Smallish Set Backs

Posted on | April 23, 2012 | 47 Comments

I failed my son this weekend.

Oh, and I was so massively embarrased about it.  I am so massively embarrassed about it. But we all make mistakes, right? We all do stupid things that we wish we could take back.

On Friday, J’s father came to pick him up for the weekend… my first break in seven weeks.  I spent Friday home in bed with a nasty stomach bug on top of my heart monitor so to say I wasn’t feeling well was, well, an understatement.  Then my ex rolled in with a giant husky-type un-neutered dog, and briefly, oh so briefly, mentions that he will be introducing J to another woman on Saturday.

And I failed my son.

I was tired, but that’s no excuse. 

I was sick, but that’s no excuse.

I flat out failed my child.

At first, we were calm.  I asked that he rethink that because, well let’s face it… he only sees J for approximately 48 hours every month and I think that time should be solely devoted to J.  He disagreed.  He told me that he would leave J there with me if I said he couldn’t see this girl and that? That is the moment that my inner bitch took over. 

I yelled things at him that should never, EVER be said in front of our child.  I screamed at him.  My heart monitor went off three times while he was there. 

I am so embarrassed. I’m embarrased by the things I said to him and by how I let him make me feel.  I’m embarrassed that when he told me he was a terrible father and that he would always be a terrible father and that maybe he should just give me sole custody, I agreed with him.  I told him he was, in fact, a terrible father… even though I don’t think that’s true.  Even though I hope that’s not true.  I am embarrassed that I let him push my buttons and take me outside of myself long enough for me to fail the one person I try so hard not to fail.

And, to be perfectly honest,  I’m embarrassed to tell you about it.

But if I don’t share the fact that I suck at life… a lot…  you’ll all start to think of me as some superhero who has it all together. I do not have it all together.  None of us do.  Let’s face it… perception is no where near reality.  I have moments where I lose control.  I have moments where I want to launch myself at my ex-husband and claw his eyes out until I hurt him even a fraction of how bad he hurt me.  I have moments when I wish that he would give up custody and I could just raise my son without him… without his child support, without his input.

But I know that’s not what’s best for my son. 

And I will ALWAYS try to do what is best for my son.

Even if it means admitting to the world that I acted like a petulant and angry child on Friday and that dammit, I’m embarrassed.


47 Responses to “Smallish Set Backs”

  1. Jana A (@jana0926)
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 9:34 am

    Even with that, you’re still a superhero to J. 🙂

  2. Lawmomma77
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 10:03 am

    I hope so. I hope that he will never remember that moment in our lives. 🙁

  3. Jessyca Carr
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 9:43 am

    Screw that, LM. So you lost your temper – it happens to all of us. Quite frankly, I would have grabbed the sharpest / heaviest / most deadly thing close by and chucked it at him, so I’m quite amazed at your restraint. You don’t have to be perfect, only God can accomplish that. You do the very best you can every day, and when you fall, you pick yourself up and keep going. THAT is the definition of kick-butt mom. Love you, Girl.

    PS – he’s still a jerkface. 😛

  4. Lawmomma77
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 10:03 am

    Ha! He’s not a jerkface… he’s a 30 year old guy who doesn’t want to grow up.

    Wait… is that the definition of jerkface? 🙂

  5. Angel
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 9:58 am

    We all have setbacks, we are only human. In my opinion, the best thing you can do is show/teach your son that we all make mistakes but that we need to learn what we can from the mistake to help us in the future.
    If you care to share, did he take J for the weekend and introduce to another woman?
    Also, in my opinion, you have every right to be upset that he would do that without talking to you first. It may have not been how you would have liked to express your feelings, but I think that should be a joint decision and that he should have introduced you to her first so you know who is going to be around your child.

  6. Lawmomma77
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 10:02 am

    He did take J and as far as I know, he did introduce him to the woman he’s been seeing. I wasn’t as upset about that part as the fact that it was sprung on me. I wish he’d emailed me earlier and given me a heads up. I mean, he’s entitled to introduce his son to his friend… I certainly don’t ask his permission before introducing J to any of my friends.

