A Woman’s Poem — Does any of that sound familiar to you? If it does then you have most likely wanted to take a cast iron skillet to your husband’s head a few times. But, we don’t. Why? Because that’s not who we are. We are friends and we are mothers. We are daughters, sisters, aunts….. What will our loved ones do if we go to prison? We don’t want our children to live without their mother, our sisters to lose a sister, a mother to lose a daughter…..so we either a) put up with the bullshit or b) LEAVE. There’s also a C: Put up with the bullshit, walk on egg shells for a few months or years…and THEN leave. My choice was C, mostly because I felt stuck. (No job, 2 little kids, no where to go….)
Seems that I was always being compared to how his mother did it or how his uncle did it. OR: The way HE would do it. I didn’t clean the floor the way HE would have, I didn’t make the sauce the way his uncle did it, I made the beans the way my dad liked them because he was coming for a visit instead of the way HE liked them, or the famous “That’s not how my mom did it.” Well, you know what? Too damn bad.
The problem at first was ME. Yes, me. I was looking for acceptance. I didn’t get acceptance from my mother. I was never good enough or I never did something the right way in her eyes. So, what I really needed was acceptance…from someone, anyone. My ex SAID he accepted me, he treated me as if he accepted me, at first. When all the criticism came, I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t doing my job correctly. I felt like a complete failure. I was always looking for that acceptance so I always tried to do it the ‘right’ way, to please him.
When my daughter started preschool, I started meeting other parents. I witnessed other husbands taking the time to show interest in their child’s education, showing respect to their wives, and actually participating in the family as a whole. When my daughter’s class arranged a Father’s Day celebration and my ex couldn’t take the time to show up, it really opened my eyes!! Boy, was this an eye opener!! My daughter’s teacher sent her to the office to call home and I went to the school immediately to sit in for her father. She was very upset. The thing is, I told him about this event 3 weeks prior. I reminded him each week that it was coming up. Still, he never even attempted to get that day off, not even a half day. For his own child.
I started to realize that the way I had been living was NOT normal. Screw this relationship. I was doing all the work. I was mother, father, nurse, teacher, playmate, house keeper, cook…. If I was going to do all the work myself I might as well do it BY MYSELF!! Oh, he went to work to provide….blah, blah, blah. He went to work sometimes. He didn’t always work. When he got laid off, he sat around the house drinking coffee and then beer, playing solitaire, all while in MY way. I was running a Day Care in our home to put food on the table because he couldn’t be bothered with finding another job to tide us over until he got called back to work. We were always 3 months behind on the rent because I didn’t make enough money and he sat on his ass. All he did was tell ME how I wasn’t doing something the right way, and not lending a hand to help at all.
Some things happened that I will save for another post, but this relationship ended June 6, 1993. That’s when I knew it was over and there was no forgiving, no forgetting, no going back. I made every attempt after leaving him to keep him connected to his children but he couldn’t handle it. He said, “It hurts me too much.” Seriously. I can’t even imagine how the kids felt when their father all of a sudden just stopped communication with them. My kids were 6 and 3 when we left.
I never looked back.