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KG and IHC - Thanks for the support. I have no problem falling asleep, but the nightmares, followed by waking up in the middle of the night, make sleep unenjoyable. For mediation, the challenge I foresee is that I will obviously get worked up about many things, but I'd like to conduct myself with dignity and respect and stay focused.
I am looking for some advice here. W and I go to our co-parenting coach soon. We've been going about once a month. My agenda this time was going to be to kick start mediation. Of course we could do that without this coach, but my W seems so poorly informed about this process that I think it is wise to start things in front of this 3rd party. For instance, I think we should discuss hiring legal advisors ahead of time, because that is something I plan to do.
However, there was a recent situation this week which has me feeling perhaps we should stop going to co-parenting coaching. My W signed my kids up for an after-school activity and didn't tell me. I received notification from the school via e-mail a week ago. I e-mailed my W and asked her about it, and she ignored it. Finally I texted her, and her responses concerned me.
1. She said since it wasn't affecting my parenting time, she didn't think I would care. (Rather than talk about it first...)
2. She said she would be okay if I did something like that on my parenting time. This is simply false -- recall when the kids are with me, she still requests I let her know what we are doing and where we go... in order to rebuilt trust. This is something I think I need to stop, and is one of the reasons I believe co-parenting coaching is failing. The coach says that our little improvements in trust make it worthwhile -- after 5 months, I am thinking it is time to stop. I do want to make sure I do what's best for the kids however, which is why I hesitate. Just because she has issues doesn't mean I should give up if I think long-term that being better parents together will help them.
3. She said she was too busy to inform me, gave several excuses, and only then apologized in a half-hearted way that left me feeling she was not truly apologizing ("Forgive me, I'm sorry, this won't happen again").
4. She asked if I wanted her to cancel - I said that was not my point, and she wasn't hearing what I was saying.
5. She asked if I wanted a copy of the receipt - I said that was not my point, and she wasn't hearing what I was saying.
I'm happy that I stood up for myself, and did it in a respectful way. The episode left me feeling that we badly need a detailed parenting plan.
But even moreso... I feel like my W does not see us as equal parents. It is the one thing that bothers me most. I know that I need the parenting plan to protect myself. But I also feel that co-parenting coaching is not going to work with her attitude.
These are not things I would say in counseling, but things I wish I could say:
1. You never bother to try to understand what I am saying.
2. You do not respect me as the father of our children.
3. You assume because I work FT, and because we had a FT-SAHM relationship for 2 years, that things will continue in this way and I will always defer to you for parenting decisions.
These are things I am considering saying in counseling, and don't know whether I should:
- I would like to stop co-parenting coaching for awhile. - I do not see any improvement in our communication. - I am not happy with our existing parenting arrangement. The timesharing, you asking me to update you with what I am doing with the kids, and several other things. - In 5 months, you have said your trust in me being safe with the kids has changed from 0 to 10%. I don't believe continuing to come to coaching is going to change that number. I believe it will only change with time, and not through co-parenting sessions, and is not something I can help you with at this point. - I want to start mediation ASAP.