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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know that's a rhetorical (sp?) question because it's only one I can answer, but I still would like some input.

When Owen was almost 2 months old I moved back in with my dad (was living with Owen's dad). It was supposed to be a temporary solution, until I can get on my feet. It's now a year and a half later and we're still here. At the beginning he was good about not swearing/yelling/ect in front of my DS. But it's all gone downhill and I'm getting tired of it. He has my 9 year old sister every weekend (Friday night to Monday morning) and any additional days she wants to spend over here and can sucker mom into letting her. I love her but that child causes such a HUGE amount of stress and anger on everyone here. I won't go into details but she has issues she needs to work on, but it seems that neither dad or mom are going to do anything about it (mom's denying anything's going on and dad just sits there and blames mom
). Monday-Thursday it is so peaceful here (Owen and I are here alone with my 19 year old brother b/c my dad works then). Come the weekend all h*ll breaks loose and I just want to run away. And whenever I DO try and leave, go shopping, a park, whatever dad makes a huge deal out of it and guilt trips me into going with him (and most of the time the 9 year old). Like I can't handle a trip to the park with my DS alone
: We had 2 outings this weekend that we took her along on and she did a wonderful job of ruining both. By the time we got home people were screaming and I just wanted to take Owen and run.

I don't want Owen exposed to this, obviously, and have asked MANY times that it stop. It's become very obvious it won't. My problem is- I don't know if I can afford to move out. I don't make a lot ($150/week, plus $339/month in child support). I guess I could always try and find a 3rd child to watch as extra income, but I don't want to stretch myself too thin and have my DS suffer because of it. I'm working on a degree right now but it'll probably be another 2 years or so before I get that finished.

Sorry, I guess this just turned into a vent
 

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I'm sorry things aren't working out very well.
This is part of the challenge of being a single parent.....deciding what we can or can't live with, what we can afford, etc.

I hope you find a solution that works better.
Good luck ~ L.J.
 

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Look for a coop housing unit. MI has lots of them. Most are actually pretty nice. They have apt and townhouses all based on your income. When I lived there my neighbor only paid $25 a month. Good Luck!
 

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once upon a 2 years ago i came to the conclusion that the influences of a home are a huge impact on the way a kid grows up. i realized this while reflecting upon my own life and although i'm satisfied with who i am and the people who raised me and those who influenced me, i realized that they may not be the best people to have my daughter grow up with all the time. i realized that they love her as much as me but i wanted for her to know that i was the most important and there were times with so much confusion and commotion in the house which sometimes affected her a lot, and i think maybe had her afraid of me sometimes because of the yelling between my dad and me or my brothers and me. despite the fact that i didnt really make enough i found a way to make sure i could in order to get some separation from everything. if you believe you can do it alone, i reccomend it. its made things much nicer for all of us. spend some time saving up some money and work your way out. it helped me a lot. less family fights and my daughter isnt fearful of anything in our family.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks. I don't know why I didn't think to look up coop houses
I'm on the HUD website (but can't get to much b/c our computer crashed last week and we haven't installed all the programs so when I click links they aren't working.....grrrrr....). Anyone have any other websites that might be helpful? Thanks!
 

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I feel your pain Steph. I also moved back home and it was
suppose to be temporary. Yep this Fall it will be 6 years. :LOL
I have had many times where I sat up at night and said to
myself that I had to get out of here, but due to circumstances
of my family, my mom being sick, dad needing my help, I
have stayed.
One thing that I have learned is that many of the problems I
had living here I could solve, and many I had to ignore. Lucky
for me the ones I had to ignore were more my problem, than
a problem for dd. Although one problem I have is my Dad
allowing dd to get away with anything AND everything. Which
was how I was raised, and I was a good kid, but I grew up
thinking that things would always go my way, and the world
doesn't work like that. We talked about it, and Dad is getting
better.
Thing is we're a team now, my Dad and I. I take the night shift
with my Mom, and he takes the morning shift with dd (cause I
am tired from night shift). He drops dd off at school, and I pick
her up. He gets my Mom from her treatments, and I make sure
dinner is ready. There is more, but you get the picture.
I wonder if your the only one who believes your Sister has
problems if there is anything you can do to help her. PLUS if I
were you I would talk to your Dad and tell him that if trips out
with your Sister continue to be hectic then you will not be making
outings with them any longer. Your Sister is old enough that you
can tell her that as well maybe. Plus if she is acting out when
you are out with her, then cut it short, and tell her why. In time
maybe she will know you won't be taking it from her.
Wish you luck in moving or staying, keep us updated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks. I'm definately not the only one who has noticed issues with the 9 year old. If AllyRae is lurking here she can attest to it (she's the oldest sis, was here visiting this weekend). Her teachers have noticed (and sent numerous letters home, to both homes/parents). Heck, I've talked to dad about it many times and he agrees that something needs to be done. However, nothing happens. He just keeps saying it's all mom's fault. Well, duh, I agree a lot of it has to do with mom getting remarried (just months ago, something the 9 year old is not happy with). But sitting around talking bad about mom isn't going to help! Mom says "she's just a preteen". But I've been there, done that, and this is FAR beyond normal preteen stuff.

