I'm seething, stewing, and super pissed. I'm supposed to be working on my stupid side project (one of those gigs that was described as low-stress but instead has been highly annoying) but I can't concentrate. The situation is this: My almost-ex has repeatedly told me that he's perfectly happy and content to stay with our daughter until I get home, even if that means I have to be late. I, however, have always felt uncomfortable with this and completely beholden. And when I've mentioned that he often responds with sighs and curt responses when I call, he simply said I should text him instead. Ostensibly so I don't have to hear it. Fine. But not really. Which is why I've asked him a few times this summer that I'd really like to get an evening babysitter twice a week. Even if I don't end up working late...or needing to go the gym (I've finally starting working out and when I can't go now I'm a mess)....I'll feel 100% better knowing that I have the option. And that I'm the one who gets to decide to use it. He's flatly refused, insisting that it's fine to have someone a couple times month if I want to do something special after work but otherwise, he wants to put our daughter to bed whenever I can't.
Which brings me to tonight. I asked if he'd mind if I went to the gym for half an hour. I already wasn't going to make it home for bedtime b/c of work, and I'd only be about 15 minutes later than if I took the next possible train. His response was, "No, sorry, not tonight. I need to get home early so I'm not burning the candle at both ends this week." After snide comments back and forth, he finally conceded but at that point it was too late. Time was up, and I was furious. Here's the thing: He's off for the summer. Yes, he's doing some stuff on the house and is w/our daughter in the late afternoons, but, sorry, not sure how that exactly equals stressful. Not when I'm working full-time, commuting nearly 3 hours a day and taking on extra work to build some security for myself and my daughter. Yes, I'm bitter.
So when I got home, I took out revenge and broke one of our rules (which is if he's already doing storytime, I don't interrupt b/c it usually ends badly): I marched right upstairs and opened the door. I wanted to see my daughter's sweet face, and I wanted to punish him. But, naturally, it backfired. When I tried to take over with the next book, she took advantage of the break in routine and begged to watch TV. When I gently said no, she then cried for Daddy (who'd already told her that she'd need to ask me if she could watch a show....which he knew full well I'd refuse and thus look like an evil witch). Finally, I just said she could finish stories with daddy and I went downstairs. She was too hysterical at that point and I clearly looked—and was—the fool. The fact that I used my daughter this way is reprehensible. And frankly, I can't believe I let myself go there. I feel so sick about it that I know I'll never do it again. She was exhausted, settled in and then I swoop in and mess up her world. Gross. But there's another disgusting thing I must admit—I'm not unhappy that he suffered, too: He was with her for another 45 minutes. Yet if he'd just said yes in the beginning, he would have been out the door that much sooner. So ha! to you, my friend.
This ruminating is oh so productive, I know. I've been trying to figure out why I'm having such strong reactions to something that, really, isn't that unreasonable. He's generally pretty accommodating, and it's really not necessary for me to get all bent out of shape if he can't come through once in a while. The best I can come up with so far is this: Even though he's the one who decided to leave, he still seems to hold a lot of power over my life. I don't want to have to answer to anyone, especially not him. Not in anyway that doesn't specifically have to do with our child. What I'm not sure about is how realistic this desire is. SHOULD I have to agree to no nighttime sitter when he firmly says he's against it? How much right do I have to push back...to demand that not having to see him everyday like I do now is imperative to MY well-being and therefore our daughter's? Plus, didn't he give up that right when he decided to break up our family? Yes, we both decided to keep our usual weekday routine for our daughter's sake, but honestly, she's doing pretty well now and I think would do just fine with a loving sitter in the mix. So please, tell me if I'm being totally nuts or if I might be on to something. I can take it either way. xo, Evie