Getting over the selfishness? - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-20-2006, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not sure this is going to come out right. But it's worth a try.

Let's start with this - I am blessed. I have lots of notice on when dh and I will split. I made the choice. When we divorce in the spring I will move home to Ontario, Canada. Health care will no longer be a heavy worry as it's covered there (after 3 months). I'm going to pinch pennies and be a SAHM for as long as I possibly can - likely only until Lily is in school. I will have my children full time. I will have my family less than an hour away. I will be back in my own country. So though I'm losing the house I've worked on, my dreams of the future, monetary stability etc., I still realize I'm keeping what's most important.

And yet...I feel like he gets to start his life over and I don't. Since I'm moving so far away he won't even have any custody of the children so he can spend every waking minute working on his motorbike and riding all over. He can go out for beer every night if he wants. He'll be back in the gym because he won't have to think about child care. He can live the mememememememe life he seems to be built for. Yes he'll be sending money, but that's it. I envy him returning to the pre-kids pre-marriage freedom.

And at the end of it all I feel guilty for envying him. Because I wouldn't give up my kids for the world. And feel fortunate I don't have to go through the trials of shared custody. Plus I look forward to regouping my family unit and getting us mentally really happy/healthy as I always wanted it to be.

So...er...I don't know if this is making any sense. But I'm assuming other mamas here have felt what I'm trying to explain. And how did you just get over it? Because I'm feeling like a selfish brat here.
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Old 08-20-2006, 02:38 PM
 
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I don't think that it makes you selfish. It is hard raising kids on your own, and I think (for me, anyway) that one of the most difficult aspects is feeling like you have no freedom to have personal time, and that's especially difficult to swallow when you realize that the other parent essentially has as much personal time as they want.

Hang in there. It is hard, but it is worth it.
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Old 08-20-2006, 02:42 PM
 
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Does your ex love your children so little that you honestly think he will feel free, and not actually have to bear the pain of living everyday without his children, not seeing them when they wake up, not tucking them into bed, not having casual day to day conversations and silences, but having to make every visit an "event", just sending a check every month.

That doesn't sound like freedom to me. That sounds like hell. Yeah, he'll be able to drink and go to the gym and ride his motorbike, but if he's any sort of dad he'll wish he could trade all that for time with his kids. Not having kids might feel like freedom if you've never had them, but if you have kids and then they are gone from you - I don't think most parents would consider that cause for celebration.

I do see where you are coming from, but you have a different kind of freedom. The freedom to see your kids grow up, to know them intimately, to just be with them. He has to start his life over, to form a life without his kids, you get to keep living your life with them.
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Old 08-20-2006, 02:59 PM
 
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I can see where you're coming from and it's ok to feel like that sometimes. I get jealous that my ex gets to sleep in a lot, and go out to dinner and have drinks with his GF and friends whenever he wants - while I'm here caring for our son. But then I remember he's also missing out on hugs and kisses from our DS, all the cool pictures DS makes, and just spending time with DS. That always makes me feel better.

Zen doula-mama to my spirited DS1 (2/03), my CHD (TAPVR) warrior DS2 (6/07) & a gentle baby girl (8/09)
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Old 08-20-2006, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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littleaugustbaby~ Aha! That's it. It's the missing personal time. Thanks for helping me break it down a little.

Fek&fuzz~ As I said, it's not that I don't appreciate having my6 kids. I love it. I feel blessed. I do know he'll miss the children but...he's very disconnected. That's one of the big reasons we're divorcing. He'll miss the kids, but he'll get over it. He won't let it affect his daily life. He'll enjoy the pictures I send him and visit, but it won't tear him up at all. But that's not the point - how he feels is his responsibility. I'm thinking more about how I'll work through my own feelings.

Jilian~ That makes a lot of sense. I think once I'm out on my own I'll be able to focus on that kind of thing.
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Old 08-20-2006, 05:05 PM
 
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mama --

you have the freedom to be an adult, and do the work of becoming a whole, mature, wise human being. He apparently does not.

I had my daughter at 34. I didn't want kids before that. Knew I had other stuff to do, had no intention of bringing in kids to be objects of resentment. One day, around age 32 or so, I woke up in a lover's apartment, looked around, and saw that I'd been doing the same things for about 16 years. Lots of running around, lots of lovers, lots of adventures, lots of career, and all about my pleasure. While I was glad I'd done it, the prospect of doing them for another 50 or so seemed sterile and awful, a sort of living death. It was time, I thought, for another stage of life, one that involved stewardship & responsibility. So here I am, and here she is.

That's what you've got, too. What your x has is nice as a vacation, but I don't think you'd want it as a life. Maybe some regular vacation time -- even a massage here & there, or something like that -- would help with the envy.
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Old 08-21-2006, 09:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fek&fuzz
Does your ex love your children so little that you honestly think he will feel free, and not actually have to bear the pain of living everyday without his children, not seeing them when they wake up, not tucking them into bed, not having casual day to day conversations and silences, but having to make every visit an "event", just sending a check every month.

That doesn't sound like freedom to me. That sounds like hell. Yeah, he'll be able to drink and go to the gym and ride his motorbike, but if he's any sort of dad he'll wish he could trade all that for time with his kids. Not having kids might feel like freedom if you've never had them, but if you have kids and then they are gone from you - I don't think most parents would consider that cause for celebration.

I do see where you are coming from, but you have a different kind of freedom. The freedom to see your kids grow up, to know them intimately, to just be with them. He has to start his life over, to form a life without his kids, you get to keep living your life with them.
I was going to post something very similar. I used to think like you do for quite a long time. I even was feeling that way when I first started dating my GF, because she could go do whatever she wanted.

