Thursday, July 26, 2012

It's all about the kids (part 2)

I wish that when I had separated from Laura and Nathan's father there had been something like the Foundations Parenting orders program. It may have made all the difference to how the last ten years played out, and continue to play out.


The parenting orders program is ordered by a family court judge when parents are unable to come to an agreement in regards to their children. However, I initiated the process before Aston's father and I had gotten to the stage where we were fighting in court about Aston. Having already been there and done that with Laura and Nathan's father, it was a process I did not wish to repeat.

It involves attending 6 workshop type meetings with a group of 4-6 other people, both male and female. In the group(s) I attended I was the only person there that had NOT been ordered to attend. During the initial introduction, I sat listening to the vitriol pouring out of the other participants, all the time thinking to myself 'I do not want to be like this!'

When it came time for me to introduce myself, I apologised, and said that I was here voluntarily and I didn't want to end up wasting my energy being angry like the other people I had just listened to.

Each workshop focuses on different aspects of being able to keep your child(ren)'s best interest at the fore front when dealing with your ex partner, as well as reinforcing that you as an individual are responsible for your actions and behaviour. If your ex partner chooses to behave Inappropriately and doesn't put your child(ren)s best interests first, it doesn't automatically give you a free pass to behave the same.

Aston's father also participated in these work shops at a different time and venue. I know that it was our mutual participation in this program that has made a monumental difference to how he and I conduct ourselves in regards to Aston and allows us to successfully co-parent him.

I have always tried to remain neutral in regards to Laura and Nathan's father, choosing not to react in front of them when something happened that infuriated or annoyed me about their father. Unfortunately, and somewhat ironically, when Aston's father was in their lives he didn't behave that way, and we often argued about him saying things about their father.

Recently, a little boy, the same age as Aston, died 13 weeks after being diagnosed with an aggressive malignant brain tumour. It was sad and tragic, and broke my heart when I heard about it. Unfortunately this little boy's parents were no longer together, and both had set up public facebook pages to honour their son. What disturbed and distressed me though is how they both very publicly wrote about their obvious anger towards each other. Neither of them were able to put aside their own bitterness for the sake of their little boy, and his brothers, even in though one of their children was dying. It left me uneasy, incredibly sad and questioning, but for the grace of god, what would happen if I ever found myself in a similar position with either Laura and Nathan.

I truly believe that the greatest gift I could give any of my children in this situation would be the appearance of a united front between myself and their father. Isn't that what unconditional love is? It's not, sorry you're dying, but I refuse to be in the same room with the other person that made you. Why can't we, as adults, put aside our anger and bitterness at the demise of our relationship with each other, and put our children's needs first?

These are questions I constantly ask myself. When ever I feel anger raising at the situation between Laura and Nathan's father and myself, I ask myself, am I behaving in their best interests? If the answer is no, I modify my behaviour, call a friend and scream down the phone my frustration, rather then engage in a tirade with him. I am not responsible for how he behaves, but I am responsible for my behaviour and reactions, what my children see and hear from me. If he chooses to behave badly, it is also he that will have to deal with how his behaviour affects his relationship with his children. Me... I just have to learn to tame the lioness that roars within when I see how his behaviour affects them.

I am aware that every situation is different, and all that I have said is a moot point in situations where abuse is a factor. Even so, that doesn't give the other parent free reign in degenerating the abusive parent. In the period of time that Aston didn't see his father whenever he asked why, or when was he going to see his daddy, I always responded that daddy wasn't very well at the moment, and that when he was better he would be able to see him. That was the age appropriate response at the time. I still acted in Aston's best interests. It wasn't safe for him to see his father, but it also wasn't appropriate for me to say to him that his father was currently behaving abusively and was mentally unstable.

At the end of the day, a child's relationship with their individual parents is THEIR relationship to navigate. As Children get older, they develop their own ideas about who their parents are. If a child has been fed nothing but vitriol about either parent from the other is that fair, or in the childs best interests? The relationship that an ex partner has with their child may well be very different from the relationship they had with you. Be a grown up, do the right thing, love your child unconditionally - even if it means you have to stand by and watch them have a relationship with someone that caused you pain.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Its all about the kids! (part 1)

I have three children, two from my first marriage, one from my second.

The 22nd April marked ten years since I left my first husband. 18th June, 3 years since I separated from my second. (I'm sure that one day I won't physically cringe when I say I have been married twice, and divorced twice. Today isn't it.) All I wanted once I had separated from their fathers was for us - the grown ups! to be able to parent our children, and put their best interests first and foremost.

