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"I want to live with Mommy, but Daddy does funner stuff"

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Im so hurt and frustrated I just dont know what to do right now except cry and maybe vent a little. I am completly open for suggestions. A lil history: I have two kids with my ex. We are in the middle of one of the worst custody battles you could imagine. Very bitter and the children are used as pawns by my ex;s family. My ex lives with his parents and is working the first job of his life (never worked when we were together). He works ALOT. Presently I have sole custody of both kids and he sees them every other weekend. I try to give him more time when the kids are out of school, etc. Amazingly, my frustration is not with him right now, its with DD...even though she really didnt do anything except be honest. Please tell me how i can get over this and look at it without feeling so hurt.

I was helping DD (6) take her overnight bag into her bedroom upon arriving back home. I had sat a laundry basket of clean clothing on the floor in front of her dresser earlier that day so that I could have her help in putting it away so I would know where she wanted things to go. I told her this and she responded by saying “am I going to be living here with you or with Nana”? I was so shocked by this question I didn’t know how to respond. I asked her
Where do you want to live”? She responded to me by saying “I want to live with Mommy but we do funner stuff at Nana’s house”. She almost seemed resentful of this.

I am tired of working my butt off to make sure she attends school daily, gets her homework done, gets her bath and get adequately fed each night. There is never any extra time for “fun stuff” until the weekend and I only get two weekends a month. I give ex-DH the extra days off of school so he can have more time to visit with the kids and I do my best to make sure that relationship is maintained. The result is me not getting much extra time for “fun stuff” because the majority of my responsibility is ensuring her education and growth. The price I pay is ex-DH being the parent who is looked at as the parent who is funner and does funner things. Most of the time it isn’t even him doing the “fun things”, it’s his parents because he works literally non stop while the kids are there every other weekend. They come home with tons of new toys and talking about everything they did and I just can’t compete with that.

My DS (4) is the opposite. He doesn’t care what we do or where we go. He is happy just to be with me. He rarely ‘wants’ to go on the weekends and often begs me to let him stay home. He isn’t fooled by the fun things and material items bought. But they are a package deal.

I feel resentful for her for saying this, not so much what she said but the way in which she said it. I feel bad for resenting it and I feel like a terrible mother because she feels like I am no fun. I bust my ass up and down every single day to make sure the core things are taken care of but she can’t see that

How do I explain to a 6 year old that the reason she gets to do nothing but "fun stuff" when she goes to her dads is because when she is with me, I bust my ass making sure she gets her education, eats adequately, is well cared for, etc. And that all the free time we would have for "fun stuff", I hand over to her dad so he can spend somewhat equal time with them. I feel so hurt and so beat down....
post #2 of 9
Look at it grom a different angle. She thinks it's fun at Nana's house, but SHE WOULD RATHER LIVE WITH YOU.

And exactly why are you bending over backward to give your ex more time w/ the kids when he can't actually be troubled to spend their weekends at his place with them? He's the one that's supposed to have visitation, not his parents.

If he has to wouk on weekends, could you rework visitation so that they're with him on his days off? Even if those are school days, an evening/afternoon actually spent with them has got to be better than a weekend where he officially has them but doesn't get to see them.

And what do you do on the weekends they are with you??

Let's go back to the beginning. Even without you being the "fun" parent, SHE WOULD RATHER LIVE WITH YOU.
post #3 of 9
I have very little experience with visitation issues but what comes to my mind is that children are pretty self centered when young. They don't really grasp much beyond their own wants for a while and it is easy to sway them with "things". I think that is a really natural thing for a child to respond to but at some point, they learn that they are being "bought".

Though I know those words must have hurt you very much....you must take some comfort knowing that you have shown her stability and consistency and she does recognize that. That she said she wants to live with you is a really important thing and not to be downplayed.

Also, let's brainstorm on ways to be fun so that you can find some moments of fun in the evenings. Maybe you need to take a few of those school holidays and spend with them instead of exdh having them.

