Sometimes happiness comes under the most unexpected of circumstances.

Doing Nothing is the Hardest Thing to Do

Posted: January 26th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: challenges, parenting | Tags: , | 8 Comments »

things that can go wrong...

Just tell yourself that you want to start blogging more again, and life will certainly give you something to blog about.  My ex and I now live in different cities, about 100 miles apart. The kids are with me during the school week, and every Friday afternoon I take them to an Applebee’s right off the Massachusetts turnpike to meet their dad, who then takes them the rest of the way to his house for the weekend. Except for the occasional traffic delays, this system has turned out to be fairly easy.

Yesterday, however, my ex had some car trouble and announced when he arrived that his transmission had died. He was understandably frustrated, it was a bitter cold afternoon, and I felt strange leaving the kids with someone who didn’t have a working mode of transportation. I asked him if we should change the plan or if I should take them back with me, and he told me no and to go on with my normal routine. He said that Triple A would take them to Northampton.

I acquiesced, but my maternal instincts were screaming inside. I felt like I should do something to help them. I doubled back and asked again if I could help. Again he said no.  I felt so powerless, as I saw my kids standing by the car while their dad was on his cell phone arranging a solution. I had to remind myself that it was their allotted time with him, and that he would take good care of them and make sure that they all got home safe. Yet I so wanted to do something, anything to make the situation better. So I rolled down my window and told them to get into their dad’s car to keep from freezing (a pathetic gesture but better than nothing).

A couple of hours later I texted them saying that I hoped that they had gotten home. My ex informed me that they were still at Applebee’s waiting for the auto club to come. I texted them again later and found out that they had gotten home at 9 pm about 5 hours after I left.

The situation made me realize how hard it is sometimes to really separate from your former spouse when you share children. I have always thought of myself as doing a good job at this since I lave learned not to fret over the different rules at the different houses and have tended to trust that my ex loves and cares for them well. But seeing them in distress right in front of my eyes was challenging.

Old patterns kicked in. My instinct was to get involved and somehow make things better. But I couldn’t make things better. And moreover, my ex didn’t want me to get involved. He made that clear. So despite the doubts that were gnawing at my insides, I left the scene. I did learn, though, that sometimes honoring someone else’s wishes and doing nothing is the hardest thing of all to do.

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8 Comments on “Doing Nothing is the Hardest Thing to Do”

  1. 1 Adrienne said at 3:34 pm on January 26th, 2013:

    I can relate to this – on many levels. Looking back, I would say that I often overstepped and stuck my nose in the middle of dad/kids and allowing them to work it out on their own – forge their own relationship. {funny, I never did this between my kids…I’ll have to think about that!} Fortunately both my kids are pretty confident and – eventually – butted me right out when they wanted to deal with something with their dad. As they got/get older the backing away is so vital and so tough….time will come when one of them lives far away, and they’re stuck on the side of a road waiting for AAA all alone…with nothing but ‘mom’ for cell phone company. In little ways and big ways, letting go in situations like this is probably building some skills that many of us moms haven’t begun building by the time our kids really need it! The whole doing nothing thing – a close cousin to the tongue biting thing – is NOT my favorite skill either!!
    Adrienne recently posted..Six Word Fridays: Handle

  2. 2 Molly Monet said at 9:11 am on January 27th, 2013:

    Thanks for this wonderful response, Adrienne. That makes me feel even better about it!

  3. 3 ayala said at 10:56 am on January 27th, 2013:

    A hard situation to be in.
    ayala recently posted..Happy Birthday Josh

  4. 4 Brenda Perlin said at 11:24 am on January 27th, 2013:

    My heart really goes out to you. That was a very good post. I really like your writing style. I am just sad that you have had to go through what you have. I am sure it is a mixed bag. Thank goodness you have these wonderful children. Unfortunate that you will always have your ex in your life. That is rough. It sounds like you handle it well Molly.

  5. 5 Cuckoo Momma said at 3:42 pm on January 27th, 2013:

    Ugh Molly. I can just imagine that. It is so hard sometimes. I’m glad they made it though!

  6. 6 Marc said at 9:09 am on January 28th, 2013:

    Thank you for sharing such an authentic moment. It is hard to let go of past ways of relating to your spouse. It is also difficult to stop depending on your ex-spouse to fill those old roles. I have been without a washing machine for the past month (long story, but the parts are on order). Anyway, my ex-wife graciously offered to let me use her machine. And I graciously thanked her and found a nearby laundry mat (and met some very interesting fathers there). For us, that is real progress. Anyway, there is always such wisdom in your writing. I also like your goal of keeping things peaceful and focused on the well being of your children. Glad that you are writing again.

  7. 7 Molly Monet said at 4:02 pm on January 28th, 2013:


    It’s great to hear from you. Thanks for sharing that story. Yes, I do believe that is progress for both of us.

    Best wishes-Molly

  8. 8 Amy said at 8:38 am on February 18th, 2013:

    Brave. And wise. Thanks for sharing. And adding mine to the clamor of voices glad you’re writing again. Missed you!
    Amy recently posted..The Audacity of Hopelessness

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