Holiday PSA

It’s that time of year once again. You know the one I’m speaking of, right? It’s when people take to social media to tout how amazing they are because they continue to “put the children first” and spend holidays together. I’m sure you’ve seen at least one of them.

My ex and I chose to put our children first and our egos last and that’s why we spend every holiday together. Even though my ex cheated, lied, had two children with the affair partner, had me involuntarily committed to a psych ward, filed a restraining order against me, broke my arm, threw me through a plate glass window, methodically poisoned me, had me arrested, brought the affair partner into our home and had sex in our bed, turned all of our friends and family against me, financially ruined me, took our dog to the pound, and threatened to kill me, I don’t let that get in the way of doing what’s best for my children. It’s not about me and my feelings; it’s about them. And yes, of course the affair partner and their love children attend as well. I do all the cooking, cleaning, and shopping for the gifts and then they come and take all the glory. But it’s for the kids so how can I complain? I’m setting a stellar example for my children. It’s too bad some of you are so angry and bitter you can’t put that aside for your children. They didn’t ask for this! I made the decision to love my children more than I hated my ex and you can, too! Do better. Be like me

If this kind of thing appeals to you and it doesn’t make your skin crawl to celebrate the holidays with a lying cheater then by all means continue doing so. It is not my goal to discourage a cooperative relationship if you and your spouse can have one. My job, however, is to tell you that you’re not an awful person if it doesn’t appeal to you. You are not damaging your children if you cannot bring yourself to celebrate the holidays with your ex.

I hate this tripe every time it comes out. And it comes out in many different forms. You have the very obvious where someone is patting themselves on the back for welcoming the ex home for the holidays, and then you have the less obvious ones. The ones where the prevailing wisdom is always, “Think about your kids and what they would want.” Of course, that’s always the advice when Parent #2 plans an elaborate vacation somewhere exotic and enticing over Parent #1’s holiday time. Or when Parent #1 is being cajoled into being Parent #2’s helpful little Christmas elf.

Hell, it wasn’t that long ago someone on a support board was venting about her ex-husband, the former mother-in-law, and the affair accomplice turned wife’s mother all contacting her, asking her for gift ideas for the daughter. People were giving her shit for not wanting to do the mental work of thinking of things this child may like for Christmas. I believe the girl is around 11 or 12. Definitely old enough that she could be asked directly. I’ve taken that approach many times and found it to be quite successful. Apparently that takes away all the magic of Christmas. Who knew? I guess the thinking was if the child had to actually tell someone what she wanted then she wouldn’t be nearly as surprised if she received that item at Christmas.

Adult: Amelia, what would you like for Christmas this year?

Amelia: Well, I was hoping for an American Girl doll, a new pair of pink Ugg boots, and an iPad. I also like to draw so any kind of art supplies are always great.

Christmas time comes. Amelia opens up a gift. It’s an iPad.

Amelia: Damn, this would have been so much more magical if they just knew I wanted an iPad. Now it seems anticlimactic. I’m not sure I even want it anymore. If only my mom had put me first and come up with a list of gift ideas to give everyone else so I didn’t have to speak the words out loud and manifest my own gifts.

You know what the kicker is, folks? Mom and Dad have 50/50 custody! That’s right. Mom does not have the child any more than Dad does, and yet somehow, it all falls on her. Why? Because Dad’s head is firmly stuck up affair accomplice turned wife-tress’s ass. Because Dad’s focus is on new wife and stepdaughter to the detriment of his own child. Because Dad doesn’t know his kid. Dad wanted 50/50 custody but he didn’t actually want to do any of the parenting required. And yet people are perfectly willing to tell Mom that she needs to “think of her child” and “do what’s best” for her. She’s been accused of ruining the magic of Christmas for her child, told that she obviously knows her child better than anyone so it falls on her to get answers to everyone who asks (again- despite her only having her child 50% of the time and having the exact amount of time as Dad does), accused of not wanting her child to have an amazing Christmas because what if she doesn’t get what she wants for Christmas, and so on and so forth. Every bad thing that might happen because she doesn’t feel it’s her job to tell three people who are not related to her what her child might want for Christmas will rest on her shoulders.

They can fuck all the way off with all that bullshit.

I saw another one where the ex asked the cheated on wife what she wanted for Christmas. He wanted to buy her either two $100 gifts or one $200 gift for the kids to give her. Apparently, “I don’t want anything from you, you jackass!” was not an appropriate response. At least to some.

One lovely lady replied, “I would tell him what I want but then I’m not bitter or petty.” Bless your heart.

In what world do we live that we are obligated to accept gifts from people we do not like?

Others suggested giving him ideas because it would make her kids happy to be able to give her a Christmas gift and watch her open it.

I think what they fail to realize is that she’s probably not going to be all that happy opening an unwanted gift from her ex, even if he’s doing it under the guise of “from the children”.

I’ve given some thought as to why this irritates me so much. After all, if some couples are able to get along great, do holidays and vacations together, watch each other’s children, buy each other gifts, housesit for one another, and be a gestational surrogate or sperm donor for the ex, what’s the harm? Good for them! What a blessing!

Here’s what I realized. These people that put these stories out there aren’t doing it for altruistic reasons. They aren’t writing about it because they want to show people that there’s another way. They aren’t writing about it to say, “Gosh, crazy things can happen. I never thought it would happen to me either but it did.” No, they write to make themselves feel superior. They write about it to look down on others who don’t do it the same way they do. They write about it to shame those that refuse to participate in the illusion.

Kids first, egos last.

Because God forbid you recognize that something makes you uncomfortable. God forbid you recognize that a situation is not good for you. If only you would put your ego aside and concentrate on your children spending the holidays with your ex and his pregnant mistress wouldn’t bother you.

I had to love my children more than I hated my ex.

What does this even mean? Every insane idea that an ex has must be approved? Every request, no matter how intrusive or disruptive, must be granted? Regardless of how difficult a situation may be for me, personally, if I love my children I suck it up and put myself through hell?

What are we talking about anyway? I shouldn’t engage in a screaming match at my child’s graduation ceremony? Yeah, I got that. Handled that one fine. I’m not a wild animal, for crying out loud! I need to invite Jerry Lee and Harley and her children out to dinner with us afterwards? Uh, I don’t think so. My kids will survive just fine without mommy, daddy, daddy’s whore, and daddy’s replacement children all celebrating together. Honestly, in my case I absolutely know that Picasso and Rock Star would prefer NOT to do that.

You need to put your children first.

Oh, that’s a weighty one, isn’t it? Who wants to be the big bad and disagree with that? What the hell? I will.

Putting your children first doesn’t come from eating shit sundaes. It doesn’t come in the form of humiliating yourself or putting yourself in stressful and/or painful situations. If you have one parent who cheated, lied, and abandoned the family and another parent who stuck around and did all the hard work raising the child or children while simultaneously having to rebuild their own life then that second parent did put their children first. So you can take your forced shared holidays and watching the affair baby and taking vacations together and shove it up your ass. When people finally give as much crap to the person who cheats on their spouse and abandons their own children for the new ones or for the new partner’s kids as they do to the person who is holding down the fort maybe I’ll look at my own behavior a little more closely.

In closing that’s my holiday PSA. If you get along with your ex, fantastic. Don’t let anyone tell you you shouldn’t. But if you don’t get along with your ex and you’d rather swallow shards of glass and slither buck naked through a creek of shit and toxic sludge than spend a moment of time with them, accept a gift from them, go Christmas shopping for them, or have them in your home for the holidays you are perfectly fine to say so. I hereby give you permission to tell them to fuck all the way off with that holiday bullshit.

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