This weekend was a busy one. One of those crazy run all over town my kids are doing too much kind of weekends. I had 3 kids in 4 tournaments in 3 different places. This presented some time to take in the world. As I ran around, I spent a lot of time with different people in different situations. So here are three things that struck me over this weekend.
I was chatting with a mom at the batting cages. I didn’t know much about her situation. I know that the STBEW had been talking to her the day before. She opened the non-baseball talk with something along the lines of “Its great how you and her can work things out for the kids sake.” Now understand that was referring to us getting along well enough to get the 4 kids to their activities. She then went on to explain that she has been a single mom since her youngest was four and a half months old, and how their Dad wouldn’t always take the kids to everything on the weekends he had them. I listened as she finished with “Its all about them isn’t it” meaning the kids. First if it was all about them, I would meet far fewer women like her, because they would have figured out a way to stay with the Dad. Most of the time men are easy to keep. There was a time not long ago, I may not have judged the man harshly, but I would not understand why he wouldn’t take his daughter to both a softball game and a soccer game on the same day. Now I see it with a different set of eyes. This man has his kids every other weekend, that’s it. She moved from a town 30 minutes away, leaving him there. He chose not to pick up and leave. This happened to me, and I made a different choice, but I can understand not following her around. Mine wants to move again, and I will probably stay where I am at, so my kids can have some stability. Now if I only had my kids 4 days a month, I think that I might choose to filter their activities such that I got to spend more time with them. Now she painted this picture without saying the words that made him seem like a dead beat of sorts. She told me I would see him at the game. I found this woman attractive before she started talking. I lost some of that shimmer for her as she spoke. I found myself saying “that’s too bad” a lot during the conversation. She probably thought I was agreeing with her sentiment, but the truth is I meant that its too bad that this man was missing out on his kids life for whatever reason. I watched this man at the game. Not hard for me to do at a baseball game. I don’t like baseball much. He came with a daughter from another woman. He obviously had her full time or close to it. He interacted with her and his other daughter as a very genuine father, who knew that people had already judged him. He talked to no one else at the game except one of the coaches. I also watched that he multiple times gave this woman a chance to engage him, and she chose not to. I feel this man’s pain. I am forever changed by my experience, and I know what torture he must go through knowing that he does not have the right to protect his children as a father should.
The next one happened on Facebook. A girl I went to high school with posted one of those “support me, I have been wronged” posts I find that mostly single mothers post about the “son of a bitch” they chose to have kids with. She had sent her child to another city on an airplane to see their father. The father missed getting the child back on the plane in the morning, and she was incensed that not only did she go to the airport and not get her child, but didn’t get a phone call. She called and asked what the hell happened. He explained he thought the flight was in the evening not the morning. Now I saw the comments. Most from similar women saying OMG, and other trite things. They all called this man a pig. How dare he, blah, blah, blah. A few white knights stepped in saying they would kick his ass if they ever saw him. I am thinking to myself, why would this man call if he didn’t realize that the flight was at 5AM instead of 5PM. It would be hours before he realized the mistake. He acted completely reasonably, but everyone wanted to kill him. This again was a woman I once found attractive, but the shimmer was lost with posts like these. My new eyes made me see that this was the continuation of parental alienation. She would now have a reason and the support to deny the father of her children access to the kids they had together. He will probably now see them even less than he already does. I know from her posts that she moves around the country freely, which probably also complicates things for this man. I feel this man’s pain. I am forever changed by my experience, and I know the torture he must go through knowing that he does not have the right to protect his children like a father should.
The third is more personal. After my son won his soccer tournament. It was late, and I was ready to get my kids home. The youngest was tired and ready for bed. The oldest was just hanging out. The middle girl was at a friends and I needed to pick her up, and get some stuff she left in her mom’s car. The one who one who won needed to get his stuff from the car of his team mate’s grandma who had taken care of getting him from game to game over the weekend. I left with the three I had. Shortly after leaving I get an annoyed phone call from my STBEW. She had parked across the park in another lot. Something I would have no idea about, since she was there before I was. She was annoyed I hadn’t sent the boys or a boy with her to escort her to her car. She didn’t ask them to go. Somehow I was not doing my job as a man to think of her, and send a boy, and was also failing to train the boys how to properly treat their mother. If we were together, I would have known, and would have sent a boy with her, and we would have been going to the same home, so he would stay with her. Instead we are not together. My thoughtlessness should have been expected, because when she left my home and asked for a divorce, she also gave up my protection. I don’t understand how she believes that she should have my protection by proxy through the boys. I wasn’t going to argue the point with her. I also wasn’t going to agree to have a chat with the boys, because as I wrote before, chivalry is dead in Chivalry Lost. I see no reason to train my sons to treat women with deference, and their mother in particular. This is different than respecting her as a parent. Had she asked, I would have sent one, even though to get to her I would have had to make multiple u-turns and drive about 3 extra miles to get to the other parking lot. I struggle with how to handle this. I used to think that chivalry was something I should teach my sons. I used to believe that it was important, and it was my job to teach them that women were precious and deserved special care. The problem is the deal is broken. The social contract that was in place that chivalry was a part of him meant that women treated men with a certain respect for being men, and that her men were treated with even more deference. Now that she has left, she no longer has my protection. Our contract is broken. Why then should I train my sons to treat her in a way that I myself would not treat her any longer. Chivalry was taught from father to son mostly through interactions with their mother. Once you are separate that just isn’t going to happen. Now the other problem is that chivalry is something enforced by men for men. It is completely disrespectful for a woman to demand it, and to demand that I a man would teach it in the way she believes it should be done. Feminism has changed chivalry, something they were the beneficiary of but had no part in, into yet another female privileged they believe they deserve. I am sorry, but my sons will not be taught by me to treat women as princesses. They will get the respect they have earned and no more. They will get the protection and service my sons desire to give and no more. I will also teach my daughters that they do not deserve these things for just existing. Its sad the world is here, but surviving requires a new understanding of the social contract. It is time that the women in each of our lives understand that we know the social contract is broken, and they don’t get to write the rules all by themselves.