This isn't a topic I'm thrilled to admit but I'm an honest person and feel compelled to share. I feel like I don't know how to relate to my children anymore. I love them but when I visit them I find it stressful and annoying. That makes me a terrible person right? To say I'm getting annoyed with kids I only see on weekends? Being in my ex's world is not something I am comfortable with or accustomed to. She is still religious and if that's not bad enough, her family attempts to be quasi-Jewish which is just fucking weird to me. I don't want to turn the kids against her so I try not to demean the way she is raising them - but they're still my kids and I feel responsible. I want them to see how I live life but unless I have a home for them to come to, it's kind of tough. I feel like I'm failing them by not being in their lives more and the guilt causes me to stress and not engage which causes further guilt. Not a good cycle.
My life at the moment consists of working and seeing my kids - that's basically it. I wish I worked all the time because working makes me feel productive, builds my savings account and is slightly distracting from how badly I miss my girlfriend. Whoever said that money doesn't solve problems was full of shit. I love making money because it gives me options and is distracting but I don't want to use work to escape my life's non economic problems. There has to be a better more balanced solution.
When I was typing part of this my 4 year old son jumped into my lap and wanted to play. at first I was kind of annoyed because I was trying to write thoughts down before they escaped but then I put my phone down and hugged him soaking in the moment. It's not the kids that are annoying me, it's that they need something from me when, because of the environment, I feel tapped out. Regardless of what anyone wants or thinks i should give them, I have what my kids need: love and acceptance.
When I review the past few days there are a lot of good moments where I did engage. This afternoon I played catch with my 8 year old and showed her how to throw properly. Tonight I told my 7 year old what a turd was when we were playfully calling each other names and took a mental vine of her laughing her head off. Yesterday I got to bond with my under the weather 20 month old and had him fall asleep on my chest. When I was driving to Home Depot with my 4 year old he asked why my back seat was folded down. I told him I slept back there to which he replied "whaaaaaaaat?" with great amazement. Later he said he thought that was pretty awesome.
While I still feel out of touch with their lives, and don't like a lot of what their mother does, I am making a difference and that's really what they need. What a relief!