Today, I am celebrating making the decision to let go of petty money issues with my ex. Even in the most amicable divorces, if there is any inequity of finances, there are almost always contentious issues surrounding money.
Money has a definitely been a struggle of ours as he a lot of it, and I don’t (currently). With this arrangement, I have been primarily responsible for the kids anytime there is missed school, doctors appointments, holidays, and summer breaks, etc. You name it and they are with me. This year, they even ride the bus to my house on his technical days and stay until either he picks them up after work or they are carted off to sports practices.
Now, I don’t mind this, because it means I get to spend more time with my girls. However, what I do mind is the amount of food they consume at my house, the mess they make and the cost of the groceries and extra dinners I prepare.
This morning, on what should have been a kid-free day, I took my 10-year-old into the hospital to have her upper digestive track x-rayed and organs peeked at via ultrasound. She has been having digestive issues off and on for several years and we are trying to get to the bottom of it. Today I was scheduled to substitute teach, but her appointment took precedence. It was too late for my ex to cancel his dental patients, it had to be a morning appointment, because she needed to fast, and a Friday- my only morning without class.
There are two things I really appreciated about this morning:
- I have a flexible schedule and could be the one taking her in. And I’ll admit, although I need the money, I wasn’t crushed about canceling my sub job. This experience was a bit scary for her and she doesn’t appreciate her dad’s comforting style.
- My daughter and I had the pleasure of a little added one-on-one time, as we stopped to get a bagel and smoothie (and of course coffee for mom) on the way back to school.
The reason I bring this up is that this mini-meal and excursion was on my dime, on a day that he was supposed to be responsible for the kids. But more importantly, this day triggered my thinking about both of my daughters’ diet and health. I recognized that although I am not the most fantastic cook, the meals I prepare are going to be more healthy and well balanced than my ex’s typical Lean Cuisine frozen dinner crap.
Both of my girls are dealing with body image/weight issues, plus the added digestive issues for my younger one. Isn’t it better to retain a little control over their health and help them in the best way I know how? I’m not judging my ex’s cooking choices, ok maybe a little, but he is doing the best he can with the skills and time he has. So, really, it’s not that big of a deal to let go of idea that I should somehow be compensated for this extra time. He is a great dad and shows up as such. It is time to release this need for financial retribution when all it really does is stress me out.
If my ultimate goal is financial freedom, then these are the thought processes that need to be released. He has been more than fair in terms of his child support and extra spousal support over the years, and he works his butt off. I think I can give him this and in the long run, what I am gaining is more financial independence and time with my girls- something that will quickly slip away as we get closer to high school.
So today, I release petty money issues and welcome extra time, food and mess with my daughters.