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Breaking the first rule

October 24, 2012

Last weekend, while I was in class all day Saturday (Supply Chain Management–woo-hoo!), LOD texted and asked me if he and the kids could watch the football game at my house (I get the channel it was on, and he doesn’t). I said it was fine. When I got home that night they were gone, but LOD had left two beers in my fridge as a thank-you.

I posted about that on Facebook, and so many of my friends said things like, “Wow, you guys have such a great (and weird) relationship!”

What I replied was that I think LOD and I are getting better at knowing what interactions we can have success with, and are trying to only have those interactions, and not others.

We used to fight about all sorts of stuff. Even when we didn’t realize we were fighting, we were fighting. Or at the very least competing. The fights were all the same. The competition was all the same. The fight was always, “You are a bad, inadequate person, and I don’t value what you have to offer.”

Now that we don’t have to be yoked together, and we’re essentially just co-workers working together to parent these kids (and to write this blog), it doesn’t matter who we are. And the things we have to offer the kids are things the other values. So it’s easier to have successful interactions most of the time.

Having said that, we still fight, because we both have hard heads. Some discussions (not actual fights) we’ve had lately have included:

  • whether or not I (Moxie) am a hypocrite because I am adamantly opposed to leggings as pants when I used to wear (in the late ’90s) tight black pants that LOD asserts were at least as revealing as leggings.
  • which college football team/conference is the equivalent of the NY Yankees in arrogance.
  • XM Radio stations: Backspin (me) vs. 1st Wave (LOD)
  • whether it’s advisable to cook beef in the crock pot with a can of Coke

Boring is really freeing. But there is one actual fight that we have that’s ongoing, and it’s caused us a lot of pain. It’s about having our younger son in the Boy Scouts. We are both very passionate about how we feel about the Boy Scouts, and I know it causes me a lot of pain and guilt and frustration to be in the middle of this fight. However, the two huge differences in how this fight feels vs. how fighting when we were married felt are that: a) we each get to go home and not keep having the fight constantly, and b) it feels like we’re getting somewhere. Slowly. But it feels like there’s motion. So stay tuned on the Boy Scouts issue, because it might turn out OK for us.

Anyway, yes. Successful interactions. I’ve noticed that for us, successful interactions seem to involve either beer or coffee. But Halloween’s coming up next week, so maybe we’ll be able to add Fun Size Snickers to that list. (And I’m going to let LOD tell you the story of Last Halloween and How We Were Both Left Speechless.)

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. October 24, 2012 11:57 am

    I love this post. Thanks so much for sharing.

    On the issue of the Boy Scouts, have you involved the kids in the discussion? Do they know how you both feel about it and have they been able to express their opinion?

    P.S. Although we are still married, our big “fight” is about Nutella and ultimately as long as it is in moderation, we’ve allowed the kids to hear us out and make their own decision.

    • askmoxie permalink*
      October 24, 2012 12:03 pm

      The only fight I can imagine about Nutella is how big a jar to get.

      Our older son decided to be out of Boy Scouts for reasons not related to my objections to Boy Scouts. And where we’re at with the discussion right now is so grey that just putting a straight decision to our younger son wouldn’t make sense, although a few months ago it might have, if that makes sense at all. He knows we don’t agree about it and mostly why, but we aren’t putting the decision on him. His opinion is that he likes wearing the uniform and painting pumpkins.

  2. October 24, 2012 11:59 am

    Last Halloween. Hahahhahahahahah. I can’t wait for LOD’s take on it.

  3. October 24, 2012 12:04 pm

    So praying that Noah doesn’t want to be a Boy Scout. The good news is that the older boy he worships, and at whose house he stays after school, chose not to do Boy Scouts after learning that parents like me would not be allowed to volunteer.

    • October 24, 2012 1:19 pm

      Liza, stories like yours (and of decorated Scouts who are stripped of all accomplishments after they come out) are what I feel makes my position ultimately indefensible. But a chat I had yesterday with Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director of the Family Equality Council, gave me a ray of hope. Planning to post about it soon.

      • akil bello permalink
        October 24, 2012 2:00 pm

        Hey Doug!

      • Rachel permalink
        November 11, 2012 3:23 pm

        I really look forward to your reply. My son is the same age as your youngest and he is expressing some desire to join. My hesitation is all of the other reasons listed before but also the fact that who really knows their child’s sexuality at age 7? That is, am I possibly having him join a group that he might form a bond with and want to be a big part but then, possibly, have them reject him in X years or cause him to see a friend rejected or make him or a friend not be able to be true to himself?

        All the talk about some groups having open scout leaders is great, but, what about the boys themselves?

  4. Emmie S. permalink
    October 24, 2012 10:08 pm

    Our local (MN) troupe has out parents, volunteers, scouts, and leaders. If that were true where you are, would you be ok woth scouting? We’ve decided yes- but only if we let the council know at every level- den to national- that we wouldn’t allow our son to participate in a less than fully inclusive troop. There is a place, an important, essential place, for change from within. Without that, no denomination or organization would change on BOTH a cultural and policy level. If folks in less inclusive areas boycott loudly and folks in areas like ours throw our support in boldly and share about why, we’ll get there.