When we're out somewhere she normally does okay.... until we're nearing the end of the trip. Take Monday. We went to the park/lake. All was fine, she went fishing with dad while Owen, my other older sis, and I played on the playground. Around 6:30 we were all getting ready to go home and make dinner. In the car she asks if she can have some pie (we had a pie with us, we went to the store before the park). Dad said no, it was almost dinner. She could have the pie after dinner. She started screaming about "how come Owen gets a snack and I don't." Owen was eating wheat crackers. I told her if she wanted some she was more than welcome to share with Owen. She started screaming about how unfair I was being and how Owen was so spoiled because he "got what he wanted"
Dad told her to knock it off (at this point she was flinging her arms and legs around, she was sitting in the middle seat in the front, between dad (driving) and my older sis) but it continued pretty much the whole way home. It eventually escalated to her bawling her eyes out, dad threatening to drop her off at mom's house, her screaming "I hate you" at the top of her lungs, and (thankfully) eventually silence until we got home. And this is normal. Every single day. And it happens at home too. The only solution we could think of (other than talking to and reasoning with her- which did not work at all) was to completely clear out her bedrooms at both houses. She lost all her toys and everything she didn't *need* (we did leave books though). She lost her computer and we put passwords on the tv. She was supposed to earn things back by behaving. It didn't make an ounce of difference, just gave her something else to yell about. Dad eventually gave in and she had her computer and tv back within 2 days. And now we're back exactly where we started. I fear the summer. I really do.

The reason I am reluctant about moving out (I've been looking around and I'm fairly certain *I* can afford it) is I'm pretty sure dad's going to lose his house if I do. Most of my money goes towards the bills here (which is why I have none saved
).We've gone over his bills/income and there's no way to do it without mine (he was stuck with the house that needs 2 incomes when he and mom divorced and got screwed in the end). I know I'll be blamed for that too, making us lose the family house.

I also know he's going to try and guilt me into staying, should I decide to leave. Not only for the reason stated above, but I'm the main person in his will. Should he die (G*d forbid) (he seems to think he's on his last leg so this has been a big topic around here) the house, insurance money, ect goes to me (most, not all). I know him. He's going to play the *if you stick around you'll get the house* card (on a side note- I'd never be able to afford this house! Not in a million years! Would love the house, but unless I win the lotto would never be able to afford it).

I just feel stupid even complaining about it because, quite frankely, it could be a lot worse. Noone is being abused, I am not being held against my will and can leave at anytime. Eh, guess I'll sleep on it (here that Owen... SLEEP!) and have another talk with dad to see what we can do.

Wow, now I'm babbling. I should probably delete all that but, maybe someone is bored and read it :LOL
 

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I read it! :LOL

Steph, I know it's way easier said than done, but don't let him guilt you into doing something that is second rate for Owen! These problems are his, he needs to deal with them like a grown up. OTOH, it sucks, you probably want a good relaionship with your dad, eh? I'd just firmly and lovingly explain yourself to him, and do what you need to do. He'll get over it, right?


You're right though, only you know what is best. I'm thinking of you and praying that you gain the wisdom/insight you need to make the right choice!!
 

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Stephanie,

One more thing... if it were me and I only had ONE child, I would
investigate all the intentional communites around the country and I would join one. Imagine all the extra hands you would have with Owen! And you would be raising your child in a community that believes in non-violence (better check that out first). And if you ever wanted to hook up with a guy you could, or if not, I am sure you could find some free babysitting while you have
some more baby making sessions!!


I particularly like Dancing Rabbit Community. Check them out!
 

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Hey, have you checked into Habitat for Humanity? My four kids and I are living with my parents right now but I have been approved for a house through Habitat. We're hoping to start on it this summer. Just something you might look into.
I'm hoping you can figure out something to make your situation better...I'm so sorry it's tough right now.
Blessings!
 

