I walk in to order my food and whilst I’m waiting I take a peek around the restaurant and what do I see? There are lots of dads without moms or vice versa sitting just outside the playground area watching children play with the other children, these “Dads/Moms” often have the same look, unhappy and quite often you will see them taking more than occasional glances at their watch. I start to eat my food and every so often I look across at the “Dads/Moms” and I will see a little boy or girl rush in from the playground and give their Dad/Mom a hug, take another French fries, sip a little bit more coke and then run back to the playground with the other kids.
I then notice that the Dad/Mom is not only staring at the watch a little more now they are also starting to look at the cars outside, they appear a little agitated, I notice the happy little child has also started to look outside in between the climbing up and down the slide and this action seems to increase until all of a sudden the Dad/Mom stands up and summons the child out of the playground. I overhear him/her saying, “Mommy’s or Daddy’s here, time to go”
I watch the Dad/Mom struggle to put the child’s coat on, I see the smile has dissapeared from both faces and has been replaced with a frown. I watch as the child hugs his Dad/Mom with a grip that lasts for what seems an eternity and then hand in hand they walk outside to the car that’s parked right next to theirs, and out steps a lady/man who stares into the distance but mumbles hello to the other and hugs the child. Brief agitated words are spoken, a luggage transfer happens between the two cars, the words become louder and angrier, the child is now sobbing whilst they are put in the passenger seat. A door is slammed and the man/women now stands alone whilst the child puts his little crying face to the window of the car as it drives off into the distance. The man/women now alone looks up at the sky, takes a deep breath sits in their car for a moment then slowly drives off. Just another pleasant Sunday access visit child swap at the take away?
Why the Take away? Its convenient, its neutral ground, it won’t upset the kids, its public – all these excuses you will hear form the parents, and that’s all. They are “Excuses” but the truth is? They are just another way that the parents will treat their kids as Pawns. The fact is that this scene could be played out at the former family home, the only difference now is that the home is now the HQ for one of the parents’, in this game of battle chess anywhere past the front door is now an exclusion zone for the visiting parent and the driveway now takes the place of the Take Away car park. The neighbours get to eavesdrop in on the arguments that usually accompany the “handover”. The pawn, oops sorry Child doesn’t get to cry in the car this time. They usually can be seen begging Mom and Dad to stop fighting whilst the tears stream down there little faces.
You see what parents’ fail to come to grips within any breakup when you have children? You may hate each other’s guts and wish the ground would swallow the other up or some form of horrendous act of god would fall upon the other, but to your kids? Your still Mom and Dad, your kids do not hate, despise or wish you harm, your kids love you so much and the thought of you two fighting, yelling, screaming and almost committing bodily harm to each other is just downright foreign to them.
What will be the cry of most parents’ in this game? The kids will understand, they will grow out of it, it won’t affect them in the future, it’s what’s best for them, what a load of crap.
If you, the parents, have decided that there is no hope at all of any form of getting back together and making it work, if you are 100% decided to go down the termination path and you have children let me make one thing perfectly clear, this change will have an effect on your children, how big a change is entirely up to you, yes you two that are involved in it.
You can decide to make this a game of chess and set your children up to be pawns and stuff them up totally on the board of life or you can decide that no matter what? That game is not going to be played.
The Comeback Book is pretty tough on this issue, in the Comeback I discuss how I played the game of chess and hated myself so much for it, I then proceed to write how I worked hard at making the changes and making it right so it’s now at the point where me, the kids and the ex wives go to McDonalds together in ONE car.
It’s possible, it can be done but it requires one thing to make it all happen, TEAMWORK. Now you may be laughing at me when I say this, how the hell can two people that hate each other work as a Team? Well you may have destroyed each other’s lives but there is no need to make it mass murder!
This teamwork doesn’t only involve you and your ex-partner. It involves those closest to you as well, family and in-laws and most importantly any new partner you may have, there has to be total agreement that no matter what, no matter how much you hate and despise each other, when it comes to the children you will work as a team to make it right. This is not a game, it’s not one upmanship, it’s not proving who is better than the other. Instead, it owns up to the fact that you are PARENTS, and that’s a role that is removed from Husband and Wife, they are not the same. That’s what you, the parents, have to take ownership of. In a short period of time, the courts will cancel that contract called marriage but the deal as a parent? It is a lifetime binding no way out contract. There is the key, and that is where you have to work as a team. I promise you it will not be easy, but I will promise you that its possible, and in my next article we will look at the road and the directions that we can take to make sure that we arrive at the destination, that place being a Comeback as parents that work as a team and battle chess is over.
Thanks for reading this edition, I send you Love and Hugs and lets look forward to leaving that chess game in the cupboard.