Five Years Later

This popped up on Facebook today:

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It was a picture of a luau. Five years ago my ex and I were celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary in Hawaii. Munch was four years old.

We spent nine beautiful days in Hawaii. This was the first of two luaus that we would attend on a beautiful island. Hawaii was perfect. We needed that trip. It was designed to give us time to reflect and strengthen our marriage knowing that we made it this far.

But, it was a short trip down memory lane. Seven months after our Hawaii trip, I was asking for a divorce. I was exhausted. I couldn’t do it anymore. There were many reasons why, but ultimately I wanted each of us to find happiness because we were making each other miserable.

Five years later we’ve both found happiness. At least I believe we have. But, there are still things that aren’t working. Mainly our ability to co-parent.  I have many wishes or as my friends say expectations of how I want things to work. However, I’m an eternal optimist and I like the word “wish”. It brings sincere hope for something better. So, here are my three wishes five years later:

3 Wishes – 5 Years Later

  1. I wish that we would talk to each other about our son. I mean truly talk. Not forceful or accusatory conversation but a conversation designed to help lead our child down the right path. Really listening and respecting the other person’s point of view.
  2. I wish that we could co-parent Munch. You see many people tell you how you should co-parent, but don’t tell you the tools required to do so. The judge believes we can, others pray for it.  But, we’re not co-parenting. Until we can respect each other it will always be a wish. We begin to parallel parent. That kind of parenting hurts Munch.
  3. I wish that we could remember that Munch is watching us. Munch will never forget how we act towards each other and it will sit with him forever. He is watching and observing our behavior and he will craft his own perception of how things are and were during his younger years.

I’m not perfect. I’m an alpha female. I’ve always been that way. I won’t change. I don’t expect you to change. But, we’ve got to do better. I know that you want the best for Munch. I want the best for Munch, but the more that we continue to have painful conversations, lengthy emails or text messages that don’t have anything to do with Munch. The more time is wasted on bulls*it rather than focusing on Munch.

We have to proceed in these next few years as a unit committed to loving and raising our son. It’s five years later. Time has passed quickly and pretty soon Munch will be leaving our home and going to college where he will be responsible for creating his own destiny. What lessons would Munch have learned from us?

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

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3 Truths About Co-Parenting

Okay so this post is really about explaining things to people who think when you are divorced and you have children that you can get along. Let me start by saying that you can… IF both parties are willing. What some people want you to do or can’t accept is that if one parent is rude and disrespectful how you can co-parent in an acrimonious situation?

I read this beautiful story circulating on Facebook a couple of weeks ago about a woman praising her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend. They were all sitting there smiling. I was in awe. Such a beautiful woman and a beautiful child. They obviously liked each other.

I thought…how wonderful. How perfect. How grown-up and mature. Let me recap in case you missed it. This woman was giving praise to her ex’s girlfriend. That is amazing! We should all give praise where praise is due. However, I think what the statement does is generalize. The assumption that it is the woman’s fault “Why do all these moms act so spiteful and jealous towards the other women? NO ONE said it was easy trying to be a mother to a kid you didn’t have.” or “Ladies, grow up and focus on being a good mom. Love more hate less!”

Umm, that’s over generalizing. Many women aren’t spiteful or jealous towards the other woman. That’s a myth perpetuated by a man whose ego is bigger than his d*ck. Many women are just tired of the revolving door of relationships, the BS from their ex or the shenanigans that the new woman is playing.

I’ve known countless situations of friends, family and fellow bloggers who’ve endured enough BS to last two lifetimes from their ex even though they are not together anymore. Co-parenting is hard and it starts with two adults being able to do so. If you both can’t be adult, you can’t co-parent. Simple truth you need to accept.

Many people expect you to put up with BS from the other parent regardless of the fact that ya’ll aren’t together. They then try to spin it as in the best interest of the child.Let me ask you this…if your ex was abusive towards you in any way shape or form should you continue to endure it because it is in the best interest of the child?

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If your ex has mental health issues that threaten the welfare of the child should you just endure it? If your ex has a revolving door of women or men around your children should you just ignore that fact? You get the picture right?

I’ve often said that there are three sides to every story….his, hers and the truth and that the truth is somewhere in the middle. You can’t assume that the reason people don’t get along is because the women are being spiteful and jealous. Hell, people don’t like you for any reason and they don’t know you.

What I will say is that in order to have a happy and healthy co-parenting situation like the one above you need at a minimum the following three things:

  1. Two mature adults. It seems easy right? But, let’s be clear. Not everyone is mature enough to co-parent after a relationship ends. Not just women, but men too. In order to do what is in the best interest of the child it takes two people willing to put their own issues aside to do what’s best for their child. Maturity is a process. Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean that you’re being mature. Focus on the bigger picture.
  2. Respect. Like Aretha Franklin sang “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” is needed in order for you to have a co-parenting relationship. If there is no respect, how can you have a healthy co-parenting relationship much less get to like or know your ex’s new partner? You can’t. I mean if you can count on your hands how many times you’ve been cussed out by your ex in the last 12 months and you’re not together anymore, how could you get to know the new woman or man? Many people don’t stay around talking to people that disrespect them.
  3. Open Communication. The thing about co-parenting is that sometimes you need to be able to discuss things without blaming and vindictive behavior. It goes back to number 1. When you can’t discuss things without getting into arguments, the question becomes what is the issue? If we can’t talk, we can’t co-parent. We parallel parent and hope for the best. Is it ideal? Nope, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do for your sanity.

