On FEX Living In The Basement – A Note To Maya Angelou’s Voice In-My-Head

People are asking. They are scratching their heads and wondering. There are those who come right out and ask me; others who remain perplexed, or make various assumptions. My personal favorites are the ones who have a firm opinion on the matter, one way or the other, of which they adamantly try to convince me. Most just want to know WHY on earth I have allowed FEX (future ex-husband) to move back into the house and take up residence in the basement?

As they say, “It’s complicated.” FEX moved out 3 years ago. Since then, we have put forth our best efforts towards effectively and cooperatively (mostly) co-parenting our son, 8 (the lawyer) and our daughter, 6 (the performer). After more than a year of discussing the possibility of trying to live in the same house again, as friends and mutual adorers of our wee-ones, we decided to make a go of this unconventional arrangement. This past September, to the elation of my children, FEX moved back in. My expectations of him are as follows.

#1. Put the children first.

#2. I need to be able to rely upon your word.

Easy. Right? Well, one out of two isn’t that bad. Is it? The whole keep your word thing has evaded FEX for many years now. I should have known that this would be the case, because Maya Angelou has said so, and she is usually right about these things.

To my defense – FEX and I are able to provide more for our children, when supporting one household, instead of two. Now we work together on the daily challenges, responsibilities and chaos that is attached to raising young children. In my mind, I was thinking, “I didn’t have them alone, so why should I raise them alone?” Most importantly, and the clincher for me was that my children desperately wanted to see both of their parents, each and every day.

Although, in the opposing voice in-my-head, I hear the words of Maya Angelou. I can hear her gently reminding me of one of my favorite quotes.

Get out of my head Maya. I have to try this out. 

Dear Miss Angelou’s voice in-my-head,

I know that you said, “When somebody shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” The Universe has enthusiastically chimed in on this point, on several occasions throughout my life. I surrender. I get it. Believe them the first time.

I am aware that in heeding the wisdom of your advise, allowing FEX back in, was not the best idea. But, I ask you, who else in the world is going to love my children as much as I do, and help me raise them on a daily basis, as well as maintaining a house and yard, etc…? Who, Maya? Who?

I mean no disrespect, as you are a most-admired role model to me. But Maya, I wanted to teach my children that we love them so much that we willingly put our differences aside to do our best in raising them together, even though our marriage was over. Is this wrong? I suppose only time will tell.

Families look all different ways these days, as I am sure you are aware. I know that our living arrangement is unusual, and though it has not been the ideal situation for me personally, having another parent in the house, and seeing the way my children light up when their father comes home, is reason enough for me to be proud of myself for trying. Wish me luck. xo

Also Maya, any dating advice would be most welcomed. 😉

With Fondest Admiration,


photo credit: aware.org.sg


23 thoughts on “On FEX Living In The Basement – A Note To Maya Angelou’s Voice In-My-Head

  1. Steph says:

    what a super idea! everyone wins with this arrangement as long as you still have some privacy. what will happen if he remarries? will his new wife move into the basement with him? just curious. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • vickiewhat says:

      Thanks for your words of encouragement Steph. No husbands or wives will be moving in here, in any case, but neither of us is anywhere near remarrying, so for now it’s a non-issue.
      One of our agreed upon rules is we don’t bring our dates here. Ever. (Except when he’s at work and my kids are at school 😁)

      We do take turns with weekend free time, though I generally take less of it because I enjoy being home with them (mostly).

      Liked by 2 people

  2. mamalisa4 says:

    I agree, all families look different and if your FEX living in the basement works – then more power to you!! You are probably providing a healthier environment then most married couples. Either way, if you can get along, share responsibilities, both children are loved and cared for, then it sounds like its working. You don’t need approval, this is working for you and anyone else that peers into your world all judgey – screw them!! Go worry about your own living situation. Whats the saying, “Dont throw stones” you know it. As for Maya, perhaps she will understand, because you are not expecting him to be any different than the same person he has showed you. Keep moving forward and live happy, however that may look. 🙂 On a side note, it is admirable how unselfishly you two came together and put the children first!!!! People need to take notes!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • vickiewhat says:

