Wow...it was so good to hear those words leave her lips..."as a single parent you have to do what you have to do." (Ahhhh and the clouds open with a bright light)
Last night, Rob and I went to dinner with a friend of mine who is currently starting the divorce process. She has a little 3 yr old and I think she is the most adorable kid ever. It was a great time with yummy food and some tasty drinks. We spent the time talking about how things were going with her and the new apartment and so on. Through that conversation she said two statements that were music to my ears. The first one is that at 3 years old, Rachel, helps with the chores around the house. She helps pick up, do the dishes, and so on. Now of course she is only 3 so her helping is limited...but it was the mere thought that my friend believes that even at that young age she should learn to do the chores with picking up the house and taking the dishes to the kitchen. I have always believed that at the age of 2 a child should start to learn the importance of cleaning up after themselves by simply having them help pick up their toys with you. As they grow they can eventually do it by themselves. I'm of the mind that children need to be taught to take responsibility for themselves as they grow and develop, so that at the age of 18 they are capabily of caring for themselves when going off to college. I thought I was crazy for thinking that at such a young age it was okay to encourage the children to help around the house and as they get around 5 to give them actual chores that are their sole responsibility like feeding the cat. Age appropriate things, of course. It will build a strong work ethic, which so many people...especially young people...lack. It was wonderfully to hear an actual parent say that they do it.
The second statement was the one quoted in the beginning...as a single parent you have to do what you have to do. She's been taking part time work a couple times a week to make sure that the bills are covered and when she has Rachel, she spends quality time with her. While she would love to be able to stay at home and spend more time with her little girl, she knows that she has a bigger responsibility to that child to provide for her. With that said, she made the decision that with the time they spend together to make it quality. It's what I've always had in my mind with all the people that I know who are single parents. You have to do something. You cannot just wait around for someone else to do it for you.
Rob's ex-wife is not a doer. They have been divorced for 3 years and she is still living at home with her parents. She has been working on her degree since 2007 and yet she is nowhere close to finishing. At first she was just taking one class at a time and until the beginning of 2009 it stayed that way. She finally started taking two classes. The woman does nothing else. She lives at home with no job. She lives off of her dad and Rob's child support. You would think that given the situation...the children are sharing a room, she's 31...that she would be working her butt off and doing whatever she could to make changes; however, that is clearly not the case. Personally, I would go mad living at home with my parents at the age and I would like to believe that I would be doing what I could and taking every advantage available to me to do it with. Rob and I are even providing her with the perfect opportunity to get ahead. When they divorced, we ended up with all of their debt. Rob wanted to give her a chance and didn't want them to have to struggle. So she was debt free and living at home free of charge...what else could a new single mom ask for? It was the perfect setup to move forward. Her parents changed their schedules to help with the kids and help financially and yet here we sit 3 years later and no closer to anything.
It's so frustrating to see someone with no determination and no ambition. Especially someone with two small children.
I was hoping that Rob heard what my friend was saying. That he was listening to a fellow parent in a situation much worse than that of his ex and how she was determined to do what she needed to do; as well as, the fact that children as young as 3 can help out. I have always felt like I was being ridiculed at saying such things and he would often say that I didn't understand because I didn't have children of my own. Well, vindication is mine!
While I know that neither I nor Rob have any real say in the way that his ex lives her life and the everyday activities of the children, I hope that it will give Rob courage to push his children to take more responsibility for themselves and that when the opportunity presents itself...again...to encourage the ex to put some effort forward. If not for herself, but for those children that she claims she makes every decision for.