Co-parenting is not a one situation fits all item. You can’t expect something from nothing. You can’t expect people to co-parent effectively if you’re missing just the basics I’ve mentioned above. I’ve learned that some of the biggest barriers to co-parenting can be men too. Not just women.

Children grow up. They see and learn things. They pay attention to behaviors and they draw their own conclusions. I wish that every situation and relationship could be as glamorous as above, but many times it can’t. In those situations, I just pray that the parents are being the best parents possible and that the child understands that he/she is loved by both.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

New Woman? Possible Wife?

My ex-husband and I attend the same church. I know it’s weird, but we both grew up in that church, met at church, dated, married, had a baby, blessed the baby and then said baby (aka Munch) got baptized at the church. Munch sings in the church choir, attends church school and wants to join the dance ministry (which I don’t know how he’ll do because we don’t have time).

But, the point is that my life is a big part of the church that I met my ex-husband in. I love my church. Great people, great pastor and great ministries. It’s definitely home. Have I thought about leaving? Umm, not really. I told Mr. C that if we got married and he wanted to attend another church that I would respect that but we would be members of both churches. I didn’t want Munch to feel like he couldn’t attend the only church he’s known. He said that he understood.

Now, a couple of weeks ago my ex bought his new girlfriend to church. I was shocked, not that she attended but that he hadn’t introduced her and that he was now bringing her to worship. But, the service was so amazing and I had a colleague that was attending and Lord knows that the holy spirit was filling that house of worship that I was literally crying out “Great is thy faithfulness”.

Well, after the altar call my ex’s new girlfriend comes over and gives me a hug and says “Hi Mom, I’m Y.” I’m shocked and I give her a big hug back and said hi. Well, we really didn’t get a chance to talk because I had my colleague there and it wasn’t the time or place to have a real conversation. But, I realized that I should let her know that.

I called my ex to let him know that I was very happy that his girlfriend came over and introduced herself but I would love the opportunity to sit down and have a face to face. We can meet at the local Starbucks if that’s convenient but that I had a colleague there and it wasn’t really the place to talk like we should. He said he understood and would let me know when’s a good time for them both.

Now, the reason that I’m pushing a sit down is because my ex wants her to drive Munch around without him or just be there. My ex explained that barring something traumatic that he would most likely be in it for the long haul which means marriage. I said “Well, I definitely think we need to talk then.”

Uh huh. But, I’m not worrying about my ex-husband because let me tell ya’ll that God has been so good to me that I just have to say thank you and release him to God. I’ll share more about my blessings later on, but let’s just say that God is moving all over and up and through my life ya’ll. You need to try him.

Here are some topics that I want to discuss with her:

  • Running her through CJIS for any records
  • Her parenting philosophy (she’s a mother)
  • Our roles and responsibilities

However, before I forget I wanted to let you know that I am looking forward to sitting down with the beautiful woman that my ex is dating. Yes, she’s got it going on and seems to be genuinely a nice young woman. I say that to say that I will never hate on another woman unless she disrespects me or my Munch. Anything shy of that “I’m all about sisterhood. Women rock!”

 

What do you think of my topics? Would you add any?

 

Sinner’s Prayer

You know sometimes I just can’t pray for folks who mean me harm. You know the people who try to maliciously destroy me or despise me so much that all they do is stress me out. I know what you’re thinking…why are you letting them? Human nature. I have to deal with difficult people.

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I hate it though. I hate that I have to interact or deal with people who have grudges against me and strive to cause me misery. I just pray the typical sinner’s prayer, “God please smite my enemies. You promised me that you would make them my footstools. Any day now would be super.”

I told you that it was a sinner’s prayer. But, what do you do when it is affecting how you co-parent? How do you get better? I know that I can’t change others. I can only change me. I know I can’t make people respect me or treat me like I treat them. I just want to co-parent in peace.

However, my spirit was in turmoil last night. I was feeling overwhelmed and tearful at the relationship that feels sometimes like it is an uphill battle. In a perfect world, my son’s father and I would just want to do what is best for our son. Protect his spirit and truly respect each other as co-parents. But, that doesn’t happen.

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In my very intimate circles I share my frustrations, fears and tears as it relates to this situation. The common consensus is to just be strong and pray for him. What? Pray for him? Why? I can’t. He is so mean to me sometimes and praying isn’t going to help.

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You see what I did right there? I tried to tell folks that God can’t. That I know more than God because God can’t change him. However, God always knows how to bring me back in line. Let me tell you how…

My friend was going through some things on her job and her boss was attacking her from every which way. She feared losing her job. She prayed. She sent out her resume. She prayed. She was constantly afraid that she would lose her job that it was stressing her out. Causing her physical, mental and spiritual pain. One day when we were having dinner I was sharing my experience with her when I went through something similar with a former supervisor.