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I'm kinda familiar with your area, I know Coldwater is a little drive depending on where exactly you are but I do know of atleast 2 co op housing places there. Oh, and you could always contact your county FIA, and you could also get something I think its called section 8, where you can rent any place and the state will pay all or most of it depending on how much the rent is. Look through the phone book to see local coop places. The internet is a little hard to find, cause each coop is owned by different companies. I hope you figure out soon what to do. Your dad may not like it, but will understand. He's a parent too, he knows you need to do what YOU think is best, despite if he really likes it or not. *HUGS*
 

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Just popping in and saying WHOA...that was unexpected Steph!

About Holly...she's fine for us. She played with Bran nearly the whole time and that seemed to make her happy. She seems to really like little kids, especially if they can take her "rough-housing". Honestly, I'd take her here for a babysitter anyday because Brandon is just completely in love with her...and you know him...he doesn't really like anyone... She does seem to be having issues related to mom's remarriage, and a whole host of other things. But I've seen the way dad talks to her and it's not always very respectful, and I've seen the way people act like they don't have time for her or she's a bother. I think she's just slipping through the cracks and everyone's given up, so she's fighting...

About you...I'm still shocked! I can't imagine you and O out of that house again, but you're my little sister and I'm used to you there. I can't think of anyplace in the county, but I'm sure there are some places. There are a ton of houses for rent up by the college, and those usually run pretty cheap because they tend to rent them to college students.

A third job...I would definately try to take on an older kid. Lots of people are probably looking for summer daycare/childcare for their school age children because they still work...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks everyone. I've slept on it, and still don't know what to do. I talked to the manager of 1 apartment here. They do 30% of your income is rent. But they don't have any open and there's a 2 YEAR waiting list (they only have 2 two bedrooms apartments, and I need a 2 bedroom or I know ex wil jump all over the opportunity to tell the Judge I'm abusing Owen by not giving him his own room
). So I'll continue looking. I know of at least one more who does a percent of your income, but I don't know if they have any openings either (I do know someone who lives there though, I should have asked her if she knew when I saw her today. Doh!)

Ally- you spend, what, a weekend with her? I'm not trying to be snide but it's worse than that. And you're right- part of the problem is everyone gets snippy with her, because we're used to the next thing coming out of her mouth being rude or insulting. It's walking on eggshells. It gets old and it's getting on everyone's nerves. That is why I think it would be best to get out of here. That way when I do see her I'm not all stressed from seeing her all week or whatever.

I don't think some people, including dad, understand that I'm an adult. I want to be able to be an adult and have a place to call my own. I need Owen to know that I am the parent, I am in charge. How would you (Ally) like to move back in with dad? I'm betting it would take a toll on your ego (and I seem to recall when you guys were walking out the door last time one of you made a comment about leaving just in time?). This is not a diss against dad, this is me wanting to be an adult and be on my own. I need to do this for, not only my sanity, but for me as an adult and a mother.
 

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Is family therapy an option?

The 9 yr old is her parent's responsibility, but she may be 'save-able' with the right help. Maybe there is a possibility for the two of you to develop a big sister/little sister relationship? Could you engage her somehow? Give her little jobs, take her yourself for ice cream? Ask her to help you amuse your child (with you *right* there). Maybe take out the playdough together, some crayons, bubbles? Just w/ you? Chat a bit? I know it's not your responsibility, but it seems that living with your Dad right now is giving you a chance to get a leg up. Maybe there is a way to work it all out and help your dad and this kid to boot?

If family therapy isn't a option, and you do decide to stay, maybe you could chat with a child therapist on your own (big stupid idea, i suppose) a couple of times. Maybe have that person help you come up with strategies to handle her?? I mean, it seems that there is a lot on your dad- you, your child, the 19 yr old, this troubled child...maybe he just needs a nudge? Maybe he simply does not know where to turn?

I spent some time trying to figure out how to word this gently...I hope I don't sound too forward or rude or whatever.
 

