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Newly single mama

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
As a last futile attempt to get dh to stop drinking, I threw out an ultimatum. Stop drinking or I'll divorce you, I said. He beat me to it, so here I am, a newly single mama of two angels, ages 1 and 3. We just moved into our own apartment. It's small and kind of smells funny, but has potential. My oldest dd wants to go back home. She goes from sad to clingy to angry. She says living here at "mama's house" makes her feel sad. We're all confused here. My soon-to-be ex has decided he feels some remorse and now lusts insanely over my body, although he is still proceeding with the divorce. During our marriage, he went for periods of time up to 8 months without touching me so this is a weak point with me, and I admit I've caved. More than once. Which confuses the girls even more. How can mom and dad apparently love eachother but we still have to move? Questions for which I have no answer at this time.

I wish things were easier on the girls. I have a lifetime of experience to help me deal with these situations, but they are innocent babes! It hurts me to think what we have and are putting them through.

I need feedback on how to deal with the transition from married SAHM to single mother. How do I help my little ones accept this change? I know some of you have been here in my shoes and know what it's like. What works and what doesn't?
post #2 of 28
Hugs to you and your family. The beginning can be difficult and confusing.

As for your children, continue to be honest and open. Keep things simple when explaining to your children, but make sure it's honest. It's okay for them to know that you are struggling with things too at times and that it will get better. Acknowledge their feelings and honor them. I know I've said to my oldest many times, "I wish it could be that way too." It was an honest comment at the time and I think it helped validate his feelings.

If your oldest is clingy and angry, allow her to safely express herself. Hold them alot. Put other things aside as much as possible and love them. I know it's hard because you have extra work and responsibility now, but they need you and the better you handle the time now, the easier it will be down the road. They NEED to know that you are there and you aren't going anywhere.

I believe that the kids will follow your lead. If you can find a way to be as positive (without being phony) and find ways to have them help make their new home a home and special place for them. Maybe helping to decorate or something.

It's good to explain that a family is a home and that you are all still a family. You still love them, your husband still loves them etc.

Love them, hold them, be honest with them. You will all be okay.
I wish you much peace on this journey.
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the support. I have been open with my oldest through this entire thing. Which is a reality check for me. She knows why we were going to leave when this all began. We discussed looking for a new place to live and she understood why. I am the one who has us all confused because I let him get close to me during this time when I should be distancing myself. It is inconsistant with what I have been working towards and it confuses all of us because it isn't right. I know this and realizing it is the first step to getting back on the right track.

The whole point is to lead a lifestyle that will set a good example for my girls so they will become strong independent women.

I'm doing childcare from home so I can stay home with my girls during this transition. My 3yo is starting preschool this fall, and she is so excited. I plan to go to school so I can better provide for us in the future. There is a federally funded program that offers free classes at the university for moms like me to brush up on job skills, etc. This is a good opportunity for me, especially since I can take some of the classes online. I'm feeling optimistic.
post #4 of 28
Originally Posted by Autumnschild
I am the one who has us all confused because I let him get close to me during this time when I should be distancing myself. It is inconsistant with what I have been working towards and it confuses all of us because it isn't right. I know this and realizing it is the first step to getting back on the right track.
It is a difficult transition for everyone. Be patient with yourself. You are definitely NOT the first woman to have "fuzzy" boundaries at the beginning of a separation. Follow your heart.

It sounds like you are doing well. Your kids are lucky to have a mom who is connected to them and willing to be honest. You will figure things out over time and develop new patterns, new boundaries and a new life. It doesn't happen all at once, so take it one day at a time.
post #5 of 28
Oh Autumnschild,
post #6 of 28
I am newly separating too. It is a rollercoaster, but a lot healthier one than the one my marriage was. I have just found that I need to be easy on all of us. We eat frozen dinners everynight and I don't feel guilty. I try to play and laugh and make up silly games, but then when we all feel sad, we let ourselves feel sad. It has helped me to be proactive in healing myself. I have been reaching out to find new friends, doing meditation. I have had to reach out for more help in giving me a break since I am not getting any breaks in the evenings or weekends like I used to. I just try to remind myself that we are all healing and we will come out stronger and better in the end, it just takes time. I have been reading "spiritual divorce" by Debbie Ford and it is really good. She had a great idea of every day making alist of things you are proud of yourself for and her examples were as simple as eating breakfast, paying one bill, going for a walk, only eating one hot fudge sundae. Not to focus on big things, but on the day by day things. Well best of wishes to you.
post #7 of 28
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
Today I served him with papers to contest the terms of the divorce. He wanted 50% custody, a week on a week off. My babies are 1 and 3. It can't be healthy for any of us. So I had discussed it with him once we had clear heads and we agreed on every weekend visitation for him, or the equivalent depending on our schedules. He was in agreeance until he found out how much he would have to pay for child support. Now he's pissed and wants them four days out of the week.

