do it so I should see how it feels … despite him NEVER not seeing the kids for a week), he struggles to get there 2 days a week … and I dread to think how exhausted I’d get kids back after a week, when they’re a mess after 2 days.  He brings up that other people make week on/week off work … BUT WE ARE NOT OTHER PEOPLE!  We’re two strong-minded, stubborn, Taurean’s – one of whom is trying to make a point that he’s up to the task of parenting when he’s not had to do any hard graft for the past 6 years!  Ask what he’s got planned for before- and after-school care, but he’s got nothing.  He’s had weeks to put a ‘proposal’ together that I would find difficult to disagree with.  

There’s no agreement so it’s parked until later.

I hate being in the room with him.  Got the palm up to make me stop talking at one stage.  He throws the most filthy looks at times which I was on the receiving end of enough during the marriage.  I won’t stand for them now.

Screentime is brought up but there’s nothing I can do about what he does on his time with them.  Adult discussions are also brought up.  Again, he plays the victim by saying I’ve told the kids I’m moving back to Hamilton.  I say what I’ve said to him is that “he’s making life untenable here” with his carrying on with the women from the group we both used to socialise with, and to the kids that “I’d love to move closer to Grandma and Poppa”.  I ask for clarity on what he considers adult discussion topics to be.

He still wants us to meet weekly for ‘family time’.  I can’t agree as I don’t believe the toxic atmosphere between us is of any benefit for the kids.  In due course, yes, I’d love to have that relationship, but right now, it’s just psychological abuse.

We break after 2 hrs and, on return, start putting what we’ve agreed into the parenting plan.  I want timings to be more stringent within the plan (as, if it wasn’t watertight, he’d take advantage).  In particular, I want it noted that he is responsible for the kids from 9 am on a Thursday.  He flips at this – he works in town so questions how he’s meant to get back from town to pick up the kids if they’re sick.  And this is what I don’t get … how would he do this on his days if he went WOn/WOff anyway?  What’s more, currently he only has to pick-up the kids 4 times a fortnight.  If that changed, it’d be 5.  I agree that, as I work local and have a flexible boss, if I can, I will pick up a sick child from school until he can get back.

He doesn’t have much to say and lets the mediator and I get on, while he stands at the window with his hackles up.  When we’re nearly there, he demands a break. 

Once he comes back in, he’s a different person.  Not sure who he’s spoken to but they were poison!  He’s angry.  Feels he hasn’t got anything out of the agreement.  Believes he’s compromised on everything and got nothing back.  So we’re at a stalemate of sorts.

  • Refuses to put the parenting plan into a court order, despite the police telling both of us we should.  Feels the 2-year enforcement would be too long so wants to review in 6 months;
  • If I insist on getting into a court order, he’d oppose it and we’d go to court (I could lose what I have and what I believe is in the kids’ best interests);
  • If it goes to court, he said he’ll bring up my mental health [mild depression].  I say “and my alcohol dependency?” [as he has no idea how my usage has decreased now he’s not around].  And he says yup, and he’ll bring up my physical attacks and bring witnesses [I’ve slapped him, yes.  He’s pushed me onto the bed when my cast had just come].  He’s out for blood;
  • He believes I’ve skewed the times we have the kids for my purposes, ie as I’m child-free Thurs and Fri, I get a weekend (!).  Refuses to acknowledge that I’ve implemented those days so that the kids are refreshed for the start of the school week.  Also refuses to see that he gets 3 kid-free days a week, I get 2;
  • At one stage, I point out that he’s Disneyland dad.  His response, “then [you] must be Cruella de Ville”.  Says he doesn’t want things to be as rigid as his as they are at mine which annoys me.  The way I continue to bring up my kids with boundaries in place is what we BOTH agreed throughout our marriage.  Now he’s ended the marriage, he can ignore all the research about prolonged use of screen, feed takeaways whenever, not do a damn thing fun with them … and get to be cool dad.  While I get to pick up the pieces.

He claims he wants fairness … but I don’t believe he knows what that is!!

He still wants his time without kids.  He says he’s got babysitters sorted now as “it’s too hard to ask me to help or swap”.  He asks what I propose and I reiterate that I think what we’ve got is the best for our kids so I don’t need to come up with anything.  He does!  

Mediator then suggests that he gets a weekend a month free, perhaps the first weekend for ease.  I question what would happen with kids’ 1-on-1’s as they’d hate to miss them.  Also need him to understand that if he ends up having a party on any other weekend of the month, I won’t be swapping dates.  This needs to be a consistent routine if I’m to agree.  I’m asked if I want a weekend too … but I don’t.  I’m a mum.  Who the hell gets that luxury?!

I agree to pick up the kids from school the first Friday of the month and have them until 4 pm Sunday, when he will pick up the two who didn’t miss 1-on-1, and have all 3 on Monday.  

While the mediator’s typing up the final version, I ask him if the new lady’s ex knows about them (as he and AH are mates).  He gets the angry face again, “what?  Knows we’re friends”.  I ask that if it happened to come out, it wouldn’t cause a problem.  I get back that ‘I haven’t posted anything on Facebook yet and I need to be careful’.  He’s shown my posts to his lawyer and he has a case against me, apparently.  Let him know that if it’s true, it’s not libel … but wonder who the snake in the grass it.  That trust element in people around here depletes a bit more.

Would a judge see through his charade?  I don’t know.  I’m confused whether I should call his bluff.  At the end of the day, I still want to move closer to my parents so court could be a given in any event.  I’d love to sit in on a few cases to get an idea of how bad this would be.  I know my kids would miss him, but he could have them for longer periods … hell, he could have the whole 2 weeks of holidays.  But they’re being damaged right now and he doesn’t care.  He only cares about hurting me.

And that’s wrong.

If only that voice on his phone during mediation could make him see it 😦