When I was going through my very bitter divorce, my ex-husband painted a picture of being the “perfect” parent for our son; therefore, the courts should agree with him that it would be in the best interest of our son to remain with him… This part, was at the beginning of our divorce, when we had to attend mediation for the sake of our son. When the situation got serious, as in, yes, we are having this divorce, it was like he just “vanished”. No response to the courts, and costing me a very pretty penny because I “lawyered” up just in case.
When our divorce was finalized, and he learned that I changed the parenting time schedule to him only having our kid every other weekend, he flipped out and called me every derogatory word associated for a woman. The “new” parenting time only lasted a couple months before he decided to leave the country… Yes, country. So, instead of having time with his son every other weekend, as planned, he decides to just leave. As what every “perfect” parent would do, I assume.
Now, let me put things into perspective – yes, he is overseas for his job, but he is not in the military. We agreed that he would call every Sunday to speak to our son, but he has gone weeks and months not even e-mailing me or trying to reach out to our son. Video-chatting and phone calls are not the only way that he could reach out to our son, because he also has our address, which means he could, at the very least, write to him.
Any way, compare this to my experience when I was deployed for six months, and faithfully reached out to him every week to speak to my child. Mind you, at the beginning, I actually spent every free moment I had, texting and calling my ex and my son, just to see how they were doing. That was short-lived because my ex insisted I called them only on the weekends to “save conversation and not make things boring”… Umm, okay? I did what my husband wanted, and even then, there were times that I’d call and my ex would say “Oh, he’s not here, he’s with so-and-so”. I spent a couple weeks and months not being able to contact my son merely because my ex didn’t want me to. Of course, there are always two sides of the story: my son’s father may be very well busy where he’s at, much like how it was when I was deployed. However, the fact always remains that kids will surely remember who or what parent was always there, and which parent wasn’t.
Yeah, kids are pretty materialistic when they’re young, but when they become teenagers and emerge into adults, who’s going to be there for them when times get rough? You can’t just throw money at problems and expect them to go away… Although, I’m sure some people would disagree. Either way, kids need their parents and they don’t need toys or lavish things. They need memories and experiences. Most importantly, they need to know that someone’s out there, looking out whats best for them. Co-parenting is not about who’s the coolest parent, or which parent is Mr/Mrs. Money bags. In fact, throwing money at your kid to simply win their love, loyalty, and respect is the worst thing. It undermines the other parent’s effort in showing them actual love and affection. Co-parenting needs to be on the same level, where parents can just set aside their differences and anger of each other for the common good, which is their child(ren).
Sorry, for the long background story. This has been something that pops up in my mind very often. Are you in a co-parenting relationship? And if so, were you and your child’s mom/dad able to come away from competitive parenting?