Alright, I admit, sometimes I get caught in the middle and find that just about any possible solution to a situation is going to inevitably cause unhappiness with one of my children, and that’s just where I am this evening. Read on, and tell me if you think my proposed solution is best, or whether you have a smarter idea…
First off, G- and A- (7yo boy and 11yo girl, respectively) are both very concerned about fairness, about balance between what one gets and what the other gets, in terms of both experience and special treats/activities. Linda and I are now living apart and are finding that the latest issue is who gets to watch what movie with whom. Last night, both G- and A- stayed at my place and based on mutual agreement, they watched a Scooby Doo movie, with the stated understanding that tonight they’d watch A-‘s choice, Top Hat (yes, with Fred Astaire).
Though G- was scheduled to stay with me tonight, he decided this afternoon that he’d really rather spend the night with Linda since they’d spent the day skiing and were enjoying rare one-on-one time together. (K-, our 3yo, is with me tonight too). The only problem was, he had called me to ask whether we’d watch a movie or not tonight. Instead of saying “I already promised A- that we’d watch Top Hat, as you know” I said that we would not. At the time I was thinking that I just didn’t want to adversely influence his decision about whether to stay with Linda or not and that it would be great for him to have more time with her rather than be here watching a movie with everyone.
That was my mistake, needless to say!
When I hung up and told A- that I’d changed my mind and that we weren’t going to watch any movies tonight, she was quite upset because last night I HAD promised her that we would. Since I wanted her to go to bed early anyway, I suggested a compromise: she watched about half the movie and agreed that was sufficient. It was obvious that she’d be really upset if I’d have just said no, and it wouldn’t have been fair to her, truth be told, because we had made the agreement Friday night.
So now what do I do now, dear reader? I’m a tiny bit tempted to ask her to lie to G-: if he asks about a movie, have her just say “no, we didn’t watch one”, but I hate to get the precedent of lying into our family. On the other hand, G- will undoubtedly be upset if he finds out that he stayed with Linda based on the understanding that he wouldn’t be missing anything, yet we DID watch a movie after all.
The horns of a dilemma!
I feel like I put myself into a situation where I couldn’t meet both of my promises, so someone was inevitably going to get the short end of the proverbial stick…
So here’s my proposed solution: tomorrow morning, say to G- that
“Just so you know, I realized after I’d told you we weren’t going to watch any movies that in fact I’d already promised your sister that we would watch Top Hat. Since we had an early night of it, we only watched half the movie, and since I know you wanted to watch it too, I’m willing to have you watch the same portion of the movie when you next stay with me, if you want to, so that we can make sure everything’s fair.”
I’m not thrilled about it, and don’t like undermining his trust in me but maybe that’s the karmic justice of my promising him something I couldn’t fulfill? I do feel like it’s a reasonable solution to the problem, at least.
What do you think?