Singlemommyhood recently posted about bad-mouthing the ex. Some readers may not believe me, but I actually do think about what I say about X before I say it here. I have decided, and maybe it's just a rationalization, but I have decided that I have not bad mouthed my X here. I've spoken about facts, and his actions, and how those actions make me and my girls feel. I've spoken about my anger and my resentment, but I have not said anything that is untrue. It's never been libelous or slander, and if I ever needed to, I could provide evidence that proves it.
Is it pretty? No. Is it nice? No. Is that my fault? No. Do I have a responsibility, as so many experts would like me to believe, to paint a rosy picture of my X for the sake of the girls? Absolutely not. (And let me just say, I don't think the authors of the article posted above took that stance at all - but it is something that single moms hear often.)
I believe that part of my responsibility is to guide my girls in understanding their father, and his actions, and helping them sort through their feelings about it, but more importantly, helping them set realistic expectations about their father. I believe that any time I've tried to give their father the benefit of the doubt, it has caused my girls more pain.
I also believe that, particularly as I raise girls, I have a responsibility to dissuade them from falling into the fairy tale trap and expect more from men in their lives than those men are actually capable of giving. The relationship they have with their father is obviously an important one in shaping their future. To me, that means being honest and seeing him without the rose-colored glasses.
I think I will start posting movie reviews and how they perpetuate myths about women, men and relationships in unhealthy manners. So it might not always be the knight in shining armor anymore, but lately, there seems to be a rash of movies (usually by Judd Apatow and his gang) that portray guys as slacker dudes that get it together in the end. I know it happens sometimes, but not nearly as often as they would like us to believe.
So, yeah, I'm quite honest about my ex here. I'm also honest about how the girls react to it, and I know there's a lot of concern out there about how this mommy blogging phenomenon will affect our children's futures.
I do try to omit what I feel is too personal for Sylvia and/or Riley to share here in order to cut down on any embarrassment or anger they may feel towards my blogging, but I know some of it is here. It's here because it's why I blog.
I blog to not only work through it all myself, but also to let other single moms out there know that someone else gets it. Someone else has been there, and done that. I seek out other single mom bloggers for the very same reason. So, yes, it's mostly for me and the other single moms out there. But in doing so, in finding that strength through community, I come home to my girls a better person, which has to be good for them.
I hope that, if the day ever comes that the girls examine my archives, I hope what they will know is that, as many mistakes as I have made and will make, my intent was good. I hope they will know that I have spent many hours pondering these decisions I've made about them. I hope they will believe that I spoke about them not to exploit them, but to bring us closer together. I hope that they will visit some of my bloggy friends out there, and see that most moms (and dads) out here are real people facing real challenges, and facing them honestly.
I know that it could go the other way - they could resent it and say they hate me for it. If that day comes, I will have to shut down this blog. I'd hate to do it, but I would do it for the girls.
But I will never stop being honest about them about their father. They may hate that, too, but in the end, it is what's best for them.