  7. Harmskills
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 10:02 am

    Sorry he is your baby daddy but he a douche — really. You should have called his bluff and said fine turn around a go home. Or put the wheels in motion for sole custody and then see if he shapes up

  8. Lawmomma77
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 10:07 am

    Nah, I wouldn’t do that to him or his parents. Ultimately, making sure J has any kind of relationship with his father is in J’s best interests.

  9. Ellen
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 4:11 pm

    Yes. He was bluffing/manipulating. I hope he was bluffing at least bc who would give up a weekend with their son after not seeing him for 7 weeks?

  10. Violina23
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 10:04 am

    Well, I don’t know about the rest of your readers, but I *only* read blogs of perfect mothers 😉

    Remember, you care about whether or not you are a good enough mother, which automatically makes you a great one.

    In all seriousness though, and obviously this is coming from the outside (so take it with a grain of salt): the way your ex is talking about being a bad father, and almost volunteering to give up sole custody — that has to raise some red flags as to whether he is in ANY shape to spend unsupervised time with J. As much as your son loves his father (and I’m sure your ex loves J), I think you have a good reason to question if being around your ex *is* best for your son.

    Hang in there!

  11. Lawmomma77
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 10:08 am

    I think he was just trying to hurt me and he knows the easiest way to do that is to throw J in my face. He takes good care of J when he’s with him… maybe not the way I would do it, but J is fed and cared for to the best of his ability. I don’t have to worry about him being hurt or mistreated… I’m sorry if I gave that impression. My ex is simply immature. He is not ready to take on the responsibility of fatherhood, just like he wasn’t ready to take on the responsibility of marriage.

  12. Violina23
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 10:26 am

    That’s why I prefaced with “being on the outside” — I don’t know your ex, and the situation you described was decidedly emotional.

    Immaturity can lead to stupid decision making, so you are wise to keep an eye on things, and be concerned about new “lady friends” he brings into J’s life. It sounds like your heart & head are both in the right place.

  13. kerri tobin
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 10:07 am

    Thanks for being honest and introspective…we all make mistakes. Luckily, J is young enough that he won’t remember the substance of what happened, if he remembers anything at all. 🙂 My parents, mom especially, behaved this way approximately weekly for the 4 years they spent fighting for custody of my brother (8-12 at the time, while I was 18-22) and it was horr.i.ble. But I don’t think either of them ever stopped to think about anything beyond their own hurt and how to inflict more on each other…you’re worlds ahead of that already!

    But seriously, do you have a therapist? You deserve an outlet other than the interwebs for this stuff. 🙁

  14. Lawmomma77
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 10:14 am

    LOL! You’re right, I totally do. But unfortunately, I can’t take the time off of work to GO to a therapist!!

  15. Jennifer Donovan DiDonato
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 10:19 am

    I have been reading your story for quite some time. I just want to say that you inspire me. Your words, your feeling, your restraint inspires me. Most women who have been through what you have go off on a tangent and trash the man who did this to them. I know I would. You try your hardest not to cast him in the villain role, and own your end of where things went wrong. When in my opinion you are the heroine in all of this. I want to knit you a cape with a superwoman “S” on it, because you so are!

    I am a child of divorce and although I am grown I would like to add my input on this one. You are 110% right when you say that the time that he has with his son, should be spent with and dedicated to noone but him. That is time to form their own strong bond.

    Since you share so much of you, I want to share a little of me. My parents divorced when I was little. I met oh, so many of my father’s “girlfriends” and there was an impact. All I can say is it is confusing to a child when they are meeting a parents “significant other” especially if that person isn’t really significant. There is no point in introduction unless the person is going to be a “fixture”.

    Although you feel you were harsh and you are embarrassed. Please, don’t be. Through all of the restraint you have shown you are entitled to lose it once in a while. You have a heart monitor on for Pete’s sake, you would think that he would save the aggravation of LM for another time.

  16. Lawmomma77
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 10:41 am

    Thanks, dear. I really, really appreciate you.

  17. paralegalmom
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 10:21 am

    This is one of those “life happens” moments. What’s done is done and you can’t go back.