My first marriage was fairly uneventful in the drama stakes. The biggest problem was I should have never have married him. I got married at 22, thinking "He loves me, no one else is ever going to, so this will do." We were like two separate animals species - He was a dog, and I was a cat, that tried to turn herself into a dog. I knew 2 years into being married to him that I had made a terrible mistake. I liked being a cat, I didn't want to be a dog. Then I fell pregnant, and we had a kituppy... Sorry - lame attempt at humour.

Once I fell pregnant, I decided that this was it. I'd made my bed, and now I had to lie in it, whether I liked it or not. I tried to furiously metamorphosis into a dog, denying my cat qualities until I no longer looked or felt like... anything. I surrendered my authenticity to remain in this relationship with my child's father.

While the role of being his wife was slowly killing me, the role of motherhood kept me alive. When I had my first child - she taught me what unconditional love was. It cracked my harden heart wide opened, and out came one that was soft shiny and vulnerable, but bigger then me. The irony of this is not lost on me. Experiencing the unconditional love of my child, brought into the focus the very conditional love that was occurring between myself and her father. 

Years passed, another child was born, the secrets that I had buried deep exploded into the now. After spending ten years of supporting every choice he made, every decision, every career change he wanted, when I needed him to support me he couldn't, or wouldn't. And that was the straw that broke the camel- that- was- a- cat- trying- to- be- a- dog's back. I left.

In the midst of Post traumatic stress, when I shouldn't have been making any major life decisions, I married my second husband. My relationship with him was fraught with drama. In fact the whole damn relationship was one long drama that peaked in a painful crescendo of him attempting suicide. He was mean, and ugly, and hurt myself and my children profoundly. The hurt he bestowed upon my children is a guilt that I will carry forever, as I brought him into their lives. The only good thing that came out of my second marriage was my little boy Aston. Every time I watch him with his older sister and brother, and the love they have for each other, soothes my hurting soul from the pain that they experienced at the hands of his father.

Eventually I was able to convince Aston's father that we needed to separate for every one's sake. Even then I still hung on to hope that now the reason behind his ugly mean behaviour had been identified, and was being treated, we could reconcile. But I was broken, and weary. So were my children. He was inconsistent with his treatment, and it just drove more nails into my heart. I realised that being with him wasn't living. I was only... just... existing.  And it would end up killing me. 

I did what needed to be done. To protect myself, and my children. It was met with fury, and of course, more drama. Once I severed the connection between Aston's father and myself, everything I did after was motivated by making sure that Aston's interests were being taken care of. That he was kept safe. That meant that if he was to have a relationship with his father it had to be conducted in a manner that kept him safe. Based on his father's history, I wasn't prepared to throw the lamb in with the lion. If he wanted a relationship with his son, it had to be under supervision. He fought this. For six months Aston didn't see his dad. Once he finally agreed to it, there were only 4 visits before his anger got in his way. It was then that I was given the contact details of Foundations Child and Family Support and their Parenting Orders Program.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - sleeping

Playing Wordless Wednesday with 

My Little Drummer Boys

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

river of tears

anger pulses through me ...
white hot heat...
it masks the deep sadness that hurts my heart...
anger fuels me to action,
to do what needs to be done,
keep the sadness at bay...
image source
if you peel back the anger,
let the sadness out,
I'll drown in a river of my own tears,
like Alice in wonderland,
just looking to get home.

I swim to the shore,
feel the sun on my face,
dry out, renewed...
My grace restored,
I will not let it be destroyed.
..the sadness remains
like a lonely child inside my soul,
to cry another river for another day.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The M word

no I'm not getting Married.

I'm moving.

Well to be precise I'm moving in with M.

We made this decision three months ago. When his lease is up in mid September we are moving in together. Its taken me three months to not feel both terrified and excited. Now I just feel excited... and a tad frustrated, because I'm not the most patient person in the world, and would just like it to be done!

Why was I terrified?

Well my track record to date in regards to relationships where two people co-exist under the same roof is pretty dismal. A constant internal dialogue chattered in my brain - Are you insane?... No, I don't think this is a good idea, I'll just continue to live here on the hill not going forward, its safer... What will everyone think?... Are you fucking insane?? .... Once, twice, three times???.... I've changed my mind, I'm not going to do it... This is a really bad idea... Why mess with something that is perfect the way it is?... on and on it went 'til it wasn't a question of are you fucking insane, I actually started to feel insane. Cue my old friend anxiety and her sister panic attacks.

Good thing I have such a great counsellor, who is happy to listen and help me unravel the madness that is my mind.

So my view will be changing from one filled with mountains, rolling fields, kangaroos, and cows to roof tops and tv aerials - but the man who makes my heart sing will be in the picture. And I can live with that.


Blog Design by Sommerfugl Design