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Nearly burst into tears at a playgroup today - was asked "Does she never see her father then?"

(53 Posts)
ATourchOfInsanity Mon 22-Oct-12 19:15:52

And got the lump in my throat. Ended up shaking my head and making an 'uh-uh' noise while staring at DD feeling tears pricking. Now, don't get me wrong, I think it is probably for the best he doesn't see her. It was completely his choice as he was trying to avoid paying via CSA and wanted me to produce a legal doc saying he will never see her again if I detach him from all financial responsibility - I refused to do this. However he has apparently been advised not to ask about her at all before the tribunal he has taken us to, to try to wriggle out of payments. It's been 9 months now since he saw her.

I felt like every mum in that room was thinking either 'oh poor girl' or 'how did you pick such a dick?' or 'at least my child gets the benefit of both of us'. I know they probably were all to wrapped up with their own kids, but I was quite shocked at how alone I felt at that point.

What do you do in these situations? Do you have a set line that you feel protected by that explains things? I don't know whether I should even be worrying about explaining things. I tend not to as I can get bogged down in the nasty details once I start blush Maybe I am just having an off day confused

PoppadomPreach Mon 22-Oct-12 19:27:51

If anyone - anyone at all - judges you because you are a single parent, or suggests that you made an unwise choice of partner they are utter fuckwits.

Non of us has a crystal ball. We like to think we have found a decent partner, but even the real "good ones" can surprise us.

I hope you get what's due from your shit of an ex - he sounds like a callous wanker. Get as much from him as you possibly can. Make sure all legal parties are aware of his request to cut ties entirely.

Then be easy on yourself. I have no doubt at all that you are doing as much as you possibly can for your daughter. Far, far better for the child to be with one caring parent, that two who fight, bicker etc. I cannot imagine how hard it is to be a lone parent, but the whole tone of your OP suggests that you are a very caring, amazing mother.

And I repeat, if anyone judges, they are fuckwits (but I really don't think that many would).


ATourchOfInsanity Mon 22-Oct-12 19:40:39

I'm sure they weren't really judging much as they all seem nice. It just felt really awkward. The woman who runs it said 'Oh! I didn't realise you were a single parent!' <hay bales float past, silence ensues>
I didn't know what to say to that.

I must be hormonal. They do seem lovely, but I felt very alone, as I said.

Happylander Mon 22-Oct-12 19:41:59

You are having a stressful time so no wonder you can get a bit emotional. Just try and remember it isn't you that has walked out of your daughters life but him and therefore you have nothing to feel ashamed about. I doubt anyone was judging you but I expect they were thinking what an arsehole. I would tell them he chose not to be in his daughters life so no he doesn't see her.

He is taking you to a tribunal??? WTF!

Happylander Mon 22-Oct-12 19:42:17

The cheek of the man.

ATourchOfInsanity Mon 22-Oct-12 19:51:53

Yes, he is denying our relationship completely, the fact he lived with us and told me he was happy with his little family etc. Luckily I had all of the emails and only had to produce 3 to show his fiction up. The CSA have already told me that they are going to take payments as he is the father, so no idea why he felt the need to waste 6k (my fault he is in debt now because of his legal fees) on dragging it on.

Thanks guys. I try not to talk about it much in RL as my friends are all in couples and I don't want to 'bang on'. Support here really helps smile

freemanbatch Mon 22-Oct-12 19:53:33

I'm told the first time is always the worst so at least you've got that out of the way. You sound like you are doing really well in a difficult situation and your DD is very lucky to have you looking after her smile

Yika Mon 22-Oct-12 19:59:49

I actually couldnt bring myself to tell people I was a lone parent at first so I fudged or even lied (by omission, or just letting people think their assumptions were right).. It was a horrible feeling. I felt terribly ashamed and inferior. 2 years on, I'm very happy and able to talk about it perfectly openly. I don't think anyone judges but I know I felt like a hopeless failure. I think it definitely helps to work out a set line to take/ answer to give while the emotions are still raw. It helps you feel in control, and to reveal just as much as you want to.

Happylander Mon 22-Oct-12 20:04:48

I have never minded telling anyone or anyone asking as I have done nothing wrong. Mind you I am a bit gobby so whenever anyone asks I always say 'yes because my ex had an affair and left me 3 weeks before my sons 2nd birthday' they are then a bit taken aback and the converstaions changes rapidly LOL

Your friends are your friends they are there to help and support you so if it gets too much do bang onto them. He sounds like a complete arse and you better off out of it.

It'll get better and at some point in his life he will regret being a wanker.

nailak Mon 22-Oct-12 20:05:02

people are probably not judging, just wanting to make friends.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Mon 22-Oct-12 20:24:55

<Big Hugs> It's horrible feeling like that sad However, you are probably your own worst critic & judging yourself far more harshly than anyone else is! Being a 'single mother' doesn't carry the stigma it did in years gone by & you certainly wont be the only single Mum there!

