Originally Posted by Honeywith4bees
I truly, truly do want what's best for the kids and I know that their Dad loves them and wishes to do the best for them. The sticky part is figuring out if him spending time with them is beneficial to them, or not. There are little things that I brush off as not such a big deal. When they leave me on Saturday afternoon, they leave in the clothes I've dressed them in. When they come back Sunday afternoon, they are in the same clothes. They have played, slept, and played some more, in the same clothes. They come home dirty. They never brush their teeth or wash up. But in the scope of things, that is inconsequential because it's only for a day once a week.
The parts that I can not brush off so easily are where he tells the younger boys what f***ing a**holes their older brothers are (the older boys won't go on visits anymore. Or when he belittles of his girlfriend in front of them. These are the subtle things that you can't bring to a court and demand that he stops doing.
I know this is hard - but can you know
this isn't best for them? For their path, for who they're meant to be?
I had to let go of the little perfect bubble of motherhood I had created when I let my oldest go to his Dad's. Not such yucky behavior as what you're saying here, but still... not me. LOL The *only* thing I could do - the *only* thing - was to work on myself, so when he came home, he'd have some lightness and presence and solidity. It would have been really, really cruel for me to prevent a relationship with his Dad. Now that he's older, he can really see ways in which his Dad is dishonest and controlling. I never pointed this out to him. I let him and his Dad have their relationship, because it was theirs to have. Less than ideal, in my mind. BUT my son's path is his path. If he ever came to me and said, "I really don't want to go to my Dad's any more", we'd talk it over and see what needed to change. Or, if I knew his Dad was being abusive or using drugs around him, he wouldn't go. But those subtle, personality things? Had to let 'em go. It was not easy.
His Dad desired a relationship with him. It was not my place to squelch that.
I've had to work on myself so I could be a healthy, non-reactive, nonjudgmental place for my son to come to. He knows I don't really like the way his Dad parents. I imagine there are things I do his Dad doesn't like, too!
There are times my kids go for days here in the same clothes. It's their choice - hasn't hurt 'em yet! I need to clean their sheets a bit more if they choose that, but that's OK. I am guessing in your case, their Dad doesn't want to get into a struggle with them over those things, and it's easier to let it go. They'll be all right. Not the way you'd do it, but it's OK.
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.