  5. Lori permalink
    October 26, 2012 11:27 am

    Scouts was a big conflict in our family too. Except it was both of the parents up against the kid. I really think that our son had a good experience with Scouts – both Cub and Boy Scouts. At the younger ages, he enjoyed fun activities (I think that being able to go to laser tag contributed greatly to his desire to be a Scout – despite our ability to take him on our own). At the Boy Scout level, he attended and participated in city council meetings, volunteered at the giant food bank, toured a nuclear submarine and a large air traffic control tower (along with learning to snow shoe and camp in the snow, and all the other normal outdoor activities). We _could_ have done many of these things on our own, but it’s doubtful that we _would_ have done all of them. And doing them with your family is NOT the same as doing them with your friends.

    We had long discussions (age appropriate, since this started in the second grade) about WHY we didn’t like the Boy Scout organization. Discussions continued on as he got older and we explained further why we didn’t agree with many of their policies. He always reasoned why he wanted to stay, and we let him make that decision. Part of it is that if we want change to happen, we can’t all abandon the organization.

    Ultimately, he just quit last spring – while in 7th grade. He just lost interest, as other things became more important. My husband and I are thrilled that we don’t have to defend our choice to allow our kid to be involved (my close friends are all rather liberal and most of them are shocked that we allowed this to happen under our watch), but I’m glad that we let him make that decision.

    I know that your situation is different, because it’s between the two adults. I just wanted to say that I can completely understand both sides, and wish that it was an easier decision.

  6. BB from Dot permalink
    October 26, 2012 10:02 pm

    Here are the correct answers:

    If the tight lower body covering items have pockets, they are legitimate pants. Otherwise not, and should be eschewed as acceptable outerwear.

    Televised sports are for people who don’t have real lives. Listen to Buskin and Batteau’s ESPN song (sorry, I can’t find a Youtube link).

    XM radio? What’s that? Something hipsters listen to? In which case no one is right.

    Coke, or any other brand of cola, should never be used in a recipe involving real food. Ever. End of discussion.

    • michelle K permalink
      October 29, 2012 6:50 pm

      @BB from Dot…those were awesome. Wrong, but awesome.

    • June 6, 2013 8:38 pm

      Crap. See, I bought these cool new tight royal-blue pants from the Gap, but when I got home I found out the pockets are fake. They’re not real pockets So @BB from Dot, do they count as pants or not? Also, WTF fake pockets?? I don’t carry a purse and keep trying to slide my keys into the Pockets That Aren’t. So annoying!

  7. Tanja Woods Colvin permalink
    November 7, 2012 12:03 pm

    wow i have been looking for a blog like this one. thanks for sharing

  8. tanjawoodscolvin permalink
    November 7, 2012 12:05 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I have been looking for a blog like this one.

  9. Nicole M permalink
    December 4, 2012 2:04 pm

    This is the first post I’ve read from your blog and I seriously can’t wait to read more. My husband and I are about to get a divorce. Things just didn’t work out, but we’re still really good friends. We have two amazing little girls together and I truly hope we can have a relationship like this. You’re inspiring.

  10. December 4, 2012 4:55 pm

    It is truly a beautiful thing when two parents can come together after divorce, and have the working relationship you and LOD have. It can be very difficult for couples to reach this point. I especially liked your comment, “Now that we don’t have to be yoked together, and we’re essentially just co-workers working together to parent these kids (and to write this blog), it doesn’t matter who we are. And the things we have to offer the kids are things the other values. So it’s easier to have successful interactions most of the time.”
    I explain strategies to get to the point you are at in my highly acclaimed book, The 7 Fatal Mistakes Divorced and Separated Parents Make: Strategies for Raising Healthy Children of Divorce and Conflict. Currently, I am offering a promotion of my book free from December 4th through 7th on Amazon at http://amzn.to/TIRGz4. My only goal is to help children through helping parents. I hope this book helps you and your readers as well.

  11. December 12, 2012 4:35 pm

    I’m so happy to have found this blog, as I’ve read both of your personal blogs over the years and used to blog frequently myself. My ex and I have been divorced almost 3 years now. Actually, we started off as you did, and managed to keep things very amicable. And, then he remarried.

    I would say we are civil and functioning now, but the changes that have gone on have been very difficult for me personally. While are kids are good and we juggle custody and schedules like masters now, we do have tension between us now, And that’s even with the fact that I’m very happy he’s found someone that makes him happy.

    It is hard to explain. But, I would not call him to come over and take my Christmas card photo. As much as I wish we could have kept that dynamic, it just left as soon as he remarried. I guess sometimes it is hard to keep things that way, or it takes both parties working to keep things that way. Once I realized that he wasn’t working the way I was on our dynamic and I actually started feeling negative vibes coming back, I had to step back and reassess our relationship. I hope you both can continue to make it work as you pursue separate lives and I look forward to reading about that! Maybe I’ll figure out a way to get it back with my ex!

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