There are certain subjects to which young children should not be exposed. A couple's spitefulness and anger towards each other after divorce is one of them. 'But at Papa's...' started the conversation this evening as we pulled into the garage of the new place. The issue was the car seats and Saffron asking why she had to keep sitting in the 'baby' seat.
The car seat is hardly a baby seat. Saffron has the larger Britax car seat which cost somewhere close to $400. The other two children have the smaller versions of Britax which are nearly as expensive. In their father's small hard top convertible Lexus car, the children have simple booster seats. I told Saffron they have something which works and I will not be spending any more money on things not needed. I also told her if she wants them, have your Papa buy them for you.
'Papa said...', so the conversation began. It turns out he told our children he cannot buy me anything anymore since I was no longer living with him. Cinnamon wanted to bring over a dress I purchased for her, one she refers to as the 'nature' dress, but her father simply told her 'no'. Cinnamon was sad as she recounted this conversation. I was sad as well that the children are being used as pawns in our divorce.
He went on to explain that items I purchased with 'his' money during our marriage were not allowed to be taken out of his home and that I was to purchase my own things with my money. I explained to my children that I do not have anywhere near the large income their father has and that we should be careful about spending money on wants as opposed to needs.
After hearing the girls describe the scene which took place, I let them know it is not their fault their parents are no longer together. Somehow Saffron got on the subject of both me and her father having moved on to happier lives. I was surprised at her answer to my question of how many time she had seen her parents hug each other. 'Once', she replied. I will take her word for it as I cannot recall that one time.
Despite the differences in an unhappy marriage, all should be done to ensure the children grow up with a sense of belonging and love from both parents. What hurts the children more is any fight they happen to be in the midst of as the result of one parent making the other parent look bad. In an email, I admonished him about this and the fact that it was 'our' money since I gave up over eight years of income earning. No surprise the lack of response.
In the end, it is all about the children and their well-being. It is not about who has more, who has a bigger house, or who can buy them anything they want. It is about being there for them when they need you most. Money comes and goes. Your family should always come before money, no matter what.