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To want to be a person with feelings and opinions and not just mum/employee?

(18 Posts)
Twitterqueen Wed 31-Oct-12 22:07:00

Huge row with eldest DD tonight over the fact that I have apparently told all three DDs too much about the divorce and consequences. Ex has lost his job so I've told them money will be tight because of no child support - apparently this is wrong.

I know children never want to know the details - my parents divorced too, but surely I have a right to say that "I'm saying this because of x" or "there will be no foreign holiday because I can't afford it" or "Yes, I know you need a laptop but actually I need some bedroom furniture too" (currently I don't have anything apart from the bed!)

Additionally, telling them I have 2 court cases coming up because ex won't pay what was agreed as part of the divorce settlement is wrong too. I haven't gone into details but surely they need to know why I'm spending weekends holed up on the PC trying to make sense of everything? And why I'm shit scared and snappy and tell them to go away because 'I'm working'?

Should I just lie and say everything is fine? always?

I've tried to spare them from the worst - he's called me an alcoholic bitch (and worse), got a police caution for harrassment, tried to blackmail a local company - I haven't told them any of this.

I believe the problem is that I can't be a person with fears and worries, I can't complain about having to work so hard or to ask the DDs to do more around the house.

I just need to be an invisible person with no feelings who supplies their every monetary and physical needs and I'm not allowed to voice an opinion or fear or request.

When is it OK to be a real person?

Casmama Wed 31-Oct-12 22:10:33

How old are your dcs?
They are probably terrified and just want you to tell them everything will be alright, that their dad still loves them and it's ok to still love him.
I agree you can't shield them from everything but you need to get your support elsewhere I think.
Sorry you're having such a tough time.

Casmama Wed 31-Oct-12 22:12:28

I think you can definitely get them to do more around the house now and they will have to understand financial constraints.

Twitterqueen Wed 31-Oct-12 22:13:22

They're old (lol) 13, 15 and 17.

2 of them have refused to see him for 18 months because of his behaviour but are now coming round. I have encouraged this in every respect all along. I have always wanted them to see him and I have also tried to give him tips about how to reconnect (postcards from work abroad, dropping off hotel shampoos etc).

but I'm finding it so hard to be the bad guy right now.

McHappyPants2012 Wed 31-Oct-12 22:17:16

I agree with you, money doesn't grow on trees and if they are going to miss out on treats because daddy has lost his job then they should be told.

Casmama Wed 31-Oct-12 22:26:44

Ok I was imagining younger. In that case I think they need to grow up a bit and understand that they are expected to contribute to the family as well as take from it. Would they prefer you just said "mummy says no" every time they ask for something or would they rather understand the reasons.

emsyj Wed 31-Oct-12 22:35:32

My parents divorced (very acrimonious, no further contact with arsehole biological father) when I was 19. My DMum leaned very heavily on me and my DSis, both financially and emotionally. It was very hard and has had lasting effects on DSis (again, both financially and emotionally). I was away at university and couldn't cope with the stress of DMum ringing me crying and telling me she had no money (I wouldn't mind if she did that now, I am able to help her out if she needed money now I am 33, but I was bloody skint myself back then!!!) It was very very stressful and scary.

If you're behaving like my DMum did then YABU. There's a difference between saying, 'sorry I can't afford X' (which is fine) and, "telling them I have 2 court cases coming up because ex won't pay what was agreed as part of the divorce settlement" which is TMI.

Alisvolatpropiis Wed 31-Oct-12 23:10:42

YABU sorry. Even a 17 year old isn't at the age where they are emotionally equipped to deal with all that. They are your children not your friends.

dreamingbohemian Wed 31-Oct-12 23:20:40


Of course you can be a real person with feelings. But you should be looking to other sources of support to deal with those feelings, not unloading all your emotions on your children -- who are probably dealing with a lot of their own issues right now, between puberty and family breakup.

I'm sorry you are going through a tough time but it must be just as bad, if not worse, for your DDs, and it would be better to stay strong for them and talk to friends or family about your own feelings.

maddening Wed 31-Oct-12 23:24:08

If you were together and ex lost his job you'd tell them together.

