Something else that totally amazes me about this whole process is the constant drama. No matter how hard he and I both try and avoid it, I guess it is just inevitable with so many feelings stirred up, not just by he and I but by our children as well.
Around noon I was out eating lunch (alone, again) when my phone rang. I was thrilled to hear my oldest child on the other end, calling to tell me he just missed me and wanted to talk. Something our counselor told us to do to help our children was to let them know that when they were with one parent, that they were allowed anytime to call the other parent. But then my son started telling me how much he wanted to come home. He was furious at his father for this and that and told me about how my husband had watched an "inappropriate" (his word) movie in front of them last night. He missed me and he just wanted to come home, and he didn't want to be with Daddy anymore. I have to admit to being absolutely stumped on what to say. My instinct of course is to protect my children, and to say "I'll be right there", swoop them up and and whisk them home. But I wasn't sure that that was the best thing so I just listened to him and acknowledged his feelings. Then he put my 6 year old daughter on the line and she informed me that Daddy had spanked her for misbehaving. I don't spank. Maybe once or twice in my kids entire lives in situations where they were in danger, but I don't think it works and my husband would never do it, even though he didn't agree with me. She went on as well about how much she missed me and wanted to come home. I asked her to put my husband on the phone and asked him to tell me what in the world was going on.
Long story short, it is obvious that he is exhausted and not knowing how to handle the children (this after only having them alone for 24 hours). I am the first to say that he is a good father and I do believe it, he loves them, he does. But he has never appreciated the work it takes to be a good parent, an informed parent, a parent who does what is best for the child, not what is easiest or what will make them like you more. Anyways, I hear it in his voice, he is at his end with them. I tell him to just hug them and start over and that everything will be ok.
My entire Sunday, the only entire day I have without the kids, is spent planning meals for the week and grocery shopping. About two hours after my initial phone call with the kids, he is calling and saying that the kids are begging to come home and he will be there with them at 5. (After dinner and baths, 8pm, is our agreed time). Now, I miss my kids of course. But I'm thinking, c'mon....do I get to just take them to someone else when things get hard? NO! I tell him that no, I won't be there, I've just gotten started on getting things done, and 5pm won't work. He says "Oh no, I'll just stay there with them and take care of them". I almost give into this, but wait....NO. This is my home, this is my time off. What if I want to just sit in my living room and relax after my grocery shopping? Even if he is caring for them, my space will be chaotic and full of tension if that happens. So, no, that's not going to work.
I could go on and on about my husband and his issues and why he is behaving this way. But the focus of this blog is me, and I have to say, that I am proud of myself today for sticking with my boundaries. I care for these kids night and day and was spending my day off grocery shopping for them. I did for a moment feel selfish that they wanted to come home and I wouldn't let them, but it's best that they learn the boundaries too and that they can't dictate the rules. Right?????? (going to have to consult with my therapist on that one this week)
But I listened to my instincts and felt good about not being a doormat today.
Maybe I was recharged after a night out with my brother and sister in law last night. The two of them together are the perfect balance of empathy and humor, and between fun conversations at dinner and seeing "Yes Man", I laughed and laughed and felt so good afterwards. Maybe that translated into something today. Another lesson for me. I need to find more ways to laugh.
I'm getting to that, I sware.