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Co-Parenting AKA Magical Unicorn When Your X is a Narcissist…

If you ever have to go down the road of Divorce and there are kids involved you will hear the term Co-Parenting. If you have a great relationship with your X Co-parenting is totally possible and can be immensely helpful for your children. It is a way for you and your x to present a united front and make the transition to divorced life as easy as possible for your children.

But sadly this route is not for everyone, not everyone has the maturity level to cooperate with their x-spouse. Or there may just be too much animosity, too many bad feelings to be able to effectively co-parent. Over time though as those wounds heal you may find yourself in a place where you are able to co-parent with your x. Everyone takes different journeys when navigating the waters of divorce/separation, especially when children are involved.

And then there are those of us in my situation, where that shining example of parenting during divorce, also known as Co-Parenting seems to be a distant dream never to be achieved. We are stuck in this situation because my x is a narcissist. As much as I would love to say it doesn’t matter, we can work past it, or try to convince myself that I can find a way to make co-parenting work with him. It is an impossible dream, like the dream you have when you’re a child of one day finding a magical unicorn. You convince yourself when your little that this unicorn does exist and fill your days with unicorn hunting and lots of adventures. But at the end of the day the unicorn does not exist and stays forever out of your grasp.

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Co-parenting for me may very well be forever out of my grasp, all attempts at communication are either met with hostility in one form or another. Either I am wrong, I am making it up, I don’t have my child’s interests in mind, I’m just being a B****, whatever reasoning he comes up with. Anything I say or suggest is wrong and whatever he decides from this is obviously better. If I try to arrange extra time with him and his son it can never just get taken for what it is, an attempt to allow my son to get more time with his father. Instead it becomes a headache of nit picking, the pick up and drop off times, trying to get overnights and anything else he can. There is never any compromise, only giving my x exactly what he wants or he throws a fit. Trying to bully and hurt me as much as possible, anything he can do toget his way.

I have learned through much wasted time and effort that my concerns will always fall on deaf ears. That anything I may feel is best for our son is never right and that everything is my fault. Everything needs to be my x’s way or no one is allowed to be happy. When you deal with a  narcissistic person they always believe nothing is their fault, they can do no wrong and cannot see outside of their own wants and need to the wants and needs of those around them.

They can love but you find that they only love the way certain people and relationships make them feel, not the person themselves. And as long as that person conforms to fit into the narcissists world of wants and needs everything goes smoothly, but if anything you need or desire deviates from their’s, smooth is not something that exists. Co-parenting requires communication and compromise, a joining of two people belief systems and ideals, in order to create a harmonious plan both parents follow to have a cohesive environment in both households the child lives in. So if you can imagine attempting to create this plan with a narcissist, you have an idea as to why the words co-parenting and narcissist are not terms that work well together.

It has taken many many attempts at holding conversations, trying to reason and discuss topics with a narcissist for me to realize it is a pointless exercise. Once you realize you are simply wasting your breath and time you will live a simpler and less stressful life. You have to be able to accept there is no amount of reasoning or discussions that will bring a narcissist around to considering your way of thinking unless they want to. Once your able to accept this you can start exploring different paths, one I strongly recommend when all attempts at co-parenting leave you frustrated and with fruitless encounters is parallel parenting. Kids are resilient and can adjust to many different things, in parallel parenting both parents have their own set of rules, etc. in their houses and as long as both parents are consistent children can do just fine with this form of parenting.

As much as I wanted co-parenting to work and I wanted to be able to work with my son’s father for the benefit of my little man. I also knew that the toxic relationship between the two of us was not something that was going to go away. I realized my son was just going to wind up seeing his fathers continued attempts to bully and belittle me if I didn’t put a stop to it. I left for these same reasons and since me leaving was not enough of a wakeup call that I was no longer to put up with his behavior. You get to a point were you have to accept this style of parenting relationship is not going to work and you have a to find another way.

