Confessions of a BioMom Gone Bad: “You are not the boss of me”

13 Dec

Are you a control freak?

The hardest thing I’ve had to do as a divorced mom of two is not to attempt to control everything thing my ex-husband does.  How he lives his life and what he does with the kids during his time is none of my business.  It’s a no-brainer, but it to me a long time to figure it out.

During the demise of our marriage, my ex-husband and I lived very separate and very different lives despite the fact that we were residing under the same roof.  I took charge of the kids, and he took charge of himself and only himself, literally.  He had a whole other life that I knew nothing about. When we finally separated and divorced, I tried to control every moment he spent with the kids.    I didn’t like the choices that he was making or the direction that his life was going, I didn’t like his friends, the woman he was dating and most importantly I didn’t like what he chose to do with the kids when he had them.  Because I had been the primary caretaker of the children, I was certain that I knew what was best for them and that everything he was doing with them was wrong. 

When the kids came back from their weekends, I’d ask them what they did and then went into the other room and brooded about it.  Often times I’d find myself firing off a few furious texts letting him know exactly what I thought. I wanted him to act differently as a father.  I wanted him to act how I thought he should.  I wanted him to be something he was incapable of being.  The same held true in our marriage, which is why it failed so miserably. 

 It took me a while to get past my own issues and realize that the kids were having fun spending time with their dad.  Not only did I need to back off, I needed to remember that we were divorced and what he did what his life and how he chose to spend time with the kids was no longer my business (unless of course, there was a safety issue involved). 

I had a few issues that I had to confront head on:  I was a control freak, I was still mad that he had the audacity to divorce me, and I just didn’t think he could do as good a job as me when it came to parenting.  Time for me to get over myself.  At the risk of sounding like a four-year old, I am not the boss of him.  But honestly, I’d like to be.

A combination of good friends, a few self-help books and a year of therapy gave me a huge dose of reality.   I had to let it go.  I had to be supportive of the relationship that he was building with the kids and I had to mind my own business.  That’s not an easy lesson for any mom who’s a control freak, but I had to recognize what I was doing and work on letting it go.  I had to come to terms with what he was emotionally capable of giving to the kids, and continue to encourage that while finding ways to fill in any gaps that might arise.  It’s something that I have to work on daily, and it’s not easy.

What about you?  Do feel the need to control what goes on in the other household?  Why or why not?

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4 Responses to “Confessions of a BioMom Gone Bad: “You are not the boss of me””

  1. redheadstepmom December 13, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

    What stunning honesty you show us. Your brutally frank description of your behavior, paired with how very rational and kind you seem today, give me hope – almost. (In my case, BM is a psychologist – and utterly incapable of self-reflection.) But in your case – I’m curious – what triggered your awareness and your reaching out for therapy, books, etc?

    • BioStep December 13, 2010 at 3:33 pm #

      My relationship with my ex was very complicated (and still is today). If I didn’t reach out for help, I was going to drive myself, my children and everyone around me, crazy. It’s that simple!

  2. Deb December 13, 2010 at 3:55 pm #

    Oh, I’ve felt like a control freak myself at times. My ex would come to pick up our daughter, and I was thinking, wow, he’s going to spend TIME with her!? Awesome!
    Then she’d come back home babbling (she was maybe 4) about her shopping trip with her aunt J. No dad, just aunt J.
    In his mind, men didn’t take care of children. Women did. So in his mind, he did his part..wowzer, wake up call for me.

    • BioStep December 14, 2010 at 9:01 am #

      Deb, read my other “Confession” about manipulating the parenting plan https://normallemons.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/confessions-of-a-biomom-gone-bad-manipulating-the-parenting-plan/#comments There was quite a conversation about Dads that let other family members take care of the children during their weekends.

      Personally, I don’t mind if my kids spend time with other family members on my ex’s weekend, just as long as they’re being cared for. It’s always good to spend time with the other side of the family. But, that wasn’t always the case—I had to let go of the urge to control what he did with them on his weekends. It’s not easy!

      Try to frame those weekends differently: if your daughter is having fun spending time shopping with Auntie, then great!! If in his mind men don’t take care of the children, then all the better that she’s with her aunt, right???

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