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New to group and really need support please.

Posted by on Aug. 7, 2014 at 11:27 PM
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I have two boys who are my world. They are 8 and 5 years old. I try to encourage a relationship between them and their father even though it kills me. I know in the long run it's the right thing to do.

A little background information. Their father wasn't involved before we got divorced and for about six months after the divorce. Then he started following the decree and taking them on his weekends. This KILLED me because to be apart from my boys leaves me with a feeling of depression and dread that begins a few days before they go and overwhelms me the first day or two they are gone.

I have hobbies, friends, etc....

However it NEVER gets easier as I thought it might as more time went by.

Their father does this thing where he "buys" them. If I get something for them and they are excited then he buys it for them too. It's become a very unhealthy situation as I don't want my boys to think they should have things bought for them. When they return to me he always buys them something THAT day so as to entice them to not want to go back to my house.  I have majority and custodial custody so the boys are with me most of the time. 

I find this type of relationship to be immature. I can't expect an 8 and 5 year old to say no to gifts and ruin their excitement over new things. I won't say anything to their dad because it wouldn't make a difference if I did and he has every right to spend his money as he sees fit.   But at the end of the day I want to believe they will know it was all just smoke and mirrors.  In the meantime I keep my mouth shut to them and never squash their excitement no matter how much I want to say something.  I'm literally praying to God as they talk to me to give me the strength to keep my words kind and suitable for my two young boys. 

My ex and I argue over the boys medication, what games they play, what friends they have, what time they're put in bed, what they eat, etc.... And these are actually things my ex attacks ME about. I don't do the same to him because my philosophy is as long as the boys aren't telling me they're upset about something it's none of my business what goes on at his house. When I go to his house to pick up the boys I stay in the entrance unless I'm invited in.  When he comes to pick up the boys he literally goes past me and ventures to their room and playroom almost as if he's scoping it out.  I don't like this and am wondering if I'm being paranoid. 

My oldest told me that he's starting to feel nervous with his dad because of all the questions his dad asks him.  They are all questions about what our home life is like, what is our schedule, where have I taken them, what have they done with my parents who live in town and basically just inappropriate probing.  My oldest is smart for an 8 year old because he told me that he doesn't think daddy should be asking him these questions and he wants to know what he should say from now on that won't get him in trouble.

There are a lot of things my "ex" does which are immoral and cause confusion for the children.  I just found out that my  5 year old woke up twice in the middle of the night after begging to call me before bed but their father said no.  Then when he woke up at 2am over at their father's house my ex got upset and basically my 5 year old got in trouble.  I addressed that issue because it has always been just me and my 5 year old since he almost died from C. difficile at 14 months of age, was diagnosed with pervasive development disorder and then high functioning autism.  I left a good job for three years so that he would walk, talk and speak which he does very well now.  My returning to work after the divorce was a huge transition for him which didn't go over well.

Tomorrow they leave for a whole week and I am REALLY having a hard time with it. However, I won't let them know it and keep reiterating that they will have the best time. I'm tired of always putting on the air of excitement when internally I feel like I'm going to be sick.

Why does it bother me so much to be away from them and how do I break this pattern of being depressed and anxious? When does the crying stop? I absolutely hate these feelings.

I appreciate the support and look forward to getting to know everyone!

by on Aug. 7, 2014 at 11:27 PM
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by on Aug. 8, 2014 at 12:11 AM

I dont know.  I wish i could help you, but i cant.  I feel the same way.  I didnt think my heart could hurt this much when the kids are with their dad!  My ex does the same thing of "buying" the kids' love.  It sucks, but there is nuthin you can do in regards to how he runs his household, besides the medication thing.  If one of your kids takes medication regularly and the father doesn't feel your son needs it and it could hurt your child's health than you could take your ex back to court to stop overnight visitations?  

In regards to your older son wanting to know what to tell his dad when his dad ask all those questions is that your son should just say "to ask his mom" or "i dont know" or "its none of your business"!   Im pretty sure your ex will get mad, but he has no right to know what goes on in your household just as much as you dont have any right to know what goes on in his house.  You can just ask simple questions like "what did you do today" or "did you have fun?"  I know its tough!!  and every time they leave the hurt comes back! 

by on Aug. 8, 2014 at 12:47 AM
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Thank you, lazyd! I agree that there is nothing to be done about it.

I also didn't understand what unconditional love meant until I became a mom.  In an instant I would give all that I have to make sure they are healthy.   I never complain about what I don't buy for myself because it's never even a thought.  It's natural for me to walk into a store and realize my cart is only filled with items my boys need or want.  I even plan my entire weekends around them. 