I told her that it all worked out in my favor, but I wish I would have prayed for my supervisor. That was my only regret. I told her that she needs to pray for those that wish to cause her harm. Pray for her enemies. Pray for her supervisor. I told her that it is hard, but you have to try to pray for her. She said okay.

We had a chance to catch up recently and I asked her how everything is going at work and she said, “Better. No problems with my supervisor saying disrespectful things to me, but I still don’t trust the environment, but she’s a lot better.” I smiled. She said, “I remember that you told me to pray for her and I did. I believe that prayer worked.”

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I gave her advice over something that I wished I had done when under attack. My God! I didn’t know how soon it would be before God gave me another opportunity to do what He has commanded me to do.

Matthew 5:43-45 (NKJV)

Love Your Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[b] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

I had to pray for my son’s father. Why? Because I know better. I prayed a sinner’s prayer, but I’m committing to pray for him and for all those that persecute me. I didn’t know how to start. I mean what could I say that would make sense?

Thank God for friends. He sent me these prayers this morning and I already started to pray because it can only improve our relationship and our ability to co-parent effectively. Maybe my praying will inspire you to pray for those who despise you as well. Collectively I believe we can make a change.

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Woman to Woman

Let’s have a talk shall we? As I’ve stated in prior posts, I’m in a state of transition..that from married to single. It’s been a long time since I was single and my first time as a single parent trying to have a co-parenting relationship. I will always love my ex for it was he who gave me our son, but I have to say something… this crap gets hard sometimes!

Not that I’m looking to fix a flat tire or repair my marriage, but co-parenting when we can’t seem to act like adults is hard as hell. Yep, I said “we” purposely. I’m not going to sit here and let you believe that I’ve got this all figured out and I’m the best person when it comes to disengaging my personal animosities and trying to co-parent effectively. I don’t.

Most of the time it is trial and error. Many errors, some good things and a lot of okay things happen. I think letting go of old wounds from our marriage is what is contributing to the bad head space we can find ourselves in. Why? Because we’re both headstrong individuals who have to be right. We both want to have the last word. We both hope that we don’t screw up our son.

Our son lives with his dad 50% of the time and with me 50% of the time. His needs come first. Regardless of what is going on in our lives, we put his needs first. Yes, he is six and yes he is aware that his mommy and daddy will not live together anymore. But, more than that he realizes that the two people who gave him life love him more than we ever thought possible.

The reason why I am calling this post “Woman to Woman” is because I needed to get something off my chest. If you are a woman dating my ex and plan on being around there are some things you should know. A list of how to deal with me and my desire to raise an incredibly wonderful little boy in two separate homes. Here you go:

  1. Never, ever listen to us argue. You see if my ex should get reckless and try to prove to you that I’m crazy and hold a personal conversation on the phone with me while you are riding in his car, be woman enough to tell him that it’s not acceptable. What we argue about should never concern you in your preliminary role.
  2. Just because I don’t know you doesn’t mean that I don’t do my research. I’m a protective mama cub. I only have one child and he means more to me than anything in my life. That being said who you are (your first and last name) matter to me.
  3. I don’t want him back. Nope, I don’t. I love my ex because he and I were together so long. We made memories. Some good, some bad, but in the end the greatest thing we ever did was have our son. I’m not trying to do it again. No matter what you hear.
  4. Understand that no one will ever take my place. Not that I think you believe that, but my ex said that to me. He actually said, “No one can ever take your place as our son’s mother.” Dude, I know this. I still have the incision where he was taken from me five weeks early. There is never a replacement for the original. I’m his mommy.
  5. What happens in my home is my business and vice versa. Unless my son volunteers information, I will never, ever question him about what occurs at his father’s house. It’s none of my business unless it affects his well-being. That being said, very little will ever affect his well-being (because his dad adores him) so I don’t care what happens at daddy’s house as long as he is being loved, fed, clothed and nurtured in the best way possible.
  6. Being a part of his dad’s life long term will mean that you will have to meet me. Understand that I bear no ill will or animosity towards you. I am a mother. I am a woman and I believe in the unity of all women. I encourage us to be civil and make the transition for my child seamless and positive. But, understand that you will have to do your part…know and accept that I will always want to do what is in the best interest of my son. No one is more qualified to make important decisions than his dad and I. No one.

One of the greatest things his dad did after we split was rush over to my house because our son had a nose bleed that wouldn’t stop. It was almost 20 minutes of blood gushing and him screaming. His dad called and he screamed, “I want my daddy”. His dad was in a movie and left and said, “I’ll be there in 10 minutes.” You know what? He was. Not because of me, but because his son needed him. That was pretty awesome and it made me realize one thing…his dad will move mountains for him and for that I am eternally thankful.

I am new to this co-parenting thing and no I didn’t expect to have it figured out, but I’m trying. His dad and I make a lot of stupid mistakes (mainly because we’re pig-headed) but we are trying. We will someday get this right, but I want the temporary (or permanent) women to know that there is no reason to be less than a woman when attaching yourself to the foolishness that may be us. We love our son and we will get it right (hopefully sooner rather than later) someday.

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