I’d like to talk for a minute about being honest vs. being intentional.
I don’t know about you, but through my life I’ve had several ‘mottos’.
“You ALWAYS have a choice – you may not like your choices, but you always have one.”
“Personal responsibility” I think that one speaks for itself.
“Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answers to” (this extends to questions you just aren’t *sure* you want the answers to.)
These have all been different themes since I was about 18. I felt strongly, even then, that once you’re an ‘adult’ you have to stop using “My mom did _______” or “The kids at school were ______” as a reason for not achieving what you wanted to.
Can the effects of traumatic circumstances be legitimate? Oh boy, you bet. But should you let them hold you back? I don’t personally think so. I think we should, as people, take responsibility (there’s that word again) for our future and do whatever work we need to in order to try tomove past these things. Easier said than done – yes I know.
My most recent motto is “Be honest, but be intentional.”
It’s hitting me in the face hard right now as we work our way through this divorce, which will finalize next week.
The ex (I’ve finally stopped calling him “not-yet-ex”) has a new ‘love’ – another one. He’s on his 3rd since we split up 1.5 years ago. This doesn’t really put a wrinkle in anything for me, but the kids are a whole other story.
This is where the rubber meets the road for me on being honest vs. being intentional.
If I’m HONEST with you guys – I have a ‘friend’. I have someone I’ve spent some time with. After a bit my kids have met his kid. We all have a great time together doing things we all enjoy – rock climbing or biking. And, if I’m HONEST, as much as I really do like and care for this person, when we’ve done things with the kiddos, there’s great INTENTION to the way that we do it.
We have a basic set of rules at this time. It’s something we both agree on.
Look – my kids have been through the ringer already this past year and a half. Their parents are getting divorced. Mom has moved out. It’s been emotional and messy.
The last thing they need is for me to add one more layer of stress. So – when we’re together now, it’s all about the kids. HONESTLY, we hardly speak. We ll have fun – we all laugh and act silly. His kid and I hang out and have fun – my kids sometimes sit near him and snuggle up or hold his hand.
But they initiate it, and, for me, that’s the key.
Might this all be “more” down the road? Absolutely.
But we’re very intentional. I want all of these kids to feel like they were part of things and this all developed in a way that made it easy for them. This requires enormous amounts of patience, forethought and very calm, in spite of how emotionally-charged it can be, conversation.
My ex said “Well I’m being honest.”
And he’s not wrong. He is being honest.
I think I am too. “We’re good friends and I like him a lot. I think he’s fun. What do you guys think of him? of his son?” This is how this goes for me. All of these things are true.
I feel good about my response – just as the ex does about his.
I feel like my kids are getting to express their feelings and their opinions. It’s because we do these things, that they pow-wow’ed on my bed last night to chat about how they were sad about the divorce next week (because they know. I don’t believe in hiding that.) and how they didn’t really want a lot more change right now. They wish their dad wouldn’t get married right now. They already don’t feel like they get as much attention from him as they’d like, they say.
Because my relationship with him matters – and for their sake – I share this stuff with their dad. I try to let him know how they’re feeling. I can’t fix it for him – or dictate how he handles his new relationship- but I can at least pass along the info.
He’s completely comfortable with holding hands and kissing in front of the kids, leaving the them alone while they’re his home for the two of them to have alone time.
I’m not saying that these are things that should never happen – absolutely they should! I think the kids need to see a healthy relationship. Physically and emotionally as is appropriate.
But I also feel strongly that my particular kids deserve for me to be intentional and calm at the moment. Not caught up in another person. But present – for them and their needs and wants.
I think this whole situation has made me appreciate being intentional more. Patience IS a virtue. And good things DO come to those who wait. In the meantime, we’ll have a lot of fun, and some difficult times too, and enjoy the process – the natural progression – that this all takes.