This week, I read this online article. The writer dedicates it to his ex on Mother’s Day. He waxes lyrical about how much he appreciates her and everything she does as a mother. It’s really nicely written, moving, sensitive stuff. Or so it seems.
I don’t buy it. I happen to know the mother in question. I doubt he called her up and expressed his appreciation directly, to her, the person for whom all this glowing honour was supposedly intended. No, he wrote it in a public forum, got paid for it – literally – and then got paid for it, again, in the currency of public praise and adoration. Or, more specifically, the awestruck, fantasy-laden praise and admiration of single mothers near and far, lauding him for being the partner they wish they had.
Something tells me that the whole thing must provide more distress than delight to the supposedly honoured and appreciated mother of his children. I don’t think I need to go into the detail of what precipitated the separation. Suffice to say it must be somewhat stomach-turning to witness the public spectacle of her less-than-exemplary ex draping himself in the glory of his fawning readership. “Wow, so there really are some great guys out there”; “Where do I find one like you?” “Your ex is so lucky to have had a chance with someone like you.” Gosh. What fun it must be to read such comments, as a single mother of three, making the best of a goddamn tough situation.
I think what irks me most about the article is that I wish it had been written by someone else. I wish I could believe in it. It portrays this golden idyll of post-split-up parents who seamlessly move into an evolved, selfless dance of parenting beautifully in the best interests of the children. It’s a lovely, cruel fantasy. It’s not that easy; it’s never that easy. Don’t we all wish it were. If he really wanted to honour her, he’d have written his honeyed prose on a piece of paper, and laid it at her door. Instead, he pinned it to the Internet. It reads more like a carefully marketed advert for himself.