In a normal world with sane and rational people, both households after a divorce would have consistent and reasonably similar, if not identical, boundaries and rules to maintain a comforting level of consistency for the children. It’s been painfully obvious for a very long time, however, that is certainly not the world in which we exist, and the kids being home for spring break last week more than drove that home.
Being the home with actual rules and boundaries is exhausting sometimes. The kids bound in after spending two straight weeks with a woman capable of spitting offspring from her womb but without the vaguest idea what to do with them after that, and it shows. The kids are largely left to their own devices at their other home, and it shows. Whatever weak and inconsistent rules are occasionally applied in their other home are biased and decided by which child is in question, and that shows as well.
Being forced to over-parent due to the complete incompetence and lack of parenting skills in the other home is ridiculous, unnecessary, and in no way best for the kids. Ricocheting from no rules at all, to clear rules that apply equally to everyone, and then back to no rules again, is confusing, especially for Dove, the youngest. In one household, a five-year-old orders her mother and grandparents around and mandates to them what to do; in our home, she is to follow the rules just like her brothers and sister, and the holier-than-thou crap doesn’t fly. In one household, it’s considered cute when she bullies her siblings. In ours? Hell no.
Yet again, their father and I have to overcompensate to make up for the lack of skills and caring of others in the children’s lives. And yet again, the kids are the ones paying the price for the pettiness and sheer laziness of a womb-for-rent far more interested in herself than the children.
The easiest thing to do would be to give up. Fighting against the lack of adult supervision and lack of discipline in which the children live the majority of the time feels like a losing battle. We can’t undo in two weekends a month the damage that is inflicted on them the other three and a half weeks.
But what we can do is not contribute to the damage Crow and her parents already inflict on the kids. It will never be okay in our house to order each other around like mini Nazis, or snap at each other with contempt and hatred, or any of the other behaviors that the kids have learned from their mother and grandparents.
I watch the girls playing with dolls or “playing Mommy”, and the spankings and harsh insults that they repeat in their role as mother, and I feel sad and scared for them. What they have already learned, what has already sunk into their heads, what has already been beaten into them, is going to be hard to dislodge and replace with sanity, love, fairness, and safety.