Writing my thoughts and feelings out really helps me to process them (that’s why people blog, right?!)
I’ve been thinking and praying a lot lately about “co-parenting” and if this will ever truly be a viable option for us.
To recap, my husband has joint legal and joint physical custody of our two girls. We create a schedule every month, and per the court order we get the girls 10 overnights a month, but are supposed to be splitting time evenly. Bio-mom thinks her nights are her nights, and honestly it’s too much transition for them to go to school, then come with us for dinner, then go sleep at her house. So I get it. So we have 10 overnights a month, which includes our every-other weekend. This roughly equates to every other Friday & Saturday night, plus 1-2 weeknights each week.
Luckily, most of our transitions happen at school pick-ups or drop-offs, so even though we trade multiple times each week, we don’t have to see BM that often. We do- at minimum- see her every other Sunday evening when we give the girls back to her at 7pm. These are some of the tensest moments for everyone, especially the kids. BM has no issue starting an argument in front of them, then immediately projecting onto my husband, like, “Gosh, why do you always have to start an argument in front of the girls?!?!” …excuse me, who started the argument?
She preaches that we need to make a consistent schedule, but there is no way to make a consistent schedule with 10 overnights a month. We pitched a consistent schedule where 10 out of 12 months a year, we would have them 11 overnights. This schedule was basically us having them Wed-Thurs nights one week, and Thurs-Sat nights the next week. Rinse and repeat. This is still unfair as it is not even, and we would have to go 6 nights without seeing the girls every other week. BM shot the schedule down because she refuses to give us any more time than we have (failing to recall the court order stating time should be split evenly). BM said the only way she will agree to a consistent schedule is if it means us giving her the girls EVERY WEEKNIGHT and us just having them every other weekend, and sporadic dinners here and there. Um, that’s not joint physical custody, and also why would we ever agree to her having the girls every school night, when she literally *never* gets the girls to preschool on time as it is?! (Not an accusation- we have the check-in log)
She complains that we paint the girls toenails too frequently “which is bad for the enamel in their nails” (???), but then sends them to school without brushing their teeth, and in short sleeves and thin jackets in 30 degree weather. She accuses us of lies every time her and my husband speak, which includes that we “always feed them nothing but junk,” “always put them to bed too late,” etc. none of which are true, and also none of which she would have any way of knowing.
When they were in court, she demanded that a clause be put into the custody agreement that all clothes must be returned at each exchange, but then she literally never sends back clothes on the next exchange. Then, when my husband texts her with a list of our missing items once every 3 months or so, she responds- projecting again– with texts like, “You waste so much time typing these lists out! Notice, I NEVER text you for a list of clothes to return!” (To which his response is, “I always send everything back on every exchange, so you don’t have to text me.)
Y’all the list goes ON. AND. ON… and all I can think about is, how will co-parenting ever work for us?! I try so hard to show her grace and to think, “Maybe it will get better with time,” or, “I’m sure once she settles down with someone she will see how wrong she has been,” but I really can’t see the light at the end of that tunnel. Then I saw this picture on Instagram and thought, wow- maybe this is just where we’re at:
So I ask, do high-conflict BM’s with narcissistic tendencies ever back down? With time or with resettling? Or should I brace myself to be in the parallel parenting club forever?
These are the thoughts I wrestle with, and the things I pray about the most.