I have never done an open letter before and it's very likely I will never do one again. But, I encountered a situation that I just can't seem to shake. I know that the chances of the lady I'm writing to seeing this are very slim but I hope that it can help someone, anyone, that is in this situation. When a child's biological parents are not in a relationship with each other, there will be challenges but working together to raise happy and healthy children should be of our utmost concern!
To the Lady Screaming At Your Ex In the Parking Lot,
I saw you at Chuck E Cheese's yesterday, Father's Day. I first noticed you as I drove past you in the parking lot. You were holding your daughter, probably not much older than my son, and a man walked right behind you with a stroller. I assumed you were a couple with your daughter and I actually envied you for a moment.
I hate that I do that but I do. Not all the time, but sometimes I see two parent families out on an outing and a wave of sadness hits me. Then, I find myself envying the mom who has a partner. When I saw you, I was actually driving in the car with my son and his dad. Which makes me even more aware that we are not the kind of family I wish we could be.
We are on friendly terms but my son, 2 years old, has seen his dad in person a total of 4 times. This is not what I ever pictured my life as a mom to be.
I'm rambling. Sorry. Back to you, lady.
As we got out of the car, I heard some shouting but I didn't pay too much attention to it until my son's dad mumbled something about drama and nodded toward the front entrance. I looked over and there you were. Screaming at the man I had assumed was your husband. It took me a few minutes to realize that it wasn't a loud lovers quarrel but a hostile fight between exes.
More specifically, there was quoting of custody orders.
I don't know you and I don't know your situation, so believe me, I am not coming at you with judgment. I just know that sometimes an outside perspective is exactly what we need. In order to withhold judgment, I feel it is only fair to base my perspective on facts. So, here are the facts that I know to be true about you:
1) Your young daughter was crying hysterically as you screamed at her father.
2) Your daughter's father was recording you as he calmly spoke to you.
3) You both referred to custody orders.
4) It was Father's Day.
I don't need to know anything else to tell you that screaming at your daughter's father is not worth it. Whatever he may have done to you that has caused you so much anger (and likely hurt) - it isn't worth it. It's not worth damaging your daughter's emotional and physical well-being. Parental conflict can have a myriad of negative effects on a child, including poor physical and mental health. Most of us know what stress can do to our bodies. It is no different for kids!
It's not worth giving him any ammunition against you in court. Losing your cool, even just one time, can be detrimental to your own custody rights. And it's not worth driving a wedge between your daughter and her father. Again, I know nothing about your situation. The guy may be a total creep. But the fact that he has custody rights and that you were meeting in a public place tells me that your daughter was not in any danger. Something obviously set you off and it was probably rooted in a long history of bad blood. Trust me, I get it. But helping your daughter have as healthy of a relationship with her father as possible will only benefit her.
It is far more important than any hurt feelings or vendetta you may have against this man.
As a mom, you have the opportunity to play an essential role in fostering a healthy relationship between your daughter and her dad. You have the opportunity to show her how to lay differences aside and work with another person toward a common purpose - one that is 100% worth it. You have the chance to model grace and forgiveness. And, most importantly, you can show her that she matters more than anything.
So, I beg of you. Next time, just let it go. Take a deep breath. Literally sing the song in your head if you have to. Do whatever you need to do to be the bigger person. Let the guy enjoy Father's Day with his daughter. Then, go call a friend and tell her how mad he makes you!
A mama that might get you more than you think!