I have always believed in the importance and benefits of a healthy and positive co-parenting relationship, and although my relationship with my son’s father is nowhere near where I would like it to be, it doesn’t change the fact that it is important and beneficial.
At some point, though, you have to recognize when enough is enough. Unfortunately, I am that point. I have no hope or faith in the ability to create a healthy and positive co-parenting relationship with Micah’s Daddy. In the past, I had hoped that I would never get to this point, as I was confident that we could make it work for Micah’s sake. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and I have learned that I cannot keep putting time and energy into a fruitless effort.
Let me explain what happened…
Micah started Kindergarten last month (as was mentioned in my post, I Survived the First Day of Kindergarten), and building up to the first day of kindergarten, I was a complete and utter stressed out wreck. A lot of it had to do with planning Micah’s 5th birthday (which turned out great – pictures to follow!) while preparing and shopping for kindergarten, which helped me to put my emotions on hold to make sure that both were done to the best of my ability. Once both were done, though, the emotions came swooping in at full force.
His first day of kindergarten came and went, and we both got through it successfully. I was proud of myself for making it through because honestly, I had many sleepless nights leading up to his first day (hey, it’s my first child going through a huge transition; I’m allowed to be stressed about it).
A week after starting Kindergarten, we headed off to Back to School night. I invited Micah’s Daddy to join us, and completely didn’t expect him to attend, so I set myself up to be prepared to be on my own. I was more than surprised to see Micah’s Daddy show up while we were sitting in the parking lot waiting for the doors to open. I knew from the moment that I saw him that the experience was going to be a bad one. I encouraged him to leave if he had other plans, but he insisted that he really want to be there. I took it as a reassuring gesture, and prayed that all would go well.
We walked together to Micah’s classroom, and I was in pure tourist mode. I was happy to meet the principal and the assistant principal, and I chatted with the nurse and guidance counselor before heading off to Micah’s classroom. Once we got there, his teacher had a slideshow prepared to show us all about the school, the administration, the teachers, the curriculum, and more. We sat through the 45 minute long discussion and slide show (Micah fell asleep once the lights turned off lol), and behind me all I could hear was sighing, moans and groans, being flashed by the lights of his smart phone, and continued questioning as to when this would all end. This frustrated me to no end – I wanted to focus on what was going on, and all he was thinking about was leaving. I encouraged him again and again to go ahead and leave if he didn’t want to be there, but again, he said that he wanted to be there.
Once the presentation was over, all the other parents wandered around the classroom looking at the kids’ artwork and having conversations with the teacher and the assistant teacher. As Micah’s Daddy was holding him, he made a beeline for the door. He had done his hour-long service, and now he was ready to leave. He tried to hand Micah back to me once we were in the hallway, and I asked him to hold him for a minute longer while I took a picture of Micah’s artwork on the bulletin board in the hallway.
His response, “YOU’RE MAKING ME HOLD THIS DEADWEIGHT SO YOU CAN TAKE A PICTURE! WTF!”
Remind you, we’re in the hallway with dozens of other parents, and many of them turned to gasp at us, trying to understand what was happening before their eyes.
This is when I completely lost it. I had so much to say, but before I could say it, he was already making his way through the school and headed out the door. When we got to my car, I was just completely fuming. I could feel my face and my ears burning with frustration. He tried to buckle Micah into his carseat, and I just moved him aside and told him to leave and that I would do it. He walked away, and was already pulling out of the parking lot before I could get to the driver’s side of my car.
At that very moment, I realized that I was done. Enough is enough. This so-called parenting relationship was completely one-sided. I would have been more accepting if he just didn’t show up at all. That would have been normal. Yes, I should be grateful that he even showed up…but then again, no I shouldn’t. Do you think I really want to have to attend But to show up and be such an ignorant pain was beyond what I was willing to deal with. It was very embarrassing, and this was not how I wanted to present Micah’s parents to his teachers, administration, and other parents. I wanted to present a united front, parents devoted to their child’s success and willing to come together regardless of the circumstances for their child’s benefit. And that could have been accomplished by both of us showing up and paying attention to what was going on. I didn’t really expect more than that.
After driving home and reviewing all that happened in my head, I decided that I would have to speak with him. I left Micah’s Daddy a message letting him know exactly how I felt, and that I would no longer willingly engage him in any events or activities. I am not refusing him the ability to see or engage with Micah; I just wanted to make it clear that I would no longer be the initiator in making it happen. It should be no surprise that I haven’t heard a peep from him since that day. Micah hasn’t asked for his Daddy, so I haven’t had to call him, and he has made no attempt to contact us. And honestly, I’m no longer worrying about it. I am separating myself from the drama and moving forward with the same goal that I’ve always had – keeping busy and staying happy.
I emphasize in many of my posts that it takes two willing parties to be in a positive co-parenting relationship. And it is so very true! I receive many e-mails regularly from other single moms asking how to make their child’s father become more engaged, or how to make their child’s father recognize that they should be a part of their child’s life, and the answer is always the same – NOTHING! You can’t force your child’s father to be engaged or interested; he has to want that himself. And until he wants that, all you’re going to have is arguments, headaches, and frustration. A time will come that you will get sick of it, and you will remove yourself from the drama. It will be his choice to reach out and engage or his choice to remain out of the picture.
This is a post in the weekly series, Single Saturdays, where I’ll be sharing topics around single life. Whether you’re single or a single parent, you’ll enjoy checking out Single Saturdays each week for a good read. Have a topic you want to see addressed? Make sure to send me an e-mail at email@example.com!