Here's a great head-scratcher for ya: What is more important to you? Money, or world peace?
I think the answer was made clear for us in that great American classic "Miss Congeniality".
[Spoiler alert - It's world peace.]
I know that seems random, but let me get back to that thought...
Lately my Ex has been driving me insane, and I have been biting my tongue to hold back all the anger I want to lash out at him. It makes me crazy that he does not care about day-to-day decisions in Little Man's life. He has no concept of his daily routines, therapies, if/when school will be starting for him... he never asks for information until standing in our door at pickup. Then he wants a quick rundown of the last however-long it has been, as if I can sum up 2+ weeks in a few moments before he walks out the door. That is, if he even manages to get down here to pick Little Man up at all. He tends to text us on Thursday night or Friday morning letting us know that he had some sort of emergency which will prevent him from picking up Little Man.
Hubs and I made the decision after the wedding that we were no longer going to enable Ex's behavior, and we've been firm at sticking to that plan even though it usually makes things more difficult for us than for Ex. We used to do the 3.5 hour round trip for drop offs AND pick ups because Ex didn't have a working car for awhile. But even though we'd make the all the drop offs, Ex wouldn't be able to pay child support because he was "saving for a better car" or "not working" or "paying off bills." So now, when Ex texts at 3:30 pm on his scheduled Friday with Little Man saying that his car suddenly broke down again, we say nothing. We ask him what his plan will be and sit back and wait for him to wiggle out of another visitation/payment. Then we rearrange our schedule and any plans we made for the weekend and wait til Ex contacts us again, which is usually two weeks later for his next visit.
But here is where I get back to my original thought: What is more important? Money or world peace?
Ex is perfectly content to continue living the way he is living. He is fine being a dad a couple days a month, and I never doubt that he does love Little Man in his teenage way. But he is also fine not seeing Little Man for weeks at at a time. He is fine letting us be the full-time parents and he's the "fun guy".
I could press him harder to man up, to spend time with his son. I could take him to court and demand back child support. But is it worth it? Is it worth disrupting what is a very easy and (mostly) painless process for Hubs and I every two weeks? Ex has nothing but respect for Hubs and I, he has told us so on multiple occasions. Drop offs, although full of strained and awkward small talk, are polite and everyone tries their best to co-parent in 15 minutes or less. We were clear with Ex back in January that our patience had run out on driving to him and then not getting (what is a very very small) support that month on top of it all. So he actually did end up doing a couple drop off/pick ups on his own, until this latest "I don't have a car again" month.
I guess what Hubs and I always tell ourselves is "Why rock the boat? It could be so much worse." Without the court's involvement we have been able to be very flexible with visitation, switching weekends around here and there and picking up Little Man very early or very late. The few times we "needed" to drop off Little Man because we had plans we couldn't break, Ex has been fairly accommodating. No, we can't rely on Ex for any help with child support. But is that money worth making everything tense between us? Would going to court even accomplish anything since technically he is unemployed and working odd jobs?
So I hold in this rage that I am feeling today, as Ex pulls out another one of his classic lines to avoid a pickup. I try not to let it make me furious that I feel like I care so much and he cares so little. I know my screaming or my passive aggression isn't going to change the core of who Ex is, a little boy trapped in a man body. And I opt for world peace.