I can't afford an attorney so I'm doing this on my own. He will NEVER take my babies from me. The whole reason I wanted to leave was because his drinking was affecting our family, and I didn't want the girls to grow up witnessing this. Now I just have to prove to the courts that it wouldn't be in their better interest to be with him that much at this time.

I've had to relinquish so much already. I am no longer using cloth diapers because he won't let me take the washer and drier. He wants me to stop breastfeeding. The last time he had the baby all day and overnight, my breasts were hard and burning by morning. At least I've managed to work from home so they still have me all day. This is all so draining. I get bogged down with moving and managing kids at the same time, but when they go to dad's, I wander around aimlessly, totally lost without the noise and distraction. This will take some adjustment.
post #9 of 28
Please get a lawyer. There are sooooooo many things that if you don't get in writing now, will cost so much more $ in the long run to fix.
health and life insurance, medical bills, braces, college, holiday visitation, when child support ends, how pick-ups and drop-offs are arranged, what happens if one parent wants to move, private schooling, etc.

My Dh and his X shared the same lawyer. X wouldn't let his 2dd talk on the phone with him saying it wasn't in the decree. She then moved 6hrs away but would only stick to the agreement of pick-ups at 6pm friday and drop-offs at 3pm Sunday every 2nd and 4th weekend. It's was hard for Dh to take off everyother Friday to see the dc, so he just had to see them less. We now live 17hrs apart and X stills try to push that issue that the decree states only 2 non back to back weeks. We can't afford to fly them out twice, and a 1 week visit is so short. Since we can't meet the weekend schedule we only see them for 2 weeks in the summer. Luckily the X nor the dsd were happy with tying up 4 weekend to work out the 2 non consectitive week visit so we do get to see them for 2 back to back weeks, but X doesn't let us forget how nice she is being.
Once I met Dh I told him to go back to court, but he truly didn't have the $ and was aware that things could get worse.
Sorry so venty, I just want to let you see what a bad, mostly vague, decree can be like.
post #10 of 28
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
chel - I know what you're saying. But I cannot afford an attorney at all right now. I am in transition from SAHM to WAHM and we're barely making it right now. Legal Aide has a 5 month waiting list and the Volunteer Lawyers Assoc. is considering my case right now. Besides that, all I can do is research and represent myself. My family can't help me with money and H cut me off from the family finances before we even got separated. I was granted emergency money to move because I was able to prove that I had a plan to be self-sufficient provided I had a suitable home to provide childcare. I don't know where I'd be otherwise.

All I can do is take it one day at a time because otherwise this is all so overwhelming. If I had an attorney, I wouldn't have any trouble proving my case. Hopefully I can do this on my own.
post #12 of 28
I am so sorry,but you really need a lawyer,he is getting his cake and eating it too,he gets sex with no commitment and he is getting everything he wants in a divorce,you need to try and pull yourself together and I know it's hard because I have been through a divorce,and you got to get mad and get everything you can out of him.And if he's a drinker,and he drinks around the kids then he is irresponsible to be taking care of those kids,he needs to check himself into AA.And you have a good case against him too.Good luck.
post #13 of 28
I agree that you need to find a way to get a lawyer and make sure that he pays YOUR costs in the end. I know someone who decided to take it on herself.....the judge was downright annoyed that she entered his courtroom without a lawyer and she lost her kids.

Having said that and additional piece of advice.....

Since your kids are so young, I'd do as much research as possible on healthy attachment. Many psychologists agree that the first few years are CRITICAL for forming a healthy attachment and being away from their primary caregiver for long periods of time can be detrimental to their developmental well being. Check out people like Bowlby.

Also, the La Leche League international website has some GREAT articles about the best way to "co-parent" through breastfeeding and to maintain healthy attachments. It is well documented and believed that the other parent needs to have FREQUENT, SHORT visits (like everyday or two for a few hours).

The attachment parenting website has at least one article about this too. There was a great article in Mothering (earlier this year) about the importance of attachment in the first 3 years. When you read the articles they also list their references and I found some good books that way.

I suggest these because you need to present a well-documented, factually based argument in court. They don't care if you don't like him and he doesn't like you, etc. They look for facts. If your ex walks in and says he wants them because......and then you present a well-documented and supported argument, you're likely to have a greater impact on the final decision.

Hope some of this helps.
More hugs to you & your little ones.
post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by MotherEarthMom
I am so sorry,but you really need a lawyer,he is getting his cake and eating it too,he gets sex with no commitment and he is getting everything he wants in a divorce,you need to try and pull yourself together and I know it's hard because I have been through a divorce,and you got to get mad and get everything you can out of him.
The sex part has ended. After I read my own post I felt disgusted with myself for giving in to him.

