In continuing with last Friday’s post about my expectations when it came to co-parenting my ex and I had another issue that came up…
Issue #2 – The Tutoring Program
The second week of school I had received a flyer in Munch’s book bag about a tutoring program in Math and Reading. The program said 12 weeks for $150 for children in K through 5th grade. I put it to the side and said I would call them to learn more about it.
We went out of town and I forgot about the flyer. I pulled it out last week and called the name on the flyer to learn more about the program. The gentleman that I spoke to was really nice and told me to come to the first session. He explained the program and that the first session is testing to see where the children test and then we have curriculum to support their learning.
I agreed and began the long task of speaking to my ex-husband about the program. Mainly because it is on Friday evenings from 6:30 to 8 pm. We transition Munch on Fridays. His dad gets his haircut every Friday evening and when Munch is due for a haircut he will usually schedule that as well. However, this educational opportunity was affordable and we needed to make sure that Munch stayed current with math.
So, I had to talk to my ex. I was thinking that this would be an awesome opportunity for us to help our son with his struggles in math before the year ended. Munch’s old tutor was a freshman in college and although he was local, he was trying to figure out college before jumping back into tutoring. He asked me to give him until November. I agreed. I understood what it was like to be a college student.
I talked to my ex about the program and he said, “No, that’s our time. That’s when we get our hair cut.” I paused. I asked “Can’t you change your appointments until another day? It’s 12 weeks.” We went back and forth with him saying no repeatedly. I offered to take my son every Friday and meet him after the session to exchange Munch.
The answer was still no. I was hot. These haircuts are not more important than your son getting the help he needs in math. We were at an impasse.
I had thrown off the gloves and took the stance of take me to court and see if you will win because no judge will side with you on haircuts and a track record of math issues with me paying for tutor and the grades improving because he went. I was angry and heartbroken. Why in the heck was this man making my life miserable? What kind of father makes the decision to go and get haircuts instead of tutoring.
I was doing a f*uck You and everything you stand for stance. It was stressful. I couldn’t believe that my ex was acting like an ass. A big ole’ hairy ass. But, then I stopped to reflect. I wondered was the issue deeper than the program or more about the fact that we had a failure to communicate? It was easier to walk away from this man and just parallel parent instead of co-parent, but the ramifications to Munch would have been horrific.
Munch would be caught in the middle between two adults who can’t seem to get their stuff together. Was that fair to him? Was our inability to reach common ground going to destroy the best thing that ever happened to us? I sighed.
I hoped not. I gave it a few days and then revisited the subject in another phone call the day of the program. We needed to talk. I started off by reminding him that when we initially go together it was our values and morals that allowed us to align our spirits and become husband and wife. I told him that those same desires allowed us to become parents to Munch. He agreed.
I reminded him that if we share similar values and morals why couldn’t he understand that I wasn’t trying to take his son from him? Why couldn’t he see that no matter what I only want the best for our son and I know that he does too. I explained that we can’t allow extracurricular activities to impede his academic success. We need to make changes. However, we can. We both need to do it and I was willing to do it as well. I asked him to let me check out the program and I would let him know afterwards.
He agreed. I smiled. We had reached a decision that was beneficial to our son. I didn’t feel like I won and I’m sure he didn’t feel like he won. This battling was exhausting and we both needed to work on our communication. But, for the time being Munch was winning.
Which is why I realized that I can’t say “f*uck you” to my ex husband. I had to release my expectations and try to find a happy medium. I can’t just write off the other parent (even though I wanted to) out of frustration. My Munch would suffer. I couldn’t let that happen. I released my expectations and came up with the conclusion that for the next 8 years this would be my normal. I would have to find ways to communicate and reach a happy medium for as long as possible. If for no other reason that I didn’t want to see my Munch hurt by the foolishness of his parents.
Just an update: This math program is sponsored through the University of Maryland at College Park (my Alma Matter) and is led under the direction of a geology professor and a CPA who coaches the soccer program too. Their purpose for founding this program was due in part by the lack of Black and Latino children who were ill prepared for college and then when they got there and were not able to sustain at at Division I school. It is held weekly at the University of Maryland at College Park and gives children an opportunity to attend class on campus. I love it. I was walking the campus and showing Munch my dorm room, the library, my class building and the building where I graduated.
This program rocks! I’ll keep you updated