Saturday, September 08, 2007

How to treat a bully

So, yesterday - as if the Hebrew School thing wasn't enough, X tells me that I should drop the kids off at his place in Sunnyside every other week. It's not fair, he says, his coming to me to pick them up. (Did I mention that he was the one who decided to move away?)

Usually, on the weekends he has the kids I go right to J's place in Manhattan - from my job (also in Manhattan). So, my doing that would mean schlepping back home, schlepping to Sunnyside... then back....

J was like: No. No way. You're not doing it... He doesn't abide by the rules, you don't. But how can I? I don't bring the kids, he doesn't come? Who suffers? Then he tells the kids "Mommy won't bring you... so I can't see you." I don't want to get into that. He only cares about himself - so he doesn't worry. I, on the other hand, have a bit more on my mind.

BUT - in saying that - I can't let him go blithely around doing whatever he wants. We have an agreement. We have certain standards of behavior.

He calls me up yesterday, yelling: "Max is going to Hebrew School on Tuesdays, too! That's crazy! I didn't agree to that! You never told me!" I told him exactly where and when I told him (because I remember him comparing it to a Muslim extremist Madras...) and then hung up on him.

J says to me: "You know, you don't have to tell him. It says in the agreement that he agrees to it. That he agrees to verbally support it. That's it. You don't have to ask him every time." AND he went on to say "Why do you even ask him when you do other things? Why include him?"

I made some sort of comment about co-parenting... and it being only right that he's included & J just looked at me. "Do you think X is a co-parent? Does he do anything besides play with the kids every other weekend & then can't wait to get them back to you Sundays? You do it all. You're the parent. He's only involved when there's money & even then he doesn't want to..."

And he's right. I'm still clinging to this image/idea of how we said it would be when we spilt. How he says he wants it to be. But he can't. He can only think about himself. He may talk to the talk, but he sure as shit doesn't walk the walk.

J's like - he's a bully. Just ignore him. Do what you want... And maybe he's right. And maybe I'll try... but I can't help but feel that two wrongs don't make a right, you know? And how can I expect certain behavior from him if I don't do it myself? And how can there be any standards?

I've left a message for a lawyer. We'll see what happens with that. Meanwhile I have to get through the rest of this month... Nathan's meds, Nathan's blood test, new sitter, new teachers, more homework, back to school clothes, shoes, haircuts, tennis lessons, play dates, kids who don't want to go to school, etc, etc, etc.

Is it Christmas break yet?


Kate said...

How to treat a bully, well first lets fall back on the good old message from our mother's, "ignore them and walk away", yes I know that its not that easy but this is the bit that I agree with J on, "Don't ask if you don't have too!, don't tell if you don't want to have that conversation, choose your battles".
But Just a quick thought to J, although its frustrating its not making life any easier when you start reprimanding!
I have been there stuck between ex and well meaning other and its not easy. Stick with the two wrongs don't make a right, because if all else fails the law can't fault you on being right!!!

Gwen said...

Punch him in the face? Is that the right answer?

He's NOT a co-parent. I think we can all agree on that. And it would be better for HIS children if he were, but you're not responsible for that. You have to let that be his problem, the way he is constantly letting them down. He wants you to own it, which is more of his bullying, but you just can't. X makes me think: Serenity now!

niobe said...

Sadly, this kind of scenario is all too familiar. X apparently knows he can use the fact that you care about the kids' best interests to get what he wants at your expense. Co-parenting is very, very difficult even under the best possible circumstances. When one parent tries to game the system, it becomes nearly impossible.

Also, I may not understand the custody split, but why does X even care if Max goes to Hebrew School on Tuesdays if X isn't responsible for Max then?