Defending My Decision

It’s a weird virtual world that I live in. I mean, here I am writing a blog about my life…it’s “out there” for the world to see. What that means is that it’s “out there” for the world to judge, too. My life…Sunshine’s life…what we do and how we choose to do it is subject to the opinions of anybody who reads our blogs. And because we both write for other websites, that only goes to increase our readership and, in turn, increase the number of opinions and judgements towards our lives.

Sunshine recently wrote a story for Parent Society that has received a ton of comments. The story was about what it meant to be a single mom as the comments progressed, it came up that a single mom needs to put her children first at all times but occasionally that doesn’t happen.  You can find it here.

That comment, however, ended up “inspiring” this one that kinda got the both of us a bit upset…

Momma Sunshine, so if the kids should be a priority, how does that work with a parent choosing to move hours away from their kid to live with their girlfriend?

Yikes. This was obviously a shot at me and my decision to move to Sunshine’s city.

The initial reaction was one of anger. I mean, who is this person to sit there and try to judge my decision like that? Well…after some thought I realized that they had every right to judge me because I’ve laid it out there for the past four years. I can’t write about my inner-most thoughts and then expect people to always agree with what I do.  That’s just arrogant and silly on my part.

The second reaction I had was one of confusion. Here I have been putting it all on the line and explaining exactly what’s going on and why, yet this person still didn’t seem to know what they were talking about. Or did they? Or should they? Does a reader need to read every single post ever written by me in order to comment on a decision that I’ve written about? No, I don’t think so. Again…just because a reader is uninformed doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to judge me based upon what they’ve read.

Now I’m at the point where I feel the need to defend myself. So let me try to be as clear as I possibly can about the situation:

My son absolutely is a priority to me. He’s my world and I love him dearly. The decision to move to another city was certainly not one taken lightly. In fact, I never thought I would be making that decision any time within the next ten years.

But then I began to really think about the situation I was in. First, I share joint legal custody of him but his mother has primary custody. I have my son every second weekend and for 90 minutes for supper once a week. I see him at soccer twice a week for an hour. Whenever he is sick, his mother and I usually split taking days off from work to look after him.

When I decided to propose to Sunshine, I asked my son about it first. Sure, he’s five…but he knows what marriage is and he immediately said that he wanted to be the ring-bearer. Awesome…that was one hurdle overcome. I then talked to his mom to let her know my intentions and she asked me about moving away.

We discussed it in detail at great length…it was something she was expecting from the very beginning so there had really been no surprises at this point. We knew that the relationship that I had with my son was solid…which was what I wanted it to be before even considering moving away. The plan was simple…come down every two weeks to have him for a weekend and Skype two to three times during the week so that we’re always in communication. She was not only encouraging of this plan, but we discussed it with my son and he was also okay with it.

Believe me…I would never be moving away if my son didn’t want me to. If he gave the slightest “no” during the conversation his mother and I had with him, this move wouldn’t be happening and I’d be preparing for a long-distance marriage right now.

Is this a perfect plan? Probably not. Will this plan work? I think so, yes.

Whenever Ankle Biter needs me, I’ll be there. If he has a school activity that he wants me to attend, I will make the trip. If something is wrong and his mom needs help, I will do my best to be there for both of them. If he needs me for any reason, I am only 2 1/2 hours away and have no problem making that trip for him.  I’m not going to be an absentee dad. Rather, I’m going to be a dad who isn’t physically there 100% of the time but is still 100% available…if that makes sense.

So that’s it. That is me defending my choice to move to be with “my girlfriend” who, as of next year, will be my wife. I am far from perfect and this situation (i.e. the long-distance relationship) has never been one of convenience, but this decision is one that I’m okay with. It turns out, my ex and my son are also okay with it because we believe our plan will ensure I’ll always have a good relationship with my son.

So if it’s okay with me, my ex, and my son…I would think that it’s okay with you, too.

Thanks for letting me vent.

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16 thoughts on “Defending My Decision

  1. Dude! I wouldn’t put too much thought into what random people think. As someone who actually does read your and Sunshine’s blogs on a regular basis, its quite obvious that you ARE a great dad, that you HAVE thought about this, and you’re DEFINITELY thought everything through. But my opinion doesn’t matter, either — it’s what you feel is best for you and your family.

  2. Wayne Dyer has a wonderful quote that often comforts me during times like this: “What other people think of me is none of my business.” How true that is!

    The only people involved in this decision — and the discussion — was Ankle Biter, his mom, you and I, and my girls. That’s it, end of story. Anyone else who somehow feels as though they have a right to form such a strong opinion is entering a zone where they simply don’t belong. I don’t care if they’re a friend, a random blog reader, or a troll. Not.their.business.

  3. I didn’t read the rest of the comments but I didn’t see the reader’s question as a judgment… but rather as a general question. Perhaps the reader is in a similar situation and is wondering how you came to your difficult decision? I don’t know. You know I’ve had my own share of people who didn’t agree with how I lived my life.

    I appreciate you explaining yourself just to release some of the guilt this question brought up. But, as Sean said, I don’t have a single doubt that you will be there for your son and ex. You’ve already learned quite a bit from being away from your daughter and do everything you can to be close to her. Your actions prove what sort of dad you are, not what you say (or write about). It’s YOUR decision and YOUR life and YOUR blog too! No other person can come close to knowing what your real life is about.

    Live it proudly with all of the love that you’re sharing… with your ex, your family and your future family.

    xxoo

  4. I’m sorry you feel like you have to defend your decision but I think I would feel compelled to as well (judgmental people are such a peeve of mine!). I respect your decision so much because you are am excellent father and went to great lengths to make this decision. No doubt that it will take some work to maintain w distance but you absolutely can do it.

  5. I think it’s impossible for any of us readers to know any blogger’s full life and we shouldn’t.
    From reading it is hard to think that your daughter lives in another province that you don’t
    ever visit and now you are moving to a different province from your son BUT we are not living your life. I could never move away from my child but everyone’s life and situation is unique to them .
    I don’t pass judgement on others’ lives( at least I
    try hard not to, as I know it is human nature!)
    Life is short and we all have to follow our
    own unique paths and choices .
    Wishing us all happy and wise choices along our journey !!

    1. All lives are different, so I can totally understand if you have no idea what it’s like to live away from your children. People do it all the time and continue to have solid relationships with their children, which is something I have and will continue to have.

  6. Quality over quantity.

    I have no doubt you will continue to be an excellent father to both your children, dispite the distance. I have known fathers who live in the same neighborhood as their kids, and think that just parking them in front of the tv for their entire visit makes them a good father. I feel bad that you felt the need to defend your decision, but like others have pointed out, as long as all the key players are involved and onboard with the decision, everyone else’s opinions do not matter.

    Worth repeating… Quality over quantity.

    1. Good point !
      ( also sorry if my comment came off as judgmental , was manning for it to demonstrate how a reader sees what we want to see when reading ( which is only one small stroke of the paintbrush ) and in the end , truly none of our beeswax anyways…)

    2. Thanks TCL…I know I’m not one of “those dads” who just hangs out and doesn’t try to develop a relationship with their kid. I’m not perfect, but I want to make the most out of every moment I have with them.

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