Paula-Loves-Marla's Blog

Observations about Art, Movies, Books, etc.

Archive for the tag “Divorce”

Kiddies In The Crossfire – It’s Not A Good Thing

Okay, last post about relationship/divorce type stuff (for now).

I just wanted to say that if you’re separated or divorced and have children, please keep in mind that all those shots you take at your ex wind up hurting your kids. It’s hard enough for them to have their family split up without having to hear all the ugliness you and/or your spouse spout off about each other. Certainly do not under any circumstances put the children in a position where they feel like they have to pick sides.

If you want to bitch about your lying, cheating, no-good, spendthrift/penny-pinching, lazy/workaholic, shiftless, mean, insensitive ex-spouse, do it out of earshot of your kids. Go out with your friends, have a beer, shop, shoot some skeet and vent at will, but when you’re around the children, remember that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

Divorce is a hard thing for kids to deal with. I personally remember coming home the day my dad had been by our house to clear out his stuff and how hurt I was to see the empty places where his things had been. Each spot on the bookcase where his statues & books had been felt like it left a hole in my heart. Adding an ugly narrative to the situation just compounds the hurt.The other thing is that holding onto all that anger and hurt is just as bad for you as it is for your kids. At some point you have to let it go and the sooner, the better. All those bad feelings are bad for your health and can shorten your life. Really the best thing to do is pick a date where you are going to move on and then do it. Your relationship with that person is over except for parenting your children. Find ways to be good to yourself and heal. Fill your life with positive things and thrive within that life.

The best revenge is living well. Do it for yourself. Do it for your kids. Do it now.

Here’s an article  about what kids think: Article

A Letter To My Younger Self

There was a thing on Yahoo! this morning about it being national letter writing day (it’s not. It’s not even national letter writing week until January so I’m not even sure where that story came from – archives?). In spite of the error, I thought it might be interesting to write a series of letters to my young self with all the great wisdom I have amassed over past 48 years.

Also, I’ve been off blogging for quite a while. I’ve been listening to that snarky little voice in my head that tells me everything I write is total crap and no one wants to read the sort of fluff that goes on in my brain. The time has come once again to tell that little voice to shut up and keep its destructive opinions to itself and let me get on with the business of writing.

So here goes…

Letter

Dear school-aged Paula,

I know all the fights mom and dad have about money, especially the child support payment arguments, make you feel terrible. I know its hard being stuck in the middle of two angry adults engaged in a never ending battle to win the argument. I know that you feel like you are a big part of why mom and dad fight and that you are putting a terrible financial burden on them because they support you, but guess what – they had you and it’s their responsibility to take care of you.

The fights about money make you feel worthless. Sometimes you wish you had never been born so that maybe mom and dad would be happy and not fight all of the time. Sweetheart, I want to tell you that their fights are not your fault. It’s true that their marriage may have lasted longer if they had waited to have you or maybe not had a child at all, but the reality of the situation is that you are in the world.

What I’d like you to do in order to make the situation more tolerable for yourself (and probably for mom and dad too) is to sit each one of them down at different times and tell them that when they fight about money and child support in front of you, that it hurts and that it makes you feel worthless. Ask them to please try to let go of their anger towards each other and take into consideration how much it hurts you every time they engage in this battle. Tell them that once they let go of this fight, they will feel better too.

Darling girl, you are going to have to have many follow-up conversations with mom and dad because they are really good at fighting with each other. You’re going to have to find the strength to correct them each and every time they slip back into their old patterns. This will go on for years. The good thing though is that you are going to feel really good about yourself for standing up for your feelings rather than silently resenting how shitty those fights make you feel.

Do this for yourself.

Be strong.

Fight for what you need.

You deserve it.

~Older, Wiser Paula

Regarding Movies, Plot & Single Family Homes

With regards to “Music of the Heart” and the divorce which caused Roberta Guaspari Demetras’s life to change so drastically, the story line was based on a real set of circumstances, but the fiction and film industry has used this device for a very long time in order to create the life-changing situation which usually begins a story.

Where I’m going with this is – a couple of years ago I was driving somewhere (probably to work) and was listening to a Christian radio broadcast. The speaker was talking about how children’s movies were promoting broken homes to children in their story lines and plot and that the majority of Disney movies depicted most families as having a single parent. His argument was that Disney showing these single parent families was teaching kids that divorce was natural which would later on manifest itself by those children growing up, marrying, having a family and then divorcing because of what they’d learned at the theater as pre-pubescents.

