at ballet

'I don't know why you're arguing on our Christmas vacation' came the vexatious voice from my daughter's iPhone. That 'ever-so-innocent' voice letting everyone know she could not possibly hurt a fly if she wanted to.

'I don't care if it's your Christmas vacation' I shouted back. I was fuming. Yet again she was standing there making me look like the bad parent for not letting my children come with them on their family trip to Germany for Christmas.

The conversation went on briefly as Saffron kept turning the phone towards me. I told her to turn it away from me as I wished not to see her standing there alongside her new husband, happily now my ex-husband, with her permanent plastic Barbie smile. They just landed in Munich and checked into their hotel when they called my daughter.

‘We would have the kids every day all the time if you’d let us’ she continued.

'No way! They are my children!' I retorted.

Anger seeped through the pores of my skin. Somewhere in the back of her mind she has the idea to take my children away from me. Certainly this would make things much easier for her not having to deal with the ex-wife and being able to live anywhere she wanted without being tied to the terms of the divorce decree.

One thing to remember and accept when you marry into a ready-made family is the fact that there are now people other than yourself involved. Namely three children and their mother. A mother who loves her children and has no plans on deserting her children no matter what.

I continued for a brief while as I explained I was not aware this was a family trip. It was only this past weekend when Cinnamon stayed with me that I discovered it was not a honeymoon and the two boys were going with them.

Even two months ago when I said to my ex 'I'm guessing you're going to Germany', he told me they had already gone to Munich and hinted at their going elsewhere. He did not volunteer any more information. The communication lines were closed. They were both glad to keep me in the dark in order to use this information against me somehow in the future. Like now.

As Saffron sat on her bed holding her iPhone and talked to her father and stepmother, I wondered what other lies she was telling my children to try to turn them against me. I was weary of all this arguing. It is neither good for me nor my children. In fact, it is much worse for my children as they are caught in the middle of an ongoing bitter battle between two parents and a stepparent who is clearly overstepping her boundaries.

The call lasted longer than it should have and made us late for Saffron's ballet practice. Twenty minutes late. This made me more upset as I make it a point to be on time anywhere I go. Punctuality is something I am able to enforce with my children when they are at my place.

I sent an email to the children's father explaining if he had simply communicated with me, informed me about his plans, he could have had the children for the break and I would not have lost my job as the issue of childcare for the Eve days would have been no issue at all.

I also let him know when I discovered I had lost my job, I researched plane tickets in order to take the children to Ireland during the break. I told him we could even had shared the children during their winter break in order for them to have the best of both worlds - both parents.

Communication is key. Miscommunication leads to all things unhealthy and it seems to be getting worse in my case. We, the parents, set out to co-parent our children. We should decide what is in the best interest of the children. 'Our current partners are there to support us in raising our children...' I wrote to my ex, '...and not cause problems with the other spouse or dictate how we raise our children.'

'What [she] was saying is that we are happy to have the kids anytime. But of course we respect the time you want to spend with the kids' was the reply I got from him trying to explain away something I knew not to be true. I knew exactly what she was saying.