 

 

The Dreaded Weekend of The X

As I am sure many parents going through a divorce know (if you/ your X are actually willing to act like an adult during the process) you have to share your kid with the other parent. As much as you don’t want to, even as much as you may not trust them. Even if they have not acted like an adult, you still have to let the kids go. If the court finds them to be safe and fit, no matter how much you hate it, you have to let them go, and let me tell you it sucks. I don’t know if I will ever be okay with my son leaving to go to his dads house. I just have to remind myself every time, I took all the precautions I could to make sure my son would be safe while with him.

For me its all about safety because my X hasn’t proven himself as the most capable parent the whole time we were together and then he went off the deep end when we separated . So I always have that worry about the stupid things that could happen. I never know what plan he may try to concoct to hurt me or try to “steal” my custody. The other part is he’s not very aware of what kids need. Too many weekends my little man has been getting dragged across state lines, kept up too late and had his routine completely messed up. For a teenager this might not be so bad… But for a 3 year old it can be rough, it is especially rough for me as I get him back usually Sunday night a total mess and by Monday, more days then not, he has ended up sick. It’s frustrating and exhausting for everyone involved.

Between my little man getting sick, not getting the proper care he needs and my x refusing to tell me where he takes the little guy and who he has him around… Even when I get face time calls and can see my son is sleeping in some random persons house. He still refuses to tell me anything. And yet demands to know anything and everything the little guy does when he is with me. I am sure there are many out there that know how this goes. The whole process is taxing, even when I try to just let things go and try to put the things I cannot control out of my mind. They always seem to find a way of creeping back in. Like when my son doesn’t “call” and my x says its because he fell asleep early. Okay, that happens right? I try to think nothing of it, but then my son comes home asking me why I wouldn’t answer the phone or why I wouldn’t talk to him… I am then left with only bad options or trying to answer my sons question, either I just take it and I am the bad guy or I in some way throw his father under the bus. Even if I try to do it in the nicest way possible eventually my little man is going to know his father is simply keeping him from calling his mom even when he asks to talk to me.

I wish there was a way to talk with or reason with my x…. I have tried on so many levels but I have learned it is a waste of my time and patience. He is never wrong, I am always out to hurt him, I never have my son’s best interests at heart, the list goes on and on. I would have loved to co-parent with him. But in his mind co-parenting is he says something and everyone else just has to do it… It makes for lot’s of frustration but will save the failed co-parenting attempts for another post!

It is not a two way street with my X, its usually his way or he throws a tantrum. No matter how much I try to accommodate him and work with him it is never enough, he always wants more. So I dread the weekends when my son goes with his father. I miss him like crazy when he is gone and I worry the whole time he is away. I hope with time it will get easier to let him go, easier to trust his father to do the right thing. Or at the very least as the little guy gets bigger he will be able to take care of himself and there will be less to worry about. But until then I will always dread every other weekend when my little guys father has him overnight.

Sweetest Little Boy

My son’s ability to love and persevere even with all the turmoil that goes on in his life at times amazes me to no end. Despite his father not showing up when he says he will or acting the way he does. Despite his schedule always getting changed or the ups and downs of life in general. He is just such a loving and kind little soul.

I love how the first thing he does when he gets up in the morning is give me a big hug and kiss. He tells me he loves me and is always down for some cuddles. He almost always smiles and loves to play. He see’s the world in a way I don’t always, especially when the stresses of life get me down.

But then he will do something as simple as want to go outside and play in the sprinkler and watching him run around and have a blast just reminds me to cherish all of life’s little moments. I know I wont have these moments forever and with the way our world can be these days, he may not always be my happy little boy. So I want to treasure and encourage these moments for as long as I can.

I hope he never loses his perseverance, that he is always able to find his joy and I thank god every day that he reminds me to look for mine. The biggest blessing in my life is my sweet little boy and though I am not the perfect mamma, he still loves me through it all and I love him more then words can say.