What a load of hooey. Disney simply employed a tried and true dramatic tool to create a dramatic storyline for children. I am curious though about how many of the popular Disney movies involved the pernicious single family home, or even worse the nonexistent parent home. Let’s check it out:

• 1937 Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs – Single Family & Evil Step-Mother, forced to live in sin with 7 little men
• 1940 Pinocchio – Gasp! Born of no parents, but raised by a single father, a fairy & a cricket – can’t get any more dysfunctional than that
• 1940 Fantasia – Fatherless Mickey being guided by a preoccupied Mystic
• 1941 Dumbo – Being raised by Baby-Mama and no Baby-Daddy in sight, escapes his female dominated existence by getting high
• 1950 Cinderella – No parents, only evil step-mother and sisters, begins unnatural relationship with vegetables
• 1951 Alice in Wonderland – Seemingly parented by her governess, poor Alice turns to LSD
• 1953 Peter Pan – Wendy had parents, but Peter had none and turned to an alternate lifestyle
• 1955 Lady & The Tramp – Lady loses all her morals when her people parents have their own child
• 1959 Sleeping Beauty – A full set of parents plus a retinue of fairies, apparently having a staff does not ensure the safety of a child
• 1960 Swiss Family Robinson – Another set of parents!
• 1961 101 Dalmations – The people are married & the dogs are bonded, but things get a little out of hand with the puppies
• 1963 The Sword & The Stone – Back to parentless and guided by a wizard
• 1964 Mary Poppins – 2 self-involved parents who have to call in reinforcements to rear their kids
• 1967 The Jungle Book – No parents, raised by wolves, a bear & a panther. Still likes girls though
• 1970 The AristoCats – Single mama with talented children finds a surrogate dad in an unlikely place
• 1981 The Fox & The Hound – parentless pair find friendship in their youth, but maturity brings animosity
• 1985 The Black Cauldron – An orphan finds himself caught up in the power struggle of adults
• 1985 The Journey of Natty Gann – Not only is Natty motherless, but economic circumstances rob her of her father for a time too
• 1988 Oliver & Company – a parentless kitty finds himself at the center of a ransom plot
• 1989 The Little Mermaid – Not only does Ariel not have a mother, she doesn’t even want to be of the same species as her parents
• 1991 Beauty & the Beast – Raised by her dotty father, Belle turns to bestiality
• 1992 Aladdin – Parentless street urchin turns his interests from petty thievery to marrying well
• 1994 The Santa Claus – Divorced disinterested dad transforms into caring father Christmas
• 1994 The Lion King – two-parented heir apparent is menaced and orphaned by creepy, single childless uncle
• 1995 Pocahontas – single father just doesn’t understand his free-spirited daughter who turns to pale interloper for gratification
• 1995 Toy Story – Fatherless boy has cool talking toys
• 1996 James & the Giant Peach – Orphaned boy escapes the clutches of single, evil aunts and begins hallucinatory relationship with bugs
• 1996 The Hunchback of Notre Dame – parentless main characters are plagued by puritanical persecutor
• 1997 Hercules – outcast due to his part human status, Hercules is parented by a series of humans & mystical creatures. Dad finally shows up when he can prove himself worthy
• 1998 Mulan – A misfit with both parents, grandma & a cricket joins the army and becomes a heroine

• 1998 The Parent Trap – 2 parents, 2 kids, separate homes, the kids join forces to get everyone back together
• 1998 A Bug’s Life – Bugs apparently don’t have a relationship with their parents
• 1999 Tarzan – Same story as jungle book, raised by animals, really likes girls
• 2001 Spirited Away – 2 parents and a serious acid trip to the spirit world
• 2002 Lilo & Stitch – Orphaned & misunderstood, Lilo turns to a genetically engineered creature for company
• 2003 Finding Nemo – overprotective single father loses his son and must rely on the kindness of strangers to get him back
• 2004 The Incredibles – 2 parents & 3 kids hiding their super powers & trying to fit in
• 2007 Enchanted – A parentless girl is thrown into another world by an evil step-mother
• 2007 Ratatouille – parented by his single father, a rat longs to engage in more humanly pursuits
• 2009 Up – A grumpy, childless old man is forced to become a father figure to a boy who tags along on his journey

According to the models presented to us by Disney, the moral of the story is that if you lose one or both of your parents avoid at all costs any stepmothers, aunts or uncles and do not depend upon a wizard to guide you with any consistency.

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