    How do you think he would handle it if you told him that you’re embarrassed about how you reacted in front of J, and that it would be better if he told you ahead of time so that you can process it privately, and so you can prepare J? I know he’s not the most understanding of guys (and frankly just seems oblivious), but at least then you can say that you tried.

    Hugs, though. J’s likely not going to remember this, and even if he does, it’s a teach moment where you can talk to him about good and bad responses to things. That even grown ups have bad days and need some quiet time. 🙂

  18. Lawmomma77
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 10:42 am

    I was calm by the time he left and did tell him that in the future, an email prior to the day would avoid a scene. 🙂

  19. Heather Griffitts Clark
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 10:45 am

    One of your readers commented about this being a teachable moment if J happens to remember this….and that’s so true.

    And let’s also be real – this is the time a Mama bear would have come out. Yes, you lost your cool and that’s not perfect – but to stand up for your son? That’s what you SHOULD be doing.

    And also reading back down through your responses….LM, I know you’re trying to be fair to J’s father. But seriously? No more excuses for him. There are lots of men in this world that find themselves fathers and weren’t ready for it. It does NOT give them the excuse to act like he acts. Just because he can feed him and not mistreat him or abuse him does not excuse him.

    He IS a jerkface. Sorry, but he is. It’s not as though he’s a teenager who got his girlfriend pregnant. He could have not married you. He could have said, “no, I not ready for kids.” He could have done a LOT of things and he didn’t. And now, for the sake of his child, he needs to grow up.

    So – while I support your still trying to foster a relationship for J’s father because that IS what’s best for him…..cut yourself some slack. Sometimes, the guy does deserve to be yelled at.

  20. Lawmomma77
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 11:28 am

    Sometimes we ALL deserve to be yelled at. And you know I appreciate your support so much. But keep in mind that the reason I am being fair is not because HE deserves it, it’s because J does. I am trying to keep this fair and even because some day, our sweet boy may read this and I want him to know that his father loves him VERY much… I never ever want him to doubt that.

  21. Heather Griffitts Clark
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 11:55 am

    Point taken 🙂

  22. MaconMom
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 11:42 am

    I’m so sorry you had to go through that and J was there. I don’t think you did any permanent damage 🙂 and know you are beating yourself up about it…please stop. You do right by J 99.9999% of the time; J needs to know you are not perfect.

    There is only so much someone can take before breaking. After your week, that was the final straw. Now, let it go, and move on.. J has.

    I would have totally had an Ally McBeal moment…clawing out the eyes. WTH…meet a girl… I would need time to do a little background check..and at least egt my emotions in check. That would have hurt on a few different levels.

    I want to say so much. Immaturity is taken to a new level. Okay, truly probably not a new level but so not cool

    What a Friday…

  23. Lawmomma77
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

    Yeah, definitely a lot of it had to do with how much I was hurting outside of that moment. But still…

    I LOVE that you just said an Ally McBeal moment. That is totally what I had! In my head I was all feral cat pouncing on him!!!

  24. Roxanne Piskel
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 11:49 am

    I’ve had a few of those moments myself. Don’t beat yourself up about it. You can even talk to J about it, if you think that would help him.

  25. Lawmomma77
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

    Nah, I don’t want to remind him of it. If he ever asks about it, we’ll discuss it. But hopefully it was just in one ear and out the other.

  26. KeAnne
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

    In your situation, I would have reacted the same way and felt the same way afterwards. I admire how you truly are putting J first; I wish all divorced parents did the same (speaking as a child of divorced parents).

  27. Lawmomma77
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

    Thanks… I try. But it isn’t always successful. Obviously.

  28. jessesco
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

    NO, you are NOT a failure. You tried to make him see some sense in his selfish ways. His child should be number one and he was throwing a tantrum hissyfit by trying to say that he wouldn’t take him. That’s ridiculous. Not for a second should you apologize. He needed to hear every word, whether or not he actually listened. Should it have happened in front of J? Probably not but it needed to get done.

  29. Lawmomma77
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

    For me, saying what I did in front of J is a HUGE failure. I try very hard to only say positive things about his father in front of him, so I’m embarrassed that he had to hear me be so cold. 🙁

  30. Liane
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. We’ve all had those moments where we think we’ve failed as a Mum. I think anyone in your situation would have reacted the same way. xxx

  31. Lawmomma77
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

    Thanks 🙂 I appreciate the vote of confidence.