To all you mamma’s out there with amazing and sweet little boys, cherish your time with them because who knows how long this happiness can last. Even now I see glimpses of his sadness because of our current situation and I wish I could do anything to take his pain away. Sadly I know there is only so much I can do, but I still choose to do everything I can to brighten his day when he is sad. To remind him no matter what he is so loved and to try and help him find that amazing happiness in the simple things all children seem to enjoy.

My little man is truly the sweetest little boy and I am so blessed to have him. Cherish your little ones and foster that happiness that all children seem to possess, it is truly the greatest gift we can give our children. The happiest child hood possible, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it will have its ups and downs, its good days and bad days. But as long as we make it as happy as we can and preserve is for as long as possible they will have memories to hold on to for the rest of their lives.

Child Support….. More Then Just Giving Your X Money

I am honestly not sure what the word Child support is really supposed to mean at this point… I was always under the impression Child Support was meant to help you pay for things for your child like health insurance, child care, doctors visits, clothes, food, etc. Things that your kid needs to grow and live… Both parents have had to submit their income etc. and the state has this whole calculator that figures out what your child deserves as far as support and then how much each parent should be contributing towards their care.

me and little man
Little Man Working On Standing

Which to me makes total sense, its money you need to care for your child. For me because I pay all the bills when it comes to my son this support makes a big difference in paying for his care. To be able to pay his daycare every month so both his parents can go to work. Help pay his health insurance so hes covered if anything happens, not to mention he’s 3 and in daycare… As most parents know, little kids in day care get sick its par for the course so health insurance is a must.

But in my x’s world child support is only seen as money that he has to give his evil x and it feels like he does everything in his power to not pay me. Then when he does pay me it’s never on time. It’s never consistent and let me tell you it sucks. For me there are no options, no choices when it comes to paying bills for my kid. I can’t not pay for his health insurance because if I don’t it will get cancelled and then I would leave him without coverage. He needs coverage, he depends on me to take care of him and part of that is making sure I can care for him if he gets sick or hurt.

I can’t not pay his day care, if I want to be able to drop him off every day so I can go to work, they have to be paid. For my x who really only see’s his son every other weekend I am the one who would have to suffer. His day care doesn’t get paid and I can’t drop him off, I am the one who can’t go to work because he is in my care. His dad is in a different state, it’s a bit of a hike. I couldn’t even tell him this is your fault get here now to get your kid because it could take upwards of 3 hours for him to arrive here. At that point I’m about half way through my work day and might as well just take the whole day.

I know to some parents it’s hard to see what your child support goes to, but those are the kinds of repercussions the parents who pay the bills face when they don’t get their support. At the moment we are doing okay because I am keeping the daycare paid a month in advance, but I have to. I know at some point during the month I should get paid the child support that’s owed so as long as I pay the things my son needs in advance his fathers lack of consistency shouldn’t mess anything up too bad.

But it’s sad it has to come to this, not being able to rely on the father of my child to do what he needs to do to care for his kid. That if our baby needs something I can’t rely on him to help. That I have to call in and report all the time about missed payments, partial or late payments.

For me whatever my little man needs always comes before anything else I do. Now when I say this don’t think I cater to his every whim and if he wants a toy or something it is more important than a bill or food. That’s not what I am talking about, I just mean making sure his health care is paid, his day care is paid, he has clothes/ shoes that fit, he has food, the utilities are paid so he has a roof over his head with everything working. These are the types of things I refer to, I always make sure whats needed for him to be properly cared for is paid before everything else. As a parent I can’t imagine it any other way. Though I don’t always let my kid know whatever he wants or needs is more important to me then anything because I don’t want to spoil him but at the end of the day they are the things that weigh on me more then anything.

So I guess it will always be hard for me to fathom a parent that doesn’t pay their child Robert and Icare or doesn’t realize what it is meant for. No one likes paying bills especially when there is a divorce or end of a relationship in play. It sucks, it hurts, it’s hard, trust me I know I have been there. But at some point you have to put your big boy (or girl) pants on and be the adult that your children need. You have to be there for them, you have to care for them and their needs need to be addressed. You are all they have in this world, if they can’t rely on their parents who can they rely on?