      I don’t think I would have kept sanity without your support through this transition. You are the best cheerleader a girl could have, in friendship, family and wordsmithing. Thanks for keeping it positive. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good for you that you can do what works best for your family. That is truly the only thing that matters here. If it makes you feel any better, my husband and I allowed my ex-husband to move into our basement (it truly is a little apartment, but it is still totally our basement) for a short time while he was relocating to this area. I’m sure everyone thought we were out of our minds, we fielded a bunch of “you’re doing what?!?!” type questions, but in the end, we knew it was the most loving, helpful thing to do at that time. We had always worked really hard to maintain an amicable divorce and I think that’s the most honorable thing you can do for your children. Kudos to you mom!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. vickiewhat says:

    I adore you crazyloveparents! Thanks you. It is uplifting to hear about your shared experience. However things go down, being peaceful truly is the best way.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I admire you Victoria! I’ve know you a long time and this is definitely one of the biggest challenges, but you will over come!!😘. Having two parents at all times is the best thing. You’ll never be guilty of being selfish!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Anxious Mom says:

    I know that can’t be easy, but think it’s awesome the two of your are putting past you differences to do the best by your kids! My husband and I discussed a similar arrangement if anything ever happens to our marriage.

    Liked by 2 people

    • vickiewhat says:

      Thank you. It’s not the “ideal” situation but I do believe that if we can continue to pull it off, it is the next best thing. At least while they’re so young and dependent upon their parents.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Crystal says:

    I think it takes a lot of courage to do this. I have seen a few instances in mine and my husband’s family where the kids are shuttled back and forth, there are time constrictions, interrogations and just so much negativity and the ones who suffer are the children. To be able to put your differences aside for the sake of your children is commendable. Thanks for sharing your story 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think it’s fabulous. And as long as there isn’t abuse taking place, why shouldn’t it work?! Good for you both in putting your children first.

    And I have to say, good for FEX for being man enough to put his kids in a good position.

    Btw, this was very well written. I always enjoy reading your work. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • vickiewhat says:

      Thank you. You wouldn’t believe the shit I’ve gotten for letting him back in. But it really has been great for the children. Not ideal, but better than visiting him every few days in his tiny apartment.

      Yes, FEX does love his children. That is one of the qualities about him that allows me to put our differences aside, so we can make this work. Thankfully, we laugh a lot in our house. That’s where we find our common ground. Laughing at each other and ourselves. Otherwise, I might have put a fork in his eye years ago.

      Lastly, a compliment from you about my writing means the world to me, because you are one of my absolute favorites to read. Thank you times a hundred. You made my day 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Misty says:

    Wow, I’m impressed. I think what you at doing is bold and brave. Divorce is hardest on the children….and what you and FEX are doing, makes it easier on them. Bravo. A great parent always put the children’s best interest first. And that is what you two at doing. I hope this path is smooth for you. I think this could be a great blessing for all of your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. How inspiring! Good for you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. How inspiring! Good for you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Stacy says:

    For the eyebrow-raisers — no, it’s not a “conventional” way to do a break-up, but what heck is? People don’t see these things coming until they’re here, and at that point, it’s crucial to try this and that — to troubleshoot the complicated stuff of being human and having (or ending) a relationship. And really, if this arrangement doesn’t work, you will truly know that you did everysinglething you could for your kids to have Mom and Dad under one roof for as long as possible! And that’s nothing to raise an eyebrow at.

    Thanks for the boldness and honestly here, Victoria. Looking forward to hearing more of what you have to say.


    Liked by 1 person

    • vickiewhat says:

      Thank you Stacy, for reading and replying, with wisdom and supportive feedback. It’s all going rather smoothly and my children are thrilled, so I choose to live in this moment, as it is, than to worry about the “what-ifs” of the future. I have come to accept that life is change and that it is all about what we make of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. […] just get it out in the open. Maya Angelou was right all along. (Yes Jill, my most vocal friend, you were right too!) And I was terribly, dreadfully wrong. […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s