I've been in a place where I would get a babysitter every night so I could go out and party, come home completely wasted and would not be able to take care of my kids if something horrible happened. I'd drive drunk and was so completely stupid. Fortunately that lasted only two months, but I could have ruined mine and my kids' lives in that two months. Thank some higher power that I woke up and started being a mom again.

I'm sure my kids' dad is in misery. He doesn't even pay child support. He has to know that he is being a horrible person and nothing even close to a father. I know that he does love his kids. He is drinking away his problems and trying to find a new relationship to keep his mind away from what he left back here. He'll never be able to truely enjoy life and be happy.

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Old 08-21-2006, 10:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jilian
I can see where you're coming from and it's ok to feel like that sometimes. I get jealous that my ex gets to sleep in a lot, and go out to dinner and have drinks with his GF and friends whenever he wants - while I'm here caring for our son. But then I remember he's also missing out on hugs and kisses from our DS, all the cool pictures DS makes, and just spending time with DS. That always makes me feel better.
Ditto to that!!!

My ex is the same way. Yeah he probably get a little sad every so often that he's not in his kids' lives everyday but I think he gets over it quickly too. I know he must think, "They're still young. I'll be there more when they're older." Right now, personal and social time is his priority. Napping, TV, finding dates- all more important.

Meanwhile, as much as I love my kiddos, I feel burdened. I took on 100% of the burden of parenthood. And please don't jump on me and say, "How dare you call your kids a burden????!" Relax... THEY are not burdens ever, but the responsibility of being a single mama is more than I signed up for. It bears down on me sometimes. I want to cry because I'm overwhelmed, underfunded, and bitter. : He could never do what I do in a day and he knows it! : But instead of feeling pride in myself, I often just feel mad at X.
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Old 08-21-2006, 02:03 PM
 
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It's so beautiful that you will be your kids' touchstone, that is a huge responsibility & you should be proud of yourself.

I'm also responsible for my kids 97% of the time, and it is overwhelming sometimes. I feel resentment because sometimes I'm so tired I cannot be the 'ideal' mom. My X gets all the time in the world to go out & do whatever he wants, and I do all the kid-centered things.

That said, I find enormous strength in knowing that I am the touchstone. I am the constant, the one my kids rely on, I will never screw up like their dad has. That's what I was meant to be when I became a mother & I will keep on keeping on come hell or high water, yk.

It's totally understandable to feel grief over loss of one lifestyle. I figure, for whatever reasons the universe has, here I am & I'll be the best I can be. There's a lifetime ahead of us & my kids are gonna reap the benefits of me loving them hands-on--not being absent & "doing my own thing". We can look at it like a loss, but it's really a building of energy--on some level, our kids are going to love us with such a sacred & trusting force even if they can't show it all the time. We know in our hearts who really is there.

Thanks for this! It's good to think about.
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Old 08-21-2006, 07:33 PM
 
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One day, your kids will be grown, and you will have a lot of time on your hands. You will be free to be pretty darned selfish.

One day, your X will wake up and realize just what he gave up and cannot get back. From that day on, he will never be free.

BTW, one of the ways I dealt with the feelings you describe was to do a bit of starting over myself. Even the little things, like deciding what kind of pictures to hang on the walls without negotiations, is very freeing!
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Old 08-21-2006, 08:18 PM
 
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I think we have all longed for this at one time. It doesn't make you selfish, it makes you human. Hugs
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Old 08-21-2006, 08:43 PM
 
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You don't sound selfish to me.
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Old 08-21-2006, 10:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freewitheft
Even the little things, like deciding what kind of pictures to hang on the walls without negotiations, is very freeing!
That was such an awesome feeling! My X came over and was all, "Wow....why didn't you do this when I lived here?" LOL. Because I would've had to ask and you probably would've said "no" or if you said yes, you would've insisted on doing it yourself and being totally anal and dragging out the level, blah, blah, and it never would've gotten done.
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Old 08-22-2006, 12:34 AM
 
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i often felt this way towards my ex ... i have 99% of the responsibility since we split up 9 years ago (wow! where did the time go!). he'd want them only to show them off to his friends and family.

well ... fast forward 9 years later ... and i have not only some more freedom but the joys of getting to know my children. even better, they are saying NO to him when he wants to take them ... and they say to me "mom, he sounds disappointed when we say no".

i know i shouldn't feel smug about it but it sure serves the sucker right.

it gets easier with time ... and there is nothing wrong with you for feeling the way you do. you have the responsibilities, but you also have the rewards and your kids will definitely be aware of it.

Midwifery student , Mama to my 4 amazing kids. treehugger.gif

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Old 08-22-2006, 02:24 AM
 
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Well, my son's father (we were never married) lives in Cali, owns an expensive car and walks around with obscene amounts of money in his wallet and changed his number when I called him after 3 years to see if he ever wanted to meet his son (he left when he found out I was expecting). I guess he has a GF and got into his brother’s entertainer management company. So he basically parties all the time. I am taking out loans to go to Community College, have no job, and live with the parents. However, let me say that I am so glad he is not involved with us. It makes things simpler on a lot of levels. For example, I can date and assure my BF that my son’s dad is not in the picture. I don’t have to worry about the ex being a bad influence to my wonderful son. My son has lots of family nearby that love him and do their best for him. I get to focus on being a mom and going to school right now which is a huge blessing. So although it can be hard to get time alone (and yeah I won’t lie it’s hard to not have that) I would much rather my son be with me than anywhere near his biological father.
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