I thank God for the gift He has given me of being a mom to two special boys. 

And I did tell my oldest to tell his dad that he didn't know and to follow that up with "but if you hand me your phone I will call momma and ask".  LOL! My oldest liked that solution the best and I only wish I could be a fly on the wall when that comment is made for the first time.  :)

by Anonymous 1 on Aug. 8, 2014 at 7:25 AM
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I would just do my best to keep myself distracted during the time apart. It's gradually gets a little bit easier every time to be apart and I'm sure it can be just as hard on your kids because you are odvious ly their rock.

You have to take all this negative energy you have and put it into something positive for yourself. Exercise is always a great way to get rid of some of it and also feel good about yourself.
Try not to stress what is out of your hands right now and you don't have control over.
It won't do you any good. Don't worry about the spending and gifts because deep down you know no matter what he buys for them, they would choose you over him in a heart beat.

Try not to sweat so many things with your ex. He is your ex for a reason but he will always be your kids father (absent or otherwise). Just keep being the best mama you can and realize we can't dictate what happens in separate households. The safety of your kids is your biggest concern and you need to assess if some of these instances are natural and trivial or if they are life threatening and act on that info.

Good luck to you. It's a long road of acceptance and "working out the kinks" but if you stay focused on your kids best interest, don't over think, don't trivialize, then the learning curve will be shorter.

Make it a point to figure out who you are as an individual again after all this change in the time that you have to yourself and pamper yourself. Every good mama needs, deserves, and should take a little bit of me time here and there.

Good luck :)

by Jessica on Aug. 8, 2014 at 8:20 AM
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 As parents we forget sometimes that our kids are not supposed to be the only thing in our lives that we enjoy. You are a person before a mother, you need to just accept and embrace that they have a father that is trying to be a part of your kiddos lives and just appriciate that alot of other kids don't have this.

I understand that your ex is asking your kids alot of questions, and he is allowed, maybe he doesn't feel like there is good communication between the two of you or that you will tell the truth of exactly what goes on when they are with you so he is asking your kids, when my DD comes back from her dads I do the exact same thing, because me and my ex cannot communicate properly.

Eventually your kids will grow up and see that the relationship they have with you is truer then with their dad, money doesn't buy a kids love long term.. I know this because thats what my dad tried to do with me and well its been 3 years that I haven't seen or spoken to him.

This might be a little harsh, but I think you need to snap out of it and just appriciate the time you get alone, work on yourself, spend time with yourself and love yourself. There is NO reason to be depressed about some alone time, don't you find that when you see your kiddos after they have been gone, you just missed them so much and you aren't on edge as much.. it makes you a better parent!

by on Aug. 8, 2014 at 9:43 AM
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You have posed a lot of questions here.

Your kids know that you get depressed when they go to their father's - you cannot hide it no matter how well you think you do - they always know.  So be honest with them.  Don't put on a false face and pretend, because they will learn to pretend.  Also, try your best not to project your fears on to your children. 

As far as the "buying" part of the relationship goes - it is only a big deal if you make it one.  My ex tried that and you know what happened?  My son learned how to manipulate his father for whatever he wanted.  He never tried it with me because I parent differrently.  My ex thought that enticing would make my son want to go live with him, but nope - just made him want more things.  So my ex got caught up in his own trap :)  Now my son is 20 and he rarely speaks to his father.  He is a well adjusted, happy young man.

Tell your eldest that when dad asks questions about you, to say, "Ask mommy."  Make sure your son knows that he can speak freely about all of the great things you do and the places you go without fear or concern.  if your son can talk about you in a positive light it will not change they way your ex thiks, but it will diffuse the situation.  Couple that with not engaging him in conversation and he will be forced to change the way he communicates with you.  TRUST ME ON THIS.

The ony reason that your ex hounds you about EVERYTHING that you do is because you engage him in those conversations.  STOP the dialogue and shut the talk down when he tries again.  And you do NOT let him roam through your house.    Being nice isn't going to get you through the rest of your mommy-years.  Put your foot down and stand up for yourself.   Show your boys that you will not be treated that way.

They will be gone for a week and do your best to prepare them for a nice time.  Do not put your fears on them.  Your 5 year old waking up a couple of times in the middle of the night is not the end of the world.  Sure, he was hurt and disppointed but he will get over it.  Do not sweat it.  He got in trouble?  As long as ex didn't hurt him then there is nothing you can do.  Don't be the gate-keeper mom.

