Originally Posted by Teenytoona
, Oh Helen, this is just so hard. What do you do when the other parent doesn't really care to make the effort? how do you brace yourself if/when they come back into the child's life and make demands?
My only answer is take if one day at a time. Because I think that's all you can do. I wish I had a better answer, as you're always so full of advice and insight.
I want to add my support...
My own bio-mom left when I was 4 and my sister was 1. My father was a single dad dealing with this woman who would promise to come see us, then at the last minute not show up, make idle threats if he refused to meet her conditions, and who was - in general - a crappy mother. He did everything in his power to make it easy for her to have a relationship with us, but screwed it up over and over and over again. Finally, after 3 or 4 years of this - of her coming and going to making promises she never kept - he put his foot down and asked her to relinquish her parental rights so that my stepmama could adopt us. We had to go to court and I had to tell a judge that I wanted my stepmama to be my mommy, not the woman who gave birth to me. Oh, the years of therapy that followed. But I have to tell you, I'm grateful to my bio-mom for letting us go, I'm grateful to my stepmama (now Mom) for making room in her heart for us, but most of all, I'm grateful to my father, who had the incredible foresight to know that although it would really suck for a while, I would be better off in the long run without this crazy, unpredictable person in my life. And I'm sure, without a doubt, that I am.
I'm not suggesting that you take this kind of drastic action with your XH, but I don't think we can go wrong if we keep the best interests of our children in the forefront. And sadly, sometimes that means cutting the other parent loose, recognizing that this is an adult, making his own decisions and will need to live with the consequences. You can and will give your children an excellent life whether or not their dad is in it, too. He needs strict boundaries that you never make exceptions to. It's not your job to make it easier for him to be a parent. It's your job to take care of your kids, at all cost. I don't believe that enabling a dysfunctional parent is the best thing for the kids.
Stay strong mama!