I recently told the world the story of the text message my husband sent that ended our marriage when our son was two-years-old.
I talked about how a man who had been my best friend suddenly became a reluctant contributor to our new family structure from the moment our baby was born. How he stayed in our marital bed whilst I moved into the nursery to do night duty. How he had always played Thursday night sport – and didn’t ever miss one week.
I detailed how he didn’t want to change anything about his social life with his mates; which might have been OK, had it not also included refusing to tell me his plans each day and night, so I usually would not know whether he’d be home or not.
I put up with that nonsense for two years until I saw a text message to his friends that called me SWMBO – ‘She Who Must Be Obeyed’ – after never actually ‘asking permission’ (which in a marriage I thought was called basic communication) to do anything, ever.
That text message was the death knell for us, and I left with my baby the next week. But of course, a lot had gone down before that.
On the night I told him we were leaving, my husband said to me: “You just don’t understand, I’m working so much.”
I told him, “It’s not that you’re rarely home, it’s how you treat us when you’re here.”
He didn’t accept that. He didn’t accept that me asking him to get up with the baby on a Sunday morning – one morning a week – and him refusing to do it for two years, was a clear indication to me that he couldn’t care less about us.
He just couldn’t see that by refusing to adjust anything in his life for his baby wasn’t responsible, or loving.
And that’s why, despite being a highly educated professional who should have known better, he would regularly drink without thought for the next day, and leave his cigarettes where our son could reach them.
This woman’s ex husband is now cheating on his mistress with another girlfriend. Should she whistleblow or walk away? MMOL discuss. Post continues after…
Want to hear more? Subscribe to Mamamia Out Loud.
He didn’t smoke in the house, but rather than risk crushing his beloved smokes in his pocket, he would leave them on the kitchen bench. We lived in a two-storey house, and often he would place the packet on the foot of the stairs, near the front door.
We fought about it constantly, because obviously, the baby who was starting to crawl would one day become a toddler who would walk – and make a beeline for daddy’s keys, wallet, and packet of cigarettes whenever he could. Eventually, I stopped trying to change things, and would just put the packet in a high kitchen cabinet myself – but we would then argue about that too.
So of course, it shouldn’t have been a surprise when one day I came out of the bathroom to find my son eating cigarettes.
I shouldn’t have been surprised, but it was the most horrific thing I’d seen as a parent.
There was my little two-year-old, his mouth full of tobacco leaves, as he’d managed to chomp through the paper lining of couple.
My darling baby wasn’t enjoying the experience – he looked confused and disgusted (just like when I forced him to try pureed broccoli).