Let's face it our Ex-partner, will know all the emotional buttons, possibly the ones that push us over to a place of anger, disappointment and frustration!
And perhaps this button pushing was one of the reasons you are no longer together.
Possibly it may become worse since you have separated, this may come out of their own hurt and pain. But as we can't control what they will do we can control how we can react.
When we are left with a situation where you are relying on your ex-partner to inform you about school, or extra curricular lessons, or children birthday parties, sports, etc...
I would like to say - don't rely on them if you are unable to communicate effectively.
This is going to be up to you! To source the information and be on top of your children's lives.
My husband and I learnt early on in the situation, that waiting on information about school reports, school excursions, concerts, or the likes would allow my husbands ex-partner to power to push emotional buttons.
Unfortunately she was not child focused, so was not looking to ensure that their father was part of their life.
As the situation presented it self like this, and causing unnecessary heartache, anger, disappointment, angst - it was time to detach the button being pushed and become pro-active in the situation.
Each year, at the schools they attended we would meet with the principal, explain the situation, provide orders or parenting plans to the school, ensure we were on the emergency list, receiving notices, newsletters, reports.. we even ensured we meet with the teacher a one on one.
NOW - however there are apps you can download on your phones where you can receive notices etc about the school Tiqbiz, Flexibuzz... great apps .. you will never miss anything!
If they were part of a soccer club or extra curricular activities we would ensure that we also connected with the club or coach so we had our own timetable etc...
We figured if the ex-partner was going to be difficult, make it hard, then that left us with no alternative but to inform others why we had to have them send two of everything out.
BUT - I encourage you get on websites of the clubs, download timetables, call up the coach... be proactive in the situation. You are the other parent, I do not care what the mother may inform you are... I am telling you, you are their father and your children have a right for you to be part of their world.
Otherwise the ones who suffered were the children, they were left in the middle of the battle.
I get that orders say you may receive school reports etc, attend extra curricular activities, attend school concerts etc...
You have to know this is purely up to you establish that connection.
This way you dis-empower the button pusher!
TOTALLY I get the difficulty of children leaving their sports uniform or school uniform, etc at the other parents!
BUT I do love a 2nd hand uniform, these are good for emergencies , having the extra, tops, skits, shorts as spares. We just did not allow there to be any reason why we would have to be in contact unless there was an emergency. So we purchased our own of everything, and always sent them home with what they arrived in with us.
Doctors - we had our own doctor and medicare card. Sure she had a health care card and would get cheaper prescriptions. But we gave up having her fulfilling that prescription to get it at the cheaper price it caused to many arguments, and it was just easier to fulfill it our selves even though we were paying full price.
The extra $20 or $30 we paid was not worth the animosity that it would cause. Quite frankly when we would ask her to fill the prescription, and we were delivered nasty comments, or put downs. It revealed more about her and the pain she must of been in to be so angry, bitter, spiteful and not focused on the children. It never entered her mind that she was robbing her children of money we could of spent on them, if she had fulfilled that prescription which she was entitled to fulfill as it was in their name.
"You have to chose your battles when your dealing with a parent that is not focused on a child/children." - JM
IF you can avoid the battle, then do so... be proactive it leaves you in a better peaceful place which will only reflect back on to your children.
Birthday Parties - yes difficult when they fall on your weekend. But it is part of life for a child, especially in the younger years, there were countless parties to attend, and lets face it birthday parties are JOY!
But getting told the day they arrive? YES I get that you had the weekend planned etc....
So, to get around this, we made a habit of asking in our telephone communications, any invites this week, we had a habit of learning over the years their best friends and their birthdays and having them on the calendar so we worked around it. Conscious that their friend may have a party, and we asked..this way again we were not waiting on the mother to inform us, so she could hold onto it for the very last minute and leave us in a situation of cancelling plans.. because lets be frank - did she do this so we looked like the bad guy's when we said to the children but we had plans. I guess only the other parent could answer this.
Need to let go of the expectations, where you believe the other parent is thinking like you and being child focused!
If they are displaying attitudes of anger, spite, control, and bitterness, then children are far, far from their thoughts, their thoughts will be focused all the ways to make it hard. They need to seek help, maybe they will never do this, but you can't control what they choose to do - you can control what you will do.
"Become proactive, your kids will truly thank you for it!" - JM