I’ve got ten million other things I SHOULD be doing, but I feel it appropriate to pause for about ten minutes and go off on something. I’m REALLY frustrated at the moment with parents who do NOT have primary custody of their children (here comes strong language, please excuse me) bitching about how much they are inconvenienced financially taking care of their kids through – wait for it – CHILD SUPPORT. How it wasn’t fair. I was listening to someone talk about this today and Oh.My.Goodness. Now, everyone who knows me that to say I’m a “Strong Personality” would probably be putting it mildly. I’m wildly opinionated and I have no problem sharing said opinions. So, it took everything in me to literally bite my tongue and not spend a few minutes sharing how completely inane that train of thought was.
Let me say up front, this is not a DAD thing. It’s a Non-Custodial Parent thing. And it’s probably the minority of non-custodial parents. But it just seems like there’s a lot of them that just.don’t.get.it. My ex-husband is even included in this now and again. Most of the time, he’s really not bad. But, when something out of the blue comes up and we have to have a financial talk – it’s really preparing for WWIII. “Don’t you realize how much more I do than you?” – Um, no… not really. “I only get them a third of the time, I shouldn’t have to pay half.” Well, but you do claim half the responsibility for MAKING them, no? And bottom line, you did sign off on the divorce decree agreeing to X,Y, and Z, no? So, why is this a conversation and not a “I spent X on Y Medical Bill – you owe Z” kinda talk? Usually, about that point, my ex-husband rejoins reality and our conversations can continue peacably. Not everyone is as lucky.
But that last statement of “more contribution for more time” is a pretty common argument. Why should a parent have to pay more than the percentage that they get to see them? I mean, really, it just doesn’t seem fair… right? Um, no. The problem with that argument is that nothing about divorce is fair. It’s not ABOUT fair. It’s not even really about the parents. It’s about the kids and the lifestyle that you want your children to have. Do you WANT your children to wear ratty-arse clothes because you want to stick it to your ex-spouse? Do you WANT your child to miss a birthday party because you two are fighting over who pays for the gift this time? Does your kid NOT get their prescriptions refilled because you think it’s more important to go out Saturday night? I mean, really….
In my specific situation, Jason and I talked about the kind of lifestyle that we wanted for our children when they were infants. Now, I’m not going to say that we had completely in-synch views, but we by and large came to an agreement. The lifestyle that I keep is in keeping with what we wanted for our children. Let me tell you, it’s not cheap. So, it really gets my goat when Jason talks about how he makes a greater contribution towards the kids than I do (and I think that’s why he does it, but that’s really not the point).
(If I didn’t have kids, I’d SO be in the apartment building next door to where I work and I’d probably save about 600 dollars a month doing it, by the time you factor in rent, utilities, and gas. – So don’t tell me I would have spent that money, anyway)
Now, factor in the 1k I spend in clothes every three months (my little girls got their butts from their Dad’s side of the family and wear 1/2 size jeans – the cute ones are hard to find and expensive… they cost more than mine and I need a lot more fabric!), the nanny we used to have and the summer care for the kids (that I solely provide for), the medical bills (that I pay 90% of), the birthday gifts, the toys, the school stuff, the school pictures (that everybody and their brother on both sides of the family needs a copy of – and by the way, why the heck do school pictures end up costing $120 for two children, anyway?), Halloween costumes, Christmas junk, and then the normal stuff like after-school activities and food and such… it adds up amazingly quick and it’s nowhere near an equal split.
And you know what? As long as I can afford all of it, that’s totally ok. Why? Because I’M A PARENT. I chose to have those children. I take on the additional expenses because it’s part and parcel of the gig. It would never occur to me to gripe about it being unfair. Being expensive keeping the little suckers – sure, I’ll gripe about that IN JEST… but, seriously, noone MADE me have them. And to not have the responsibilities of daily care and to then gripe about the realistically, let’s say 30-40% contribution you have to make to their care?? Personally, I think you should be flogged.
Wow, that really was cathartic; even though I am sure I sound like a complete hard-arse. To all the parents who do make it about their kids… Thank You. – That is all; you may continue with your regularly scheduled programming now