A fundamental principal of Christianity is ‘dying to self daily’. This practice is fundamental for good parenting and immeasurably essential for unwicked step-parenting. We have maintained an environment of strained indifference more than peace with my daughters’ birth mother over the years. At the moment, we are enjoying something more akin to peace. Mom seems more tuned in and seems to realize the importance of active parenting during the teen years. We are all of the same mind generally in managing the oldest child. The mother’s financial instability is at a peak, but she is doing a good job of hiding it from the children.
I am so thankful for the peace. I think it is also partially attributable to the fact that as the children get older, we are able to be (well forced to be) more honest with them. They realize the truths we have been aching to show them, but knew we could not. Enjoying the relief that they know the truth and are bothered by the lies and acknowledge the flaws in the behavior of their mother is definitely part of what makes the peace possible on our end.
The two greatest stressors of custody are 1) what’s best for the children and 2) money. The money factor, we can live with – get mad at each new robbery and get over it. But the things that affect how the children are raised – what their choices will be and what their worldview is and how that will impact their adult lives – are the true stressors because we want what is best for them. Being financially unstable, disrespected in the community, etc are things any responsible adult can agree are NOT in their best interest. So, when we see the success of our influence – that they see the truth and are frustrated with their mother’s poor choices, we breath a sigh of relief and can enjoy the peace we die each day to keep.
It is easy to wallow in the anger, but it makes everything worse. The hard choice of dying to your self (sucking it up) and maintaining a peace for your children (so they don’t live in a constant environment of stress) is priceless.