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Parents of school aged kids, how do you do this?

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ruinedandbroken posted 8/5/2013 19:52 PM

I guess I've been lucky in that I haven't had any face to face interaction with assface since he left, even though we have two young children. Kid drop offs are done at school for the most part or he'll drop them off in the front yard and the'll come in. We don't go to the same sporting events/school events/etc.

Well, my good luck is coming to an end. Next Friday is school orientaton/meet and greet the teacher and he is insisting on coming. This is a new school for the kids so it is important that they go as they are a little weary of the whole thing. And I really want to meet their teachers as well. I seriously want to barf. I have had such anxiety since getting the text this morning that he is coming. Am I going crazy? I mean, it's been three years already.

He's also insisting that he come to drop them off at school the first day. Why? Why? Why?????


Any tips on not barfing, crying, shaking, or otherwise dying during these two experiences?

caregiver9000 posted 8/5/2013 19:56 PM

Two kids, each take one. Then switch and let the second child take you to introduce you to the teacher he already met.

If you are custodial parent, offer to get all the paper work and volunteer to fill out all those forms.... Then you will have all the information packets needed for start of school.

First day of school, our school specifically requested not walking in the younger kids as it made separating harder. Drop off in the drop off line. But if you have to on the first day, it is a short short time. Focus on the kid. Take a picture. Hug and bolt.


ruinedandbroken posted 8/5/2013 20:25 PM

That's a good idea Caregiver, except the meet and greets are at different times. DS1 is from 8-10, DS2 is from 10-12.

I want to ask him what time he is going to meet and greet but I don't want him to know how much it is bothering me to have to see him.

Maybe you are right about the first day. I was planning on walking them to class but maybe I won't. It is their first day at new school so I thought it would be a good idea. You think it would make it harder for them?

caregiver9000 posted 8/5/2013 20:38 PM

well, shoot... the except part will get you every time!

If he is talking to the teacher, you and child could investigate the room. Then when he is done, you could speak briefly, get contact information and set up a time later to chat if needed.

As for the first day, you know your kids. What will they do best with? Ask the teachers on open house what most parents do. Then you won't single your kids out as new kid and different!!


It is possible to survive being around him especially since you have a focus that is not him. But it does suck, I know!

cmego posted 8/5/2013 20:46 PM

We generally go together, but I'm pretty much the queen of the high road. I'm not friendly, but cordial. I don't interact with him, I just hang with my kids and he is in the general area.

We do the sporting events together, but I draw the line at his boyfriend coming (he is gay). Again, I'm not friendly, but he insists on looking like a great dad, so I put up with his presence but spend my time talking to my friends while he sits there alone.

You just get used to being detached.

Ashland13 posted 8/5/2013 21:12 PM

One thing that helped me but was hard, was letting the teacher know some of the things happening with us. If Nearly ExH decided to present himself at her school, I try to learn his pattern and work around it, to avoid him.

For instance, it's his habit to arrive late at anything. So I would arrive early and bring something to read, so I could be in place and chance no meeting face to face. If it's in a classroom, I would ask the teacher when his sign up time was and make one far away from it. I am SAHM currently so go during the day and he at night.

I think people at the schools want to be helpful, genuinely and will work with people when they have information that something isn't usual. It's also in the interest of the kids involved, to let a teacher or principal know things are up, without giving a ton of details.

I find for most things now, I make a habit of inquiring at the company or "authority" or source, rather than with Nearly ExH, because he continues to lie or not match actions with words.

I suspect that he would never let on, but his actions show that he might have even more "discomfort" than I do at those places like school, because he has to live with his lies and betrayal, while we live completely authentically. There is a reward in such a lifestyle, isn't there?

In closing, I've had so much anxiety at the school functions that the panic literally causes me to flee. I didn't even know I was running until a friend caught me one day at the end of last year to ask if I was okay. She said people were worried because I turned green and white and simply...fled.

tryingagain74 posted 8/5/2013 21:12 PM

I barely look him in the eye. I treat him politely but distantly like I would a stranger. We don't really talk to each other; we talk to the kids.

I also muster up my inner bitch when I'm feeling upset about having to deal with him (especially since the OW is now Owife and might be a part of things... hasn't happened yet). I think to myself, "I did NOTHING wrong. I DESERVE to be here with my kids. I OWN this room. Let them come in here and deal with me because I'm NOT going to run and hide."

Seriously, give yourself an angry (or uplifting, or calming, whatever works for you) mantra that you say to yourself either aloud or in your head. There is NO way that I'm going to let him screw up my life further by making every school event painful and awkward. Your ex did this, not you, so you walk in with your head held high, and treat him dismissively. A brief "Hi," then let your kids run to him, and you walk away like you don't have two seconds to contemplate his presence (because you don't... he's not fit to lick your shoe).

