Today I made the mistake of getting into a brief disagreement over the phone with my son’s father, something I told myself I would never do. But you know when you’re compelled to make your point and you just can’t help yourself? That was me today. I had to let him know that I knew what he was doing. If you tell him you’re coming, then come. If you have no intentions on coming, then don’t say, “I’ll let you know” or “I’ll see.” What does that mean anyway? I’m sorry, but I had to let him know that there is no reason to lie to the poor kid.
Lord knows I wanted to say more, but held back because, one, we were in a store and we weren’t the only ones there. Two, I took a quick look at my son’s face and felt bad that he even had to hear this. Had I not given a hoot, I would have yelled into the phone, “DON’T MANIPULATE OR LIE TO HIM THE WAY YOU LIED TO ME. IT ISN’T FAIR TO HIM, etc.” So I waited until I got home and calmed down and wrote it a text message instead, along with the “etc” verbiage that I will not bore you with. Basically, in the text message, I told him that my son isn’t as gullible and naive as I was when we were in a relationship. I told him that I have kept the door wide open for him to spend time with my son. I told him and that it isn’t my son’s job to call him to tell him that he’s sick. Yes, he actually said that to him. Had he been more involved or even called him more often he would have known that my son had a terrible cold. I was very thankful that technology had evolved and someone had invented text messaging as a way to communicate, because I honestly cannot speak to this guy without getting upset.
Have I forgiven him for manipulating me over a nearly 10 year relationship? I thought I did, but obviously, there’s some left over resentment that I guess I haven’t quite dealt with. As much as I try to avoid the “baby mama/baby daddy” syndrome, on occasion, such as the one I mentioned in this post, I find myself furious to the point where I feel I need to engage in a conversation that quickly turns into a disagreement where tension is felt, voices are raised, and feelings are fuming. And guess what? It doesn’t necessarily change the situation. What I really hate most of all is that my son is in the middle and has to listen to mommy and daddy argue. Like I said, this is a rare occasion for me as I promised myself long ago not to “get into it” with him. As I wrote the text message, I thought about the parents that “get into it” daily, sometimes over valid reasons, and many times over nonsense. Or the parents who constantly bad mouth the other parent. As much as we want these little people to agree with us in that daddy or mommy are absent or deadbeats, it’s important to let the child formulate their own opinion. The last thing you want to do is to cause friction between the other parent and the child over negative things you have said. The kid will blame you in the future for a damaged relationship between them and the estranged parent; I’ve seen it happen.
The best thing to do is to keep quiet if you are unable to have a civilized discussion or if speaking to the other parent literally and figuratively makes you sick (which is the case with me). If you feel so compelled to get your two cents in, then send an email or a text message, but don’t get into a text messaging war either. Stay cool, keep the door open, invite the other parent to participate in your child’s life even if you know he won’t show up. Later on, you want to be able to tell your child that you did invite daddy or mommy to the baseball games or to graduation, to the spelling bee, etc. Your conscience will feel better knowing that you reached out. Don’t give up. And don’t let your kids feel that any of this is their fault because it’s not.