Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I Survived My First School Function

When AJ was younger there was a couple with a son in his class who was divorced. Thing was you couldn't tell they were divorced. The first time I met them was at a class party. They blended so well, got along so well and were so friendly with one another that I thought they were married. I was pregnant with RJ at the time and while I was talking to their son he made the comment to me that he wanted a little brother or sister too. His mom and I laughed, and I told him he would have to talk to his mommy and daddy about that one. His mom laughed and told him, he knew that wasn't possible. I thought she meant she couldn't have any more kids and I apologized saying I didn't know. She laughed again and said, "Oh it's OK. It's just not possible right now because his father and I are divorced." I was shocked.

Then as the years went on and our Boys went to separate classrooms we didn't really see each other very much anymore, except at school functions. Always the two of them at every function getting along so well you'd believe they were married unless you knew better. I was still amazed every time.

Unfortunately, we can't all get along with our ex's that well. Maybe it's because we're newly separated/divorced. Maybe it's because for whatever reason we simply will never likely reach that place, which is OK.

Recently, I had my first school function where both my ex and I attended. To say it was awkward would be putting it mildly. It was a fun sort of night for the kids. AJ wondered around, checking out the various stations. RJ wondered around looking to hang out with his friends. While I went from station to station with Jr. I took pictures. I took video. (Always very careful to keep other children out of the shots whenever possible.) I was in Heaven. For a little while I felt normal within the walls of the school again. I felt normal with my baby outside of my home.

My ex and I had been getting along fairly well for the past few weeks. We'd even reached a point where we could talk on the phone for brief periods and not begin fighting. I thought that would transfer over into the real world especially at a school function. It didn't. I went up to my ex at one point just to sort of say "hello" and ask how he was doing. He answered me in an angry, clipped tone. Looking at me like I was crazy to be talking to him. I didn't understand. What had happened to us getting along? Why was he suddenly so angry?

If it was a matter of the fact that I monopolized all of Jr.'s time, at any point he could have tapped me on the shoulder saying he wanted to do things with him. I would have stepped back and allowed them to have that special time together. Only, he never did. He slumped in a chair and didn't interact with any of our Boys unless they went to him. Part of me felt bad because I didn't think to "share" Jr. with him, since I already get so little time with him. This was a treat. Part of me felt that if he had wanted that time, he should have asked for it. I can't read minds after all.

Either way, I was able to spend some fun quality time with my Boys. Even if my ex was a giant grump. (lol)

Love & Support,

Monday, October 26, 2015

Surviving Shared School Functions

Having to share the same space and time with your ex is never easy, unless of course you are one of the lucky ones who has a very positive relationship with your ex. Not only do you have to find a way to share the same space and time with your ex, someone you with whom you aren't necessarily getting along. You also have to find a way to share your time with your children. While you engage with your one another in general, sharing time with your ex can seem an insurmountable task. It is possible.

Firstly, do everything in your own power to keep things at least civil. Aim for friendly and light if you can. Even if your ex doesn't seem open to this. Take the high road here, which I know will be difficult. Don't ignore your ex. Simply attempt to be civil, friendly if you are able to manage. If at any time you are with your ex during the functions simply aim to treat him as friendly as possible. If you absolutely have to aim to treat him as any acquaintance you don't know very well. Be nice. Be civil. Be cordial. Try to keep it from getting awkward.

Try and include your ex, or at least attempt to find a way to share the time between the two of you. I know it's difficult to accomplish this. Trust me, I know. I also fail miserably with this. Try and offer your ex to spend time to your child(ren), essentially trading space with one another. Perhaps if you have more than one child you could trade off at some point. You spend time with your oldest, while he spends time with your youngest. Then at some point, some how you swap places. That way you are both able to spend time with each of your children.

I know it's not fun. I know it isn't the ideal situation, however, it is possible to survive shared school functions with your ex. It simply takes a little work and, unfortunately, a whole lot of self restraint.

Love & Support,