It might take practice, but you'll get it. You've just got to get through that first time. You can do it!

ETA: What Ashland said-- I fully informed the teachers of the dynamic and what XWH was up to. They have been incredibly supportive of not only the kids but also of me. Plus, as a teacher, we really appreciate it when you keep us in the loop. You'd be surprised at what we're not told about our students that would certainly be helpful to us in helping them.

[This message edited by tryingagain74 at 9:13 PM, August 5th (Monday)]

devistatedmom posted 8/5/2013 21:12 PM

Just because you are both there does not mean you have to interact with him.

Focus on your child, smile politely if he speaks, then do your own thing. You don't have to act like a couple.

Ashland13 posted 8/5/2013 21:15 PM

P.S. Yes, I just wanted to agree with the others who said to try to make it about your kids. If you can overthink your kids part in it, it helps change your thinking of WH. It's how I handle other occasions like holidays, to try to minimalize his part in the whole thing.

And my brother has a theory I like, where he will say, no one enjoys conflict. But if we have kids, we have things in common we have to remember. We all want what's best for our kids and have different ways of reaching that for them. It's the core of why we are here or at a place, to begin with.

peacelovetea posted 8/5/2013 21:23 PM

We both go to a lot of school events. Its not a big deal any more, though it was awkward initially. Now we will usually even sit together at band concerts and the like, so we can share wrangling of the youngest and he can spend time with the kids. Sometimes we meet for dinner beforehand, if its a big event to make a fuss over. The kids like it and I like showing them that we can still be civil and even somewhat friendly for their sake.

We didn't have a bitter ending though and he was never a liar -- had a ONS not a full-blown affair -- so I do think that makes it easier on me. (I was also the one who chose to leave after a 3 year attempt at R - I was over it by the time I came to that decision, largely.) I truly don't feel any animosity, but am very much at indifference. He is like any other parent I might know and sit with at a school function and make chitchat with. (Which in itself is kind of weird after 18 years, but it makes it easier!)

Only way to get used to it is to hold your head high and do it until it doesn't matter any more. You both have the right to be there, so just go as you would have done anyway and let him do his own thing too. Eventually it will become routine -- the anxiety is just because its unfamiliar. I know it sucks in the meantime, but its a good step towards indifference. And really, its a GOOD THING he wants to go and meet the teachers and stuff, you know?

Kuwaited posted 8/5/2013 21:51 PM

I don't mean for this to sound nasty but.....

.....suck it up.

You've been here long enough to know about "taking the high road".

It can be THE most difficult thing you have to do. God knows I had to have some serious "..pull your shit together" talks with myself over the years.

But...7 years out from the divorce ---- the kids were 12, 9 and 7 at the time and having been through more parent/teacher conferences, sporting events, plays, chorus, orchestra, band, etc events than I can count --- I can tell you that, in the end, you WILL feel better about yourself for taking the high road.

As much as we think this aspect is about's not.

Always...always...ALWAYS....put the kids first (and how they will view events). You simply can't go wrong with this philosophy.

Peace to you, ruined. You can do this.

allfalldown posted 8/5/2013 22:06 PM

Always...always...ALWAYS....put the kids first (and how they will view events). You simply can't go wrong with this philosophy.


My parents were completely selfish after their divorce and my siblings and I suffered this bullshit at every turn.

STBXH and I went to meet the teacher together today. He went to get the car rider number while I met the teacher and filled out paperwork. He then met her and we were all together for a few moments around her desk. I didn't involve the teacher at all. She has enough to worry about with a new class and meeting parents.

We are setting the tone for the plays, school dances, sporting events, etc. One day it will be their weddings. Those important life events WILL NOT be ruined on my account.

My grandmother used to always say, "Smile, even if it kills you". I never knew how true that was until now.


peridot posted 8/6/2013 00:03 AM

My XH went to one of these after we were divorced. He showed up with his parents.

Dumbass was wearing a wedding ring. He and the OW weren't married and we were divorced. I guess the teacher didn't notice I wasn't wearing one.

She referred to him as my husband. I said, "Oh, we're not married". She said she was sorry.

He didn't bother going with me to the office to submit all the usual paper work.

He also never attended another school function for whatever reason.

tabitha95 posted 8/6/2013 00:12 AM

EXH and I are very cordial. He's the kid's dad and we do everything together at the school. I don't think the school or teachers need to do extra work because of what happened in our lives.

We went to the middle-school back-to-school together and went from classroom to classroom and sat next to each other.

