As the resident Kveller Contributing Editors Who Are Divorced & Not Remarried, Sarah Tuttle-Singer and I took issue with Sarah Buttenwieser’s recent post about envying divorced people and wishing for a 48-hour “break” from marriage.
No, we have not lost our sense of humor–or irony–just because we are divorced. No, we don’t literally think everyone envies us and doesn’t understand the complexity and pain we have gone through.
Both Sarah and I did not arrive at the divorce decision lightly. It was not the “first resort” for either of us. It was not done lightly and without acknowledgment of the tremendous strain it would put on our children and the tremendous amount of shifting of priorities that our lives would entail as divorced moms. But we digress.
Neither Sarah nor I regret our decisions, but that doesn’t mean we are happy with them either. Because, let’s face it: life is hard and complicated and divorce sucks. Having kids shuffling between parents–no matter how amicable and “attachment divorce”-like things are–sucks.
Here are Sarah and my Top 10 Things We Wish as Divorced Women. We are not looking for sympathy or pity. We simply figured we should weigh in–with a sense of humor and irony, of course–with our perspective.
Sarah’s Top 10:
1. I want to be able to hold one of my child’s hands while my partner holds the other hand so we can count down for an epic 3, 2, 1 SWING and laugh together as our kid barrels through the air holding our hands. Doing this solo without another adult is like the sound of one hand clapping.
2. I want to share a loving smile and a hand-squeeze during a piano recital or a swim meet, and share that stark and humbling realization that, “Holy shit, we MADE that.”
3. I want my partner to kiss me for realz in front of our kids–even though they’ll pretend to be grossed out.
4. It would be freaking awesome to have a spontaneous pic with the kids that is NOT a selfie.
5. I want someone who will be there to help me decide when one of the kids actually needs to see the doctor or when all that’s necessary is some chicken soup and an “I Love Lucy” marathon.
6. I want to trade stories about our days. In front of the kids, so they learn that there’s a big old world out there beyond the playground and that parents are people, too.
7. (I’d like to sneak in a quickie when the kids are napping on Saturday afternoon.)
8. I want someone to have my back when the kids are being little twerps.
9. And I want someone who will tell me (privately) when mayyyybeeeeeee I overreacted.
10. And more than anything, I want that person in the trenches with me to look at me softly with care, love, and respect, and say, “I know how tough this is, and you are doing an amazing job.”
Mayim’s Top 10:
1. All the things Sarah said.
2. I don’t want to hire someone to get the toilet fixed or try to fix it myself four times.
3. I don’t want to remove dead animal carcasses (be they lizard, mouse, or cricket) from my house. I want someone else to do that.
4. I want someone to hold one crying kid while I comfort the other crying kid. Because, you know, sometimes they both cry at the same time!
5. I want to lie in the dark against someone’s chest with their arm around me and maybe they could softly stroke my hair and they would talk about how sad it is that my parents are 70 and that there’s no pill in the world that can make them stop getting older or make me stop being sad about it.
6. I want to not have to unbuckle and rebuckle two children every time I need to run into an ATM or a 7-11 or a store to return something real quick.
7. I want to know I have a date to every single awards show I ever have to go to. And I want to know that if I ever win an award that I have someone to kiss and thank for being “the most amaaaazing husband ever.” Well, maybe not that last part, but close to it.
8. I want to not cringe every time I read a book to my sons that shows a happy family with two parents, especially when they are cuddling in bed with their kids (as in one of our favorites, the La Leche League classic
9. I want to not have to schedule every single appointment for my children on the three days a month I am not working which involves their days with me being spent in traffic and doctor’s offices and getting haircuts and such.
10. I want to know someone is committed to me through it all: good, bad, ugly, life, death, sickness, health, all of it. That’s what I want.