A while back, a live-away father wrote to me, explaining problems he had with his ex-wife about their daughter:
“In the years since my daughter and I were separated, I never got a father's day card, rarely one for my birthday. I always figured it was her mother's job to make sure that it was done since she had no way to get to the store on her own. So, I've not felt the compulsion to see that my daughter remembers her mother on those similar days.”
He finished his message by saying: “Things have been made so difficult for me that there are only a few times when I am able to take the high road.”
A lot of fathers share this last sentiment. But here’s some food for thought: it's been my experience that the frequency with which we choose to take the high road seldom (if ever) has anything to do with outside circumstances or the behavior of others. It has to do with our choice. Everything else is rationalization for choosing not to.
We must NEVER loose sight of the fact that each of our daughters comes equally from us and her mother. As divorced dad and author Bill Klatte puts it: "Negative talk about my daughter's mother is a little wound to my daughter, and causes her to think less of herself, her mom and me.
I'll resolve adult conflicts away from my daughter and let her be the child."
In addition to negative talk, I'd suggest that negative or spiteful behavior toward her mother is also a wound to my daughter. Maybe the dynamic of my interactions with my daughter's mother might change if I imagine that I am stabbing my daughter every time I DON'T take the high road in relation to my daughter's mother.
Let's see...stab my daughter or take her to the corner store to buy her mother a Holiday card...
Like I said, food for thought--ignore if you'd rather.