Before I embark on the Guilt project an explanation of my Divorce and how my life looks is in order. I think it will make more sense and I want to share. I did a hunt through old posts and I have NEVER spelled this out. We have created a unique life that makes the challenges of getting along as coparents intense but that intensity also has forced a lot of extra growth as we have been pushed into getting along.
First Looking Back:
We decided to end our marriage just over two years ago after about 18 years together. Finances were tight and so we continued living together for another 6 months. This was a living hell. All of our conflicts came up and all of the emotions and hurt were raw and at the surface. He was supposed to move out but the security deposit money and first months rent were out of reach. His strength had never been pushing and with an extremely tight rental market finding a place was crazy difficult. An old friend offered to give me a bed to take on my “weekends” off and that was my first step out the door. I needed that break…I was falling to pieces and I was emotionally exhausted. Everything was hard – staying “home” was hard, leaving my kids was hard, facing the man I had loved for nearly 20 years knowing I had devastated him was hard and I was crushing under the weight. I cried a lot, screamed a lot, yelled a lot and fell down to my knees often. I was ready to end my marriage but I was scared to death of the other side.
One day when I was having a melting pot moment a friend called and she said “you are breaking and you cannot keep this up ~ I am going to make some calls….I am going to find you a place.” Finding my own place and being the one to move out was necessary but devastating. I felt like I was leaving my kids and when I explain this situation now, I still feel like it looks as though I left my kids BUT this is why that interpretation is wrong. We decided that HE needed the bigger house. HE needed a garage for tools, he loved the garden and collecting things and needed the space. I was the parent that was out and about – very active and happy enough with a bright, light but simple roof over my head. Only one of us could live in a bigger house if we were going to come close to maintaining the lifestyle we had created for our children and so I left and we created this “funky reality”.
Other factors in our Divorce to note before I break out the “funky reality”:
- I had been a stay at home mom for 13 years at the time we divorced.
- I worked within and was probably about 50% of our home based renovation contracting company ~ I did all of the marketing, book-keeping, estimate preparations, contract preparations and created all of the business systems.
- My livelihood depended on our marriage remaining intact.
- I also homeschooled my four boys and promised them that no matter what happened I would never take that away from them.
- I had just started working within my dads commercial janitorial business.
And so YES, I moved out. My dad paid my damage deposit and first months rent. I found the most beautiful, bright, tiny but oddly functional one bedroom Lane house. My landlady was a blessing allowing me to create a home in this tiny suite and she smiled at my bravery and openness. With high ceilings I was able to transform the living room into a bunk bed / couch/ TV hutch…………and we have made the space home. I love it though I sometimes miss having my kids in this space more often. It would never function as a full-time home but we got the “funky reality” and somehow it all works out in the end.
The “funky reality” is this:
- Monday through Friday I wake up/have a coffee/pack up my van and head to my children at their dads home where I taxi my oldest to school (new thing) and home school/mother my other three boys.
- While I am at their dads house I do light housework, manage his money/pay his bills (used to be my job), market and do the books for his business which is now only part-time (this is a good thing), and juggle most of the things I used to juggle including taking care of things that are no longer my responsibility but would lighten his load.
- At 4:30 pm just before he gets home I leave and spend my evening untill 10pm doing commercial janitorial work (includes listening to 2-3 audio books per week and coming up with inspiration…except when it sucks….sometimes it does really just suck).
- Once a week I clean a condo in the morning and I used to do a house but I dropped that contract.
- The kids spend evenings with their dad and day times with me…..sometimes I make supper but more and more I have stopped.
- Every other weekend my boys come spend the weekend untill Sunday with me ~ I work Sunday afternoon.
- On the weekends I dont have my kids I often go to them anyways during the day while their dad puts in extra hours.
- We have to communicate often and we bump into each other often……half the time it is okay but half the time it evokes a LOT of emotion.
In a nut shell this is my life and this is where our lives are at now. We get along better but I would never want to go back………the patterns are still entrenched and while we are decent coparents we were not supportive lovers, we did not bring out the best in each other and as much as life hard…. it is much easier emotionally.
The kids? The kids suffer financially but they are great boys and get a lot of love that makes up for the things money could buy. They have said often in a million different ways that they would never want us to be together. Sad but true…..it really wasn’t good and had not been for far longer than I would like to admit.
This last little bit I am saying because in my search for people to relate with I was left feeling alone in that many people writing about divorce had left abuse or had been cheated on and/or betrayed.
My ex husband was a hard working, decent man that loved me. He had his flaws as did I…. nothing dramatic happened. But in the hustle and race of life we forgot to love each other. We did not learn each other. We took for granted that the other would always be there AND when we wounded each other….we did not repair. I want to say HE DID NOT DO THE WORK but that is not fair and nor is it true. Only now do I see that my work might have included figuring out a way to understand better his way. But our marriage ended for so many reasons….it was the big things but it was also a million little things.
The only way forward is forgiveness. Forgiveness takes time and comes in waves. All we can do is stand tall and strong facing each one as it hits. When we get knocked down and indeed we will….we have to get up and try again. Nobody Is Perfect.