PAWNS SHUFFLED

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No doubt the shuffling around of the children from one place of residence to the other week after week gets to be exhausting and unnerving for all involved. The way it affects the children is of concern to me most as it cannot be easy to have no permanent home base. Regardless, they somehow get through it because they need to.

Today's challenge involved more exchanges of emails with the children's father. This time the subject was extracurricular activities. Last night, Saffron mentioned that her father's girlfriend will be signing her up for cheerleading this summer.

'What?!' I exclaimed. My next words were '...over my dead body' as that is exactly what would have to happen in order for them to participate in such a 'sport'. When one thinks of cheerleading, certain images come to mind as does a certain character of individuals. The Barbie type of girl is one image associated with cheerleaders and not the type of girls I wish my girls to model themselves after or be in the company of in any sense.

My beliefs of this activity along with anything to do with the pink aisles in stores to include Barbie dolls has been shared by the children's father the entire time I have known him. That is, until he met his real-life 'Barbie' last October. Now, seven months later, she is inserting her views and pushing her way into the lives of my children trying to undermine my authority as their mother.

There is no discussion with me as to the activities my children will be participating in after school or this summer. I end up finding out through a casual comment by one of the children when they come over to my place. As a parent, I have the right to know what goes on even during the weeks they are not with me. Alas, all of my concerns seem to fall on deaf ears as I keep voicing my concerns and insisting on my beliefs.

The emails continued throughout the day, each one implying I am the bad parent who does not allow my girls to participate in a sport. According to their father, whose morals have been compromised by this recent relationship, 'It is not a sport you do to show off. It is a sport you do for the art and athletics.' My reply was simply 'I said no. End of story.'

Almost an hour later, he sent another email where he showed me how he was using his children as pawns in his continued resentment towards me and my decision to leave the dysfunctional marriage. 'No worries, then they do not go during your weeks. You have to explain this to them.'

In no way should children be used as pawns in any divorce. My children told me tonight they did not like having to go back and forth every week. They wish they could stay with me and each of the three had their reasons. Then one of the children said their father sits down to meals with them only when his girlfriend is around. The other times he simply puts the food on the table and retreats upstairs in his office to continue working. No different than when we were married.

To the soon-to-be second wife who might be reading this... things might look 'perfect' now whilst you two are in the honeymoon stage of your relationship when everything is exciting and new. The reality will come one day when you are left alone at the table with all five children, my three and your two, and your new husband tells you he must work and thus cannot join you at the table. It might not happen the first year, but eventually it will because sadly money has a much stronger pull than family for him. I should know, as I have lived with this thinking for years.