8 months ago, it was decided that my youngest child would start school this fall, against my better judgment, after having been homeschooled his entire life.
5 months ago, I attempted to initiate a dialog with my ex in order to better facilitate this transition. My ex responded with suspicions of my “agenda” and refused to negotiate with me unless we were in front of a mediator and would end the session with a legal document that could be executed. A legal document that would take into consideration any of a thousand different decisions that need to be made on a regular basis, such as “who will buy pens when he runs out.” “Who will be able to pick the child up at the last minute on a rainy day.” and “who’s going to pay for the field trip next week.” Decisions which, by the way, default to being my responsibility in the absence of agreement, so there’s really no motive for negotiation on his part. Previously, any attempt on my part to request financial or logistical assistance for activities and events has been soundly rejected, with the explanation that since it was allegedly my sole decision to homeschool my children, it was my responsibility to bear the burden of that decision. He ended our back-and-forth email exchange by asserting, in a rare moment of admission of intent, “This will hurt you” (meaning me) “more than it will hurt them.” (meaning my children.) I chose to not continue the conversation.
In absence of this fabled legal agreement that would magically address the myriad of issues that crop up in the day-to-day life of a child, my ex refused to speak to me at all for several months. Any attempt on my part to negotiate was met with either silence or insistence that I communicate through my lawyer (unfortunately, I am not able to retain a lawyer, so there wasn’t a whole lot I could do to get through to him.)
Meanwhile, the date of registration drew closer, and in spite of my attempts to negotiate the tasks that needed taking care of, I received silence. Until, finally, last month, an attempt was made by him to initiate a legal order by which some of these questions would be answered. The very same questions I had attempted to negotiate about a month prior to that.
While we waited for lawyers to pass information back and forth, deadlines loomed. An attempt was made by me again to define roles and responsibilities. The response was unequivocal that absent a legal agreement, I was not to expect my ex to be responsible for the mundane tasks of school enrollment.
Rather than arguing, I took it upon myself to take care of those tasks, now near the deadline for completion. My ex’s response to my lack of response THIS TIME was to call the school to check up on whether or not I was doing what he had already made exceptionally clear that he was not going to be doing.
Let me be clear that I have never once failed to care for my children. In spite of many and varied obstacles, many of which have been caused by my ex, I have always managed to get done what needed to get done so my children have the things they need. It is an abusive tactic to continually act as though a person is unreliable when they have done nothing but prove themselves to be reliable. And it’s an abusive tactic to drag a third party into the thick of things and make it seem as though the target of abuse needs to be checked up on.
Unfortunately, when my ex called to “check up on me” – he was given different information than I was. So now EVERYONE is confused, and EVERYONE is dragged into this endless loop of manipulative and manipulated communication. And after months and months of refusing to communicate, suddenly we are down to the wire and I’m being treated as though *I* have procrastinated, *I* have delayed, and *I* am irresponsible.
Last night, my eldest son was looking at the scores from the standardized test he took a year ago. The one that was supposed to prove he wasn’t learning. The one that he scored VERY well on. He said to me “Mom. I don’t understand how dad can look at these test scores and insist that homeschooling doesn’t work. He’s not dumb. It’s obvious from these tests that homeschooling is working.”
I honestly didn’t know how to respond to that. I’m tired of being put in that position. I’m also really fucking tired of having to be silent about it.
So, fuck it. This is my life. I hope I won’t have to continue to post these frustrated rants much longer. I hope a rhythm will soon be established, these issues will be resolved, and I can move forward and not have to pay so much attention the the negative energy this person attempts to drown me in.
Cross your fingers. Remain calm. Listen to Sly. ❤