Confessions of BioMom Gone Bad: “…and then Hell froze over.”

12 Jan

Sometimes Hell freezing over can be a good thing.

There are few divorces involving children that go smoothly (if you’re lucky enough to have had one of those, I envy you).  In some post-divorce situations, there are periods of goodness (when everyone gets along and the “shuffle” of children to and from each home goes smoothly) and rottenness (fighting between parents, threats to sue for custody, etc.).  My ex and I have been on that rollercoaster for 5 years. 

When he left, there was never any question about who would be the primary custodian of our children.  He works 6 AM to 2 PM Sunday through Thursday with no flexibility (and no sick time or vacation); I am a consultant who works out of the house and am lucky enough to have a flexible schedule.  He moved into a small house in the next town over; I stayed in the house.  It was best for the kids to stay with me and we both knew it.  But there have been times over the last few years, where outside influences (mostly of the female variety) encouraged him to fight for primary custody so that he didn’t have to pay child support.  He was under the erroneous assumption that I was “sitting pretty” while collecting child support.  He admitted that the motive was financial.  But somewhere along the way he convinced himself that he could provide a better life for our children, when he was barely scraping by.  My thought:  Yeah, you can have the kids—after you pry them out of my cold, dead hands. 

Then I’d go through reality with him:  I’d remind him that he had no schedule flexibility and that our youngest would have to have before school care, nevermind all the afterschool driving to two different sets of activities—and that was just during the week. I’d also point out that he lived in a different school district (they’d have to change schools) in a two-bedroom house (not enough rooms) with no children nearby (my neighborhood is crawling with kids).  The threat would emerge every year and then go away after the reality of the time, extra money spent and of course, the impact on the kids set in.  During one heated argument I said, “If you like your bachelor lifestyle, you better be careful what you wish for.”

And then, Hell froze over.  During a phone conversation last week in which he was checking to see if I needed help with activity pick-up and drop-offs he said, “You’ve done a really good job with the kids.  I don’t know how you do it all.  You were right, there’s no way I could do it.”  My response?  “Wait, you’re finally admitting that you couldn’t do it after all those threats?” to which he said, “Hmm, let’s just forget about that, okay?” 

Wow.  Just wow.  I can’t remember the last time he said that, or if he even said it at all when we were married.  I knew it took a lot out of him to say something nice, so I said thank you and left it at that.  We’ve said a lot of horrible things to each other over the years, but that one acknowledgement of my work as a parent (and me not giving a smart ass response) healed some big gaping wounds, for the both of us.

Has your ex ever said anything nice to you that took you by surprise?  What was your response?  Did it heal some wounds or did you feel totally vindicated and think, “It’s about time!”

3 Responses to “Confessions of BioMom Gone Bad: “…and then Hell froze over.””

  1. Robin D. January 13, 2011 at 8:44 am #

    I honestly can’t think of anything my ex has said that was “nice” about anything I do, but he has finally learned to apologize when he steps over the line and will say “thank-you” if I go out of my way for him. I also have full custody and that was a no-brainer during the divorce. Like in your situation, every year or so he goes off on some “I want the kids full time” stint. And yes, the first time was after a couple of years of pleasant exchanges and even shared birthday parties….enter in steady girlfriend. I knew exactly what got his undies in a knot and convinced him he would be the better parent even though he had to be reminded who the kids’ doctors, teachers, day care providers, etc. were. Now, when he goes off on some tangent about how the kids would be better off with him, I basically tell him “you know the avenue you need to take to try and get custody and if you really really want that, I can’t stop you.” He immediately drops the subject because he knows that not only would he get laughed out of the courtroom, but it would damage the decent relationship we have built over the past 5 years. There is no yelling, no arguing, NONE. Because I won’t have it.

    And like I tell him, “I know you would do fine and be capable of taking wonderful care of our kids if I kick the buckwheat, but I AIN’T dead yet!”

  2. Stepmom Central January 14, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    I think we are all surprised when any opposite parent gives us praise or says we are doing a good job. Whether it’s a step-parent or bio-parent, most of the time it is unexpected because of the past friction or drama.
    I remember the first time the biomom of my stepkids admitted I take great care of her kids, I looked at her like she was speaking another language!
    I think the hard part is backing those words up with positive actions and positive words to the children. I could care less whether she gives me compliments to my face and my husband is the same way. We would rather them say those things to the kids instead so that is creates a positive atmosphere for the kids while they spend time with her.
    I am so glad you got recognized. Many non-custodial parents do not see the every day hard work that goes into a taking care of a child or a group of children. They tend to take for granted the work the parent puts into it. I am happy that your ex is finally seeing or admitting that you are doing a great job.

  3. momma2three08 August 8, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    That is BEAUTIFUL. Thank-you for sharing.

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