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Oh, I understand why you're moving out (LOL...I don't remember a "just in time" comment, but it probably had to do with Sam being rude or something... LOL!) Right now, Owen probably equates our dad as being his dad (and honestly, I think dad looks at Owen like another son). There really aren't parental boundaries there that I've seen because from what I've seen, dad treats you and Owen as his kids. Which is fine and all, but it does blur your authority as a parent. Besides, it's good for Owen and you to have a place of your own if you can swing it. You'll be like 5 minutes from dad and mom, so it's not like you're pulling the same stuff we did and move across the country (and then back to within 5 hours... :LOL )

As for Holly...yeah, family therapy sounds really good... I've even mentioned child therapy, but mom denies she needs it and dad denies that anything can be done. I've noticed several things that play into it... The biggest is that she was really looking forward to playing softball this summer, but with the hullabaloo around mom's wedding and stuff, somehow she didn't get the paper turned in on time. So, she's upset about that. She's upset that noone asked her how she felt about some random guy (ok, mom's husband whom she never liked) moving in with her. Oh, and all of her siblings up and moved away, and a couple of them had kids...down she went on the totem poll (she was always the baby before Alexis, then Owen, then Brandon, and now Ryland). There were a lot of changes she went through in just a short period of time, and noone really stopped to ask her how she was handling it. Mix that in with being 9 and living in a house 5 days a week with someone you can't stand, and she seems a little stressed to me. To me, I think she's acting out...both for attention and because she can't figure out how to deal with all of the changes... Not too many 9 year olds have had 3 siblings move out (and one back in), 1 get married, 2 have kids, parents divorced, one remarried, and a new little sister. I think she needs to see someone who can help her get it all sorted out before she gets herself in trouble as a way of making someone pay attention to her.

Oh, and I totally understand your stress...there is another particular sibling that causes my blood pressure to rise every time I'm in a room with that person (hahaha, not you...
)

So yeah, I think that moving out would be rough on everyone, but in the end, it would be best for you. Like you said, moving in was a temporary fix... And you'll be so close that it wouldn't be hard to meet up for zoo trips and whatever...
 

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OK! Well! Who knew all the dynamics?
Certainly not I!

I def think you should move out if your parenting is suffering and your dad is disrespectful towards your parenting. It sounds like there are many issues at play here....

I would still recommend family therapy if you decide to stay (and I can see there are reasons to stay, the greatest of which is financial). However, it seems to me (LOL Who cares?!) that you know it's probably best to get out--- if not now, then as soon as you can support your needs without compromising your safety and your child's. Lots of families live together-- it's not inherently bad, but there needs to be communication and there doesn't seem to be any here.

But oh man! If you do stay, def talk to someone! It does sound like a ton of issues need to be worked out, not the least of which is this poor little 9 yr old's pain and mixed- up emotions! (In my book, a 9 yr old is a little child, and not a 'preteen'. Not that preteens don't deserve all the healthy interaction an adult can muster!).

Good luck, mama! You and your son deserve a healthy life, and it sounds like there is a whole lot of stuff to filter through. Ain't life challenging??
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
"Right now, Owen probably equates our dad as being his dad (and honestly, I think dad looks at Owen like another son). There really aren't parental boundaries there that I've seen because from what I've seen, dad treats you and Owen as his kids." (posted by AllyRae)

BINGO! That's exactly what I was trying, but failing, to say. And it's only going to get worse as he gets older.

"Is family therapy an option?" (posted by UUMom)

I've asked dad about it, but he doesn't want to. Macho pride, maybe? Who knows. He says he can't afford it (and I believe it). Mom's no help, she still owes dad a bunch of money that she's not forking over anytime soon. Now with the 9 year old needing tutoring this summer (at $20/hour that mom refuses to pay for) it's not like the money's rolling in.

"Could you engage her somehow? Give her little jobs, take her yourself for ice cream?"

Yup, I've tried that. I've taken her out for ice cream/park/whatever many times. It all ends the same way- her screaming and yelling names (that I don't want Owen hearing) at me and me telling her this was the last time, if she can't behave we aren't doing it again. Last night she came up to my room while I was calming Owen down for bed. I had her reading Owen books, which she loved. When it was time to stop I gave her warnings (*Two more books then you have to go downstairs*, *One more book*). When I told her reading time was over, thank you for reading to Owen, now it's time for you to go downstairs, you can have some ice cream if you want she started screaming and yelling telling me I was a *moron* and a *meanie* because I made her go downstairs while I put Owen to bed (something that is not new, she is not allowed up there when Owen is going to bed. Period).
Everything we do ends that way.

"The biggest is that she was really looking forward to playing softball this summer"

Okay, this is obviously just a minor detail but mom's story is she told Holly she could play this year and had the paperwork all filled out but Holly insisted she didn't want to play. She kept asking her up until the day the forms were due and she didn't want to play. Just recently (a month after the papers were due) did Holly decide she wanted to play.
 
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