Co-parenting when the other party doesn’t participate

This isn’t a post with a whole heap of advice about how to make the best of a bad situation. Mainly because I don’t have that advice. This is more of a vent, a question to the universe, an acknowledgement that I just was not prepared for this eventuality.

The Ex has essentially turned into a person that I don’t know. I have no idea who this person is but it is certainly NOT the man that I lived with and loved for 7 years. The man who would rail against Moody’s father for not calling each and every week. Who would get upset on my behalf when he was thoughtless or rude. No this man is not just thoughtless but I am more and more convinced that he is deliberately cruel. You see while Moody’s father can tend towards the forgetful I could guarantee that if he hadn’t spoken to Moody for an extended period if I sent him a photo or text or something to jog his memory he would be on the phone within 24 hours, 48 at the maximum. It was always one of those situations where he just didn’t realise how much time had passed, or so it seemed.

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The Ex on the other hand has been blanking the kids on and off for months. Between September and early November he didn’t contact the kids at all for 6 weeks. Not one call, text, photo, snail mail sent to them at all for over a month. In the end he finally broke the silence when I told his mother on Moody’s birthday that he hadn’t been in contact. Suddenly 10 minutes after I got off the phone with her he called… for the first time in 6 weeks. He made 3 phone calls that time. One on Moody’s birthday for Moody, one later in the evening for the other two and then another one on the Sunday. His Mum was aware of all of these because she checked in with me about them when she visited with us after school during the following week. During these calls I checked in on when the best time  to contact him was. He nominated a day of the week and time that would work best for him. I waited for him to call at the nominated time the following week, no call came. At that point I decided I was done waiting so I collected the kids together and told them I was calling and that he might not answer and so they needed to think of something they could tell him in a message. We called, there was no answer and so I had each of them speak into the phone to leave their message. That is what has been happening ever since.

He has been in contact a few times. I let him know that I had told his mother we would be doing FaceTime on his birthday, and she was going to be visiting him then, so he answered. I did the same thing on Christmas while his parents were visiting here. But regular phone calls in between went unanswered.

I can’t help but worry about what I am teaching my children. On the one hand I am attempting to maintain what is a loving relationship with their father. Or at the very least allowing them to feel that they have some contact with him. On the other hand am I teaching them to chase after a person who is doing his damnedest to be unreachable? Am I teaching them that their self respect is unimportant? I don’t understand making your children chase you for your attention. I don’t understand not calling your children as often as you can. This is something that I have never understood with either one of my ex’s. I have made it very clear to both of them that they are free to call anytime. I do my best not to be intrusive and encourage the kids to take the phone to their bedroom’s to talk so they can have some privacy yet they don’t call.

Mayhem’s birthday was last week. He turned 4. Everyone celebrated, he had a great time as you saw in my previous post. But no call from his father.

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I was going to make the call if he hadn’t bothered by late morning but then I got distracted. Ex’s parents were here visiting, then I had to finish decorating his cake, then we visited with my Mum and then it was home to feed everyone and do the nighttime stuff. Time got away from me. I didn’t even realise he hadn’t called until mid-afternoon the next day at which point I went back to check my voicemail, text messages, missed call list with a sick feeling that I had missed it. I hadn’t missed it, he just hadn’t bothered, which actually somehow made me feel worse.

Please don’t get me wrong he came to visit 2 days before Mayhem’s birthday and at that time he left a gift for Mayhem so it’s not like he didn’t acknowledge the day at all. He also bought all of the kids scooters during this trip. I am grateful for that. I am happy that the kids all got a great day with him and that he saw them. I just don’t understand how you can blank your kids on their birthday. How you can not answer their calls or even acknowledge them.

Mayhem’s birthday was last weekend, we gathered around the phone again this week, I prepped them as per usual to think of a message. The only thing Mayhem had to say is “I love you”. We still have radio silence.

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