Maybe it should be ex's job to tell them ?

maddening Wed 31-Oct-12 23:27:46

Ps he could sit them down and explain that he has lost his job but will pay what he can and that he expects them to be extra good and help their mum as it's a bit tough right now - also tell them that it'll all be ok and you're both there for them

CaliforniaLeaving Wed 31-Oct-12 23:36:28

I think they are old enough to know.
I knew at 10 when my father left that money would be tight, I knew there was going to be no more foreign holidays and knew that my Dad paid as little as possible and Mum scraped together to feed us with no benefits. I knew these things so I didn't waste anything, I saved water/electricity and whatever else was needed.
They need to know so they don't resent not having all manner of luxuries for Christmas it's called real life and if you sugar coat it for them they will never grow up.
It didn't stop me loving my Dad and seeing him as usual, ever!

queenofthepirates Wed 31-Oct-12 23:48:22

I think YABU. If they are telling you that you are telling them TMI about the divorce then you need to cut it out. I'm sure it bloody hurts you but they are not and will never be the ones you tell. I cannot stress enough that they will never be. They will always be the children in this situation regardless of their actual age. Please do vent your feelings to someone else and listen to what they are telling you.

TinyDancingHoofer Thu 01-Nov-12 01:29:43

If you are just explaining to them why there is less money than before than YANBU. But if you start leaning on them for emotional support and dumping stuff on them then that is different and unreasonable. Yes, you are a person, but to them you are their mum, be a person with your friends. Be a mum to your children.

deleted203 Thu 01-Nov-12 01:42:10

YANBU if you have given them the 'I can't afford that, because unfortunately I don't have the money' speech IMO. You say you haven't gone into details - but I think pointing out that Dad has lost his job, and is therefore not paying child support means that money is very tight is perfectly reasonable. And it's about time they grew up and realised that money doesn't grow on trees.

Agree that you shouldn't give TMI or rely on them to offer you emotional support/take sides, but I can't see that you have suggested that you have done so in your post.

And I think it is perfectly reasonable to expect them to help out around the house and to realise that you are not simply a cash machine. Your eldest DD should certainly be old enough to appreciate this. Provided you are not slagging off their father to them, of course. Perhaps you could explain to her that you are doing the courtesy of treating her as an adult by not pretending that everything is just the same as it used to be, but that you are trying to be honest with her about why money is now tight.

Twitterqueen Thu 01-Nov-12 11:24:37

Thank you everyone.

Sowornout especially - I have told them very little but I do think they need to know why things are difficult.

Maddening nice ideas, but he's given them nothing for nearly 2 years. And I mean nothing (no Xmas presents for the 2 that wouldn't see him), not the odd fiver here or there.. He has also made it very clear that he won't pay anything at all for any of them in the future - which they don't know.

I'm trying hard not to vent feelings. Also, I'm actually very happy to be divorced - it was at my instigation - so I'm not wallowing in misery or unhappiness or crying about the bastard at all. I just need the DCs to understand I'm not just a bank.

Tailtwister Thu 01-Nov-12 11:33:08

Your situation sounds very similar to mine emsyj. My parents divorced when I was 17 and it was a nightmare. My mother used to call me up at uni crying and telling me she was going to kill herself. Then when I went to visit her she told all her friends I was her niece as she didn't want them to know she had children and I had to go along with that charade for weeks. A hideous experience which went on for years (I still have to listen to her badmouth my Dad) and it's completely destroyed our relationship.

I don't see any harm in telling them money is tight OP. Just keep the details to yourself as much as possible. Just because they are older, doesn't mean they can bear the strain of the divorce details. It sounds as if you're doing all the right things though, so good on you. Although you're happy to be divorced, it must be a really stressful time for you.

elastamum Thu 01-Nov-12 12:02:26

Have been there myself. I sympathise.

I think that whilst you need to spare them the gory details so they can have a good relationship with their father, they are old enough to know that they cant have everything they want because you simply dont have the money, and that one of the reasons is their father isnt supporting them. Otherwise, you always get to play bad guy and they dont ever grow up and contribute to the household. And there is no reason at that age why you should shoulder all the houswork whilst your little princesses lounge around angry

I am a LP and my children are younger than yours, when my ex left their standard of living took a massive nosedive.

I have regular sit downs with them around the table and they know that in our family everyone has to pull together. They understand that there isnt an inexhaustable supply of money and that they are expected to contribute to our family by doing some work around the house. Last night when I got home late from work, my 13 yr old DS actually asked, if there were jobs that needed doing that he could do as he is off over half term!

I can reccomend using wine and girlfriends for a good moan, but it does sound like your children need a gentle kick up the back side!

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