To feel hurt that DS2 didn't get me a present from his school trip?(32 Posts)
A little bit of background to make things clearer. DS2 is 15 years old. His father left us in June 2005 and didn't see any of the boys until March 2014 when he nearly died from alcohol induced liver failure. DS1 went to see him in March the others in May. It took a while but they go round to see him on a regular basis, DS1 takes them if he's not working or I do (even though exDH has a car!). He went away for 3 days on a school residential trip as part of his GCSE Geography course. it cost £141 which I couldn't really afford but his father said he would help and pay half. He also had a climbing course for his GCSE PE which cost £40, again his father offered to pay half. DS2 was allowed to take £20 spending money to Wales which he took. Add all this up and in a few short months I have had to hand over £201 for the trips. DS2 also needed wellington boots, waterproof trousers and toiletries to take with him another £30 approx. £231 total approx. His father gave me £60 towards everything saying that he hadn't realised the trips were so expensive (he had seen the letters, at his insistence, before agreeing to anything) and he couldn't afford any more. That left me with cutting back on food bills and running their dinner money accounts into arrears to find the extra money. Also at this time the CSA stopped exDH's maintenance payments to me as I was being transferred to the CMA and should I want to start a new claim there would be charges, we agree he would pay me £10 a week directly (I received £5 but he says they docked his benefit by £15 so split the difference) I have not seen a penny in 8 weeks.
DS2 came back from Wales and gave me 11p which was left from his spending money. He explained that he hadn't bought any of us presents because he didn't have enough money. No problem, the money was his to spend how he wanted. (I have always been an everyone or no-one person with regards to presents so if you can't afford to buy for all then buy for none. No-one gets upset). On Monday they had arranged to go around to see their father for the day, DS1 was working so I dropped them off as usual. DS2 got out the car and turns back to pick up a paper bag. I asked him what was in it and he replied rather sheepishly "I bought dad a present from Wales. After all he did help pay for me to go!"
I love my children and don't begrudge them anything. I put food in their bellies, clothes on their backs and a roof over their heads with no help from anyone. Just me and that's fine. It has been that way for the best part of 11 years. i don't want presents, or "you're amazing" or thank yous or anything. I chose to have children and now I have a responsibility to raise them. I work full time and do the best I can with what I have. I will make sacrifices so they don't have to. I am their mother. I just feel really hurt that despite everything I do and have done for them, they seem to think that I have to do it all whereas their father has the choice to do it all or not so he gets the recognition and the present. After all it took two of to make them it should be two of us raising them and sharing the costs. AIBU to feel hurt but DS's actions or am I being selfish?
It's one of those back-handed compliments: he thinks you are strong enough not to need a present; his father needs sympathy and concern.
In a way it's a compliment; he is buying his dad, and he can rely on your love and attention without having to pay for it.
I see why you'd feel that way though.
Rewarding his father for
finally doing something useful contributing, perhaps in a subconscious hope that he'll consider attempt to do the right thing again in the future contributing again?
Children always seem treat the parent they feel secure in their love worse than the shit parent. They know you'll be there for them and do anything for them. Their dad has proved to be unreliable and needs to be kept sweet.
He got his dad a present because he paid half for him to go. Your son is grateful for this because he didn't take it as a given - I.e., he can't always rely on him. Whereas he is confident you will always come through for him. It's a bit thoughtless of your DS but not maliciously meant. Chin up.
Like others have said, it's a backhanded compliment. You are the reliable, hard working committed parent who will love him whatever happens and is always there. He feels he has to woo his father into a relationship that is sustained. Don't think he doesn't realise what you do for him -I guarantee he does and certainly will as he gets older.
I think you should see it as role reversal actually. He knows you are his mum and you look after him, whereas his dad doesn't actually look after him and essentially your ds2 is now treating his dad as though he is the child by buying him things.
Plus it may take your ds2 until he has kids of his own to realise just how hard it is to raise kids, even with two parents and then to realise you did it alone.
Honestly the way he said that, it's like you would buy a present for an aunt or granny who'd helped out, out of manners - so much more distant than he clearly feels about you, OP
Also, £5 a week, what a joker!.
No, of course you're not being selfish.
