We all make them. We don’t get it right every time, but our motivations for making a certain decision are a large determiner of outcome. As a parent, most of my choices are made with my children’s best interests in the forefront of my mind. Atticus and I need to move. We would like to head to a warmer climate, but the needs of the children come first, so we are waiting until the school year is over and looking for houses in family-friendly areas with good school systems. If we chose a great house and moved in, only to find out after the fact that the school system was lousy, we obviously made a choice based on what we wanted and not what would benefit the kids.
The same goes for when we make decisions based on what we want versus what is good, true, and honorable. We all do it to one extent or another — we choose soda instead of water, a candy bar instead of an apple, staying up too late on a work night. Most times these choices affect no one but ourselves, so no biggie.
What floors me is seeing people make selfish decisions and then complaining later when their choices cause backlash. We can’t have our cake and eat it, too. I’ve witnessed my husband’s ex do this for years. After twelve years and three kids, she wanted out. She had no grounds, just didn’t want him anymore. Wanting to keep the family together for the children, he asked her to try marriage counseling. No, she wanted what she wanted. It was a painful divorce and the kids were very confused and hurt. I begged Atticus on several occasions to do whatever he could to get her to reconsider. She wanted none of it. So the family was ripped apart, but she got what she wanted: her freedom.
Now she doesn’t want to follow the family court’s ruling about shared parenting. She carved Atticus out of the family and doesn’t allow him to make any decisions regarding the kids. He’s never informed of teacher conferences, never seen a report card, he’s totally at her whim when it comes to seeing his kids even though the court mandated a visiting schedule. We never know if he’s going to see his kids for a holiday, and usually doesn’t.
So last week we told her if she didn’t follow the visitation schedule we would file contempt charges. We did it because he has a right to see his kids. It has everything to do with being a parent and nothing to do with her, but she got nasty because we interfered with what she wants to do. I told her then that she made this choice, so she was going to have to deal with the consequences. I wish she was the only one who had to deal with the fallout from her bad choices. I cannot even try to imagine what it feels like for his kiddos to be bounced back and forth between homes.
I’m not saying we don’t have the right to be happy and pursue what we want in life. That needs to change, though, when we become parents.
I don’t always choose the right option. I fail in epic proportions, but when I’m choosing what is right for my family over what I want for myself, God has a way of making things work out. He’s my role-model for parenting — there is no better Father.