Potty Training… It’s Grueling, Messy And a Bit Funny

campgroundWe went camping over the weekend, it was so much fun getting to hang out with friends and their kids. So many of them have children around my sons age so it was really nice for him to have lots of other kids to play with. The playground at the campground was really cool too, so much for them to play on and right across from the little cabin we rented.

What I really enjoyed though was seeing all the different trials and tribulations of potty training. They were hilarious and gross and awesome at the same time. So for any parent out there struggling with potty training or stressing over all the messy moments this one is for you because its good to know your not the only one. I knew others had to struggle when I was trying to teach my son to poop in the potty. At this point in time he was getting really good at peeing but I guess he just didn’t realize that he could poop in there as well. He would run around playing, having fun then realize he needed to poop and he would run up to me yelling “diaper diaper” because he had to poop. He knew he couldn’t poop in his underwear but in his mind the diaper was the only place he could safely poop. It was a challenge and kind of hilarious but we got through.

So when all the parents gathered around and swapped potty training stories, the good, the bad and the ugly. It made me feel much better about being a parent, knowing I wasn’t the only one who struggled was very reassuring. There was one little girl there also working on potty training but she also had some constipation issues so her poor mom had hands full… quiet literally at one point.

Her little girl came up to her telling her she needed to go, she they headed off to the bathroom and came back a few minutes later. It seemed it was a false alarm and she only needed to fart, we laughed about it and she went back to playing. Then my son told me he needed to go so we headed to the bathroom. While we were in there they came in because once again she felt like she needed to go. As I am waiting for my son to potty I can hear her asking her daughter. “Do you actually need to go?” and her daughter answer, “I don’t know”.  Poor mom I heard a few variations of this while she patiently waited for her to go. Eventually they gave up and left the bathroom without her little one going to the potty.

The kids were back on the playground and running around having a total blast! Using camp ground 2the slides playing on the pirate ship when all of the sudden her little one makes a face as she hits the bottom of the slide. We were worried she had gotten hurt sliding down (we were in the pool right before this so most of them were still in there bathing suits). But when we went to investigate we found she had peed all over the slide, her mom was embarrassed but we got her to laugh. What are you going to do? Kids have accidents, so I ran to my cabin right across the way and we used a water bottle/ paper towels/ etc. and cleaned the slide up. Meanwhile trying to keep the kids from sliding down the slide till we were able to clean it up was a challenge but we managed and there were no other pee related incidents. Emphasis on pee related…

Mom once again took the little one to the potty but still no number two. The kids continued to play having fun till next thing we know her little one made another face… it was then we noticed the little sag in the butt of her bathing suit that was not there before. I did feel bad for her mom, I know how frustrating it can be when everything seems to go wrong. You also feel embarrassed because you know they know how to go in the potty. But its hard when they are little and get to playing. Sometimes mom shit happens… literally and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. We have all been there and all had the accidents to clean up. It’s apart of the little ones growing and learning.

When she took her to the bathroom she had the task of trying to pull her turds out of her bathing suit without making a mess… thankfully they were true turds, she would have had some serious issues if this had been a soft poop or a diarrhea poop. When those go wrong you usually have to just call in quits and stick them in the shower. Clean them up and just get a fresh start. Once we pass a certain mess level all bets are off…

I have had to put my son in the shower clothes and all to try and contain the mess he had going on. Let me tell you it was not pretty… my bathroom looked like a war zone. And you can just give a traditional bath because there is so much poop you’ll just wind up trying to clean them up with dirty poop water… trust me not the way you want to go.

So for all the parents out there potty training, don’t be embarrassed by the messes and the accidents. We have all had those shitty moments but we always clean them up and carry on. That is apart of being a parent and raising kids, sometimes your just going to get messy. So take heart your not the only one and learn to laugh with the rest of us!