When my wife and I told the kids about the problems in our marriage, I promised my daughter that I'd share full disclosure with her. I promised her that there would be no more surprises in family matters.
I told my daughter last night that it's looking like divorce. It's so hard not to trash my wife. Considering the circumstances, it's hard to give both sides of the story. My wife's side of the story is such bullshit.
"Your mother thinks that, in the long run, you kids would be better off if we split up the family. She thinks that the tension between she and I would be hard on you kids. I think we should stay together and try to work out our problems so that you kids won't have to move between two houses all the time and only have one parent at each one."
I told my daughter that she's not my minion and it's not up to her to argue my case to her mother. I told her that she should answer any question that her mother asks her truthfully, but she should treat her mother with respect.
I told her I'm absolutely sure that I'm right on the issue, but her mother also thinks she's absolutely right as well. When two sides are absolutely sure they're right, it's likely that they're both wrong.
I told her that hope to keep the family together is fading fast. I admitted to her that my feelings for her mother are just as screwed up as her mother's are for me. I reassured her that this had nothing to do with our feelings for her and that she and her brother are not to blame.
I told her how sorry I am.
I told her that as hard as this is going to be on her mother and I, it was likely going to impact her and her brother the most. I told her in situations like this, there is the temptation to express her emotions in negative ways, both at home and at school.
"This is not an excuse to indulge in self destructive or antisocial behavior."
I told her that when a family is in crisis, it's important that they get as much support as possible from other family members. I told her that her seven year old brother was most at risk and that she needed to be there for him. He doesn't understand what's going on. He doesn't have the capacity to have conversations like the one we were having.
Parenting is hard. Even when everything is going well, it's hard. When you're in the middle of a shit storm like this, it's fucking impossible. I have to manage my own depression, feelings of rejection, face palming lack of understanding as to my wife's motives, and still have the faculties to parent my children.
Life is hard.