  32. Cayley
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

    obviously, I wasn’t there to interpret the actual event, but do you know what comes across from your retelling of it? I take from this that you are human, can get angry, and will when someone threatens the well-being of your child. Is getting angry the best approach? Usually not. But is it the worst thing that J learns his mama will fight to protect him (even if there may have been a better way)? Nope. That seems like a perfectly good take-away. give yourself half the break you’re giving to J’s dad.

  33. Lawmomma77
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

    Ha! Well, you’re coming from the perspective of not being there. I was… unnecessarily vicious.

  34. Lola M,
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

    Oh! I did that too!! It was a big fail! I think that at a year out, you are still in the phase of divorce that allows one or two outbursts of passion once in awhile, especially when the ex is acting in his own best interests without regard to anyone else.

    I ended up writing a long email apology (because there was no way he’d hear a word I was saying otherwise) and felt better. It didn’t even matter f he accepted it or not.

    Then I got to work practicing keeping silent when he says something so stupid, so selfish that I want to rip his head off. What I found out with the silence is that he didnt know what to do with it and he petered out. I would just stand there looking at him and while he thought I was listening, I was actually looking at his nose and wondering how he got it to flare like that. Or at his hair – rapidly thinning. And that total non reaction was so effective! You can’t push buttons on a person who won’t react.
    This action wasn’t about being nice, kind or even good. It was about self preservation and just a little bit of wickedness.

    I am glad you shared. It brought back memories.

  35. Lawmomma77
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

    I so hope I can get to that place… the place of nonchalance and silence. This comment made me laugh.

  36. Kate
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 6:39 pm

    I think you did fine….even happily married folk lose their temper with each other in front of the kids. Trying to keep everything 100% positive is just setting yourself up for guilt. Kids and need to learn how to deal with ALL the emotions. Not just the warm and fuzzy ones.

    Chances are your kid is going to be able to make up his own mind about his man-boy Daddy. I certainly did with my Peter Pan father very, very early on. Kids know who they can count on and who is in the trenches with them. Seriously the faster you can yawn/roll your at your ex-dudes power struggles the better.

  37. Lawmomma77
    April 24th, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

    So true. I am anxious for the day I can nod and smile and close the door behind him.

  38. Jackie Henson
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 7:56 pm

    It happens to the best of us & dont beat yourself up over it, I think your ex was just waiting to rile you, he should have agreed seeing his son is more important when its just 48 hours he sees J. I am sorry you had to go through that & even more sorry he felt the need to put you through all that.

    I hate that my ex does that, my daughter comes home happy & the gf is really nice to my daughter so I cant complain even though it kills me to know. my sister brought up a good point that I will always be here mother & no one else is ever going to replace that even though it hurts.

  39. Lawmomma77
    April 24th, 2012 @ 5:02 pm

    Yeah… I felt like he just wanted to see my reaction.

    Guess he got what he was looking for. Ha!

  40. Jackie Henson
    May 7th, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

    lol maybe next time he will think twice 😛

  41. Janet
    April 23rd, 2012 @ 10:21 pm

    These things happen frequently in divorce but J won’t remember the bad stuff at this age. You may handle the situation perfectly (in God’s eyes) but feel like a jerk afterwards because you weren’t on your best behavior or your husband wasn’t on his. You are the one there doing your best daily and he’s off playing or whatever so cut yourself some slack. Just remember to do background checks on these “girlfriends” when possible and pray for J’s safety when he is away. Then rest and recoup for his return. You are an awesome Mom even on the bad days!

  42. Lawmomma77
    April 24th, 2012 @ 5:02 pm

    Hahahaha… I love the idea of background checks… but honestly, I don’t care all that much. It wasn’t that there was another woman, it was the way it was presented. I don’t think for one minute that my ex would date someone who would harm J.