I would talk to him about it, but in a very comic, lighthearted way. Partly because I think there are some gender implications here. You are clearly super-Mum in his eyes, who doesn't need reassurance, care, love - Dad is weak and needs support. You don't want him to think that it is just 'a woman's job' to do those things, however!
Agree with all the others - he knows he's got your unconditional love. My kids try so hard to please their deadbeat dad - me, not so much, I get the strops , whining and moaning as they know I'll always be there for them.
My dad was never around consistently growing up, I felt I had to buy his presence with presents, perfect behavior etc etc, however I was completely secure at home with mum and during my teenage years I was horrendous to her. We are closer than close now and I am NC with my dad due to his frequent disappearing acts and lack of care or concern.
I don't think he's done it maliciously. YANBU to be upset though, I would feel the same if DD did that.
As everyone else has said. He is secure on your love for him and his for you. It is a little bit hurtful, but it really is a compliment. He doesn't have an unconscious need to try and buy your love.
I was thinking 'it's a school trip - I wouldn't expect a present' until I got to the bit where you said he bought his Dad a gift - and my heart really sank for you - it must have been very very hurtful. The fact that he was a bit sheepish shows he was aware that it was a potentially hurtful thing to do.
But - I agree with what everyone else has said - he's certain of your love affection and the fact that you will always be there for him - you are his rock of stability.
His Dad didn't bother with him for nearly 10 yrs, and then nearly died - which must have been very scary and worrying for your DS. Dad is definitely a loose cannon he wants to keep onside - he knows his Dad could drop him for another 10yrs, so he's very cautious and trying to please him.
That said - I totally get your hurt. Your X sounds like a pain and bloody hopeless regarding money. But I would be the bigger person - I would say breezily when he gets back 'Did Dad like his gift? - That's good' or something neutral, so it's not a 'thing' - he's aware that he didn't get you anything and in his mind I bet he's feeling a bit bad about it.
I have a similar situation with one of my (grown up) children - he's worried his Dad will just drop out of his life because his dad has shown he's quite capable of that.
My DIL and I have tried very hard to help him feel Ok about trying to maintain the relationship with his Dad - although DDIL can;t stand my X and totally has his number ! and I often feel very hurt like he is ignoring all the shit I went through and protected him from - but deep down I know that I'm the relationship that he feels safe about and I take my 'reward' from that knowledge.
He gave you the 11p back? He sounds like a wonderful son who knows full well how much you struggle. I'd be proud of him. Bless him.
Just for the record, if you read tft he didn't pay half.
I would be upset too. But others are right to say he knows you are the reliable parent and dad has to be pandered to.
I completely agree with everyone else. You are his solid base, the one person he can rely on no matter what. You'll always be there. His dad, not so much, he's proven himself to be unreliable... So he feels he needs to show his gratitude in order to keep him around.
I can completely see why you are upset though. In years to come he'll think back to this moment and realise how it may have made you feel, cringe
I agree with what everyone else said. He properly feels he has to thank his father in some way, he may also be scared his father may leave again. I'm a single mother so I can understand the "I done everything for you, why does he deserve this?"
I can totally relate to how you are feeling. But I do think that it is because your ds is so secure of the unconditinal love you have for him that he just didnt think, My ex never contruibuted for my dds, on dd2 18th I organized a big party for her at a cricket club it was not cheap but she really wanted a party. She invited her dad who said he couldnt make it. On the day he turned up she was so happy and gratfull that he had made the journey it was all about him. It really upset me as I has paid and organised everything She did thank me for the party but did say it was more special because her df had turned up.
as my dds have got a bit older they relise now how much I did and went with out because there df didnt contrubuite they have gone nc with him and have told me how much they appriciate all that I did. Although it never felt like that at the time.
Totally not unreasonable to feel sad, I think anyone would.
But he did a kind thing to get his dad a present nonetheless. Sounds like you have a lovely boy
Unfortunately the reliable parent who is there for them everyday often gets the raw end of the stick, and even the nicest teens can be thoughtless at times. I understand how you feel .
Don't bring it up. He already knows. Just know that he only has to buy the love of one of his parents. You're doing great.
(But chase that fucker down for every penny he owes you. I've been in the £10 a week club too. So generous...)
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