I think that kids remember some of their most favorite toys from childhood, but what is the most memorable is WHAT we did with them....the times we spent playing ball, the times we went for walks and looked under rocks, the cookies we let them help us make and the inevitable mess that happens. There is alot of ordinary life that can become fun if we try to include our kids instead of thinking we just gotta get it done.
post #4 of 9
post #5 of 9
She would rather live with you. That is the important part of her statement.

And my kids have more fun with their grandparents too! That is what grandparents are there for. Doing fun things with the kids when we are too exhausted for fun and games.
post #6 of 9
i hate to hear this marsupial. i can imagine how sad this must make you feel. as a child of divorced parents, i hope i can offer a few words of comfort. i lived with my mother and saw my dad very irregularly but he showered me with gifts, etc. there were many times when i said mean and hateful things to my mother. i don't think i really meant them but i just didn't know how to deal with my feelings, kwim? my mother was always very patient and comforting. she never said an unkind word about my father (and, trust me, she could have said a lot).

as an adult, i have so much respect for my mother. i know it must have been so hard for her in so many ways: providing the sole care for me, having no financial support, having my dad pop in at his leisure giving me presents, watching my pain and hearing me scream ugly things at her. but, she allowed me to see him and form my own opinion.

one day, your kids will also realize these things. of course, it still hurts now. hang in there mama!
post #7 of 9
sorry I haven't read all the responses but I need to be off before dh gets home and he is on his way

I thought it was much more fun at my dads house. we went skating and went to grandmas who spoiled us rotten. mom made us brush our teeth and do our homework. I *never* chose him over her. he stillblows into town and does all the fun stuff. takes us shopping and lavishes us with gifts before blowing out of town. My mom is the one I have a relationship with. she is the one I call once a week just to check up on. she is the one my girls love because Grandma is about being there and grandpa just takes them shopping. My mom helps them with thier school work and brushes thier teeth. My dad bristles and runs when he is out of fun ideas.

I don't know if that helps but my dad was the fun one. my mom was the "mean" one. I never ever was fooled. I iwshed we could have more fun but I knew that the reason we couldn't is because dad messed things up when he walked out on us.

post #8 of 9
Please don't let this statement get to you or it might become the thing she says when she wants to get to you. Maybe she's just sad and was finding a way to get to you. We have a sometimes "Disneyland Mom"/ sometimes flaky bio mom around here and I just smile and say things like, "You're right, it must be fun to visit your rich grandparents" or "it must be fun to stay up til midnight when you VISIT" (I only emphasis that for myself.) If she's old enough, maybe talk about how when someone is visiting you do fun things with them but if they live there, it would be homework and bedtimes just like at home. I agree though, unless dad lives far far away, don't hand over all those free days.
post #9 of 9
You sound like you're already doing a wonderful job, I know it's must be tough at times but hang in there!

My oldest SD, over the years, has always had a "favorite"..reflective of which home or parent she was happiest with at the moment (still does but she is better at how she says it these days). It is hard to hear, heck, it's hard to have your own kids treat you like doggie-doo when you feel like your whole purpose in life is to make sure they are good (cooking, cleaning, working, playing, discipline, etc etc etc). But kids just don't, and won't, appreciate your role until they walk in your shoes (after I had kids, my own mom became GOLDEN in my book!).

I've learned to bite my lip and let her tell me what she wants to say, it's easier for me (rather than her dad) to hear it sometimes but if you listen, you'll understand that she's just expressing some joy. Leave it at that, try and take comfort that both homes are good homes, and when there's issues at the other home (and there will be) you will have kept her open to discussing how she feels and that's something that has been key to my D-SD as comes into the tween years (which I hope I'll be prepared for!). She just wants to be heard right now. There's so much more coming down the pipeline of life for her.

My husband's custody battle was difficult and hugely expensive, but over time, we've focused 100% more on our D-SD and it's gotten so much easier, kind of like we've all finally settled in and moved on (hard to explain in a short post). Time heals, be true to yourself and your children will appreciate you more than your heart will be able to handle, just be patient with them...

I hope everything turns out well for you and your family. Sorry if I digressed too much on my own life.

Also, of note, I rarely refer to my oldest as a "step" daughter.
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