Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dear Parents

Dear Parents,
I am planning a series of letters regarding how you're ruining your children's lives with things they shouldn't even know about. Also known as things your therapist should be telling you. What's that? Don't have a therapist but you're going through a divorce with children involved? Well good news for you! I'm right at your fingertips and brimming with feedback!

Feedback #1 - Get a family therapist who can help you and your soon-to-be ex separate with integrity.

Feedback #2

Dear Parents,

This is Tough Love. I say things with compassion and understanding and an unshakable belief that parents do the best they can for their children. Maybe their best sucks. A lot of the time, it's probably average and that is totally okay. Lest you forget, you chose to be parents and there is no going back on that promise. You may have promised to love, honor, and cherish the person you created those children with but let's face it, the divorce rate is 50%. You are not stupid. This is a commonly known fact passed around without the slightest bat of an eyelash so don't look at me with your big sad panda eyes. I'm sorry your ex treated you like crap. I really am. But that doesn't excuse you from bad behavior. In all honesty, unless there was a situation of addiction, abuse, or violence in any form, I expect a certain level of appropriateness, common sense, and civility when it comes to your ex. Hate them all you want on your own time, just don't make it your children's battle.

If you thought your ex was a good or good enough parent when you were together, remind yourself of that every single day. No matter what your ex did to you, they love those children with every fiber of their being, just like you do. They may not show it in ways you approve of or even like. I repeat: If you trusted the other parent's abilities when you were married nothing should change when you separate.

Even if they had sex with your sister and your brother in your bed while you were off at Girl Scouts with little Susie. That makes them bad people. Not bad parents. There is a difference.

I know the choice not to have a baby now or in my foreseeable future is a wise one. I look at parents and children every day of my life. I study it, I question it, I research it, and I realize, on the deepest cellular level how big of a deal it is to be a parent. The intensity of the bonds, the depth of the connections, the weight of responsibility, and humanity required to survive parenthood is immeasurable. The bravery to become a parent, to put yourself out there on that scale, is heart-stopping to me.

Having said that, not having children is what makes me able to see things for what they are without the emotional clouding that is inevitable once you become a parent. You lose the option to make decisions clinically and objectively when it comes to your own children.

Yes. You.  Do.

You cannot un-ring that bell once it has been rung. In other words, once the baby comes out of the vageen, you are permanently changed on the deepest, most primal, of levels.

That's why I'm here! To tackle your questions and share my experience with complex and overwhelming situations. I promise to give unfiltered feedback on the Do's and Don't of co-parenting after divorce as well as co-parenting when the family is intact. Being married to the other parent doesn't guaranteed smooth sailing. It's good sometimes to hear from someone completely outside of your life who reports back on what they see when they view your family system.

Look familiar? Don't worry, you're not alone!


  1. "I realize, on the deepest cellular level how big of a deal it is to be a parent." It is! I wonder if we are more aware of this the older we get and the more we actually see what being a parent is all about. I love kids, adore my niece to pieces...but I'm not so sure I personally could do it.

    Als, GREAT POST!!