hen she was four, it was my improper house.
“Are we going to that improper house?” She would ask, climbing into my car at pick-up time; referring to the house she had seemed wholeheartedly in love with just a week earlier, when she picked out bathroom tiles and dragged her Mommy through the rooms on a tour of pride.
Later, there were emails from her mother scolding me for feeding her improper foods: gluten would be banned and then reinstated, both with uncompromising insistence; my daughter would come home a fierce vegetarian after eating meat for years; or my ex would chastise me for having compromised the kid’s future with growth hormones in milk, never mind that she hailed it as an excellent source of calcium just a day earlier.
I was never informed in advance of these life-and-death changes in diet, let alone consulted. I was set up, then scolded.
As my daughter got older, she would straight up demand that Mommy’s approval be received before I made any decisions concerning her. It felt like Mommy held the ultimate parenting measuring stick and I was doomed to come up short.
I have been treated as the object of constant disappointment. As the other, ‘worthless' parent my ex has been forced to put up with for several days per month. I have been the incompetent one she has had to school and handle just to keep our child safe.
Not that it has ever been about power, but I clearly have had none of it. None of what non-alienated parents take for granted.
Wherever it might deviate from ‘Mommy’s way’, I haven’t had the authority to
when your child treats
you like hired help
by an anonymous parent
8 spring 2017 PSG