Dear Friends and Family of my Ex-Husband,
I probably didn’t get to know you very well even though your cousin/co-worker/long time neighbor’s grandson and I were married for over a decade. Admittedly that’s partially my fault; I’m not very good at making small talk and we really did not have much in common. After the basics of how all my kids were doing really what was left to talk about?
Between that and all the crap that went down and was made known to you (whether it should have been or not) through our long, tumultuous divorce process and the subsequent two years, I can only imagine how you might feel about me now. Some of you might have good reason, others maybe not. I know that part of this mess is my fault, I’ve never tried to deny that nor would I. It takes two to Tango and all that. Yes, I did things that I’m not proud of and should not have (and continue to do so because…well, I’m human and we are messy beings.) but the things that you might have a bee in your bonnet about happened four, no almost five years ago. That’s a pretty long time.Your current opinion of me and my post-divorce life including, maybe even especially, what kind of a mother I am is solely based on what you hear about me from my ex-husband.
Because of this there are some things I’d like you to be aware of, to consider when my name or my children’s situation flits across your social media feed or we come up in conversation.
When your friend/second-cousin-once-removed/nephew talks about not being able to come visit you five states away this summer because his evil ex-wife sued him for an exorbitant amount of money, you should know that I did not. He was held accountable by the court system for his half of the kids’ school fees, things like the bus and the school sports they participate in, which is specified in our court order and pretty standard in joint custody cases. Basic expenses that most parents pay with out blinking an eye. After saying multiple times that he would pay his share of these directly to the school and failing to do so, I finally paid them. The only way to get repaid for his share of these expenses was to take him back to court. It was a last resort but these are his children too and his responsibility as well as mine.
When my dear ex-husband comments that I am lazy you should know that I do have a job, even a full time one (when I’m not in school full time in attempt to better life for my children and, yes, myself too which, by the way, is why he deems me selfish). I just happen to be lucky enough to get most my work hours in when my kids are with their dad so that I can be with them as much as possible. Just because I don’t work for almost a week at a time doesn’t mean I don’t work. In fact, during the week I don’t have my kids I work quite a lot. And while, yes, I am on “welfare” (if you count a bridge card as welfare) it’s not because I am sitting around trying to extort the system. I made the choice to spend my twenties being a stay-at-home parent instead of developing a career. Because of that I started with an entry level job four years ago when our marriage was ending. It’s hard to support five kids without a career. In fact, before he was paying child support, your friend/family member justified not financially supporting the kids because I’d be able to get federal food assistance to make sure they had food to eat. How’s that for irony?
Lastly, when our lovely shared acquaintance publicly tells all of you that I am “a whore” or “a liar” and that I don’t take care of our children please take a moment to think about said children. Do they seem like under-cared for individuals? Do they not appear to be relatively well adjusted especially considering the upturn their young lives have taken over the past few years? No, they do not and yes because they are. This is because both their father and I care about them and while I can’t comment on what he does to meet their needs, I can assure you that I work hard to give my children everything they need. Everything from counseling to extra curricular activities to help and supervision with their schoolwork. As far as the other statements regarding my personal character you may have stumbled upon, you should know that the only communication my ex-husband and I have is via e-mail and is about the kids and their needs. Heck, I haven’t even been in a relationship since my marriage. If you really want to know, I can barely find time to date at all (see above paragraphs about work, school, and kids).
When you read or hear something less than favorable about me or about any other ex…anywhere. ever. Please take a brief moment to consider the source. Clearly this person you know (maybe well maybe not) and I did not get along. We had serious relationship and personal problems. That’s why we got divorced. It wasn’t fun for either of us. Consider the source of the information you are getting and take it all with a grain of salt. Remember that there are two sides to every story and three versions of the truth (mine, his, and what really happened). Perspective is everything and everything may not be exactly as it seems from his. Do this small thing for me and I will return the favor. I’ll not judge or condemn based on word of mouth. I’ll refrain from forming an opinion based on the angry rantings of an ex or maybe even at all. What I do hear or think about you and your life, I’ll keep it to myself. I’ll resist the temptation to gloat to my closest friend or mention it in passing to anyone else who cares to listen because, really, it’s not my business. Passing along negativity never helped anyone.