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Being a part time mum

(12 Posts)
Bobtail15 Wed 29-Jul-15 13:02:04


I wondered if there is anyone else here who actively parents as a mum in a part time custody arrangement?
My son starts school this September, will be 5 later this year. I have never been maternal, before carrying him I'd always said I would be the parent with less custody, that isn't how it's panned out, my ex has him alternate weekends and is useless in between, we don't get on, there's no real support there and life would be simpler without, but it is what it is. Over the last 4.5 years I've considered taking a "part time" role probably 4/5 times, this isn't something new. I've tried continuously to work through it and step up, fearful of my son feeling abandoned, fearful of being a let down, the judgement of being selfish, potentially part of the decision may be but the crux is I want what's best for him. Tbh I just can't do it anymore, I never had the maternal instinct or bond, I carried him, I love him and I don't want to not see him, but as the primary parent I just don't cope. The stress and pressure I put myself under makes me angry, I snap, have no patience and the situation isn't fun for anyone.
I'd never hand over primary to my ex (no biological connection but has been present from conception to now aside from the fact I know they won't step up). My choice would be to co-parent with my parents, my son has an excellent bond with them, their life is routine, stable and calm. Deep down I know this is the right choice... But I did wonder if anyone else has experienced this or stepped back in the parenting role post split? I definitely fall more natural into the stereotyped male role, but it's so unusual for women to do this sad

girlwiththegruffalotattoo Wed 29-Jul-15 13:42:45

I'm sorry you're feeling like this, OP.

You say "before carrying him I'd always said I would be the parent with less custody, that isn't how it's panned out". Did you conceive your son with a person you weren't in a relationship with?
Are they on the birth certificate?
Have you thought of mediation to try to come to a more supportive arrangement with ex?
What is son's relationship with ex like?

In short, I haven't got experience with this exactly, but I can imagine it must be very difficult for all involved.

How do you see the arrangement as working with your parents? Son live there and see you one weekend and ex the other?

girlwiththegruffalotattoo Wed 29-Jul-15 13:44:12

You say you don't feel maternal, what does that mean, exactly? Are you feeling isolated, unsupported?

MrsRV Wed 29-Jul-15 20:11:09

i really don't wish to be unsympathetic because i really am not. but why did you ever have a baby if you didn't want to be a parent? i'm not judging and i know it's hard and relentless and all the rest of it and i pray for a break from my girls and have found a new LOVE for my job and going to work. but i just can't imagine letting someone else do the main parenting.... i'm just being nosy i suppose as to your circumstances. my gran & gramp brought me up... pretty much. in hindsight it is where i felt loved, stable & secure although didn't realise at the time. so i'm not saying it's any bad thing.

queenrollo Wed 29-Jul-15 20:31:49

My situation isn't the same as yours in that part time motherhood was something I never wanted, but it has become my life because I have 50/50 arrangement with my ex. (an amicable one that we arranged between ourselves and have remained friends)
What I will say is that in the last 7 years what has kept my son happy and helped us all cope has been secure routine and stability. We made sacrifices over holidays etc for the first couple of years simply because he couldn't cope with deviating from the routine of which days he was with me/his dad.

There are no easy answers for you i'm afraid.

Strawberrybubblegum Wed 29-Jul-15 23:48:31

Since having DD, I've often thought how incredibly hard it would be without the hormones giving you that intense desire to be with your child and care for them, even through all the slog and difficulty. And those hormones either kick in or they don't: it's not under anyone's control.

You have my deepest sympathy, OP - it's a really tough position to be in. Especially if you'd agreed with your ex that you would take the 'supportive parent' role and she would take the 'main carer' role.

Have you discussed the possibility with your parents, and are they keen? Do you think they still have the energy and strength to parent for another 15 years?

I have a friend whose parents care for her sister's son full-time, and it works very well. But they were very young grandparents (40s), and genuinely wanted to be parents again.

So it definitely can work, but you would need to think through the details really carefully, and be sure your parents were able.

As an alternative, have you considered having some counselling to talk through your feelings? You might find that if you're able to re-frame it, it might get easier to access that caring drive. Or at the very least, you should be able to get some clarity around your options, and what the outcomes would be. If you're very overwhelmed, it can be difficult to judge things properly without help.

Athenaviolet Thu 30-Jul-15 00:15:40

Men say and do this as routine but a woman dates say it and the reply is 'you need councelling'.

Chchchchangeabout Thu 30-Jul-15 00:31:49

OP I haven't had this experience but just wanted to say it sounds perfectly reasonable as long as it works for all concerned.

AlpacaMyBags Thu 30-Jul-15 02:03:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Strawberrybubblegum Thu 30-Jul-15 06:30:00

Athena, if a man who had been the sole carer for his child for 4.5 years was considering giving up custody because he 'just can't do it anymore' I would also suggest counselling.

The OP is too close for comfort to the 'my children would be better off without me' false reasoning people sometimes get to when very overwhelmed.

A counsellor would help work through to a clearer understanding.

She should also get some cognitive techniques to help her manage the behaviours she doesn't like on herself. It's no different to counseling to help with anger or work stress.

Giving up custody is a big step. I think it's worth getting some help to be sure about it first.

Rockchick1984 Thu 30-Jul-15 11:13:44

Hi OP, a close friend of mine did similar to this - she was 21 when she had a baby (unplanned, father unknown). Her parents raised her daughter although there has never been any secrets made about who is mum and who is nana or anything, and she sees her most days.

It worked well for them at home, however it did cause issues for her daughter at school as she was "different" although she's now 19 so schools may handle it differently now.

lotrben17 Thu 30-Jul-15 11:50:40

you do sound a bit depressedm counselling and a GP visit I do think would be an idea as you'll likely feel guilt even if this is best - i have family that did what you suggest, split custody with gp and mum, i think it could work as long as your son's routine is absolutely rock solid - you always see him when you say you will, the routine of who has him which days is very rarely altered. The main problem my family had was uncertain guilt driven pick up/put down of the child so he never knew where he stood. OTOH, if you do it carefully I think it could work.. fwiw, i work ft with 2 dcs and i'm not parent of the year either as often tired and stressed, make sure you aren't doing this because a bit down/unsupported and just need a bit of a break/medication. you have my sympathy.

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