  43. Dr. Phil
    April 24th, 2012 @ 5:23 am

    Sadly, your ex reminds me of so many men I know – married, divorced, accidental-dads: they just don’t place the same value on spending time with their kids… Sure, they’re all-around nice guys — educated, gainfully employed, sociable, etc… But for some reason — something lacking in the genes, or something PRESENT in the JEANS maybe? — they don’t get much out of interacting and spending quality time with their kids. Oh, they’re committed to being the “dad” and taking responsibility for all the stereotypical duties that come with that, like bringing home a paycheck or writing many checks or teaching the kids to swim/bike, etc… but don’t expect them to cuddle with the little one regularly and read bedtime stories or ask about his/her dreams… You’ll be DISAPPOINTED. Not saying men don’t do this sort of stuff. Just that when they do, it’s a once or twice a year type of event that is — in their eyes — worthy of some sort of award. Kinda like when they wash the dishes without being asked… lol… I’m not bitter; I’m just DISAPPOINTED. And that’s with having an attractive, smart, fairly motivated husband who adores our girls and who is actually a pretty darned good father! (I’ve been told my standards are impossibly high — because I measure him against myself and most of my mom-friends.)

    Which leads me to my next observation: mothers of boys seem to be much “kinder and gentler” with dads than mothers of girls – maybe too much so? The moms I know who have sons seem a lot more concerned about supporting and propping up dad’s image than the moms I know who have daughters. The moms who have sons appear to be concerned that if they project a negative image of dad, their sons will associate with dad and internalize the negative comments/images as being about themselves — e.g., if mom calls dad insensitive, hurtful and obnoxious, then son is going to feel that he is by default that way too, because he is a boy just like dad. Mothers of sons, therefore, tend to exercise a lot more (too much?) restraint when upset with fathers, resulting in (in my biased opinion) far, far too many boys growing into men who think that they can do no wrong, even when they are insensitive, hurtful and obnoxious (but suspect that, for some unknown reason, mom was silently hostile and angry at dad for many, many years).

    On the other hand, the (strong) moms I know who have daughters appear to be more concerned about how their daughters will relate to treatment of them/moms — i.e., daughters grow up to judge what is appropriate treatment of a woman by a man based on how mom reacted towards dad, so mom can’t let dad get away with x or y… I suspect this helps daughters grow into strong women who can look after themselves but also leads to empathy with brow-beatened dad and thinking mom is a major b*(&h. Lol…

    Bottom line: from the perspective of a mom of 2 girls, and not knowing your exact choice of words to your ex, you probably did a good thing showing your son that being an all around generally decent guy isn’t a free pass for being insensitive, hurtful and obnoxious, and that there are strong, amazing women out there who won’t put up with it and who will strike back. From the perspective of a mom of 2 girls who will someday be dating and maybe marrying boys raised by good, caring, loving, strong-as-heck women like yourself, that is not a bad thing at all. Teach your son what a good, strong, kind man he can/will grow into; but teach him also that there are some undesirable qualities/traits that he can and should resist developing/accepting.

    (Sorry for the Dr. Phil moment…)

  44. Lawmomma77
    April 24th, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

    Oh I kind of love this comment. A lot.

    Thanks! 🙂

  45. Heather Griffitts Clark
    April 30th, 2012 @ 11:15 am

    And this is what I was trying to say the other day…only this person did a WHOLE lot better at it!!!!!

  46. Jennifer Williams
    April 25th, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

    I think it is kind of cool that you flashed some of that anger at him.

  47. Wallacs
    April 27th, 2012 @ 11:45 am

    Oh boy. I really appreciate Dr. Phil’s comment, because she said exactly what I wanted to and now I don’t have to type it out. Here’s the thing, and don’t delude yourself (like I did, for too long)–He IS a bad father. Not a bad person, just a bad dad. It’s such a conflicted place to be. Do you subject your kid to a person who is, at best, only marginally committed to him, or do you say, “Yeah. You are a shitty dad. Let’s sign those custody papers today. I’ll even sign on the line that says you never have to pay another dime of child support as long as you live, if you promise never to darken my doorstep ever again.” ?

    You know what the un-pc answer was, for me, at least? I found an amazing man to marry. My ex is around for his child when he wants to be, but my husband is the male role model. The support system for my kids.

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