Being a 'single Mum' is infinitely better than being with that shitbag & that is ALL that matters - OK smile

When the woman said 'Oh I didn't realise you were a single Mum' - what was her tone like??

allthefun Mon 22-Oct-12 20:26:30

26% of all families are now single parent so it's not uncommon.

In my experience most people are sympathetic rather than judgmental (although they usually have a very different attitude to fuckwit Dads I find).

How much to tell people is tricky I agree. I usually just answer honestly and tough it out. It's easier having only one though as I do think having lots of children and no father around does make people a bit hmm, however unfair that actually is.

DowagersHump Mon 22-Oct-12 20:30:40

Sympathies. It's really hard at first but it gets loads easier. I've gone from feeling a bit sad/guilty to feeling embarrassed to not giving a toss.

I think it gets better once you can talk to your child and know that they're okay with it. Hang on in there smile

perplexedpirate Mon 22-Oct-12 20:32:56

I would have thought this:
Wow, some men are dicks. Still, his loss. My dad never saw me, and I'm pretty awesome. Shit, is that the time, I'm late for work. I like her boots. I hope my hair isn't doing that 'woo hoo' thing.

HTH grin

CuttedUpPear Mon 22-Oct-12 20:33:45

Be proud. Don't let other people's points of view get to you.
You do an amazing job and will bring up a fantastic child.

I too remember feeling this way, like an outcast at P&T groups.
20 yrs later, my DD is at University and I couldn't be prouder that I did it on my own.

You will too.

girliefriend Mon 22-Oct-12 20:42:10

hello my dd has never had any contact with her father and I know exactly how you are feeling. I am sure a lot of the time I am slightly paranoid about other mums judging me but I know I am a good mum most of the time so I try not to be.

Most people are nice smile

ATourchOfInsanity Mon 22-Oct-12 20:54:49

Thank you so much everyone. Really kind words.
Her tone was quite shocked and surprised. Somehow that was what hurt, although I can't figure out why.

I know I judge myself quite harshly (pretty sure all mothers do!) but with no family near by I feel a bit like I am letting her down somehow. As a result I do so much in the day times to make sure she is getting a varied life that I am possibly a bit frayed around the edges. Maybe an early night and less cake would be a good start.

Damn you new bread maker with cake function!

ChippingInLovesAutumn Mon 22-Oct-12 21:09:14

In that case you should have said to her 'Why would you'? It's not relevant and it's not any of your business' and turned on your heal.

I guess it's a hang up from times past that 'single mum' can still make you feel like you are a failure - like you aren't 'good enough' to 'hang onto your man' or that you 'did it out of wedlock' or whatever archaic line of thinking is going on. It's hard to change how 'so, you are a single mum' makes you feel, but you need to know it's not a bad thing and you need to believe you are a good mum and that's ALL that counts. Try not to let it get you down - it's not worth it x

CuttedUpPear Mon 22-Oct-12 21:13:37

Like the sound of your bread maker grin

Kewcumber Mon 22-Oct-12 21:13:56

"Her tone was quite shocked and surprised. Somehow that was what hurt, although I can't figure out why."

Now you see I would say you have done your bit to disabuse people of the myths about who single parents are - you are obviously shock pretty normal shock and look just like a normal person so no-one could tell by looking that you were a single parent!

If it ever comes up in my case I just say "sad isn't it but she seems very happy with me". People generally fall over themselves to say how brilliant they think you are and how they couldn't do it.

But yes sometimes when you're not expecting it that kind of comments does make you feel lonely.

And I'm a single parent by choice!

nailak Mon 22-Oct-12 21:18:15

she was probably shocked and the fecklessness of your dds dad rather thn anything else tbh

ProphetOfDoom Mon 22-Oct-12 21:20:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ATourchOfInsanity Mon 22-Oct-12 21:24:46

I had the same kind of comment at her nursery in the week, thinking about it. She just started for 2 days a week (enough to give me some time out and get on top of the house) and perhaps the two in one week thing is something to do with my reaction. Or lack thereof! Maybe the two 'authority' figures asking the same thing just tilted my boat a bit.

Being a single mum is great really. We are so close and a lot of people comment on how she gives me huge kisses and blows raspberries on me to make me giggle while grinning at me. She is great <proud mummy emoticon>

ATourchOfInsanity Mon 22-Oct-12 21:28:40

YY with the rings! I also dread the 'husband' chats - they start off all eye rolling and 'aren't me sooo silly!' and usually end up almost berating the extra pair of hands. I usually find something to read to DD or become fascinated by the sheep/pan/ball she is carrying about to get away before someone tries to get my DH horror story wink

Kewcumber Mon 22-Oct-12 23:42:32

"YY with the rings" - you're different to me then - I only notice if men are wearing rings crosses them off list

"that went down in her notes. Not at all sure why" - because single mothers either have no sex at all or loads and loads of random sex with lots of men. I haven't worked out which yet...

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