We also go to parent-teacher conferences together and back each other up.

I do it for the kids. He does it for the kids.

I dreaded the first parent-teacher conference when the teacher talked about what assignments will be due on which days, etc... and I realized I wouldn't have them for certain days, etc.. I started crying and ran out as soon as it was over. But that was just months after separation.

Now it's old news. We just do it.

GabyBaby posted 8/6/2013 00:14 AM

XWH and I go to certain meetings (DS's IEPs) at the same time, but for other face to face things with teachers, I schedule my own time.

If you speak with the new school/teachers, you can set this up from the start so it isn't 'weird' going forward. You don't need to give details.

ETA: IEPs are hard to schedule for each parent individually since it involves school psych, counselors, etc. I generally suck it up for these meetings, but in all truth, XWH is the one who is uncomfortable, not me.
Most of the teachers and counselors speak directly to me, ask MY input...then glance at XWH as an afterthought.

I say go and make the kids your focus. Talk to the teachers as if your XH isn't there. If he has questions, he can ask his own. Otherwise, get the info YOU need and press on!

[This message edited by GabyBaby at 12:17 AM, August 6th (Tuesday)]

hoya96 posted 8/6/2013 13:16 PM

Well, not only do I have ex AND his new wife, the OW, my former best friend, show up to EVERYTHING at my children's school ... it is also "my" school. It's a private k-12 school, and I'm a teacher there. As is my new husband.

So. Awkward. On so. many. counts.

I also just found out (as in, yesterday) that now the OW has volunteered for the "fellowship" committee which means she will be at the school even MORE, as a parent volunteer coordinating the social events.

So, all this to say, I have a lot of experience with this. Here is my advice:

1. It gets easier. I promise. The hardest part is the anxiety over how it will go the first few times, and then you get used to it.

2. As a pp said, just because you are both there, does not mean you have to interact. I do not make eye contact with them, or acknowledge them. I pretend they are strangers I don't know. Yes, we are often within 6-8 feet of each other. It doesn't matter. I pretend they are strangers.

3. If there are trusted teachers or other parents who are "on your side", try to enlist support. Obviously you don't want to go around trash talking or dragging innocent bystanders into it, but (in my case), most of my colleagues, administrators, and many other parents know exactly who my children's stepmother is, and what she did. They are polite to her face, but don't hesitate to rush up to create a buffer or just stand next to me if they see her in the vicinity of me. Enlist help, as appropriate.

4. Above all else, remember, this is about your kids. Don't make a scene, try to stay present, stay focused on your kids. You're not bothered or distracted by Susie Smith's parent that is standing next to you, right? Adopt the same attitude about ex. I know this is easier said than done, trust me, but PRACTICE THIS.

You can do it. It sucks, but you can do it.

newlysingle posted 8/6/2013 14:40 PM

I was going to suggest the same as Ashland 13. Are you able to contact the teachers in advance and give them a head's up? My dd is starting kindy at a small school in a few weeks. I knew that the tension between STBX would not go unnoticed in such a small community. I emailed the teacher and let her know what was going on. Not only to explain why her father and I wouldn't be sitting together, but also for her to understand that dd might be out of sorts as she is not only adjusting to a new school, but also very big changes at home.

Other than that, just be cordial and focus on the kids.

BeyondBreaking posted 8/6/2013 16:31 PM

Do you have any close friends or family members who can go with you? I usually bring my sister or my mom- which is appropriate because they are both extremely involved people in DD's life.

I try to treat DD's dad like he's someone I work with. I don't have to be friendly- just be polite, and focus on DD.

Over the years, it has gotten a lot easier.

ruinedandbroken posted 8/6/2013 16:59 PM

I wish I had family to bring with me. I don't have any here. :(

I just wanted to state that I have no intention of making a scene or making things about anything but the kids. I didn't plan on talking to him or anything like that. This is about the kids.

I was merely looking for support for *me* and *my* emotional state, because a mom that is in a bad emotional state is not good for anyone. My ex and I do not have a cordial relationship and we never will and that is not because I am not putting my kids first. Everyone's experience is not the same. And I had to come to the realization that continually trying to create peace with him was a losing battle and not good for my emotional well being. So I don't talk to him unless absolutely necessary. At.all.period. But there is so much hurt and pain there, I am afraid that seeing him is going to bring it all back up. I've been working hard at trying to put what I can behind me. I don't want a set back because it doesn't take much to set me back.

I knew a lot of you have lots of experience with this and I was hoping for some words of encouragement.

That's all. :(

tryingagain74 posted 8/6/2013 17:26 PM


We're behind you. You've got this!

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