This post is less about understanding the world around me and more about my personal struggles, if they are not one in the same. I had the opportunity to look after my kids for a week or so. In fact I just finished dropping them off at their mothers. Their mother went on a cruise to Mexico with some of her guy and girl friends from High School. Living in the same town you grew up in has some value....you can still retain all of those friends. The interesting thing is that she just mentioned that she was going with some of her girlfriends, I didn't hear about the guy friends until I was talking to someone today at church. It certainly doesn't bother me though, which I find somewhat odd. I really have no jealousy at all in the matter. It just seems somewhat bizarre after 15 years of marriage that I wouldn't be jealous. Probably a good thing really. I find the charade somewhat amusing though. Anyway, she asked if I could watch the kids for a week while she enjoys this vacation. I arrange to telecommute that week and life is good. So during that time we did the following:
1) My oldest daughter is a bit behind in math, so I plug her into Linux TuxMath...Linux has some awesome education games. I saw dramatic improvement during her tenure here.
2) I have my oldest son and daughter take showers every morning. My oldest son I think will make a habit of it at her mothers.
3) I think teeth brushing will become more of a habit for all of them...I hope. I have been pushing this for a long time.
4) I finally got my oldest son a new pair of shoes. The other ones lasted for more than a year, so I suspect that these will as well.
My soon-to-be-ex-wife, however, is incapable of doing many of these things of personal hygiene or school. For her, life if a beach...or volleyball court, whichever you prefer. Life is fun and games and there is little responsibility that she maintains. When I describe her to people I call her a princess. During her whole life she has not had to take care of herself. She didn't hold a job in high school. Her parents paid for most of her way in college, so she didn't have to work. She worked at the UW in a temporary position for a few years, but she didn't have to pay any bills or learn what it was like to live on ones own. She had no responsibility except for herself, and even that was somewhat questionable. No wonder she sees life as a beach. Our marriage only reinforced that mentality since I worked and she stayed home.
So now she lives at home with her parents and my kids. Her parents try to escape as much as possible to see friends and siblings and when they are at home they do a lions share of the cooking and laundry. I would dare say that my soon-to-be-ex doesn't have to cook at all when her mom is in the home. It is nice. She gets the joy of parenthood without the responsibility. I suspect that is where we had many of our issues. She didn't like to keep the house clean nor take care of her own self personally. Her car was a disaster 95% of the time. Her desire was to hang out with her friends...and so that is what she did. Everything else was secondary to hanging out with her friends. One could argue that the reason that she hung out with her friends was because she didn't feel accepted by me. Possibly so, however when her entire job was to take care of the home and raise the kids and she was unable to accomplish that, let alone take care of herself physically, and all the while telling me that I shouldn't care what the house looks like, her car looks like, what she looks like but instead I should love her for who she is I have to question what is it about her that I did love. I did love her good nature and social skills, however these were things that needed to stay in balance with reality. Her favorite saying was, "a happy wife is a happy life." This is true, however I find it difficult to believe that any wife would be truly happy if their husband celebrated their eating bon bon's all day long with their friends. Maybe I am wrong, but some expectation is necessary for our own personal development. I do not have high expectations really, at least I don't think so. Really all I seek is effort, a certain degree of caring to make me happy. Not a huge degree, and I don't want someone to dote over me, but just some consideration. I hope that my next wife, if that is in the cards, will be someone who has a higher standard than I. I certainly wouldn't mind being pushed a bit in certain areas that I am lacking in. Likewise I would hope that she wouldn't mind being pushed as well in areas that she may be lacking. Thus we become partners in a quest for a certain degree of perfection.