Blogger, Happy Hausfrau, had a goofy Facebook post this week where she riffed on photoshopping old family pictures with the ex.
I just read a funny article about a woman who is taking pictures of her with the ex and photoshopping celebrity heads in them. Sorry to burst a millennial bubble, but it’s old school breakup therapy. Case in point: that time Tom Cruise and I posed for a pic with our little Christmas babies.
It gave me a chuckle. Not exactly meh, but hey, a creative solution. If you’ve ever blanched at the sight of a bittersweet family portrait, you get it. Oh such an innocent time… before I knew about the Craigslist hookups…
However, as is often the way on the interwebz, someone Voiced An Objection.
Sniffy Lady sniffed:
I’m sure it’s therapeutic, but only for the mother. I’m not divorced so this might be easy for me to say, but I think I’d put those pictures aside for my kids so they’d have memories and the ability maintain a sense of family identity. That is unless the father was an axe murderer, child abuser, etc.
So you’re not divorced, but…?
As she appeared to be unclear on the concept — the whole breaking up families bummer — I explained divorce for her.
Sniffy Lady replied:
I know what divorce means, but thanks for giving me your definition. I didn’t mean to upset anybody. I wouldn’t photoshop my kids dad out of family pictures. That’s my choice. What you do is yours.
My parents divorced, so I think my perspective is different than yours. If my mother would have marred up the pictures of our family it would have broken my heart (she did no such thing).
Really, Photoshopping Tom Cruises’ head would have “broken your heart“? What? Are you made of spun sugar? Your heart’s so fragile that celebrity cut ‘n paste could shatter your psyche?
Horrors. How DARE we mock the sacred bonds of family!
It’s so bitter and unkind. Unlike abandoning a wife and four kids for an affair partner, withdrawing all financial support, sending the mother into near bankruptcy, and never speaking to one’s children again for YEARS? (Happy Hausfrau’s exact situation.)
No, THAT we must “maintain a sense of family identity” with. For The Children.
Fuck you, Sniffy Lady.
I’m sorry you’re the child of divorce. I’m not a child of divorce — my parents have been married for 50 years — so this might be easy for me to say, but I think healthy people do not maintain a sense of “family identity” with axe murderers, child abusers, or cheaters. Actually, I’ll go one further — I don’t think people should maintain a sense of “family identity” after divorce from Perfectly Nice People Who Sucked to Be Married To But Are No Longer Our Partners.
Perhaps you should stay off blogs you know nothing about? It’s not as if the Happy Hausfrau was including this image in her Christmas cards, or email blasting her children with it, or plastering it on public bathroom stalls — she put it on a support site for divorced people. You don’t like it? Maybe you’re not the intended audience. Maybe her divorce is nothing like your parent’s divorce? And maybe you shouldn’t project your experience on to others?
Listen, I’d rather my son’s father had created a dart board with my visage, invited 10 of my son’s friends over, blindfolded them all and played “Pin the Tail on My Shitty Ex-Wife” than sue me pro se for a decade. Maybe it would’ve released some of the tension, who knows? Awkward for the children? Sure. But not as awkward as multiple custody trials. It certainly wouldn’t be as toxic as disappearing from his son’s life for years, canceling his health insurance, or being a deadbeat.
Here’s a thought Sniffy Lady — maybe your mother, instead of eating shit sandwiches and preserving everyone’s sainted opinion of Dad, modeled a little moxie like the Happy Hausfrau. Who handles shattering heartbreak with aplomb and — yes, HUMOR. Who took a little, tiny sliver of her power back with a cut-out of Tom Cruise’s head.
God forbid we laugh about this shit. Oh no, you’re a Bad Mother if you laugh at this shit.
But that’s a slippery slope to Bitterness and Scarring the Children Forever!
Look, let me be VERY CLEAR here — I’m NOT in favor of alienating the kids or making sport of exes in front of the kids. I tell chumps to tell the truth about divorce (mom or dad cheated), but leave off the editorializing (i.e., “Mom’s a slut.”). But in the confines of your support group? Alone with your friends? A 2 a.m. on an infidelity board? LET IT RIP.
Find the absurdity! MOCK THEM! Photoshop a cat’s anus on the Other Woman’s face for all I care. Will it make you feel a little more powerful? Will it alleviate some of the fear and anxiety when you can laugh at them instead of pick-me dance for their favors? Then DO IT.
Eventually, you won’t feel the need as you go no contact and get to meh. (Which can take YEARS when you’re co-parenting with a fuckwit.) But for the rest of you, who just found out, who are curled up in balls of rejection and self-loathing? Paste a celebrity head today!
You’ll heal faster — and isn’t that what’s best for the children?