Traditional families I am going to just come out and say this: YOU SUCK! WOW, I feel better.
Hold on, that did not really bother you? OK, let me try another one. Traditional families, I hope you have a long marriage but each spouse sleeps in separate rooms and you can only see your kids every other weekend.
Now did that put a new spin on life?
Recently on the podcast, I asked my guest a question. My guest Ashley is also a parenting coach but also has been divorced so I knew she was an “expert” on topic we were talking about of traditional families vs. divorced families. My question to her was “do traditional families (i.e. a mom, dad and at least two kids) not understand what ‘we’ divorced families go through?”
What am I meaning by this question?
How about if we just say “normal” families and what they do not deal with on a consistent basis.
For example, here is what I deal with from my former spouse:
Every other Tuesday an email needs to be sent letting her know what time and where I am picking up our son. This is good co-parenting. However, I forget to send off that email then I will receive an angry email back stating why I did not send her the email.
3 years ago after dropping off our son at the “neutral” with-in 10 minutes there would be an email from her. Simply stating all of the things I did wrong during that weekend.
2 years into our marriage we were sleeping in separate rooms.
We once had friends over and at one point she proceeded to tell the group how little money I made.
After our divorce we had to go to court because she wanted to move out of state with our son. Not only did I “max” out my credit card but I had to borrow money from a family member and my now wife.
Let me just tell you that I am far from perfect as an“ex.” My checks to her have been late. I have been late picking up our son. During the early days of the divorce I would yell at her on the phone to say “you have broken up our family” and yes there were MANY glasses of wine in me during those times.
Traditional families do not always understand the dynamics of divorced families or blended families. In our family we try not to confuse people but we use the term “bonus” to replace “step.” These days my wife Ann and I now just tell others this is our son or our daughter’s.
Keeping up with scheduling can be insane. In divorce there is a document titled “Parenting Agreement,” this lays out visitation schedule and financial agreement. The document lays out who has what holiday on what year (odd vs. even years). For a traditional family it might compare whose family has Thanksgiving.
Not only do I have a parenting agreement but so does my wife and some years it can be complicated. In the sense of not only do you have your kids but your spouse has their kids and then dealing with your former spouse if changes needed to be made.
An example of changes could be if a family member of your former spouse is in town on your weekend with your child. This family member wants to see your child. In essence you might loose out on quality time. Does this make sense?
There have been times where the kids have had birthday parties and/or sleepovers: that has taken time away but it is about the kids and their fun.
Traditional families do not always recognize that a sleepover is great for our kids but it hurts having “my” time taken away from me. Yes, it sounds selfish, and it is.
Even trying to explain our family dynamics to single people can often times conjure up the deer in the headlights look.
Hold on here. Is it me? Having gone through divorce and living in the blended family world. Do traditional families not understand the divorce or blended family situations? Could I be delusional?
Please understand that my point of this article is not to create a civil war here. All I want to do is educate others because divorce can be complicated (one word, court).
I am not a genius but knowing if my first marriage was meant to be lasting then yes, I would be part of a traditional family. I would be aware of families of divorce also because watching my parents dissolve in front of my eyes.
Please traditional families just understand that when you ask if our kids can come over for a special event that we will say yes but deep down we want to say no.
OK, you do not “suck,” it might be a form of jealousy and I am sorry for that first comment. It has been a while since my therapist has taken my calls.
Executive producer and host of the podcast Blending The Family where you can find on Stitcher Radio, ITunes and IHeart Radio. Tommy has spoken at TEDx, Ignite Fort Collins and Keynote Speaker at Everything Dad Convention. The author of the books “25 Tips For Divorced Dads.” “Why not you, Why Not Me” and His new book “My Dad’s Advice At 5:04 AM” is coming out in 2018. Tommy enjoys a good red blend while writing or hiding from the family. A dad to Betsy, Becca, Connor, Duke and husband to Ann.