As far as getting a lawyer, what do you suggest? I don't have the energy to waste on anger. It leaves me too scattered. But I do know what I want and am willing to work for it. How do you suggest I get a lawyer?
post #15 of 28
many lawyers do payment plans. I would ask around to friends and family. Be sure to get one that has done quite a bit of divorce/child cases. What kind of representations does your STBX have? You should try to match or better his side.
I know my old city had several worksheets online that went through alot of the issues I had mentioned.
post #16 of 28
the only advice i have for you beyond the excellent words already here is to reiterate making you hose with your children a home...
maybe put a sign on the door that says maggie, suzie and julies home. or what ever your names are...
make sure that you make it clear "this is your home" this home with your mommy is our home...make it clear and repeat it often... this is our home....i did that with ian although he was far too young to remeber us splitting, i still do it.
this is our home...
things will become clearer with time, and somehow easier...
post #17 of 28
Autumnschild - I'm so sorry for what you and your children are going through and so SO sick of men who are content to only have their children a small portion of the time until they see how much it's going to cost them. :

I want to reiterate the suggestion to get a lawyer. It's imperative. I can't state that strongly enough. Even as a 3rd-year law student with a good understanding of legalese and a fairly simple divorce situation, I found myself really mixed up when it came to handling my own affairs. I had to take out loans to afford a lawyer and am slowly paying it back. It was well worth it.

If you can take out a small personal loan to afford a retainer, please do so. If not, search around for a lawyer who will allow you to do a payment plan. Or see if you can barter - maybe childcare, housecleaning, or anything else you can do in exchange for legal services. Also, if there is a law school in your area, contact them. Many schools have clinical programs that serve women in domestic disputes. Don't give up on the idea of a lawyer. It's so important.

Good luck.
post #18 of 28

I cant add to the sage advice you have already recieved. All I can say is that I am so sorry mama, you will be in my thoughts and prayers

your babies need you, fight for them with all your mama power

post #19 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks mamas, your support is so appreciated. I'm sitting here at 4 am because I can't sleep. My babies are with stbx and I strongly suspect he has been drinking. I have been concerned with the temporary custody arrangement because it seems to be too much back and forth for the kids. They are with him almost every other night (3 nights a week). My oldest has been stressing out, saying that she doesn't want to sleep there anymore, and that she is over there too much. In no way have I manipulated her to think or say these things. She's been stressing out about it and her eczema is getting really bad because of the stress. He refuses to think about what is best for the kids at all, and argues with me (in his words) that this is about us, not the kids. I keep telling him, it is no longer about us...it's all about the kids.

I'm really worried right now. He was irrational on the phone with me earlier today and wanted to come get the vaccuum. He said he was going to leave the girls with his friend Connie while he came to get it. I just happened to have seen Connie shortly before this conversation and know for a fact that she was so intoxicated she could hardly speak. The fact that he would consider leaving her to babysit tells me that his own judgement was impaired. I've also noticed that since he isn't allowed to go to the bar on the days he has visitation, he now keeps a refrigerator full of beer and a bottle of whiskey at home. Do I have the right to deny him visitation at this point, or will it hurt my case? I have to do what is best for my babies.

I am really worried that he won't bring them back in the morning. Hopefully that isn't the case, but I know how he thinks and he likes to do things to "punish" me when I step out of line. In his eyes, I stepped out of line by supposedly telling dd to say she wanted to come home. Actually, I had just called to say goodnight. I was in the middle of saying "hi" in different languages, like we do, and she blurted out that she didn't want to sleep there. Personally, I don't blame her. Her old room is torn apart and she has to sleep on the couch. I told her she needed to talk to her dad about it and that I would talk to him too, but if she stayed, she'd be home in the morning. She tells him, "Mama says I can go sleep at mama's house!" He grabbed the phone, screaming at me that I was on speakerphone and he heard the whole thing, and how dare I make her say those things? Had I been on speakerphone, he'd have known he was wrong. But he gets so irrational and angry when he's drinking and I could tell by his behavior that he was. He refused to let me speak to her again. I could hear my babies crying but I couldn't do anything about it. He says I can no longer call them during "his" time.

I'm worried sick. I don't want to take them from their daddy, but I don't trust him to care for them properly. He drinks so much. And he is too selfish to think of them and what is best for them right now. It's all about him.
post #20 of 28
Originally Posted by Autumnschild
I'm worried sick. I don't want to take them from their daddy, but I don't trust him to care for them properly. He drinks so much. And he is too selfish to think of them and what is best for them right now. It's all about him.
It would not be you taking them away from their daddy, Autumnschild. It would be him choosing with his behavior to give them up.

Do whatever you need to do to keep them emotionally and physically safe.

Are you documenting all of this? Please do that.

Is there any progress on the lawyer front? It sounds like you really, really need one - even moreso than before.
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