Keep me posted and keep your chin up.

by on Aug. 8, 2014 at 10:43 AM
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The best advice I can give right now is this:

1. Your 8 yr old wants to know what to say to Dad when Dad asks all kinds of questions. Son's response should be "You have to ask Mom about that." Teach him to stick to that and to tell you if he gets in trouble over it. You can then document that and take it to court to try to put a stop to it. 

2. When ex is at your house to pick up/drop off, DO NOT let him in the house. Period. Stand in the doorway and do not let him in. Let the kids in and block him. If he forces his way in or slips by, you give him one warning: "Get out of my house or I will call the police." If he doesn't step out immediately, you call the police. He has no right to enter your home unless invited, and you need to make it clear to him that you will not tolerate this behavior from him. 

As far your depression when they're gone - I wish I had some advice there. My ex only ever had supervised visits when he used them, so I never had to let my kids go like that. I can only imagine how it must feel, but I don't know how you coul make that easier. 

As far as his buying duplicates of everything you buy the kids, you can't do anything about that. They will grow up and realize that Dad was simply trying to buy them. Until then, you're stuck, though. You can balance it out to a point by having them donate old, outgrown toys to kids less fortunate than they are, and as they get older,volunteering with the homeless, etc. It'll remind them that there are plenty of people in the world with far less than they have, and hopefully, make them grateful for everything they've been given. 

by on Aug. 8, 2014 at 12:02 PM
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Wow! First lot me say what your describe sounds like my ex and and his first ex. To everyone who things that maybe she needs to move on, or help coping let me say he was far worse to me and my daughter. He is working on striping me of everying bc I had bad post pordom after giving birth. Now he says I am crazy. I am not saying this is the same kind of case I am just saying as mothers is if something doesn't seem right there may be a reason. Talk to your lawyer be firm say hey not comfortable with him being controlling. See what you options are. 

by Ruby Member on Aug. 8, 2014 at 1:22 PM
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 first ALL OF THAT is COMMON in a split situation.

second, tell your kids there is no need to lie and they can be honest w their dad if they want to. what he is doing is wrong but if you tell them not to tell him anything then you are wrong too. this makes the kids feel conflicted and insecure. take the high road, do the right thing by your kids.

third, set boundarties. tell him that he is not welcome to just walk in your house, that you dont do that to him and you expect the same respect. if he cant respect that boundary, meet him elsewhere to exchange. dont argue with him. shut him down. "i wil not argue." if he presses, "i will talk to you when you can be civil" CLICK. i did this to my kids dad for years before he got it, but he got it.

kids arent stupid. they know who has their back. let him "buy" their love. it is very common for NCP to play disney parent, but really, what can you do? they only see their kid for limited time. they want that time to be fun so the kid will want to see them.

just keep being a good mom but for chrissakes set boundaries w your ex. you dont have to put up w his needling arguing shit and you dont have to let him barge in your house.

by Ruby Member on Aug. 8, 2014 at 1:30 PM
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 id like to add, quit moping around around your kids as dads visitation approaches. they can tell and that is YOU putting your issues on them. let them look forward to seeing dad. and find a way to enjoy "me time".

by on Aug. 8, 2014 at 6:44 PM

First, I would like to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to respond to my post!

I took no offense to any and all of the comments/solutions given. 

Sometimes we need people to tell us where we might be going wrong because we don't see it in ourselves.  I didn't stop to think that my depression might be apparent to the boys and if so I really need to stay aware and put that on my list of how to be a better momma.

I will agree that breaks are good.  I like that I get to wake up without a five year old poking my eye for some chocolate milk.  LOL! I also like that I can watch the Investigation Discovery channel without worrying the kids will see/hear something that will scar them for life.  And I am a MUCH better mom when they return with renewed patience.

What I find amazing is everyone basically said what my dad has said to me and that is I have to shut my ex down.  I allow these arguments to happen, I allow him to just walk into my house, I allow him to pass judgement in front of the children with remarks that disrespect me.  I have tried to have a civil relationship with him and communicate openly but he doesn't follow through.  In my idealist world we would communicate effectively and in doing so it would make things as best as they can be for our boys.  Reading your responses it does hit home that I need to let this dream go and stop letting him walk all over me. 

And the comment about taking the boys to a homeless shelter when they are older is very good.  My dad did that with us for years along with adopting a family at Christmas, toy drives, etc... and we weren't well off.  My dad came from a poor upbringing, made something of himself and wanted to make sure we knew how lucky we were just to have running water. 

Thank you so much and I will try to make the most of this week by getting more work done, exercising, crossing things off my "to-do" list and hanging out with friends.  For tonight, though, I think I'm going to watch a girly movie and crash out on the couch after a long day at work. LOL!

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