Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Mommy fail

I have a very strict rule against saying anything bad about my ex in front of The Kid. My son loves his dad, and I don't ever want him to look at me and wonder if maybe he shouldn't.

But, damn, The Ex makes it hard for me to follow my own rules sometimes. He does some things sometimes that I feel I must comment on.

Like taking my 7-year-old to a college-style kegger and teaching him to play beer pong. Granted, he gave The Kid orange juice to play with. But I watched my father die at 47 as a result of alcoholism. I don't really want to spoon feed drinking games to my kid. But, while I wanted to tell The Kid that his dad was maybe making some pretty shitty judgement calls, I turned the event into an opportunity to talk about drinking responsibly and the dangers of letting a ping pong ball determine one's booze consumption.

Or, as another example, how's about a little bit of animal neglect? This has been a tricky one, because I was ready to kill The Ex when I saw the condition of the dog. And I wanted to make absolutely certain The Kid knew that this is NOT an acceptable way to treat an animal. But how do I have that conversation without essentially saying "Duuuuuude. Your dad is an ass."?

I settled on a single conversation with The Kid wherein I confessed to being upset with his dad. I told The Kid that the dog should have been taken to the vet long ago, and should have been allowed into the house and properly cared for so that she could heal. I think that was enough. The Kid understood. I didn't need to beat him about the head with it. The rest - how to properly care for a pet - can be taught by example.

Still, I'm questioning my judgement on having said even that much.

But that doesn't compare to what happened Sunday night.

The Ex had to stop by to drop off some things for The Kid. When he left, he tore out of the neighborhood and barely even slowed down for the stop sign at the end of the street. (This happens with enough regularity that my neighbors have politely requested that I ask him to be more careful.) And in a fit of frustration and exhaustion and contempt, my internal editor chose that moment to go on strike.

"Ugh. Your dad's such an idiot."

It fell out of my mouth and landed with a splat on the table between us. We stared at it, silent, with equal amounts of shock hanging from our faces.

I honestly don't know what happened. All these years of biting my tongue, of choosing my words so carefully, and a minor traffic violation is what breaks me?

Immediately I apologized, explained that it scares me when his dad drives so fast in the neighborhood with so many young kids running around; that in a moment of anger I said something that I didn't really mean. And then I apologized again.

Once The Kid got over his initial shock, I'm pretty sure he promptly forgot the incident. But I'm still kicking myself for it.

Ugh. Mommy is such an idiot.


Barry said...

First thanks for stopping by on my site. Seems we are on the same wavelength.

Second, don't beat yourself up on this one. Everyone slips! No biggie. It is the habit that some get into that creates the problem.

Third, if I may be so bold, he is an IDIOT! I just don't get parents who think it is cool to have their young kids involved or around adult situation, especially drinking. He will have plenty of time to learn about this stuff (as I am learning with 2 of my kids in college) Seeing adults drink is one thing, having a 7 year old participate in the game (even with OJ) very uncool.

Fourth, don't even get me started about the caring for the dog! I have 2 dogs and 4 cats, all but one rescued. Tip: Don't ever take your kids into a shelter to just look :).
How people treat their pets and animals is a pretty good sign of how they treat people. I don't like this guy already.

Lastly, his driving stunt is also pretty ridiculous. He must need to prove to you he is a 'man' you should miss. My guess is you wish he could leave and drive faster if the speed limit allowed!

I know I went on a bit.
Bottom line, there is very little you can do to change this guy.( But I would keep notes on these situations, never know when they will come in handy) Maybe try and talk to him like and adult, hmmm, that sounds tricky here lol.
You seem to be doing a great job. Continue to show an awesome example, talking to your son about doing the right thing and keep your fingers crossed. Most of the time you can only focus on the things you can control, which is your actions.

My bet,as I have learned, as he gets older he will learn to not only love you, but RESPECT you. It can be brutal to wait but keep the faith and stay the course. said...

@Barry - Totally agree!

Likely, your child did forget what you said since you've made a commitment not to make such remarks (well justified!)a pattern. Please try to beat yourself up a bit (or a lot) less! Big hug!

MindyMom said...

Girl - you are a saint. Do not beat yourself up for that little slip. You handled it very well.

The way I look at it is this: your Ex is responsibile for his behavior and also has some accoutability for how people (including you) respond to it. We all need to think about how our words and actions effect others and well, a$$holes don't.

Your ex is an idiot. Teaching beer pong to a 7 year-old is borderline abuse (and might be worth checking out)but I would definitely document it.

T said...

I agree! You handled that very well!!! Beer pong? Seriously?! Holy crap.

I love how you're turning them into learning opportunities. Isn't that what life lessons are anyway?

Honestly though, I still think you can say to your child that you do not always agree with your ex's decisions. Everyone is free to disagree without harm.

Bobbi Janay said...

First of all way to go for keeping your cool about the beer pong. Second I myself come from divorced parents and that one little slip he won't remember. It is when they rant and rave about the other that you remember. My parents couldn't keep there mouths shut and I know things I never should.

dadshouse said...

That's really tough. You're good to bite your tongue. Criticizing your kid's other parent in front of the kid usually makes you look bad, not your ex.

That said, beer pong with a 7 year old is not good judgment. Neither is fast driving. I feel for your predicament.

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Lisa said...

I'm only surprised nothing else slipped before!
How you can be so patient with such an obvious ass? Chapeau!

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