As a single parent going through a divorce, it's almost as if you're not allowed to bitch about how hard it is. Other people can't handle it. You may have one or two friends who will let you vent, but you don't want to use them too much. What people don't realize when you're a single parent who happens to be the custodial parent as well, you can do a LOT of venting. Like, hard to find the positive in ANYTHING, kind of venting. I've become so hyper aware about it, that I've pretty much stopped talking to a lot of people just to not put anyone out. I can hear it in their voices, or see it on their faces if I go there. They don't want to hear it, and they don't know what to say. I'm expected to be super optimistic and show only my fiercely brave side. Heaven fucking forbid if I cry.
I think people are so used to seeing single parents on television and they kind of have a skewed vision of what it should be. It's the mom who managed to keep the family home, and who can still afford to be a stay at home mom, or it's the plucky mom who works during the day, and goes to school at night, all the while maintaining a spotless home and feeding her kids a hot meal every night with a weary smile on her face, one strand of hair falling out of her ponytail and into her face.
Even here in my own personal space, I try not to be too negative. I don't want to be judged for not being able to "keep it together." It's almost as if I complain, I'm somehow losing the single mom game.
So, you think, lean on other single moms right? Vent to them? Umm, that doesn't really work out either, because then it turns into a pissing contest of who has it harder. I've had people tell me "You get HOW MUCH from your ex-husband? Lucky." with just a hint of bitterness, or they say I'm lucky because I get two weekends "off" or whatever, or tell me how much more they're sacrificing to make it work, and if I could always do better. It's very frustrating. But, once again, women like to tear each other down instead of building each other back up. It's always that way. I do have one friend I commiserate with regularly,even though her situation is shittier than mine, she never makes me feel bad about my frustrations.
So, with all that being said there are certain things people say when the subject is brought up that drives me bananas. I know they're usually trying to be helpful, but usually I just get frustrated and don't know how to respond.
Here are the phrases I hate hearing the most from people:
"Count your blessings"..... I get it. I have two great kids, I have a roof over my head, food in my tummy, a job, a car and boundless blessings. I know. I KNOW! You know what else I have? Pain, confusion, worry and frustration. And I just want to LET IT OUT without you trying to make me be positive. I want to let it out so I don't fucking explode. Is that too much to ask? I know I'm lucky, but in this moment, I feel like shit and putting on my rose colored glasses isn't going to make it all go away. It's unhealthy.
"At least you know now that he was cheating.".... Again. I get it. Yes, you're absolutely right. Now, I KNOW and I always kind of knew. Kind of? I knew for sure. He denied it. He called me crazy our whole marriage. He made our friends doubt me. Once, my very best friend pulled me aside and said "You got to let this cheating notion go. He'd never do that." Worst of all, he made me doubt myself to the point of depression meds and therapy. He really made me feel like a terrible person. But, that moment of "I KNEW IT!" is just that. A moment. After a while, your "told you so moment" is replaced with feeling like a fool. A total and complete fool. It's replaced with pain. It's replaced with the knowledge that your worst fear that you tried to squash for many years is very, very true. Ignorance is bliss.
"The kids will realize this when they get older and it will affect their relationship.".... This statement is very true, but it's very sad to think my children will see their father for what he really is and it may not be so great and that's probably going to mess with their heads. This upsets me. Again, it goes back to ignorance is bliss. I don't push issues with him not to make his life easier, but to make sure their lives are a little bit easier.
"Well, make HIM......" This one bugs me the most. Make him pay for daycare, make him do parent teacher conferences. Make him. Make him. Make him. How in the world do you make a person who hates your guts do anything? A man that has already proven that he can't see past me and look to them. Perfect example. Aislinn probably needs glasses. I texted him to tell him that we needed to at least split this cost. No response. More than one person has told me to make him pay. How do I make him pay if I can't even get him to ackowledge there's an issue? I don't know if he thinks that I'm lying to score $50 for hookers and blow, or what. He just can't see that his daughter needs glasses and as her parent, he has a moral obligation to ensure her health is taken care of. He just sees he writes "that bitch" a check every month, and raising kids can't be that expensive, why can't I pay for the fucking glasses.
That was cathartic. I feel much better. Sometimes, bitching feels good.