My ex is a Disney Dad. I am not sure why this surprises me or makes me as angry as it does….. He is behaving exactly as he did throughout our marriage.
While we were married, I was the responsible parent for our kids. I did homework with them, I made sure their teeth were brushed, I organized their play dates and their outings and as they grew I waited up on Friday and Saturday nights until they were home safely.
Their dad took them to their sporting activities, took them to professional sporting events and loved watching Sunday football with them. He was their “buddy” and they loved (and continue to love) hanging with him.
Why wouldn’t they? He didn’t nag them to clean their room or do their homework. He didn’t monitor their sugar intake and make sure they ate healthy meals. He didn’t make them accountable or contribute to the household. He had no expectations of them and just wanted to have fun with them.
I would say this was the contributing factor to our divorce. I couldn’t handle being the bad guy all the time. I was tired of doing it all alone and receiving no support. My biggest fear when I decided to leave was how were they ever going to function living with “just” him.
I fought hard to maintain custody and felt that one night a week and every other weekend was more than he could handle. We all agreed that this was the best scenario and it worked.
What has shocked me the most is that he couldn’t even make a dinner reservation when we married but he is able to plan and book elaborate vacations for him and the kids. Every Christmas break he takes the kids away for a week to beautiful resorts around the world. While I am happy for my kids as they cherish that time with their dad, I would be lying if I didn’t say it bothered me.
The kids are well into their twenties now and the tradition continues. While I am way past my divorce, and even amicable with my ex, it still bothers me. Every Christmas I can’t help but lament that I will never be able to afford to take the kids to such places. I will never get to be that “free and relaxed” parent. I struggle with the unfairness of it all. I wonder if the kids get how unfair it is and hope that one day they realize that being a good parent is more than just chips, ice cream, sports and vacations.
Linda, thanks for sharing your story. While they do love their dad, you have to consider who they come to when they need advice, are upset, or just need to vent. If they are taking their stresses out on you it is because they see you as the strong parent, the one who will help them through difficult times, the one that they trust with their feelings. While it does seem unfair, and as a professional and from personal experience, I know that that feeling is powerful; they will respect you and love you for all that you have given them. You should be proud that you are the parent that created responsible adults.