Another year just started. For me, it is an important moment not because of new resolutions. It’s more about reviewing the year behind and planning 12 months ahead. Conscious, careful drawing of next moves, taking into consideration all aspects of my life. As you now my priority is and always will be my children. While doing an evaluation of past year I had a moment of revelation.
During the break up I was multiple times paralysed by fear. Who wouldn’t be petrified by a perspective of your family falling apart and you not being involved in their life anymore? All the emotions and feelings bombarding me, being constantly judged, friends cutting contact with me just because now I am an “ex”. Despite all of that I decided to focus on three things.
Children and my relationship with them.
I was terrified that our relationship will loosen up. That this magical bond between us will disappear and we will unintentionally drift away from each other. I was scared that my move out will have a devastating impact on them. In my head, I have seen my children in tears, rebelling. Fear was choking me. Image of a broken family, parents fighting with each other, maybe even the stereotypical father having a divorce not only with ex-partner but as well with children. The one all of us seen at some stage of our life, a “weekend” father, with time becoming a stranger.
Sorting out things in my head.
Straight after we made a decision to end our marriage I started to look for a psychologist. I didn’t hesitate even for a second. I came to a conclusion that I have to be in good mental condition to move forward and responsibly, consciously go through this difficult stage of my life. I wanted to be a good ex-husband and dad, most of all I wanted to build strong relations. Relation with kids and as well with their mum. We are raising them together and we will be their parents until the end of our days, maybe grandparents.
I didn’t consider, even for a short second to go for a “war” with my ex. I didn’t want fights, battles or sneaking behind her back. I wanted to be strong. Mentally capable of making wise and right decisions while being in such a challenging place. Yes, splitting up, moving away and trying to find a grip on my new life was a challenging thing.
Improving my financial situation.
As a husband, a male figure and stereotypical guy, I was more focused on bringing money home. Obviously, two salaries are giving bigger amount than a one and that was allowing us to have a fairly good standard of life. We had enough money to go for holidays, go out, buy a massive amount of clothes and toys for kids, make their everyday dreams come true and once for a time go crazy with our needs. Simple, usual life sometimes spiced up with a little bit of craziness.
When moving out I took with me my clothes, laptop, guitars and few small things like CDs, books, coffee machine and etc. Covering living expenses on your own is much more difficult. I didn’t want to at an age of 36 rent a room. I wanted for my children a good place to live, a place they can stay with me. I was looking for extra income. Ended up working in three places at the same time as a Dad’s Worker, Teacher Assistant in school ( which one I changed for a better-paid job as a Nursery Nurse) and night shifts as a carer for disabled adult people. There were days when I was finishing work at 5 PM and after having a quick meal at home I was going for a night shift to wake up at 7 AM and start my shift at school at 8:30.
I wanted to live the same life as before, more than everything I wanted to give my children the same standard of life their mum was providing them. It was my goal – being able to buy them toys, take them out for a pizza, arrange a horse riding lesson or go for holidays.
As you know in UK parents are getting benefits when they have children. Maks is getting a disability benefit and probably most of you would like to split this money evenly between me and my ex. At the end of the day I have them for half of the month and that requires money as well. Yes, at the beginning I had the same thoughts, however, after some time I decided that that money are not mine but children. It’s their mum who buys them clothes and takes care of them. She is not able to work full time for this moment, simply because she is studying. I have two hands, I am capable of working harder, pushing more.
Guess what? I made it! Everything worked perfectly fine. Everything worked perfectly fine. Last week I texted my ex. I thanked her for the fact that we can communicate so smoothly with each other and that I couldn’t imagine my relationship with children being as amazing as it is right now. Our children understand very well what is happening. They are happy about time they can spend with me and with their mum. I will be completely honest – and that’s not a good thing what I will say – while being in a relationship with their mother and had contact with them on daily basis I was worse Dad than I am right now. Our contact was poor. Today we talk a lot, we cherish moments of affection. We are discovering each other and are enjoying our time together. I will not mention all those hugs, declaration of love and saying how much we miss each other when we are apart.
On the other side, I am mentally strong. I stopped being worried and I am no longer afraid. Recently I watched a movie with Tom Hanks “Bridge of Spies”. One of the characters in the movie is a KGB agent. When Tom Hanks who plays his lawyer asks him if he is afraid of the jury verdict which might take his life away he responds: “Would it help?”
Would it help if I would be worried about what will happen in a month, a year or few years? No, so instead of this I am making smart decisions, I consider everything around, I plan things ahead and most of all I am asking my children for their opinion. I am implementing a compassion and understanding in a relationship with kids and their mum. I am sure that for my ex it’s not any easier. I am always trying to see her perspective and compare with mine. I am seeking better solutions how to mindfully go with kids through those new for us all moments.
I am standing still, I am growing new roots and like a strong tree when the wind of troubles blow I am bending but it doesn’t break me. Today I understood an important thing, I have noticed that over the last year I have been an amazing dad. Do you know why? It will be a good material for a new blog post. Why do we win? My ex, my kids, myself and those people who didn’t turn their back on me? Because I let myself… I let myself to not know, to make mistakes and to learn how to deal with all of it.