disney world dad

September 8, 2008 at 9:10 pm 1 comment

as much as the title of this post likely sounds as though it will some how tie into my disney marathon training, it really has very little to do with it. the term “disney world dad” refers to a father that spoils his kid(s) after a divorce be it from guilt or insecurity with the parental relationship. maybe even out of spite for the ex wife. in your typical average american custody agreement, mom gets the majority of time which includes the responsibilities of school, chores, weekday life and the ups and downs that go with it all. dad comes in on every other weekend, maybe even wednesdays, and whisks the kids away to fun. chuck e. cheese for dinner or crazy weekends of theme parks or day trips. he’s the “cool parent”. the one who doesn’t implement the rules or have other responsibilities to tend to. he is the disney world dad.

i always saw some of this in my ex. hardly a weekend goes by that, when he has sab, isn’t filled with a day at busch gardens or trips to the beach or even all day pool time followed by daddy dote on baby time. he even has the perfect buddy system with the guy across the street who has two little girls right about sab’s age. the guys get to hang out, watch football and drink beer and the kids feel like it’s a special treat to play with each other. he’s always felt a need to plan everything around her. but i guess i also assumed that given our 50/50 custody situation, he also has to deal with his share of the real life responsibility of parenting. but more and more it’s started to become obvious that isn’t really the case. yes, he has weekday rules and goes over homework with her but housework or hobbies, grocery shopping or bill paying … everything waits until sab is with me. every waking moment she is with him, she is the center of attention.

my ex called me earlier and told me that i might want to talk to sab when she comes home. typically this statement comes when she’s asked him something a little too girlie or broached a subject he’s not comfortable with. he’s really good at passing all that off onto me. including having to be the one to tell her that her uncle, on his side, is in jail for the next 50 years or so. (LONG story.) he doesn’t know how to talk to her about anything serious.

but what i heard tonight caught me off guard. he was explaining to her why she wasn’t going to be with him this friday when it’s his weekend. she was a little upset about it and he tried to make her feel better by reminding her she’d have fun with mommy. “maybe, but maybe not”, came her reply and he asked what she meant by that. “mommy and i don’t connect.” for anyone reading this who doesn’t know my daughter, you might think that there is no way an eight-year-old would say something that textbook psych 101, but that’s my girl. “mommy and i don’t connect.” she went on to tell him that when she’s with me i’m always cleaning or running. that i have no time to play with her.

you may as well have shoved a dagger into my heart. i know it’s so far from the truth. i readily admit to spoiling my child. she wants for very, very little. and she certainly gets plenty of attention from me. but i’ve never felt so hurt and betrayed. yes, i clean (a lot). i’m a bit of a neat freak. not obsessively so but between me, a kid, a border collie and a cat there’s typically something that needs to be done around the house. and yes, i run (a lot). i know now was likely not the smartest time to take on training for a marathon but i also thought i’d use it to show my daughter the importance of tackling challenge and adversity. and no i don’t dote on her and cater to her every whim when she’s home. i fully believe children need to be able to entertain themselves, help in the responsibilities around the house and learn that the world does not revolve around them. even though in so many ways my world DOES revolve around her. but fact is, i simply don’t believe in that kind of parenting. i don’t want to raise a child who thinks life is that easy. nothing but play time and the rest can wait.

i know in my head that i’m right but my heart isn’t quite so easily convinced. i’m angry at him. disappointed in myself. and so confused about what to say or do. as much as i want to talk to her. to quell the myth that i’m a bad mom for taking the time to fold our laundry rather than simply pile it on the couch. or that i’m not attentive because i opt to cook dinner complete with vegetables rather than order chinese … again. as much as i want to point out why i do what i do compared to why he doesn’t do what he doesn’t do, i know that would only take me down  to a level i refuse to go to. i will not make him look bad simply to make me look better. i also can’t justify fighting fire with fire. i could easily drop everything. take every weekend and make it better than the last. travel. spend. play. but in the long run what does that teach her? what kind of woman would come from that kind of girl?

in time will she respect my decisions. or will daddy always be the one who’s so much more fun?

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Entry filed under: divorce and co-parenting, fear, life, parenting, relationships, running. Tags: , , , , , .

a little closer 17 weeks ’til mickey

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. sarahwrites2  |  September 14, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    i think u are right that its not all fun and games. i believe that when she is older she will appreciate all that you have done.

    Reply

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